Cristiano Ronaldo sees red as Al Hilal beat Al Nassr to reach Saudi Super Cup final

Portuguese superstar sent off in Abu Dhabi as Jorge Jesus' side book place in showpiece against Al Ittihad

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Al Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off late in the game as his side lost 2-1 to Al Hilal in the Saudi Super Cup semi-final at Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Al Hilal's Salem Al Dawsari and Brazilian forward Malcom scored twice in 11 minutes, before Sadio Mane struck a late consolation for Nassr, as Jorge Jesus's side booked their spot in Thursday's final against Al Ittihad.

Hilal took the lead just after the hour mark when Sergej Milinkovic-Savic set up Al Dawsari on the counterattack.

The Saudi Arabian international ran on to the Serbian's pass before unleashing a low shot from the edge of the area beyond the reach of the Nassr’s Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.

Hilal's second goal was made in Brazil as Michael floated a cross for Malcom to head the ball into the back of the net after 72 minutes and put the Saudi Pro League leaders firmly the driving seat.

Ronaldo was red carded four minutes from time after clashing with Hilal's Ali Al Bulayhi before Mane gave Luis Castro's a glimmer of hope when he pulled one back nine minutes into injury time.

The first half in Abu Dhabi had ended goalless but provided plenty of action to entertain the more than 35,000 travelling fans packed into the stadium.

Both teams created scoring opportunities in a pacey and attacking first 45 minutes with plenty of end-to-end action throughout.

Ronaldo worked down the right flank but his attempt from inside the area went wide of the far post. He then had an excellent chance to put his side in front but his powerful volley from close range flew over the crossbar.

In between, Ospina pulled off a brilliant save by pushing out Al Bulayhi’s effort diving low to his right in the 14th minute.

Hilal had another opportunity to go ahead but Malcom fired his shot wide from the edge of the box despite having plenty of time and space.

Nassr thought they had scored six minutes into added time at the end of the first period. Mane split the Hilal defence with a precise cross, which Ronaldo missed, and fellow Portuguese forward Otavio put into the net at the far post.

But the goal was disallowed as Ronaldo was ruled offside after a VAR review.

Hilal came close to breaking the deadlock early in the second half when Abdullah Al Hamdan’s header inside the six-yard box sailed just over the bar, while Ospina was kept busy with a barrage of attacks.

Hilal were the better team for most of the second period and will meet Al Ittihad in Thursday’s final after Marcelo Gallardo's side overcame Al Wehda 2-1 in the earlier semi-final.

Al Ittihad 2 Al Wehda 1 - in pictures

A goal from Karim Benzema in the opening minute and a second from Abderrazak Hamdallah three minutes before the break sealed Ittihad’s 2-1 triumph at Al Nahyan Stadium.

Benzema slammed a poor clearance inside the area from the Wehda defence into the top right-hand corner to put his side ahead and just before the break Hamdallah doubled the lead by prodding a cross from Romarinho from point-blank range past the Moroccan goalkeeper Munir.

Ittihad’s Portuguese winger Jota found the back of the net five minutes into first-half added time but that was ruled out following VAR review.

Wehda stepped up their game in the second half. They nearly pulled one back but Vito van Crooij’s thunderbolt from the edge of the box crashed against the crossbar in the 51st minute.

Anselmo Anselmo’s powerful strike from the edge of the area was brilliantly blocked by Abdullah Al Muaiouf five minutes later.

Wehda had an opportunity to close the gap from a spot kick awarded for a handball but their Moroccan midfielder Faycal Fajr sent it way above the bar two minutes into added time.

They grabbed a consolation goal when their Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo sent Hussein Al Eisa clear to score at the near post but it turned out to be too little, too late for Wehda.

Updated: April 09, 2024, 3:16 AM