Heartbreak for Ronaldo: Al-Nassr Falls to Al Hilal in Saudi King’s Cup Final Penalty Shootout

Cristiano Ronaldo left the field in tears after his Al-Nassr team lost the King’s Cup final to Al-Hilal, marking a second consecutive season in Saudi Arabia without major silverware. Al-Hilal won the penalty shootout 5-4 after a 1-1 draw in extra time in Jeddah. Ronaldo, who joined Al-Nassr in December 2022, collapsed in despair and was consoled by teammates at King Abdullah Sports City.

The defeat came just four days after the conclusion of the Saudi Pro League 2024 season where Al-Nassr finished second, 14 points behind Al-Hilal. Despite Ronaldo setting a new league record with 35 goals in a season, there was no solace this time in a tumultuous match featuring two goals and three red cards.

Ronaldo Saudi Pro League 2024
Ronaldo Saudi Pro League 2024

Aleksandar Mitrovic put Al-Hilal ahead after seven minutes. Al-Nassr’s situation worsened early in the second half when goalkeeper David Ospina, formerly of Arsenal and Napoli, was sent off for handling the ball outside the area.

Al-Hilal was also reduced to 10 men in the 86th minute when Ali Al-Bulaihi received a red card for an apparent headbutt on Sami Al-Najei. Moments later, Ayman Yahya leveled for Al-Nassr. Kalidou Koulibaly, signed from Chelsea last summer, was sent off in the 91st minute, leaving Al-Hilal with nine men. The match proceeded to a shootout after a goalless extra time.

Ruben Neves missed Al-Hilal’s first penalty, as did former Manchester United defender Alex Telles for Al-Nassr. Ronaldo, who had earlier hit the post with a spectacular overhead kick, successfully converted his penalty.

However, he could only watch as Bounou, a hero of Morocco’s 2022 World Cup run, saved penalties from Ali Al-Hassan and Al-Nemer. These saves secured Al-Hilal’s 11th King’s Cup victory, leaving Ronaldo and Al-Nassr to hope for better luck next season in the Saudi Pro League 2024. Ronaldo’s determination remains strong, and fans are eager to see how he and his team will perform in the upcoming Saudi Pro League 2024 season.

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