Al Hilal crowned Saudi Pro League champions after Al Hazm hammering

By Sports Desk May 11, 2024

Al Hilal secured their fourth straight Saudi Pro League title after Aleksandar Mitrovic starred in Saturday's 4-1 thrashing of bottom side Al Hazm.

Faiz Selemani restored parity after Mitrovic's 15th-minute opener at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, only for Jorge Jesus' hosts to roar back and be crowned champions with three games remaining.

Ahmed Al Juwaid's own goal handed the initiative back to the dominant Al Hilal, who led 4-1 at the break after Mitrovic added another to his tally and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was on target.

The second of Mitrovic's strikes took him to a team-leading 26 league goals this term as Al Hilal breezed to another title, moving an unassailable 12 points clear of Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr.

Jesus' side are unbeaten through all 31 games this season after securing their record-extending 19th top-flight crown in history, while Al Hazm need to win their last three matches to have any chance of staying up.

Al Hazm's relegation rivals Al Tai boosted their chances of survival in Saturday's earlier clash after a 1-1 draw away against Al Raed.

Al Tai are just a point away from 15th-placed Abha Club in their bid for top-flight safety after Ibrahim Al Nakhli's strike was cancelled out by Al Raed's Mohammed Fouzair in the second half.

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    The 2018 World Cup finalists looked set to finish as Group B runners-up behind Spain after Modric's 55th-minute strike - just moments after Gianluigi Donnarumma saved his penalty - put them a goal to the good in Leipzig.

    However, there was to be a late twist when, in the eighth minute of stoppage time, substitute Mattia Zaccagni curled past Dominik Livakovic to snatch a share of the spoils - and second place from under Croatia's nose.

    Amassing just two points, having also conceded a stoppage-time equaliser against Albania, Zlatko Dalic's side failed to win any of their group games at a European Championship for only the second time - also achieving the feat in 2004.

    They can still qualify for the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams, but are relying on England beating Slovenia by a three-goal margin in Group C on Tuesday.

    That means Modric could well have played his final match at a European Championship where, aged 38 years and 289 days, he became the oldest scorer, and only the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo (five) to find the net at four editions.

    The Real Madrid midfielder is uncertain about his future.

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    Albania's defeat saw them finish bottom of Group B with one point - one less than third-place Croatia - meaning England are guaranteed a place in the knockout stages, regardless of their result against Slovenia on Tuesday.

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