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African All Stars

Ighalo powers Al Hilal past Hegazi-less Al Ittihad

6:53 AM SGT 9/3/22
Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo and Al Hilal.
The Super Eagles striker’s second-half strike ensured the Boss tamed the Tigers, who were without their Egyptian star

Odion Ighalo continued with his impressive goalscoring run after netting the winner in Al Hilal’s 2-1 triumph over Al Ittihad on Tuesday evening.

With the game looking to end on a no winner, no vanquished note, the Nigeria international got the decisive strike as the Boss extended their winning streak to five in all competitions.

Ighalo was on target as the hosts demolished Al Nassr 4-0 last time out - a performance that prompted manager Ramon Diaz to name the ex-Watford man in his starting XI for the King Abdullah Sports City giants.

As expected, Al Hilal began the game on an impressive note as they dominated ball possession while the visiting team relied on counter-attacks occasionally.

It took them just 16 minutes to take the lead courtesy of Salem Al Dawsari who converted from the penalty spot.

Following an infringement in Al Ittihad’s danger area, the Saudi Arabian midfielder stepped up to dispatch the ensuing kick past goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe - who dived in the wrong direction.

Diaz’s team could have added at least two more goals, albeit, they missed several goalscoring opportunities.

Not willing to go down without a fight, Cosmin Contra’s men put up an improved performance in the second half.

Their doggedness paid off in the 59th minute with Saudi Arabia forward of Bissau-Guinean descent Haroune Camara levelling matters after he was teed up by Romarinho.

Nine minutes later, Ighalo put Al Hilal ahead with a cool finish after he was assisted by Salem Al-Dawsari.

With no scored goals in the remaining minutes, the Boss secured victory while the Tigers stuttered to their third defeat of the 2021-2022 season.

Even at his fine showing, Ighalo - who boasts of 16 league goals so far - was subbed off for Saleh Al-Shehri in the 90th minute. Whereas, Mali international Moussa Marega was subbed off for Matheus Pereira with ten minutes left on the clock.

On the other hand, Egypt’s Ahmed Hegazi and Morocco’s Abderrazak Hamdallah were not dressed for action by Contra.

Notwithstanding their away loss, Al Ittihad remain at the summit of the league after gathering 54 points from 23 games. For Ighalo's Al Hilal, they are fourth with 43 points with two outstanding games at hand.