Odion Ighalo scored twice as Al Hilal won a record-breaking 18th Saudi Professional League in style with a 2-1 win over Al Faisaly.
Needing a victory to beat closest challengers Al Ittihad to the domestic diadem, the Blue Waves went into the fixture buoyed by victories in their last three matches in all competitions.
Profiting from their bright start, the hosts took the lead inside seven minutes after the Nigeria international latched on to Michael’s pass inside the box to beat goalkeeper Mustafa Malayekah.
Even at their early lead, Ramon Diaz’s men were relentless as they pushed for more goals, however, they were unable to increase their lead owing to the visitors’ impressive defending.
And it was no surprise when Al Hilal notched their second four minutes after the hour mark, and the goal was a thing of beauty.
With Ighalo profiting from a moment of carelessness by Al Faisaly defenders, he squeezed home from a tight angle after he was teed up again by Michael.
That strike was the former Manchester United striker’s 12th of the 2021-22 campaign from 13 matches since his arrival from Al Shabab.
The visitors, of course, were still fighting for their top-flight status and needed a draw at least to overtake 13th-placed Al Batin.
Having that in mind, they reduced the deficit with 20 minutes left on the clock as super-sub Clayson turned home a pass from Khalid Al Kabi.
Ighalo was subbed off for Mali’s Moussa Marega in the 80th minute to an ovation by the home supporters.
Five minutes later, Julio Tavares looked to have given the Burgundy a glimmer of hope, connecting to a cross that completely beat goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf, only to see Mohammed Jahfali clear off the line.
To complicate issues, Hussain Qassem was given the marching orders for serious foul play.
After the final whistle, it was Al Hilal who reigned supreme and claimed the title at the expense of Al Ittihad, who could only secure a 0-0 draw at home versus Al Batin.
Ighalo has now won his first league title ever since he began his professional career with former Nigeria Professional Football League side Prime FC in 2005.