Al-Hilal’s classy gesture to Newcastle United trio Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Amanda Staveley & Mehrdad Ghodoussi
The moments you might have missed during Newcastle United’s 5-0 win over Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal.
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Newcastle United lifted a small piece of silverware after a comprehensive win against Al-Hilal won them the Diriyah Season Cup.
Braces from Joelinton and Miguel Almiron, plus a memorable goal for young striker Dylan Stephenson, wrapped up an entertaining evening at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium.
Our writer Jordan Cronin is in Riyadh - and here’s the moments you might have missed from the game.
The Al-Hilal Ultras
A core group of Al-Hilal supporters, known as ‘Blue Power’, created a lively atmosphere throughout, and one that helped bring a real competitive feel to the game.
Even when the Newcastle goals kept flooding in, that didn’t dampen their spirits, with non-stop singing and bouncing in one section of the stand.
Having been fortunate enough to watch a couple of World Cup games in Riyadh, this was another strong example of the passion for football in Saudi Arabia.
Black and white shirts in the home end
Among the blue home colours of Al-Hilal, a number of Newcastle United shirts were spotted. For example, one displayed ‘Bruno G 39 on the back’.
It’s been evident throughout the trip that since the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia acquired a 80 per cent stake in the Magpies last October, the interest has increased.
Not just the game, but the fan meet and greet at the Hyatt on Wednesday also proved that, with people flying in from across the Middle East to hear from the likes of Amanda Staveley, Darren Eales and Eddie Howe.
Admittedly, not everyone is talking about Newcastle United in Riyadh, so there is still work to do, but the groundwork is being put in to ensure the club becomes a huge force in the Gulf Kingdom.
Home from home - a classy gesture from Al-Hilal
I’ve travelled over 3,000 miles to be in Riyadh but for a brief second I thought I was at the Gateshead International Stadium because of the indoor press box!
It might seem crazy to say but there was a real home feel at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium. Al-Hilal’s played Blaydon Races over the PA system at half-time and at full-time, while they also chucked in a bit of Lindisfarne on their playlist.
Al-Hilal also created quite the spectacle for the trophy celebrations. As Jamaal Lascelles lifted the Diriyah Season Cup, fireworks and confetti went up around the arena.
All in all, a class touch by the Saudi club, a gesture that will have gone down extremely well with those in the away end.
Sean Longstaff at centre-back
With captain Jamaal Lascelles substituted in the closing stages and no other central defenders to pick from, Sean Longstaff was handed a cameo in central defence alongside summer signing Alex Murphy.
We’re guessing the Geordie midfielder, who assisted Miguel Almiron’s second goal of the evening, hasn’t played there but to be fair, he did look comfortable, albeit for five minutes or so.
Newcastle and Al-Hilal exchange gifts
Newcastle non-executive chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and co-owners Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi exchanged gifts with Al-Hilal chairman Fahad Bin Nafel.
Al-Rumayyan was presented with a signed Al-Hilal shirt, while Staveley and Ghodoussi received printed shirts with ‘Amanda’ and ‘Mehrdad’ on the back.
Given Newcastle’s ties to Saudi Arabia due to the ownership, you guess this won’t be the last time they face Al-Hilal.