Kharbin hits hat-trick as Al Hilal win Saudi league in style

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Omar Kharbin was in inspirational form as Al Hilal claimed a second consecutive Saudi Professional League title on Thursday with a 4-1 win over Al Fateh.

The Syria international broke the deadlock at the King Saud University Stadium in the seventh minute with a thumping freekick from the edge of the box, before doubling his and his side’s tally just eight minutes later.

Kharbin then completed his hat-trick seven minutes after the half-hour mark and Achraf Bencharki got in on the act in the 40th minute, leaving the hosts coasting to victory at halftime.

Al Fateh did pull one back in the 88th minute although, by then, it proved to be little more than a consolation as their opponents went on to claim a resounding victory.

The result guaranteed that Al Hilal finished the 2017-18 season a point ahead of runners-up Al Ahli, who did their best to rein in their rivals with a 1-0 triumph over Ohod courtesy of Leonardo’s 40th-minute winner.

The title triumph means Al Hilal have now taken their record of domestic league titles to 15, seven more than closest challengers Al Ittihad and Al Nassr.

Furthemore, they qualify automatically for the 2019 AFC Champions League and will get an immediate chance to make amends for their disappointing displays this year, which has seen them eliminated from the group stage with a game to spare.