Ighalo set for King’s Cup final battle


By Johnny Edward.

Striker Odion Ighalo will aim to end the 2022/23 season on a title-winning note when he leads Al Hilal’s attack against Al Wehda in Friday’s (today) King’s Cup final, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

The Nigerian scored his eighth goal of the competition when he netted Al Hilal’s third goal with six minutes left to play in their quarter-final 3-1 win over Al Hilal beat Al Fateh 3-1.

They then edged rivals Al-Ittihad 1-0 in the semis to reach the final, which is billed for the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

The encounter will also offer Ighalo an opportunity to banish the memories of losing the Asian Champions League final to Japanese giants Urawa Red Diamonds last Saturday as well as the heartbreaking defeat to Real Madrid in the FIFA Club World Cup finals in January.

A win in the final will also add to Ighalo’s trophy cabinet. He won his first career trophy in 2019, when he lifted the Chinese FA Cup with Shanghai Shenhua. In 2022, the former Manchester United striker won the Saudi topflight league title with Al Hilal.

Speaking ahead of the final, Ighalo was quoted as saying by National News, “First of all, I’m very happy because the most important thing is winning the game. We know the final is a very big game, and we are fully focused on the final.”

Asked about finishing the season as top scorer, Ighalo who trails Abderrazak Hamdallah by a goal, replied, “Inshallah, hopefully – I’m working towards that. But the most important thing is ending the season well.”

Ighalo has scored 18 league goals and 20 in 28 games across all competitions this season.