The Nigerian forward’s hopes of claiming his first league crown in Saudi Arabia has received a massive blow after a crushing home defeat to their main rivals
Former Manchester United man Odion Ighalo’s best efforts were not enough to save Al Shabab from falling to a 1-5 home defeat to arch-rivals Al Hilal in a Saudi Arabia Pro League match on Friday.
Ighalo, who has three goals in just six league starts, was expected to be his side’s biggest weapon deployed against the visitors to the Al Shabab Club Stadium.
But the retired Super Eagles man failed to rise to the occasion, with the 31-year-old firing blanks as a Bafetimbi Gomis double powered Al-Hilal to an excellent away victory.
Ever Banega’s red card in first-half stoppage time did not help matters for the home side, with the scoreboard already reading 2-1 in favour of the away side.
But Carlos Hernandez’s men will have only themselves to blame for losing heavily to Al Hilal with so much at stake.
Both teams were locked on equal points at the top of the league before kickoff, but Jose Morais’ side now boasts a three-point advantage with four matches left of the season to play.
Friday’s defeat is the heaviest Ighalo has suffered since moving to Saudi Arabia permanently from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua following a year-long loan spell at Manchester United.
The disappointing loss then becomes even hard to take for the former Watford man, as it could deny him the chance to claim the first-ever league title of his distinguished career.
Ighalo, who has featured for nine clubs across Europe and Asia, has only the 2019 Chinese FA Cup triumph to show for his troubles.