Posts Tagged ‘Al-Qadasiya’

Al-Nassr U17 v Al-Qadasiya U17, Friday 3rd March 2023, 3.50pm

March 12, 2023

It had been a quiet couple of weeks football-wise. Al-Hilal had been involved in the Club World Cup in Morocco and then headed off to Qatar where they and Al-Shabab were playing in the knock-out stages of the Asian Champions League. Al-Nassr were playing away and there weren’t any lower level or age group games anywhere in Riyadh. Fortunately, things were back to normal by this weekend, and I had a couple of games to go to, starting with an under seventeen fixture at the Prince Abduarrahman bin Saud Stadium, or as most people refer to it, the Al-Nassr Stadium.

On the way there I stopped off to have a mooch around Masmak fortress. Around rather than inside is the correct term as it was shut. I’ll have to go back some other time when the opening hours don’t clash with a match. Walking around the perimeter it looked like something that Disney might have knocked up, so I’ll be interested to see some photos from twenty, fifty, a hundred years ago to try and gauge how much of it is original.

I didn’t hang around at Masmak and instead took at taxi to the game. It wasn’t an official cab and I doubt it would have passed an MoT. The fella quoted me a price of forty riyals and when I hesitated, he quickly dropped it to thirty. My pause had been due to not wanting to rip him off and so I offered him fifty instead. He was a little bemused at my reverse haggling technique but happy to settle for what was still around half of what other drivers might have charged for the twenty-minute journey.

Al-Nassr Stadium is out to the south-west of the city and it’s where their first team played prior to the club outbidding Al-Hilal for the use of Mrsool Park. It has a lot of wasteland around it where blokes were taking part in games of cricket. There’s a construction boom in Saudi Arabia at the moment and I suspect that it won’t be long before the makeshift wickets are claimed for tower blocks.

The security guard at the stadium gate seemed to think that I was part of the tv crew and waved me over to where they were setting up. I’d have been quite happy to have pitched in and moved some cables around, but I doubt that my efforts would have been welcomed. Instead, I left them to it and took a seat in the covered main stand where the shade provided some welcome respite from the heat. Opposite was an uncovered stand that started off empty but accommodated a few people later in the game as the sun started to go down.

There were around thirty people watching as the game kicked off. Al-Nassr took the lead early on when they beat the offside trap. I wasn’t convinced but despite the presence of the tv crew, photographers with big lenses, wags in the directors box and all of other trappings of top-flight football they don’t have VAR at this level yet and so the goal stood. A couple of minutes later an away defender failed to clear a cross and a simple finish made it two.

At that point Al-Qadasiya made their first sub. Hopefully the lad had picked up a knock and wasn’t being scapegoated for the two quick goals.

Maybe the sub made a difference as the game evened up and we reached half-time with just the two goals in it. Someone came around distributing bottles of water, which were well received. As the second half went on the crowd grew to around a hundred and fifty, some of them Al-Nassr kids from other age-group teams, others were cricketers from the wasteland calling in once they’d had enough of their own games.

Al-Nassr added a couple more goals before the end, with the four-nil score reflecting their superiority. I headed off at full-time in a taxi bound for Mrsool Park and their first team fixture.