History-making Jones stars in Saudi Cup win

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Al-Nassr have paid tribute to Brad Jones after the goalkeeper produced a stellar performance to inspire his team to a Saudi Super Cup triumph at the weekend.

The Australian shot-stopper made a number of vital saves to help Al-Nassr to a 3-0 win over bitter rivals Al-Hilal at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh. It marks the first trophy of a disappointing season so far.

Jones made a point-blank save to keep out a header from South Korean star Jang Hyun-soosix minutes before the break.

There was still time before the interval for another vital stop as the veteran kept out a shot from Salem Al-Dawsari with the Saudi international through on goal. 

Six minutes after the restart, the former Feyenoord and Liverpool goalkeeper kept out former French international Bafetimbi Gomis to ensure that the scoreline remained 0-0.

On the hour, Brazilian midfielder Petros opened the scoring for Al-Nassr. Abderrazak Hamdallah and Sami Al-Naji sealed the welcome win against the Saudi champions and league leaders.

Saudi television commentators hailed a “shining and brilliant performance” from Jones and his coach was also delighted with the club’s second Super Cup triumph.

“We started slowly as we didn’t want to make any mistakes in the first 20 minutes and we wanted to keep things tight,” said Al-Nassr’s caretaker Croatian coach Alen Horvat.

“It was a strong team performance and Brad Jones made some excellent saves and with that, we always knew we would get opportunities to score and we could go on and give the performance and get the results we wanted.”

Horvat replaced Rui Victoria after the Portuguese boss left the club on December 27 following a run of poor results that left the big-spending team, champions in 2019 and runners-up last season, languishing in the relegation zone.

The Croatian boss has overseen a revival with the team taking 13 points from the last five leagues games taking the club into seventh and with an outside chance of a place in the top three. 

The fortunes of Jones have also improved since last season when it was reported in the local media that the 38-year-old was on his way out of the club. 

This season the Australian has once again been one of the Al-Nassr’s most consistent performers and despite the team’s struggles, has conceded fewer goals than all but three of the other 15 teams in the league.

On January 15, Jones kept clean sheet number 26 in the Saudi Pro League, more than any other foreign goalkeeper in the league’s history.

Source SBS The World Game