Newly crowned Saudi champions Al Ittihad of Jeddah had to rely on a last-gasp Talal Al Mishal goal to see off Al Ettifaq 1-0 in their Saudi King’s Cup opening encounter on Friday.
On the same day, another last minute goal by Christian Wilhelmsson steered Al Hilal to a 1-1 draw against Al Nasr while Al Shabab thrashed Al Wahda 5-2. A day later, Al Hazm held Al Ahli to a 1-1 draw.
The Saudi King’s Cup winner plays in next year’s AFC Champions League.
However, Ittihad, Hilal and Ahli are already assured of a berth in the AFC Champions League after their top-three finish in the league. If any of these teams win the Cup, the remaining ACL berth will go to the team that has finished fourth - Al Shabab - in the league.
Ettifaq were reduced to 10 men midway through the second period after Ibrahim Al Mughanam was sent off but it was not the 89th minute that Hilal’s Wilhelmsson scored the equaliser.
For Shabab, Marcelo Camacho, Nasser Al Shamrani, Abdu Atif, Talal Al Baloushi and Zaid Al Mowallad scored.