The Spanish Super Cup, played more than six thousand kilometres away from the country that gives its name to the competition, saw the second semi-final of the tournament at the King Fahd Stadium. Barça and Betis were looking for a place in Sunday's final.
A little more animation in the stadium, national folklore paid for by the RFEF outside the stadium and the two-storey box presided over by Rubiales, waiting for Cristiano Ronaldo to decide to come and watch his former team in the final.
Because Sunday's game has become more than just a Clasico. Both teams have a lot to lose and a Super Cup to win. A title that Real Madrid lifted last year and barely celebrated to the surprise of a newcomer Camavinga who was surprised that the title was not celebrated.
Xavi faces his first major final as coach. His first title. The one that can justify the levers of the past and activate those of the future for Laporta to continue selling grandma's jewels to the highest bidder.
Barcelona's defence is their great weakness. Lots of space, slow players on the run who can't leave a metre to the striker because Araújo and Koundé suffer chasing down opponents.
As with Real Madrid, it is the goalkeeping that holds the team together in the worst moments. Pellegrini's Betis have no qualms about getting into their opponents' box and playing the ball to look for space without getting nervous.
Fekir, Luiz Henrique and Carvalho have an unusually high tempo in teams like these to look for space. Canales could have done more, but was substituted at half-time due to injury. As was Joaquín, who had a hard time in the pharaonic box seats watching his team come from behind.
Fekir equalised Lewandowski's opener in the 77th minute on the stroke of half-time. Betis worked that goal for many minutes, although Barça could have made it 2-0, but VAR's automatic offside disallowed the Polish striker's goal.
The second goal was a masterpiece by Ansu Fati. Even Xavi acknowledged that it was his mistake not to take him off earlier because his ability to create danger is very high.
Loren Morón rediscovered football in Riyadh. Pellegrini has been without the midfielder for months and he pulled off a perfect back-heel to make it 2-2 in extra time and take the match to penalties.
Guardado saw red two minutes before the end. Betis played hard, but clean throughout the game and showed that the Chilean coach had prepared with the desire to be in the final.
Xavi brought penalty takers onto the pitch. Kessie or Marcos Alonso, along with Pedro or Lewandowski would be in charge of making things difficult for Claudio Bravo, who came close to saving two shots.
Juanmi and Carvalho missed their shots. Ter Stegen also shone in the shootout, although, unlike Courtois, he attributed his successes to luck rather than preparation.
Now it's on to the final, the grand final in this case. Real Madrid need the title to boost their morale after losing their lustre. Barça need to lift a title so that the Europa League is not a harsh punishment in February.