Al Hilal stay undefeated with a hard-earned victory against Al Fateh
Al Hilal continued their undefeated start to the RSL season following a hard-earned 2-0 win away at Al Fateh. Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic dispatched an early penalty before Al Hilal captain Salem Al Dawsari scored a fine individual goal deep into second-half stoppage time to confirm the points.
It did not take long for Al Hilal to make the breakthrough at the Prince Abdullah bin Jalawi Stadium. Newly crowned AFC Men’s Player of the Year Al Dawsari was fouled in the box and won a penalty. Mitrovic stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to register his ninth goal of the campaign.
Al Hilal pushed for a second but found Al Fateh’s backline a tough nut to crack. Slick build-up play saw Mitrovic play through Malcom, however; his goal-bound effort was diligently blocked by veteran right-back Tawfiq Buhimed. Moments later, Kalidou Koulibaly headed the ball into the box, and Fateh keeper Jacob Rinne easily saved Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s tame header.
With the first half ending, Al Fateh sprung into life. Teenage winger Abbas Al Hassan found himself in plenty of space on the right wing and smashed a shot towards goal, fortunately, keeper Yassine Bono was equal to it and produced a good save with his feet to deny the hosts.
Al Fateh pushed for parity and spurned two golden chances in the second half. Cristian Tello’s intelligent run beat Al Hilal’s offside trap, however, the Spanish attacker spurned his shot just wide after the hour mark. Buhimed surged fo
rward on the counter and had the goal at his mercy but Bono got down smartly at his near post to deny the defender, who realistically should have done better with the effort.
With 92 minutes on the clock, Al Dawsari wrapped up the win and a week to remember. The Al Hilal captain showed quick feet to evade three Al Fateh defenders before dispatching the ball into the bottom corner to hand Al Hilal their fifth consecutive victory of the RSL season.
Al Tai and Al Fayha share the spoils in a six-goal thriller
Al Tai and Al Fayha shared the points in a pulsating six-goal thriller on Friday evening. Three goals in eight first-half minutes saw Al Tai race into a 3-1 lead only before two quick-fire second-half goals from Henry Onyekuru and Fashion Sakala handed the team from Al Majma'ah a deserved share of the spoils.
The visitors broke the deadlock at a rainy Prince Abdulaziz bin Musa'ed Stadium with the contest just 15 minutes old. Smart build-up play saw left-back Ghislain Konan pick out Anthony Nwakaeme and the Nigerian number nine’s composed side-footed strike proved to be too strong for Al Tai keeper Moataz Al Baqaawi.
It did not take long for the hosts to find parity. German defender Robert Bauer smashed a shot goalwards only for defensive partner Enzo Roco to stick out a boot to divert the ball into the goal via a satisfying clip off the crossbar.
Three minutes later Al Tai took the lead. A driving run from Alfa Semedo opened up plenty of space and his cross fell to Rakan Al Shamlan after a fortunate ricochet in the box, the Saudi Arabian playmaker acrobatically clipped the ball home.
Al Tai were in the ascendancy and went 3-1 up just five minutes later as Ghanian midfielder Bernard Mensah curled the ball into the top corner from outside the box.
Onyekuru handed Al Fayha a deserved lifeline just after the hour mark as his compatriot Nwakaeme picked out the winger who showed composure in the box before guiding his shot into the bottom right-hand corner.
Al Fayha have registered the most draws in the RSL this season to date and secured a deserved share of the points with twenty minutes left in the contest. Surging away on the counter the ball fell to former Rangers striker Sakala, his effort rebounded off defender Robert Bauer and into the Al Tai net.
Delight for Al Shabab as Al Ittihad stretch winless run to five games
Al Shabab picked up a narrow 1-0 win against last season’s champions Al Ittihad who are now winless in their last five RSL outings.
It was a dream start for the hosts as Fawaz Al Saqour picked out Carlos Junior who headed home his first goal of the RSL season. Just moments later, Al Ittihad defender Hassan Kadesh came close to levelling the contest but his powerful header was pushed away by Al Shabab keeper Kim Seung-gyu.
Al Shabab came close to doubling their lead after winning a penalty when Faisel Al Ghamdi knocked down Yannick Carrasco in the box. However VAR Intervened and reversed the initial decision made by referee Nicolás Ramírez.
The defending champions ramped up the pressure further after the break and perhaps should been level when a sweeping move in which the attacking trio of Romarinho, Abderrazzaq Hamdullah and Karim Benzema all combined only for the shot from the former Ballon d’Or winner to be palmed away by Kim.
Despite Al Ittihad dominating possession, Al Shabab looked sharper on the counterattack and could have easily doubled their advantage. Argentine Ever Banega had a cross-come-shot, which looked like it was creeping in before Marcelo Grohe turned the ball around the post.
A moment of individual brilliance from Carrasco saw the Belgian international beat two Al Ittihad defenders and cut the ball back to Fahad Al Muwallad who thumped the ball high and wide when it looked easier to tap the ball into the net.
The visitors from Jeddah thought they found parity with ten minutes to go as N’golo Kante picked out Romarinho with a deep cross which was instructively poked home by the attacker, only to be denied by the offside flag. Nuno Espirito Santo's side continued to press for an equaliser but Al Shabab held out for a morale-boosting victory, their first against defending league champions in 13 attempts.