Tavares the difference as Al Raed shock Al Shabab
Al Raed picked up only their second win of the Roshn Saudi League season with a hard-earned 2-1 win against Al Shabab. The hosts made a dream start in their Thursday evening clash at the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Stadium when Hamad Al Jayzani provided an inch perfect cross and Karim El Berkaoui’s perfect back heel found its way into the bottom corner for his third goal of the RSL season.
Al Shabab started to dominate possession and pushed for a leveller. The closest they came in the first half was a 35-yard effort from Yannick Carasco, however the effort from the Belgian skipped well wide.
Al Raed had been winless in eight RSL games prior to this game and could have easily doubled their lead just after the break. A poor clearance from Shabab keeper Kim Seung-gyu fell to Mohamed Fouzair. His clipped shot was creeping over the line only to be denied thanks to a last ditch clearance from Hamad Al Yami.
However, the side from Buraidah were not to be denied and deservedly went 2-0 up just before the hour mark. Veteran attacker Julio Tavares just beat the Al Shabab offside trap and produced two great touches before smashing a left-footed strike past keeper Kim for his first goal of the season. A stoppage time consolation from Al Shabab defender Romain Saïss was not enough and Al Raed held for a much-needed victory.
Martins the man as Al Khaleej pick up a 3-1 win against Al Tai
Al Khaleej registered their first win in six RSL games with a 3-1 victory over Al Tai. Fabio Martins provided a goal and an assist in a game which saw both teams have a player sent off in the first half.
Al Tai did not make the best start when VAR intervened to upgrade defender Nawaf Al Qumairi’s barge on Mansour Hamzi to a red card with 27 minutes on the clock. Thankfully for the Ha'il based club, Bernard Mensah had other ideas as he grabbed his sixth goal of the season with a memorable strike. A surging run saw the Ghanaian beat three Al Khaleej players before launching a long-range shot that satisfyingly nestled into the bottom corner.
Al Khaleej got back into the contest as VAR intervened when Al Tai midfielder Alfa Semedo handled the ball in the box. Khaled Narey stepped up and confidently dispatched the ball into the left corner. The German capped off an incident-packed half at the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium in the 12th minute of stoppage time when he was given a second yellow card for dangerous play meaning that both teams had ten men for the second half.
The home side went 2-1 up thanks to a moment of inspiration from Portuguese playmaker Martins. The Al Khaleej number 10 picked up the ball deep in midfield and picked out Hamzi on the wing, the Saudi Arabian launched a pinpoint cross, which found Martins at the back post who was left with the simplest of headers.
Al Khaleej pressed their advantage and wrapped up the contest in the 73rd minute. This time Martins turned provider, knocking the ball into the path of Egyptian striker Mohammed Sherif who passed the ball into the bottom corner for his second goal of the RSL season.
Drama for Damac as they seal a late draw with Al Ahli
Damac battled back from 2-0 down to secure a late point against high-flying Al Ahli on Thursday evening.
Al Ahli, who were backed by a boisterous away support opened the scoring with ten minutes on the clock. A clipped corner from Riyad Mahrez found Abdulbasit Hindi who had plenty of space in the box to plant a header past Damac keeper Mohammed Al Mahasneh.
Despite the visitors’ dominance, Damac did have the ball in the back of the net of the 30-minute mark, however Georges-Kevin N'Koudou was flagged offside. Worryingly for the side from Jeddah, Allan Saint-Maximin limped off with a thigh injury and was replaced by Sumayhan Al Nabit.
A moment of individual brilliance from Mahrez put Al Ahli 2-0 up just before the break. The Algerian superstar hugged the goal line beating two defenders before his pass was poked home by substitute Al Nabit.
Damac reduced the deficit in the second half with a Farouk Chafai to set up a grandstand finish. With 91 minutes on the clock, Abdulaziz Al Shahrani cut the ball back to former Al Ahli man Nicolae Stanciu who thumped a shot past Edouard Mendy to secure a memorable point for the southwest club.
History for Saleh Al Abbas as Al Riyadh and Al Fateh share the points
Al Riyadh picked up an important point in their quest to beat the drop with a creditable 1-1 draw against the ten men of Al Fateh, in what was the first ever top-flight meeting between the two sides.
The visitors made their dominance on the ball count just after the half hour mark. Mourad Batna continued his impressive start to the campaign with a whipped ball to the back post, which handed youngster Abbas Al Hassan an easy close range finish. That was the seventh assist of the season for the Moroccan.
Al Fateh defender Marwane Saadane changed the shape of the contest just a minute later when he was given a red card for cynically pulling down Juanmi on the breakaway. The resulting long-range free-kick from the Spaniard which was gathered by Jacob Rinnie summed up the attacking intent of the home side at the break.
Al Riyadh grew in confidence during the second half and eventually found a leveller through Saleh Al Abbas. The Saudi attacker timed his run to perfection to flick a header past Rinnie for his fifth goal of the RSL season to register his best ever scoring return during his professional career. The promoted side came so close to a winner when veteran Yahya Al Shehri saw his first time shot fly just wide. Al Fateh weathered late pressure from the hosts to come away with a point.