Dominant Damac down defending champions
Yet another Georges-Kevin N’Koudou masterclass helped Damac into the Roshn Saudi League top-six as the in-form Cameroonian forward bagged a brace in a 3-1 victory for the side from Khamis Mushait against the reigning champions at the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Sports City.
Al Ittihad made the trip down south for their last match before hosting the FIFA Club World Cup 2023 in the absence of key players including club captain Karim Benzema and all-time top scorer Romarinho.
Inside 12 minutes, N’Koudou broke free down the left as centre-back Luiz Felipe pulled a muscle trying to chase him and the former Tottenham Hotspur and Besiktas man fired a left-footed strike beating Marcelo Grohe at the near post for the opener.
Abdelrazzak Hamdallah drew level for the visitors in added time of the first half from the penalty spot, but Ittihad’s joy was short-lived as N’Koudou hit back within minutes, taking advantage of a poor defensive clearance to fire home his 12th goal of the season.
The win was sealed just after the restart as Egyptian international midfielder Tarek Hamed fired a long range effort that bounced off the crossbar then hit the back of Grohe who was attempting to make a flying save before the ball nestled into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
Carreno's Al Hazem get second RSL win
Bottom-placed Al Hazem picked up just their second win of the RSL season, deepening the wounds of an Al Fateh side struggling in the absence of injured attacking aces Mourad Batna and Cristian Tello.
The home team needed just five minutes to get off the mark when Faez Selemani whipped a cross from the corner that was converted home by a header from defender Bruno Viana to open the scoring at Al Hazem Club Stadium.
Portuguese playmaker Toze doubled Al Hazem’s lead with his fifth goal of the season from the penalty spot, with coach Jose Carreno’s men reaching double-digit points, having only collected three points prior to the Portuguese tactician’s arrival on matchweek 10.
All even between Biscan and Gerrard
A cagey affair at Al Shabab Club Stadium so former UEFA Champions League winning teammates Steven Gerrard and Igor Biscan share the spoils as Al Shabab and Al Ettifaq failed to find the back of the net throughout 90 minutes.
The highlight of a tense affair on Thursday evening was the dismissal of three players, with Al Shabab captain Ever Banega the first to leave the pitch, being handed a straight red card following VAR review after a reckless challenge midway through the second half. An altercation between Al Shabab’s Gustavo Cuellar and Al Ettifaq’s Demarai Gray saw both men sent-off with five minutes to go.
In happier news for Gerrard’s side, French striker Moussa Dembele returned to action after missing nearly two months through knee injury. The club’s top scorer this season came on as a second-half substitute, replacing Abdullah Al Khatib and nearly finding the target with his first touch of the ball, but he skewed his attempted half-volley wide.
The result sees Al Ettifaq slip down to eighth place with no wins in their last five games, while Al Shabab are 11th in the table, having not won in their last four matches.