Convincing Al Khaleej get the better of Al Riyadh
Midfielder Abdulelah Hawsawi scored his first goal of the season as Al Khaleej gave their survival hopes a major boost on Saturday evening with a hard-earned 1-0 away win at Al Riydah.
The visitors had the better start at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Sports City, and could have easily been 1-0 up with six minutes had Egyptian striker Mohamed Sherif not ballooned his shot well over the bar from a tight angle. Sherif had a second golden opportunity to open the scoring moments afterwards but Al Riyadh keeper Martin Campana gathered his tame header.
Despite the suspension of influential playmaker Fabio Martins Al Khaleej continued to press Al Riydah and deservedly opened the scoring on the 23rd minute. Mansour Hamzi pounced on a loose ball in the box, and his first time strike was flying well wide. However, Hawsawi quickly gathered the ball and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner out of the reach of Campana for his first goal of the season.
Al Khaleej thought they had doubled their lead moments into the second half, but their number nine Sherif was rightly flagged offside. Al Riyadh struggled to impose themselves in the contest and had Campana to thank yet again as he acrobatically pushed away an effort from defender Pedro Rebocho.
Hamzi came closest to doubling the advantage in the second half as the visitors continued to have the upper hand. A slick passing move eventually found the Saudi Arabian winger inside the box, and his strike thumped off the top of the Al Riydah crossbar. Al Khaleej comfortably held on to register only their fifth win of the RSL season to move up into tenth place in the standings.
Al Taawoun prove too strong for Al Ettifaq
Goals from Aschraf El Mahdioui and Mateus Castro helped Al Taawoun seal a third consecutive win in the RSL on Saturday evening, with a comprehensive 2-0 win away at Al Ettifaq.
The fourth-placed side wasted little time at the Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Stadium when striker Musa Barrow guided the ball just past the post with the game barely two minutes old. Al Taawoun carved out the majority of chances and should have taken the lead from a dangerous free-kick that just missed the foot of defender Andrei Girotto from close range.
It was only a matter of time before the Wolves were rewarded for their attacking intent as they won a penalty with five minutes left in the first half. Striker Joao Pedro was pulled down by Al Ettifaq defender Marcel Tisserand, leaving the referee little choice but to award a spot-kick. Midfielder El Mahdioui stepped up and calmly took a panenka down the middle for his second penalty goal in as many weeks.
Pedro could have easily put his team 2-0 up in first-half stoppage time but his acrobatic effort was pushed away by Paulo Victor. Al Ettifaq have been lacking goals following the injury of the summer signing Moussa Dembele. The former Lyon man came inches from putting his team level as the first half came to a close. A goal looked inevitable after Dembele flicked the ball past Al Taawoun keeper Mailson. However, a combination of post and the head of the Ettifaq striker meant that the ball somehow went out for a goal kick.
Al Taawoun put the contest out of Al Ettifaq’s reach just after the hour mark with a moment of Brazilian brilliance. Pedro surged down the left wing and cut the ball to strike partner Castro who scored with a neat first-time finish. Al Ettifaq tried to pull a goal back in the final ten minutes with the former Liverpool pair of Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson missing two good chances. However, the evening belonged to Pericles Chamusca and the Wolves who are now only behind third-placed Al Ahli on goal difference.