Al Okhdood, Al Nassr and Al Ahli win big on Friday

High-flying Al Okhdood add to Al Shabab’s misery

Al Okhdood continued their incredible resurgence since the appointment of Slovak coach Martin Sevela, picking up a fourth win in their last six games to climb up to 12th in the Roshn Saudi League table with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Al Shabab on Friday.

The side from Najran needed just three minutes to open the scoring when Romanian midfielder Florin Tanase acted intelligently to quickly take a set-piece inside Al Okhdood’s own half, feeding Saviour Godwin behind the Al Shabab defence, and the Nigerian made no mistakes from a narrow angle, drilling home the opener.

A dominant first-half display saw the hosts go into the break with a one-goal advantage that could have been more, had efforts from Tanase and his compatriot Andrei Burca not narrowly missed the target.

Both sides were reduced to ten men in the second half, with Al Shabab youngster Nawaf Al Saadi the first to receive his marching orders after a late challenge in the 54th minute and Burca making the same mistake in the 70th minute.

Al Okhdood have now collected 12 points from six matches under Sevela, having only picked up seven points from the 12 matches before his arrival. Meanwhile, Al Shabab are without a win in their last six and have slipped to within just two points above the relegation zone.


Telles’ wondergoal helps Al Nassr overcome Al Ettifaq

Al Nassr closed the gap to leaders Al Hilal to ten points with an emphatic 3-1 home victory over Al Ettifaq at Al Awwal Park.

After a quiet first half, the game burst into life two minutes before the break when former Manchester United left-back Alex Telles scored one of the goals of the season, hitting a poorly cleared header on the half-volley from 25 yards out straight past goalkeeper Paulo Victor to open the scoring for Al Nassr.

Marcelo Brozovic added Al Nassr’s second just before the hour mark after he applied the high press on Ali Hazazi on the edge of the Ettifaq area, dispossessing the midfielder before meeting Cristiano Ronaldo’s headed pass first-time into the back of the net to double the score.

Ronaldo turned from provider to scorer, adding Al Nassr’s third of the night, converting from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute for his 17th goal of the season to move one goal ahead of Al Hilal’s Aleksandar Mitrovic on the RSL top scorers charts.

Al Ettifaq pulled one back five minutes form time when Mohammed Al Kuwaykibi tapped home Georgino Wijnaldum’s cross from the left, but it proved to be too little too late as Al Nassr walked away with the three points.


Al Ahli hit Al Hazem for four to stay third

Al Ahli came away from Al Qassim region with a thumping 4-0 victory over bottom-placed Al Hazem to retain third place in the RSL on Friday.

The visitors thought they had opened the scoring early on when Allan Saint-Maximin fed Gabriel Veiga with a fine through pass and the Spaniard looked to find the bottom corner with his finish, but instead watched the ball bounce of the foot of the upright and go behind for a goal-kick.

The first goal arrived in added time of the first half when Feras Al Buraikan advanced down the left and delivered a pinpoint cross for Riyad Mahrez who headed home the opener.

Veiga made up for his missed opportunity just before the hour mark when he calmly converted Saint-Maximin’s low cross from the left into the net to double Al Ahli’s lead.

Starting his first RSL game after returning from a long injury, Turkish defender Merih Demiral left his mark on the match with an assist and a goal in the final ten minutes. First, he squared from the right for Al Buraikan’s 11th goal of the campaign, then he was in the right spot to hammer home the fourth after Roberto Firmino’s header was initially saved by Tunisian international goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen.