Youthful Al Fateh return to winning ways
In the absence of the likes of Cristiano Tello and Lucas Zelarayan, Slaven Bilic fielded a young Al Fateh side and reaped the rewards of his adventure with an emphatic 3-1 victory over Al Taawoun in Buraidah to bring to an end a six-match winless run.
Salim Al Najdi opened the scoring for the visitors at the half hour mark, converting in first-time after Mukhtar Ali’s set-piece delivery.
Teenager Saad Al Shurafa was the star of the night with two goals in the first half to write his name into the RSL history books as the youngest player in the competition’s history to score a brace. At the age of 19 years and 61 days, he beat the record of 19 years and 110 days previously held by Al Hilal’s Mohammed Kanno a decade ago.
The first of Al Shurafa’s double came in the 35th minute after a fine through ball from Mourad Batna allowing the youngster to finish calmly into the bottom corner. Then in the second minute of added time, he took advantage of goalkeeper Mailson making a fatal mistake when coming to collect the ball near the halfway line, with Al Shurafa snatching the ball and finishing into the empty net.
Brazilian forward Joao Pedro made it eight goals to his name this term, finishing from close range after an Alvaro Medran corner to reduce the deficit in added time of the second half.
Al Taawoun had the chance to add a second when they were awarded a penalty but skipper Aschraf El Mehdaioui who had scored from the spot in each of their last two matches, hit the upright as the final whistle announced a first win in seven matches for Al Fateh and a first defeat in five for Al Taawoun.
Al Raed down Al Ittihad to climb out of drop zone
Following their elimination from the quarter-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup at the hands of Egypt’s Al Ahly, Al Ittihad hoped for a winning return to domestic football, but a depleted side with injuries across their squad fell to a second defeat in a row in the RSL, this time at home against Al Raed.
The game in Mecca didn’t get off to a good start for the reigning champions when defender Madallah Al Olayan was sent-off after apprehending Julio Tavares when he was through on goal in the 12th minute.
The numerical advantage titled the game in favour of Al Raed who took the lead through Karim El Barkaoui’s header midway through the first half, but their joy didn’t last long before Igor Coronado found Romarinho with an excellent diagonal pass that the forward converted into the back of the net for Al Ittihad’s equaliser.
Al Wehda fight off Al Riyadh comeback to move into top half
Al Wehda climbed above both Al Khaleej and Al Ettifaq into eighth place in the RSL table with a convincing 3-1 home in over Al Riyadh on Sunday.
The deadlock was broken ten minutes before the break after Morocco international defender Jawad El Yamiq rose highest to head home Craig Goodwin’s cross for the opener for Al Wehda after a corner.
Eight minutes before the end of 90 minutes, Goodwin turned from provider to scorer as he finished off a quick counter attack to double Al Wehda’s lead.
Al Riyadh thought they had found a way back into the match when Abdulhadi Al Harajin’s cross from the right was headed by Ali Al Zaqaan then took a deflection of Saleh Al Abbas before ending up in the back of goalkeeper Munir Mohammedi’s net to reduce the deficit.
Four minutes into added time, Al Wehda’s victory was confirmed thanks to Odion Ighalo. The former Al Shabab and Al Hilal forward made no mistake from the penalty spot to add his ninth goal of the campaign and seal a fourth win for his side in their last seven matches.