Mitrovic keeps firing leaders Al Hilal, Hamdallah hits wonder goal for Al Ittihad

Mitrovic bags brace as Al Hilal celebrate RSL Kingdom Arena bow with win

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice for Al Hilal to mark their first Roshn Saudi League encounter at the Kingdom Arena with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Al Raed on Sunday evening.

With injured star Neymar in attendance, the league leaders made a dream start as Saudi Arabia winger Salem Al Dawsari surged into the box on three minutes, cut back the ball to Mitrovic, and the Serbian striker struck his now-customary goal.

Al Hilal were clearly in the mood for goals, and could have easily doubled their lead in the 18th minute had Brazilian Malcom not blazed a shot well over the bar from a well-crafted chance.

The Riyadh giants continued to press and eventually doubled their lead via the penalty spot. Ruben Neves lofted a dangerous cross-field ball into the path of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who was chopped down by Al Raed defender Mohammed Salem, leaving the referee with little choice but to point to the spot. Mitrovic stepped up to calmly slot away his 19th goal of the RSL season. 

Al Hilal continued to pepper the Al Raed goal with shots, including an acrobatic backheel from Milinkovic-Savic, which skimmed just wide. Six minutes into the second half, Al Hilal eventually had a second goal to put the contest beyond the reach of their opponents.

Ever influential, Neves stood over a dangerous free-kick on the right and delivered a perfect ball to defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who stooped to head home at the near post. 

In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Al Raed pulled a goal back in a fashion that will certainly rile Al Hilal manager Jorge Jesus. A long ball from goalkeeper Andre Moreira found striker Julio Tavares in plenty of space and he cut back the ball to Amir Sayoud, who chipped into the net.

It felt all too easy for the visitors, although the goal came far too late to make a difference. Al Hilal had regained their seven-point lead at the top of the RSL standings. 

Hamdallah the difference as Al Ittihad put away Al Riyadh

Moroccan attacker Abderrazzaq Hamdallah bagged a brace, including a goal-of-the-season contender, as Al Ittihad secured a 2-0 win over Al Riyadh in the final game of Matchweek 20. 

The defending RSL champions bossed the early proceedings, and duly took the lead just 12 minutes into the contest. After a period of possession in midfield, Saudi Arabian defender Madallah Al Olayan poked the ball towards Hamdallah, who was situated on the edge of the box.

Taking a perfect touch to release the ball from his feet, Hamdallah's swivelling right-footed strike arrowed off the post and into the goal. It was a precise strike from the evergreen hitman. 

Al Ittihad continued to push as the first half developed. Minutes after the half hour, Fabinho laid on a perfectly clipped ball into the path of Hamdallah, who could only smash his volley over the bar. 

The returning Karim Benzema was then left frustrated when his long-range free-kick was saved comfortably by Martin Campana. The Uruguayan stopper was a calming presence for the away side and was drawn into action twice more before the first half came to an end.

First, Campana denied Faisal Al Ghamdi before then palming away and eventually gathering a near-post effort from Hamdallah. 

However, not long past the hour, Al Riyadh had a perfect opportunity to level. A corner fell to Knowledge Musona, with the Zimbabwean’s initial strike making its way to Andre Gray, only for the Jamaican international’s snapshot to thump off the post.

The visitors later spurred a second golden chance as defender Mohammed Al Shwirekh sent a free header over the bar. 

Al Riyadh certainly had the better of the exchanges in the second half and should have been level in the final minute of regular time. Substitute Mohammed Al Aqel stood up a perfect ball at the near post to Musona, yet his powerful header skimmed just wide. 

The visitors gave it their all to find a leveller, which proved to be their undoing in the seventh minute of stoppage time. With the whole team, including goalkeeper Campana, pressed forward for a corner, the ball broke to Hamdallah inside the Al Ittihad half.

As Al Riyadh sprinted back en masse, Hamdallah launched a shot from around the halfway line, which nestled into the net to secure the win.

The incredible strike took the frontman’s tally for the RSL season to 13. Meanwhile, the victory may have kept Al Ittihad fifth, but it lifted the title holders to within one point of fourth-placed Al Taawoun.