What they said - RSL Matchweek 21

Matchweek 21 of the Roshn Saudi League delivered incredible drama once again - and goals. Lots of goals.

In total, 30 goals were scored across the nine matches, with three matches each seeing the ball hit the back of the net five times. There was no shortage of thrilling action and, as there always is, there was plenty to be said in the aftermath.

Here is the best of the reaction to another round of RSL.

Al Ittihad left it late against Al Wehda, but two goals in 10 minutes from Abderrazzaq Hamedallah made it three wins in a row for Marcelo Gallardo’s side. Afterwards, the Moroccan international spoke about the win and his partnership with Karim Benzema, who provided the assist for the decisive goal.

“It was a difficult game against a strong opponent, but luckily, we succeeded to come back in the game and score two decisive goals. It was a great feeling to score the winning goal and celebrate with our fans, which I hope to do frequently during the season.

"Karim is a great player who adds a lot to us with his professional experience. So I expected him to give the assist that way, I got the right expectation, and we managed to score a goal.”

Another game, another Al Hilal victory. This time, a 2-0 win over Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq in front of a capacity crowd in Dammam. Kalidou Koulibaly put their remarkable run – a record 14 successive victories - down to the RSL leaders’ team unity.

“We just want to win, [to] win all of our games. We knew Ettifaq was going to be a difficult team to play against, but thanks to God, we won. We are very happy as we have another clean sheet. We will keep working hard for our next games.”

The Riyadh derby might have ended in a 3-2 defeat for Al Shabab, but new recruit Ivan Rakitic was pleased with how his side performed.

“The outcome doesn’t capture the essence of the game. We aimed for more and will continue to fight. Yalla Shabab!!!”


Georges-Kevin N’Koudou continued his outstanding season for Damac with another goal in a 1-1 draw with Al Fateh. Although he notched his 15th goal of the season, the winger was still left disappointed not to walk away with three points.

“It wasn’t an easy game, especially when you play here. They’re a good team, they know how to play. But we came here to win. In the first half we did a really good job, but sometimes in football you just miss something. I think we deserved the three points, but we’ll keep our heads up and keep working.”

On the other side of the coin, Al Fateh's Algerian midfielder Sofiane Bendebka also found the back of the net for his third goal of the season.

“In these matters, you can never predict how things will unfold. You try to stay focused and always be in the best position to score because the ball can bounce back to you from the goalkeeper, the post or even a teammate. We hoped to contribute to earning three points, but thankfully, whatever God chooses is for the best.”

Franck Kessie returned to Al Ahli for the first time since winning the African Cup of Nations 2023 with Cote d’Ivoire. It was the perfect comeback for the 27-year-old, who scored in a 4-1 win over Al Tai. Afterwards, Kessie paid tribute to the club and supporters for their backing during AFCON.

“I really want to thank the fans, the management team, the coaching staff, the medical staff, my teammates for their warm welcome. They were behind me when I was in Cote d'Ivoire. They all prayed for me and, thanks to God, at the end I came back with the trophy. They were really proud of what I’ve achieved. When I came back, I received a fabulous welcome.”

Al Taawoun returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win over Al Okhdood. Mohammed Al Kuwaykibi scored only his second goal of the season and hopes his team can carry this momentum through until the conclusion of the campaign.

“You know, this is due to God’s will and my parents’ prayers. My teammates help me to score. It’s a fantastic feeling after my goal, and I hope this feeling lasts until the end of the season.”