Al Ahli complete derby double over Al Ittihad

Al Ahli repeated their 1-0 victory over city rivals Al Ittihad, completing a Jeddah derby double on Monday night for the first time since the 2019-20 season thanks to a solitary Feras Al Buraikan goal at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.

The Green and White half of Jeddah celebrated into the early hours of the morning as their team tightened their grip on third place in the RSL table, extending the gap with fourth-placed Al Ittihad to five points, much to the delight of the majority of the 50,633 fans in attendance.

After a cagey start typical of a heated derby, it was Al Ittihad's Romarinho who came closest to opening the scoring after 20 minutes. The Brazilian exchanged passes with Abderrazak Hamdallah, but pulled his effort inches wide of the goal.

Lively throughout the game but wasteful in front of goal, Al Ittihad forward Karim Benzema teed up Fawaz Al Saqour, whose drilled strike was saved by Edouard Mendy.

Soon after, Al Ahli took the lead following a well-worked passing move that saw Allan Saint-Maximin feed Roberto Firmino down the left, leaving the club captain to square for Al Buraikan to sweep home his 14th goal of the season.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy then had to be at his flexible best to adjust and parry away Benzema’s header, which took an awkward deflection of defender Roger Ibanez following a Jota corner.

With 18 minutes remaining, N’Golo Kante thought he had equalised for Al Ittihad when Benzema was dispossessed on the edge of the Al Ahli area and the ball made its way to the tenacious Frenchman. However, although his fired pile-driver left Mendy rooted to the spot, the ball cannoned off the upright.

Despite their best efforts, Al Ittihad were unable to find a way through, with Turkish defender Merih Demiral marshalling the Al Ahli defence expertly and leading his side to yet another clean sheet in the derby.