Al Ittihad snatch last-gasp win, Al Ettifaq held to goalless draw by Al Wehda

Stoppage-time drama as Al Ittihad edge out Al Hazem

Al Ittihad struck in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time to run out 3-2 winners at Al Hazem in a topsy-turvy encounter on Saturday evening.

Bottom side Al Hazem had made a fast start at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium against the Roshn Saudi League champions and thought they grabbed the lead on 15 minutes when midfielder Junior Moreno turned in Majed Qasheesh’s cross. Unfortunately for the Venezuelan, he was denied his first goal in the RSL by the offside flag.

Just six minutes later, Al Ittihad forged ahead. Romarinho provided a cross from the left wing that evaded strike partner Abderrazak Hamdallah, however teammate Saleh Al Amri was on hand to dispatch the half-volley into the bottom corner.

The visitors dominated possession in the early exchanges and could have easily doubled their advantage on the half hour. Slick interplay saw Karim Benzema play through Hamdallah, but the Moroccan smashed his shot into the side-netting from a tight angle.


Al Hazem did cause their opponents problems with crosses into the box and came close to drawing level as the half came to a close. Moreno clipped in a dangerous ball, only for Mohammed Al Thani’s flicked header to soar just over Abdullah Al Mayouf’s goal.

However, the shape of the contest changed dramatically with three goals in six second half minutes. First, Al Ittihad doubled their advantage as Al Hazem defender Paulo Ricardo inexplicably headed the ball into his own net from Hamdallah’s hopeful ball into the box.

Then, Al Hazem hit back with two goals in three minutes to drag themselves back into the game. Toze picked out Al Thani at the near post, leaving the Saudi Arabian attacker to nod the ball into the far corner.

Toze then capped off a remarkable comeback with a fine finish in the 63rd minute. Yousef Sami provided a bicycle kick assist that arched perfectly into the path of the Portuguese playmaker, who side-footed the ball past Al Mayouf to tie the game at 2-2.


Al Ittihad pushed for a third and could have had one had Madallah Al Olayan’s fierce strike not cannoned off the underside of the crossbar. At the other end, Al Thani missed a golden chance for the hosts when his one-on-one effort was pushed away by Al Mayouf.

Eventually, Al Ittihad grabbed a winner, although they had to wait until deep into stoppage-time to do so. Midfielder Farhah Al Shamrani found club captain Ahmed Hegazi at the back post, but his initial header was pushed off the line by goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen. Yet the ball arrived somehow back to the Egyptian international and his instinctive strike nestled in the net via the boot of Dahmen.

The victory for Al Ittihad means they stay in fourth place, on 50 points. Al Hazem, meanwhile, remain rooted to the foot of the table, nine points away from safety.


Damac hold on at Al Okhdood to finally secure win

Damac picked up their first victory in four RSL matches with a hard-earned 2-1 victory away to Al Okhdood, although the hosts will be a little disappointed they did not come away with more.

Damac made the perfect start at Prince Hathloul Sports City when, with only 10 minutes on the clock, winger Abdulaziz Al Bishi picked out Nicolae Stanciu, who swept the ball home. The composed finish represented the Romanian international’s fourth league goal of the season.

With new coach Noureddine Zekri looking on, Al Okhdood eventually found their stride. Florin Tanase missed a good chance to draw his side level, but Damac goalkeeper Moustapha Zeghba did spread himself well to close down the one-on-one chance.

Midfielder Stanciu was impressive for the visitors and provided the assist to put his team 2-0 up in the 36th minute. A deep corner found the head of Croatian Domagoj Antolic, who planted the ball past Paulo Vitor for only his second goal of the RSL campaign.

Al Okhdood have not tasted victory in their past seven league matches, a run of form that has seen them slide into the relegation places. A reaction was therefore needed from the side from Najran, and they did that to half the deficit minutes into the second half.


Spanish midfielder Alex Collado arched a perfect ball to the back post, which was headed back across the goal by Leandre Tawamba. Teammate Saeed Al Rubaie was on hand to bundle the ball home from close-range to give his side a lifeline.

Sparked into life, Al Okhdood upped the tempo in search of a leveller. Just before the hour, Saviour Godwin’s snap header turned around the post by Zeghba, while moments later, the Nigerian winger spurned another chance to draw his side level. This time, he elected to smash a shot from a tight angle when perhaps a more delicate touch was required.

Al Okhdood began to pepper the Damac goal. With 71 minutes on the clock, a smartly worked free-kick saw Collado drill the ball towards the bottom corner, but Zeghba was again equal to the effort.

Perhaps the best chance of the half fell at the very death to veteran attacker Leandre Tawamba. With the entire Al Okhdood team pushing forward, Hamad Al Mansour clipped a dangerous ball into the area, which skipped into the path of Tawamba four yards out.

The ball seemed to take the Cameroon striker by surprise and his touch was gladly gathered by Zeghba. The result means Al Okhdood remain in the relegation zone on 24 points, while Damac stay in eighth.


Al Ettifaq and Al Wehda share spoils in goalless draw in Dammam

Al Ettifaq and Al Wehda played out a stalemate on the east coast on Saturday evening.

The first half at the newly renovated Al Ettifaq Club Stadium was a tale of two offside flags. Veteran attacker Odion Ighalo thought he had put Al Wehda 1-0 up inside 53 seconds, although on second viewing, it was clear that the Nigerian was a few yards offside.

Al Ettifaq hit back immediately and created their first chance with five minutes on the clock. Moussa Dembele’s cross fell into the path of Alvaro Medran, but the Spaniard’s first-time strike was halted on the line by Abdullah Al Hafith.

Just like Ighalo, Al Ettifaq striker Dembele thought he put his side ahead with a header in the 16th minute. Again, however, the offside flag was raised to deny the goal.

Steven Gerrard’s men have a formidable record on home turf in 2024, losing only once to Al Hilal, and so they continued to press for an opener.

On the half hour, Jamaican winger Demarai Gray stung the palms of Al Wehda goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi; soon after, Dembele slid a shot just past the post after latching onto a through ball from Georginio Wijnaldum.


Then, on a rare foray forward, Al Wehda could have scored. Midfielder Anselmo did all the work himself on the right wing before his shot was well saved by Paulo Victor.

In the final moments of the first half, Al Ettifaq spurned their best chance. After careful build-up play, the ball landed at Dembele on the edge of the Al Wehda area, only for his drilled shot to crash against the upright.

The second half followed a familiar pattern of Al Ettifaq dominance, with Scottish international defender Jack Hendry having two identical headers skip inches past the post.

The draw means Al Ettifaq drop to seventh place, on 40 points, while Al Wehda stay in 12th, eight points behind.