Al Riyadh shock Al Ahli, wins for Al Fayha and 10-men Al Hazem

Al Harajin the hero for Al Riyadh to pick up big win against Al Ahli

Abdulhadi Al Harajin scored six minutes from time as Al Riyadh handed themselves a huge boost in their battle to beat the drop with a 2-1 home victory over Al Ahli.

The visitors to the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium dominated the early exchanges and really should have gone ahead on 27 minutes when Feras Al Buraikan’s header thump off the crossbar from an Allan Saint-Maximin cross. Moments later, Al Ahli captain Roberto Firmino spurned a header just wide, this time from a Riyad Mahrez corner.

For all of Al Ahli’s possession, Al Riyadh took the lead from the penalty spot two minutes before half-time. After an extensive VAR check, it was deemed that defender Merih Demiral had tripped Al Riyadh midfielder Knowledge Musona in the Al Ahli defender. Birama Toure stepped up to calmly side-foot the ball past Edouard Mendy.

Al Ahli increased the tempo after conceding and Mahrez came close to finding an equaliser, timing his run to perfection to latch onto Demiral’s long pass. Yet his close-range shot was blocked well by Al Riyadh keeper Martin Campana.

However, in the 10th minute of first-half stoppage time, Al Ahli had the goal that their efforts deserved. Firmino and Mahrez traded passes on the right wing, before the Brazilian drilled the ball into the Al Riyadh area. Franck Kessie drifted in and slotted home from a few yards out.

The second half saw more of the same, as Al Ahli dominated possession in search of a winner. Not for the first time, Campana delivered with an instinctive save to deny defender Roger Ibanez.

For all their dominance, Al Ahli were powerless in preventing Al Riyadh from grabbing an unlikely winner in the 84th minute. Yahya Al Shehri provided a perfect dinked pass over the Al Ahli backline, which was seized upon by Al Harajin. The midfielder showed all the composure in the world to kill the ball before sliding it through the legs of Mendy.

Al Ahli pushed for parity in stoppage time and thought they made it 2-2 when substitute Fahad Al Rashidi headed home from close range. However, the celebrations were short-lived as he was denied by an offside flag.

The victory for Al Riyadh means they remain 14th in the standings but have now opened a three-point gap over the relegation places. As for Al Ahli, they stay in third spot, on 52 points.

Ten men Al Hazem halt winless run in style at Al Wehda

Bottom side Al Hazem snapped their 26-match streak without an away win in the RSL by scoring twice in four second-half minutes to pick up a morale-boosting 2-0 victory at Al Wehda on Thursday evening.

The feat was even more impressive for the side from Ar Rass when you consider they were reduced to 10 men for the vast majority of the contest after Ahmed Al Juwaid was shown a red card in the 37th minute.

Al Juwaid had initially been awarded a yellow card for a challenge on Al Wehda captain Waleed Bakshween, but VAR then intervened to upgrade the decision to a sending off.

Despite being a man down, Al Hazem ended the first half on the front foot. Faiz Selemani pushed in from the left wing and skipped past two defenders before thumping a shot over the bar when more composure was needed.

The drama truly began in the 62nd minute. It was then that Al Wehda thought they had opened the scoring, Abdulaziz Noor latching onto Islam Hawsawi’s deft back heel and smashing the ball into the back of the net - only to be denied by the offside flag.

It’s been largely a season to forget for the Al Qassim side, who have been firmly rooted to the foot of the table, and it took an inspired long-ball from goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen to push them ahead.

Timing his run to perfection, Selemani showed good strength to hold off a defender before slotting the ball into the back of the net. It marked the Comoros international’s sixth goal of the season.

Al Hazem then delivered their knockout blow just four minutes later with a textbook counter-attack goal. Midfielder Rayan Al Mousa pushed through the centre of the park before delivering a through ball to Muhammed Badamosi.

There remained plenty for the Gambian striker to do, but he kept his composure when it mattered to round Munir Mohamedi and hand Al Hazem a 2-0 lead.

Even with the win, Al Hazem are still rooted to the bottom of the standings but have now closed the gap to 17th-placed Al Okhdood to five points. Al Wehda stay 12th.

Al Fayha edge out Al Tai at home

Sultan Mandash scored a fine individual goal as hosts Al Fayha picked up a narrow 1-0 win over strugglers Al Tai.

The visitors to the King Salman Sport City Stadium started brightly and signalled their intent as early as the sixth minute, when Rakan Shamlan dribbled into the Al Fayha area only for his tame shot to be well closed down by goalkeeper Abdulraouf Al Duqail. 

Al Fayha, though, soon hit back with two long-range chances from Rakan Kaabi and a sizzling effort on the half volley from Abdulrahman Al Safari. On both occasions, Al Tai goalkeeper Motaz Al Baqawi was equal to the strikes.

Sitting one spot above the relegation zone, Al Tai are in a precarious position in the RSL standings and had two golden opportunities to go ahead within seconds of each other. 

First, Virgil Misidjan cut in from the left wing, but his thumping right-footed strike rebounded off the post; the ball quickly fell to Marko Dugandzic, who could only lash his shot over the bar when it looked easier to score.

The hosts opened the scoring right after half-time with a goal of fine individual quality from winger Mandash. Stationed on the left wing, the Saudi Arabian skipped past two Al Tai defenders on the byline before pushing into the penalty area and unleashing a fierce strike that arrowed into the bottom corner.

Al Fayha were in the ascendancy and could have easily been two goals to the good had Abdelhamid Sabiri’s free-kick in the 54th minute not smashed against the side netting. At the other end, Andrei Cordea flashed a shot just wide as Al Tai attempted to get back into the contest.

Al Tai tried everything to equalise, but just fell short in the vital moment. Not for the first time, they spurred two chances in quick succession. Enzo Roco’s header from a Cordea corner thumped against the post, but captain Alfa Semedo couldn't get the right touch to guide the rebound back into the net.

After two narrow defeats, new Al Tai manager Leonardo Ramos will have certainly seen signs of life from his side – even if they sit a solitary point clear of the relegation places.

Meanwhile, the win for Al Fayha sees the side from Al Majma’ah move up to ninth in the standings.