"We reached fourth with a lot of hard work!"

As the Roshn Saudi League nears its conclusion, Matchweek 29 delivered more twists and turns in both the battle for third and the scrap to avoid relegation.

Al Hilal’s march to the title continued, with a 22nd consecutive win and thus ensuring they remain undefeated in this season’s RSL, while Al Ahli and Al Ittihad both suffered shock losses in their fight for third spot.

At the other end of the table, Al Hazem secured a vital three points, while Abha suffered their second straight heavy defeat, going down 4-0 to fellow relegation battlers Al Okhdood.

With so much at stake, there was no shortage of talking points. This is the best of what was said over the past week.

Brazilian Michael was on the scoresheet again for Al Hilal in his 100th match for the club, the RSL leaders coming from behind to secure a 3-1 win over Al Fateh. Not only did it keep intact their unbeaten league campaign, but it moved them one game closer to the top-flight crown.

“To reach 100 games for Al Hilal is very important for me and for my family. I am very proud to have reached this number, but I am even happier for the victory. We are very happy to have won.

"Playing games is important but winning them is more important. So, I am very happy with the win, I am happy that we keep winning and hopefully we can achieve big things at the end of the season.”

Second-placed Al Nassr kept the pressure on Al Hilal, maintaining the margin at nine points and giving themselves a slim chance of claiming the title should their Riyadh rivals slip up. Aymeric Laporte’s fourth goal of the season earned his side a 1-0 win against Al Khaleej - a result that guarantees them a top-two finish.

“[I am] very happy to win today, for my fourth goal of the season; very happy to make the team go up on the table. Of course, it’s tough, or maybe impossible to get the first [position], but happy for the result, for the strength of the team that we showed today.”

Al Shabab rounded out a resurgent April, in which they won three and drew one of their four matches, with a big 3-1 victory on the road against Al Ittihad. Belgian international Yannick Carrasco, who was named RSL Player of the Month, was instrumental again with an assist for their opening goal.

“A great win, that is the most important. We played well, because here in Jeddah it’s never easy with the humidity, very hot, but in the first half sometimes we lost stupid balls, we concede two or three occasions for the other team.

"But the second half was better, more compact. Knowing when we need to attack deep, when we come short and play in between the lines. A great win against a big team.”

Despite playing for an hour with 10 men, Al Hazem produced a stunning 2-0 win over Al Wehda to keep their faint hopes of survival alive for another week. Faiz Selemani opened the scoring with his sixth RSL goal of the season, and then delivered a rallying message to his team and supporters on social media afterwards.

After a 5-0 defeat last week, Abha’s hopes of survival took another hit with a 4-0 loss, this time to fellow regelation-threatened outfit, Al Okhdood. While Abha remain only three points from safety, they face a tough task this week when they face Al Ittihad. Coach Pitso Mosimane was at a loss to explain his team’s recent performances.

“A very disappointing game for us. We cannot blame anybody but ourselves. We can’t even blame the referee. We don’t have the fighting power and I’m the coach and I accept [responsibility]. I am doing my best, but my best is not good enough.

"So, we have to try and see if we can still fight this battle. It’s a difficult one now. But we put ourselves in that position, so we must take ourselves out of the position.”

Al Taawoun left it late against Damac, with Joao Pedro’s winner in the 89th minute securing a 1-0 win that saw them leapfrog Al Ittihad into fourth place and close the gap to Al Ahli to a single point. Manager Pericles Chamusca praised his team’s efforts after the game.