Al Ahli go goal crazy, Al Riyadh somehow rescue point, Al Hazem stalemate

Injury-time drama as 10-man Al Riyadh grab point at Al Fateh

The 10 men of Riyadh scored twice in second-half injury-time to grab an unlikely 2-2 draw at Al Fateh in a pulsating Roshn Saudi League clash on Thursday night.

The hosts had been 2-0 up right until the 90th minute, but late headers from Mohammed Al Shwirekh and Ibrahim Ndong secured a point against the odds for Odair Hellmann’s team. The feat was even more remarkable when you consider that Al Riyadh played with 10 men from early into the second half.

Al Fateh made a perfect start as they forged ahead with only five minutes on the clock. Cristian Tello scampered down the left wing and picked out striker Djaniny in the Al Riyadh area, and, after a quick one-two with Lucas Zelarayan, the Cape Verdean smartly dinked his finish to send Slaven Bilic’s side 1-0 up.

Nine minutes into the second half, the complexion of the contest changed when Khalid Al Shuwayyi’s yellow card was upgraded to a red for his rash challenge on Tello.

Al Fateh sought to make their numerical advantage count and could have gone 2-0 up had Zelarayan’s long-range strike not been palmed away by Al Riyadh goalkeeper Martín Campana.

The hosts continued to press for a second, with Mukhtar Ali coming up with an audacious strike from just over the halfway line that thumped the crossbar.

Then, with 10 minutes remaining, Al Fateh came up with what they thought was a goal to seal the result. Tello curled the ball into the Al Riyadh box, which was knocked into the path of Zelarayan by Sofiane Bendebka. The Armenian international cut past a defender before finding the back of the net - his fourth goal in as many RSL matches.

However, stoppage-time saw Al Riyadh mount an incredible comeback. First, Knowledge Musona delivered a free-kick from 40 yards out onto the head of Al Shwirekh, who nodded home.

Moments later, almost unbelievably, Al Riyadh found parity. Abdulelah Al Khaibari bravely pushed forward from left-back and launched a cross into the Al Fateh area, leaving former Sunderland midfielder Ndong to plant the ball past rival goalkeeper Jacob Rinne to, rather incredibly, snatch a point.

Sitting 14th in the RSL standings, Al Riyadh have now opened a three-point gap from the relegation places, while Al Fateh drop down to seventh.

Goal-hungry Al Ahli blitz Damac to stay third

Roberto Firmino grabbed a goal and an assist as Al Ahli blew Damac away with four goals in 18 first-half minutes at Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium.

Damac made a disastrous start when, on seven minutes, midfielder Bader Munshi lingered on the ball too long in the penalty area to allow Ziyad Al Johani in. The 22-year-old still had plenty to do, but he displayed good close control before drilling the ball home from close range. His first goal in the RSL, it was a memorable moment for the youngster.

The goal opened the floodgates for Al Ahli, who doubled their advantage three minutes later. A good cross-field pass found Allan Saint-Maximin on the left wing, who clipped into Roberto Firmino for him to square to Feras Al Buraikan. The hotshot Saudi Arabian slid home for his 11th RSL goal in Al Ahli colours this season – and 15th overall.

Al Ahli then put the contest out of sight from the penalty spot. Franck Kessie won the ball in midfield and released Saint-Maximin, who surged into the Damac penalty area.

Kessie had continued his run and was tripped by left-back Dhari Al Enezi. After a VAR review, the spot-kick was given. Riyad Mahrez stepped up and promptly tucked away his 10th goal of the RSL campaign. The accurate finish brought about a celebratory wag of the finger from Al Ahli head coach Matthias Jaissle.

A superb 18-minute spell was capped with a fourth goal for Al Ahli, with Damac again punished with some sloppy play in midfield. Saint-Maximin was unleashed on the left wing and drilled the ball across the area, which Al Buraikan left after a call from teammate Firmino. The Al Ahli captain slid in for a simple-close range finish.

Firmino thought he had put Al Ahli 5-0 up just after the restart, although the former Liverpool forward was to be denied by the offside flag.

Al Ahli dropped their intensity in the second half, and Damac promptly found a consolation goal just after the hour. Good work from Abdullah Al Qahtani on the left saw the Saudi Arabian drift a cross to the back post, leaving Domagoj Antolic’s stooping header to make it 4-1.

On 77 minutes, VAR intervened once more, this time reducing Damac to 10 men. Farouk Chafai’s challenge on Al Buraikan was upgraded to a yellow, his second card in seven minutes, meaning the Tunisian had to walk.

The win for Al Ahli means they stay in third place on 55 points, four ahead of Al Taawoun and a further point in front of Jeddah rivals Al Ittihad. Damac, meanwhile, drop to ninth place.

Al Hazem and Al Okhdood share the spoils in Ar Rass

Al Hazem and Al Okhdood played out a lacklustre 0-0 draw on Thursday evening, although not for the first time this season, the visitors may feel they should have got more from the encounter.

The hosts, who in Matchweek 29, halted a 26-game winless streak with a 2-0 win over Al Wehda, started brightly at Al Hazem Club Stadium.

With the game only one minute old, Gambian striker Muhammed Badamosi’s instinctive swivel and shot forced Al Okhdood goalkeeper Paulo Vitor into a fine save.

Al Okhdood had the ball in the back of the net on 13 minutes, but Leandre Tawamba’s effort was ruled out for a clear offside. The veteran forward had scored three goals in his past two visits to Al Hazem. Seconds later, Al Hazem goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen was called into action to halt a curving strike from Nigerian Saviour Godwin from a tight angle.

Having racked up a vital 4-0 win over fellow relegation candidates Abha last time out, Al Okhdood were targeting back-to-back RSL wins for the first time since December 22.

Moments after the restart, they crafted the best chance of the game. Collado created space at the edge of the Al Hazem area box, only for his curling strike to be pushed away by Dahmen.

As the clash wore on, Al Okhdood winger Godwin had two chances in quick-succession. A long ball from goalkeeper Vitor found the Nigerian, but his initial chance was palmed away by Dahmen.

Yet, after the ball fell back into his path, Godwin elected to push along the byline and, with the angle against him, his strike smashed into the side-netting.

In the final moments, Godwin capped off an inconsistent performance when he latched onto Collardo’s pass. After skipping around two Al Hazem defenders, he drove the ball well over the bar.

As it is, Al Hazem remain bottom of the table, on 20 points. As for Al Okhdood, they move out of the relegation zone into 15th, and now hold a two-point advantage over Al Tai, who take on Al Khaleej on Saturday.