Al Hilal beat Al Hazem to seal RSL title, Firmino and Kessie lead Al Ahli comeback

Al Hilal put four past Al Hazem to seal RSL title

Having long carried the 'Champions-elect' tag, Al Hilal finally sealed the 2023-24 Roshn Saudi League title in style, putting four goals past Al Hazem at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium on Saturday.

The victory, with three matches left in the season, takes Al Hilal to 89 points, 12 points clear of their nearest chasers Al Nassr, whom they had beaten in the head-to-head encounter earlier in the season, and with a goal-difference far superior to them.

Al Hilal had recorded the biggest win in RSL history in the reverse fixture against Al Hazem, beating them 9-0, and they didn't take long to emphasise their attacking intent in Riyadh.

Inside 12 minutes, Al Hilal were awarded a penalty following a hand ball inside the box. Aleksandar Mitrovic stepped up and emphatically dispatched it home for his 25th goal of the season.

Knowing defeat would all but confirm their relegation from the top division, Al Hazem would not go down easily, and just after the half-hour mark they had restored parity. A well-worked passing move saw Portuguese playmaker Toze supply a fine through pass to Faez Selemani, and the Comoros international calmly slotted him with his left for the equaliser.

The turning moment of the game arrived five minutes before the break when, under pressure from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Al Hazem's Ahmed Al Juwaid overhit his backpass to goalkeeper Ibrahim Zaid, sending it into the back of his own net.

Serbian duo Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic continued their telepathic understanding, with the former crossing to his international teammate who converted from close range to move within just one goal of Bafetimbi Gomis' record of 27 goals as the most goals scored in an Al Hilal shirt in a single RSL season. 

Before the first half could end, Al Hilal had completed the rout, with Milinkovic-Savic adding his name to the scoresheet with a well-taken finish from inside the box to make it 4-1.

Al Raed and Al Tai share spoils

Al Raed and Al Tai shared the points in a 1-1 draw, which did little to ease either side's relegation troubles.

The deadlock was broken on the half-hour mark at the King Abdullah Sports City in Buraidah. Al Tai attacker Virgil Misidjan knocked in a free-kick into the box and right-back Ibrahim Al Nakhli came up with a powerful header to put his side ahead.

Al Nakhli duly celebrated his first goal of the RSL campaign with an acrobatic backflip.


Al Raed kicked into life and soon hit back with a chance of their own. Moroccan attacker Karim El Berkaoui smashed a left-footed strike towards goal, but Victor Braga pushed away the effort. With the half coming to a close Khalid Al Subaie whipped in a dangerous corner which just evaded Mohamed Fouzair.

Six minutes after the restart Al Raed found parity. Amir Sayoud picked out Fouzair on the left who pushed into the box and smashed a shot which had Braga well beaten at the near post. That was the eighth goal of the campaign for the Moroccan.

It was a tight and testy contest between the two sides, and goalscoring opportunities were at a premium. However, it was Al Raed who had the best chance to push ahead.

Fouzair provided the attacking drive for Al Raed. The attacker surged dangerously into the penalty box, although his run was promptly cut out by Al Tai defender Enzo Roco.

In the closing moments of the game, El Berkaoui picked up the ball 35 yards from goal. However, his curling left-footed strike flew inches wide of the Al Tai goal.

The draw does little to help the fortunes of either side with three games left of the season. Al Tai remain in the relegation zone in 17th place and is only two points away from safety. Al Raed are in 13th place in the standings and are four points clear of the relegation places.

Firmino hands Al Ahli win at Al Shabab

Al Ahli returned to winning ways on Saturday evening battling back from a goal down to secure a 2-1 at Al Shabab.

It was the hosts who made the breakthrough with just 18 minutes on the clock at Al Shabab Club Stadium.

After Al Ahli failed to clear their lines, the ball bounced into the path of Yannick Carrasco. The Belgian took a touch before controlling the ball with his chest and smashing a shot on the half-volley which arrowed into Edouard Mendy’s goal.


On second viewing the goal was even more impressive when you consider that Carrasco’s effort flew through the legs of Al Ahli defender Abdulbasit Hindi. A true moment of magic from the current RSL player of the month.

Carrasco has been central in Al Shabab’s upturn in fortunes which has seen the side from Riyadh go on a five-game undefeated streak in the RSL before this game.

The former Atletico Madrid man tried his luck in the final stages of the first half with an audacious long-range effort after spotting Mendy off his line. However, the Senegal international was equal to the attempted chip.

Al Ahli took a while to get going in the contest but underlined their attacking intentions for the in the 39th minute. Ziyad Aljohani picked up the ball in midfield and clipped a pass over the Al Shabab backline. Riyad Mahrez raced through and slotted the ball home with a composed finish. However, the linesman promptly raised his flag for offside.

The Algerian would have a decisive say in the goal that just put Al Ahli level in the tenth minute of first-half stoppage time. After pushing in from the right wing, Mahrez held up the ball in the box before knocking a pass to Franck Kessie. The midfielder beat his man before unleashing a fierce left-footed strike which flew past Al Shabab goalkeeper Mustafa Malayekah.

Buoyed by the goal, Al Ahli grew in confidence in their search for a second. Substitute Sumayhan Al Nabit, who had come in for the injured Allan Saint-Maximin, kept onside and latched onto Kessie’s arching through ball. Disappointingly for the former Al Taawoun winger, his outside of the boot effort flew just wide.

Just two minutes later, Al Ahli edged ahead. Feras Al Buraikan closed down Al Shabab defender Iago Santos winning the ball in the penalty area. The Saudi international knocked the ball to Roberto Firmino who was on hand to roll in his eighth goal of the RSL season.

Al Ahli were in the ascendancy and could have had a third goal on the night. However, Firmino’s header flew well over the bar after a good cross to the back post by substitute Abdulkarim Darisi.

Al Shabab were still in the contest and looked dangerous on the counter-attack. Substitute Carlos Junior hit the side netting with an effort in the 80th-minute mark, but in fairness, the chance was well marshalled by the Al Ahli backline.

The final chance of the contest fell to Carrasco, who cut in from the left and curled an effort just past the post.

The victory for Al Ahli means they stay in third place on 58 points. As for Al Shabab, they will be disappointed not to get a little more from the contest, but the performance could prove to be a useful marker as they look to push on next season. Vítor Pereira’s team drop down to ninth place and stay on 41 points.