Dawran debut strike earns Al Ettifaq draw, Damac and Al Fayha share spoils

Late Dawran strike dents Al Okhdood’s survival hopes

Youngster Majed Dawran scored at the death to break Al Okhdood hearts and hand the 10 men of Al Ettifaq a 1-1 draw on Friday evening.

Al Okhdood are mired in a relegation dogfight and will be frustrated they didn't come away from Dammam with all three points, especially with Al Ettifaq had Mohammed Yousef sent off on 16 minutes. 

The hosts had made a fast start with French striker Moussa Dembele, creating two opportunities with the game only five minutes old. First, the former Lyon man exhibited a perfect first touch to kill Abdullah Madu’s long ball and, when the subsequent shot was palmed back into his path, his strike at the second time of asking flew over the Al Okhdood crossbar.

The complexion of the contest changed in the 16th minute, once Al Ettifaq defender Yousef saw red for a reckless challenge on Saviour Godwin. Despite being a man down, though, Al Ettifaq won a penalty when Al Okhdood midfielder Hassan Al Habib handled the ball inside the visitors’ area.

After scoring a hat-trick last week at Al Ittihad, Karl Toko Ekambi stepped up, however, his effort was well saved by Al Okhdood goalkeeper Paulo Vítor.

Then, at the other end, compatriot Leandre Tawamba had a chance to push Al Okhdood in front, but he sent a sliding effort from Hamad Al Mansour’s low cross wide.

Just after the break, Al Okhdood went 1-0 up with a goal of individual quality from Yaseen Al Zubaidi. Hamad Al Mansour switched the ball to the right wing, and the 21-year-old did the rest, skipping around two Al Ettifaq defenders and nestling his right-footed strike into the bottom corner.

Understandably, Al Okhdood began to grow in stature and could have gone 2-0 up when Solomon Kvirkvelia planted his header over the bar from an Alex Collado corner. The Georgian international really should have hit the target.

Al Ettifaq, though, have lost only twice on home soil in 2024 and posed a threat despite being down to 10 men. Ekambi came close as he rounded off a surging counter-attack, but his effort was halted; likewise, Alvaro Medran’s 30-yard strike brought out a good save from Vítor.

Steven Gerrard’s side are clearly made of sterner stuff in this second half of RSL season and found parity late on. With 86 minutes on the clock, Dawran speculatively curled a ball into the Al Okhdood area that evaded everyone and crept into the net. It marked a memorable way to open the 20-year-old’s RSL account.

The point means Al Ettifaq move up to sixth in the RSL standings. Al Okhdood, meanwhile, drop into the relegation zone in 16th, although they sit only one point away from safety. 

Damac and Al Fayha halve points in Khamis Mushait

Fashion Sakala made a little bit of history for Al Fayha as they played out a 1-1 draw against Damac on Friday evening.

With just 20 minutes on the clock, Al Fayha crafted two quick-fire chances to open the scoring, with Sakala maybe having too much time as he sprinted onto the ball to take his shot when perhaps a touch was needed.

It meant his effort was pushed away by Damac goalkeeper Moustapha Zeghba and, from the resulting corner, Al Fayha defender Sami Al Khaibari headed just wide.

Just before the half-hour, Damac came close as Ramzi Solan’s header fly just off target from a Fahad Al Johani cross from the right wing. The home side started to ramp the pressure up with the first half coming to a close, with Romanian attacker Nicolae Stanciu sending a curling strike from 25 yards skipping past the post.

Three minutes before half-time, Al Fayha were handed a penalty as Abdullah Hawsawi tripped Sultan Mandash in the Damac area. After an extensive VAR review, the spot-kick was eventually given, leaving Sakala to step up and blast the ball down the middle.

It means the Zambian striker has now scored in six consecutive RSL games for Al Fayha - a record for the Al Majma’ah club.

The second half was a tame affair, which only really sparked into life in the 78th minute. Mandash, a lively presence on the right wing, latched onto a long ball and forced his way into the Damac area, but his lacklustre strike was stopped by Zeghba.

Then, seconds later, Damac found themselves level with a goal of real composure from Ramzi Solan. Substitute Abdulaziz Al Shahrani provided the pass into the path of the winger and, despite the angle seemingly against him, the Saudi Arabian held his nerve to side-foot home.

Five minutes from time, Al Shahrani could have capped a memorable cameo with a goal for himself, however, his effort skipped just wide of Vladimir Stojkovic’s goal.

The draw means that Damac remain 10th, while Al Fayha drop to eighth.