Abha win ensures RSL relegation battle set for thrilling final day

A rollercoaster RSL relegation tussle will be decided on the season’s final day as Abha, Al Riyadh and Al Okhdood all picked up important results in the penultimate matchweek to ensure a grandstand finish at the foot of the table. 

Fabian Noguera scored a 94th-minute winner on Thursday night’s full RSL schedule to see Abha pull themselves out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win over Al Khaleej.

Francois Kamano got Abha up and running just after the half hour, when he unleashed a sublime half-volley which swerved away from Al Khaleej goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic before hitting the post and going in.

With 77 minutes on the clock, Al Khaleej drew level thanks to an inch-perfect free-kick from Abdullah Al Salem. However, Abha dug deep and eventually got the victory they deserved.

Noguera pushed forward from deep and was in the right place at the right time to turn home a parry from Sehic to send his team wild in celebration.

With the win, Abha leap into 15th place in the standings, one point above the drop zone with one round remaining. Another victory, against already-relegated Al Hazem on Monday, would seal survival. 

Sitting one spot above Abha, Al Riyadh picked up a useful point in their quest for survival but will be bitterly disappointed at how they conceded deep into second-half stoppage time in their 2-2 draw with Al Nassr.

With only 15 minutes on the clock, Al Nassr went ahead when Otavio’s shot from outside the box took a rebound and crept past home goalkeeper Martin Campana. Al Riyadh didn't take long to draw level, though, as Andre Gray timed his run to perfection to deftly clip the ball over David Ospina.

Deep into first-half stoppage time, former Al Nassr man Yahya Al Shehri supplied an inspired scooped assist to put Al Riyadh ahead, with Mohammed Al Aqe providing the acrobatic finish to hand the hosts the lead they desperately craved.

Yet, even following Aymeric Laporte’s dismissal for an off-the-ball incident with Al Aquel, Al Nassr pressed forward, and eventually found themselves level at the death. Substitute Meshari Al Nemer turned in from close range to break Al Riyadh hearts. A win, though, at Al Khaleej on Monday would be enough.


Al Okhdood’s battle to stay in the RSL will also go to the final day after they shared the spoils at home with Al Wehda in a 1-1 draw. With the game only 12 minutes old, the visitors drew first blood, veteran attacker Odion Ighalo grabbing his 15th goal of the RSL campaign with a 30-yard effort that arrowed into the bottom corner.

to their credit, Al Okhdood found parity on the half hour. Alex Collado started the move by trading passes with Sebastian Pedroza before sliding the ball home from close range. The result means Al Okhdood stay 17th on 30 points, meaning a win against fellow strugglers Al Tai on Monday could pull them out of trouble – dependent on other results.


Elsewhere, champions Al Hilal are just a win or a draw away from completing an undefeated RSL season as they brushed aside Al Tai 3-1 at Kingdom Arena. First-half goals from Salem Al Dawsari and Michael set the tone for the RSL’s top team, before Malcom made it 3-0 on the hour. A late Al Tai consolation from Andrei Cordea did little to change the result.

One point from safety, Al Tai need a result at home to Al Okhdood on Monday to stand any chance of maintaining their top-flight status.

A youthful Al Ittihad side returned to winning ways in style with a 4-1 win against Damac. Goals from Jota, Talal Haji, Marwan Al Sahafi and Farhah Al Shamrani had the home side in Jeddah comfortably ahead before Farouk Chafai pulled one back for Damac in stoppage-time.

The result keeps alive the 2022-23 champions' chances of leapfrogging Al Taawoun into fourth in the table on Matchweek 34. Currently two points below in fifth, Al Ittihad face second-placed Al Nassr in Riyadh on Monday with a berth in next season's inaugural AFC Champions League Two at stake.

Alvaro Medran rounded off a well-worked team goal as Al Ettifaq edged out Al Shabab 1-0 in Dammam. The result will be pleasing for Steven Gerrard and be a useful marker for his team ahead of the 2024-25 RSL campaign.

Al Fateh picked up their first win in four RSL games, coming from a goal down to triumph 2-1 win against bottom club Al Hazem. Toze had pushed the visitors ahead before two goals in 10 first-half minutes from Cristian Tello and Lucas Zelarayan handed the Al Ahsa side the win.


Al Fayha registered their third consecutive draw with a 1-1 stalemate with Al Taawoun at Al Majma’ah Sports City. Al Taawoun scored in the ninth minute when right-back Abdulmalik Al Oyayari’s speculative cross from the wing somehow found the back of the net.

However, Al Fayha took two minutes to draw level as Fashion Sakala arrowed a shot into the top corner for his 19th goal in the RSL this season.

For all their possession, Al Ahli couldn't make it count as they drew 0-0 at Al Raed. Defender Roger Ibanez missed two similar chances from corners in the first half, in what was otherwise an unremarkable game at the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Sports City.