History for Al Hilal and Ronaldo, relegation woe for Al Tai and Abha

The final round of 2023-24 Roshn Saudi League action threw up plenty of twists and turns in the relegation battle, as Al Okhood and Al Riyadh dramatically beat the drop, while Al Tai and Abha were relegated to the First Division League.

Here's how Monday's dramatic Matchweek 34 fixtures played out.

Al Okhdood started the day in 17th place, knowing they had to win at relegation rivals Al Tai and hope other results went their way. The visitors had a big slice of luck to open the scoring just before the break.

Naif Asiri provided the flick to the back post, and Nigerian Saviour Godwin supplied a fine first touch before smashing a shot goal bound, when a richochet off Al Tai midfielder Safwan Al Johani put Al Okhdood ahead.

The Najran side wrapped up the win four minutes after the restart. Veteran attacker Leandre Tawamba did well to hold up the ball, and showed ice-cool composure to roll his marker before clipping the ball into the net.

By the full-time whistle, Al Okhdood's safety was all but assured, leaving coach Noureddine Ben Zekri to sprint across the pitch before being mobbed by his squad. Jumping to 15th, one place and one point above the drop zone, the RSL debutants had secured the greatest of escapes.


The RSL's other debutant side, Al Riyadh confirmed their place in the top flight next season with a 2-1 win at Al Khaleej. It was an understandably tight and tetchy encounter, which sprung into life just after the hour when Naif Masoud pulled down Al Riyadh defender Mohammed Al Shwirekh in the Al Khaleej area.

After a brief VAR review, the penalty was given. Birama Toure stepped up and fired his spot-kick down the middle of the goal. Moments later, Al Riyadh doubled their advantage, Mohammed Al Aqel providing an inch-perfect crossfield pass that Andre Gray poked into the net.

With three minutes remaining, Al Khaleej set up a nervy finish for Odair Hellmannโ€™s side as Abdulla Al Salem won and converted a penalty. However, Al Riyadh left everything on the line to close out the result and, by finishing 14th, seal their place in the division for another campaign.

Abha let slip a 1-0 to lose 2-1 to already-relegated Al Hazem, confirming their relegation to the first division. Substitute Ahmed Jaber jabbed the visitors ahead on the 47th minute, but Al Hazem drew level through Muhammed Badamosi. Then, 10 minutes from time, a fine counter-attacking goal was finished off by Mohammed Al Thani to condemn Abha to the drop.

However, there was further drama when Abha defender Marcel Tisserand was shown a red card in stoppage-time and then teammate Grzegorz Krychowiak missed a chance to level the contest from the penalty spot. The defeat meant Abha finished in 16th place, only a point from safety.

Elsewhere, Al Hilal completed an undefeated season as Aleksandar Mitrovic came off the bench to score in the 92nd minute to seal a 2-1 win against Al Wehda. A textbook header from the Serbian sealed his second-place finish in the top-scorer standings with 28 goals - behind a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.

True to form, Ronaldo broke the record for the most goals in a RSL season, the Portuguese star notching his 34th and 35th of the campaign to help Al Nassr to a 4-2 victory over Al Ittihad.

A powerful header from Ronaldo was enough to seal the deal, which he emphatically marked with a trademark โ€œSiuuโ€ celebration. At the other end, Fabinho marked his return from injury with a goal from the penalty spot for the Jeddah side.

Abdulmalik Al Oyayari provided a moment of magic at the death for Al Taawoun to secure fourth place and a spot in next season's AFC Champions League 2 with a hard-earned 1-0 win against Al Ettifaq.

The young full-back lashed home the ball in the 89th minute to spark joyous scenes at the Al Taawoun Club Stadium as the side from Buraidah booked their spot in the inaugural edition of the tournament.


Elsewhere, Al Shabab arrested a three-game losing streak to run out 3-2 winners against Al Fateh, with substitute Musab Al Juwayr striking the winner in the 89th minute. The victory was even more impressive when you consider the home side were down to 10 men from the hour mark after midfielder Hussain Al Sibyani was shown a red card.

Captain Roberto Firmino struck five minutes from time as third-placed Al Ahli ended their campaign on a high with a 1-0 win over Al Fayha. The Brazilian was the quickest to react to a parry from Vladimir Stojkovic for his ninth RSL goal of the season.

Finally, Damac keeper Abdulbasit Abdullah flapped at a low cross in the second-last minute to ensure that his side played out an unremarkable 1-1 draw with already-safe Al Raed. Farouk Chafai had opened the scoring on seven minutes, only for Abdullah to send the ball into his own goal at the death.