Sports Tottenham beat Luton to move into fourth place in EPL, Chelsea held by 10-man Burnley

Karim Benzema missed another penalty on Friday but that did not prevent Al-Ittihad beating Al-Fayha 3-1 to remain in fourth place in the Roshn Saudi League and move within two points of Jeddah rivals Al-Ahli.

Despite falling behind to a 25th-minute penalty converted by Abdelhamid Sabiri, which temporarily silenced the home crowd in Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium, the defending champions came roaring back to record their sixth win in seven league games.

Things did not look promising early on, however, when Benzema, who had just returned from an injury that kept the Frenchman out of the past five games, saw his 20th-minute spot kick well-saved when Vladimir Stojkovic got down quickly to his right. It was the fourth penalty the former Real Madrid marksman has missed this season in all competitions.

The situation for the hosts got worse five minutes later when Ahmed Hegazi brought down Henry Onyekuru in the area. Sabiri stepped up to take the penalty and did what Benzema could not to put the visitors ahead.

Five minutes later, though, the Tigers were level. A perfect cross from Fawaz Al-Yami from the right found Abderrazak Hamdallah at the far post and the Moroccan marksman made no mistake from close range.

Benzema put his earlier penalty disappointment behind him to turn provider just before the break, slipping a pass through for Ahmed Al-Ghamdi to twist and turn on the right side of the area and put Marcelo Gallardo’s men ahead.

Both teams continued to push forward in the second half in search of the all-important next goal. It eventually went to Al-Ittihad in the 94th minute, when Marwan Al-Sahafi sealed what might ultimately prove to be a crucial win for the hosts. They are now breathing down the necks of local rivals Al-Ahli, who drew 2-2 on Friday with Ettifaq in Damman.

Firas Al-Buraikan, who scored for Saudi Arabia against Tajikistan in a 2026 World Cup qualifier this week, put Al-Ahli ahead after only eight minutes, though much of the hard work was done by Riyad Mahrez, who served up the ball on plate for the Al-Buraikan to score from close range.

Both teams had clear chances after that but it was Ettifaq coach Steven Gerrard who was smiling either side of the break. Firstly, Seko Fofana leveled in first-half injury time, firing home from a tight angle. Shortly after the break, the hosts broke at pace and although Moussa Dembele’s shot from the left side of the area took a deflection, it was very much the Frenchman’s goal.

The home fans were ready to celebrate when, with just two minutes remaining, Mahrez slipped a clever pass through for Abdullah Al-Ammar to score the equalizer and deny Ettifaq what would have been a famous victory.

The result means Al-Ahli remain in third spot and Ettifaq in sixth. Meanwhile, Al-Taawoun moved seven points clear of them in fifth thanks to a 4-0 defeat of Al-Hazm. Al-Khaleej, who are sitting in 10th place, continued their impressive season so far with a 1-0 win at Damac, who are three places above them.

Top two Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr are both in action on Saturday, the former against Al-Shabab and the latter against Al-Tai.

Yorum yapın