Al Ahli impressively defeats Al Riyadh, silencing previous criticism
JEDDAH — Al Ahli staged a spectacular comeback, regaining their winning momentum with an impressive 3-0 victory over Al Riyadh, effectively silencing critics who had observed the team's previous setbacks. This victory marked a commanding performance for the Jeddah-based club in the twelfth round of the Saudi Professional League.
The round commenced on a positive note for Al Ahli, taking advantage of Al Taawoun's draw against Damac and Al Fateh's loss to Al Hilal. As a result, Al Ahli's triumphant win catapulted them to 25 points, equalling the tally of Al Taawoun while maintaining a significant 3-point lead over the runner-up, Al Nassr.
The spotlight of the match fell on the maestro, Firas Al-Buraikan, who was chosen as the starting striker by the team's German coach, Matthias Jaissle. Al-Buraikan wasted no time, finding the net in just two minutes, igniting early celebrations among the team's fervent supporters at Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium.
Spanish player Gabri Veiga replicated the early success by scoring the second goal in the 26th minute. The goal initially faced controversy, with the referee hesitating, but the video assistant referee (VAR) ultimately confirmed its validity, leading to jubilant scenes on the team's bench.
Algerian talent Riyad Mahrez extended the lead for Al Ahli, securing the third goal in the 52nd minute after receiving a pass from Frank Kessie and expertly placing it into the net.
Eduardo Mendy, the Senegalese goalkeeper for Al-Ahli, displayed his brilliance by thwarting several attempts by Riyadh to narrow the gap.
Despite the introduction of Brazilian Roberto Firmino by coach Jaissle in the 82nd minute, the striker failed to end his goal drought since the first round.
Al Riyadh, who entered the match with 11 points, remained winless for the second consecutive round after three positive results, reflecting a challenging period for the team.