Saudi Pro League debuts Karim Benzema and Aleksandar Mitrovic
Posted : 25 August 2023
Karim Benzema and Aleksandar Mitrovic both notched their first goals for their new clubs in the Saudi Pro League's third matchday.
Former Ballon d'Or winner Benzema, who made headlines with his move to the high-spending Saudi Arabian league this summer, scored the opening goal in Al Ittihad's 4-0 victory against Al Riyadh. Benzema, a former Real Madrid striker, initiated a breakaway in the 17th minute and found the top corner of the net, securing his debut goal in the competition after two scoreless outings.
Abderrazak Hamdallah netted twice, and Benzema assisted Saleh Al-Jamaan, capping the win in second-half stoppage time and propelling Al Ittihad to the top of the early league standings.
Mitrovic made his debut for Al Hilal following his contentious £46 million ($58m) transfer from Premier League side Fulham. The Serbian striker swiftly made an impact, heading in a goal late in the first half. Al Hilal secured a 4-0 victory with a Salem Al-Dawsari brace and a late strike from Abdullah Al-Hamddan. However, the win was overshadowed by a second-half red card for former Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
In another match, Riyad Mahrez provided an assist to ex-Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessié, who headed in a stoppage-time winner for Al Ahli at home against Al Okhdood.
While Al Ettifaq, led by Steven Gerrard, couldn't attain maximum points from three games, they missed an opportunity to join Al Ahli and Al Ittihad at the top of the table as they settled for a draw against Al Khaleej.