Al Ittihad prevail in Jeddah derby
Reigning AFC Champions League champions Al Ittihad defeated city rivals Al Ahli for the second time this season as goals from their South American strike force saw them edge a thrilling Jeddah derby 3-2.
Colombian striker Sergio Herrera headed Al Ittihad into a ninth minute lead but the advantage lasted barely five minutes as Tayseer Al Jasim levelled for Al Ahli.
Brazilian forward Ricardo Sergio, scorer of a hat-trick in Al Hilal’s 3-2 victory over Jubilo Iwata in the 1999/2000 Asian Club Championship final, put Al Ittihad in front shortly after the interval but again Al Ahli would draw level.
Sergio’s compatriot Jose Roggerio Perreira equalized in the 66th minute and could have added a second four minutes but the Brazilian missed from close range.
Sergio made Al Ahli pay for the profligacy when, with three minutes left to play, headed home Saleh Al Saqri’s cross for the winner.
The victory kept Al Ittihad in third place, five points behind defending champions Al Shabab and seven behind runaway leaders Al Hilal.
Al Hilal maintained their good run of form with a 3-1 away victory over Al Ansar while Al Shabab, who like Al Ittihad and Al Ahli will represent the Kingdom in the 2005 ACL, kept pace with the Riyadh giants with a 2-1 win over Al Wahda.
In other Round 16 matches Al Taei suffered a 2-1 defeat against Al Qadissiya, Al Nasr hammered Al Riyadh 3-1 and Al Ittifaq beat basement-dwellers Uhod 2-1.
Al Kuwait poised for league leadership
AFC Champions League qualifiers Al Kuwait could overtake Kuwaiti league leaders Al Qadisiya at the top of the table if they win their game in hand after the 2004 double winners went down 1-0 to Kazma.
Egyptian striker Mohammed Fadl scored the only goal of the game in the 26th minute and while Al Qadisiya laid siege to their opponents’ goal, Kazma keeper Bader Juma was in inspired mood.
Al Kuwait’s meeting with Al Shabab, who have yet to pick up a point this season, was postponed due to their Arab Champions League commitments but they are now only two points behind Al Qadisiya.
Al Kuwait, like Kazma and Al Yormuk, who won 2-0 at home against Al Sahel are on ten points with Al Qadisiya on 12.
Meanwhile Kuwait’s other AFC Champions league representatives Al Salmiya dropped off the pace as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Al Fahaheel.
Al Salmiya went behind after just five minutes when Saoud Feryan gave the visitors a shock lead but with four minutes of the first half left to play Saadoun Al Shammari