Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH — Karim Benzema scored three goals and provided an assist in a convincing 4-2 victory for Al-Ittihad against Abha, marking the reigning champions’ return to wins after a prolonged absence in their first match post the departure of coach Nuno Espirito Santo on Friday.
Al-Ittihad secured its first win in six league matches, bringing its total points to 24, positioning them fifth, while Abha sits at 13th place with 13 points.
The French striker initiated the hat-trick in the 38th minute with a penalty kick after being fouled inside the box. Abha’s Cameroonian striker, Karl Toko Ekambi, equalized with a follow-up shot in the 51st minute from his teammate Saad Bguir’s attempt, which bounced off Al-Ittihad’s Brazilian goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe.
However, just three minutes later, Benzema cheekily passed the ball with his heel to his teammate Igor Coronado, reclaiming the lead for Al-Ittihad.
Benzema added his second personal goal in the 68th minute with a powerful shot from inside the penalty area following a counter-attack. He completed the hat-trick one minute later with a close-range shot after a cross from Coronado.
Abha’s Fahad Al-Jumayah narrowed the gap with a header five minutes before the end.