Karim Benzema scored an unusual goal with his knee to help Al-Ittihad return to winning ways and go top of the Saudi Pro League.
Benzema netted his third league strike in his sixth game with Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side since moving to the Middle East from Real Madrid on a deal worth £86m-per-year.
Having lost 4-3 to title rivals Al-Hilal in their last match before the international break, Al-Ittihad looked as if they were going to be frustrated by Al-Akhdoud, who had picked up just four points from their first five games of the season.
However, on 72 minutes a nice team move saw Haroune Camara play a dangerous ball across the box.
Benzema was there but Al-Akhdoud defender Saeed Al-Rubaie got a touch on the ball, which then bounced up in the air, before the French striker’s quick-thinking saw him cleverly nudge it past Paulo Vitor with his knee.
Karim Benzema scored a bizarre goal with his knee to help Al-Ittihad beat Al-Akhdoud 1-0
It was Benzema’s third goal in his sixth Saudi Pro League match for Nuno Espirito’s Santo’s side
It could have been even better for Benzema – who lined up ahead of a midfield pairing of fellow summer signings Fabinho and N’Golo Kante – but the 35-year-old missed a golden chance to double his side’s lead.
After some more neat play from Al-Ittihad, Fabinho played a delicious ball in behind the defence which Benzema ran onto.
However, just as he was preparing to round Vitor, who had come out of his goal, the Real Madrid legend took a tumble and fell to the ground.
This allowed Vitor to scramble the ball away to safety and keep the score at just 1-0. Nevertheless, Benzema wasn’t made to rue his error as Al-Ittihad picked up all three points.
The result takes them two points clear of Al-Hilal with 15 points from six games, but their rivals – who have the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Neymar, Ruben Neves and Aleksandar Mitrovic in their ranks – have a game in hand which sees them take on Al-Riyadh on Friday night.
Benzema did suffer the embarrassment of taking a tumble later when he was through on goal
The striker (right) lined up with fellow summer signings N’Golo Kante (centre) and Fabinho