Karim Benzema Nets 1st Hat trick in Saudi, Powers Al Ittihad to Victory After Espirito Santo’s Sack

Karim Benzema Nets 1st Hat trick in Saudi, Powers Al Ittihad to Victory After Espirito Santo’s Sack

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at November 11, 2023 at 6:03 AM
In this article:
Karim Benzema logo
Al-Ittihad Club logoFFrance logo
  • Karim Benzema scored his first-ever treble in Saudi Arabia to inspire Al-Ittihad to victory
  • Benzema's hat trick helped the Tigers arrest their five-game winless streak
  • The win comes off the back of the club parting ways with manager Nuno Espirito Santo

Karim Benzema played a pivotal role in Al-Ittihad's commanding triumph over Abha on Friday, November 10, at the Prince Abdullah al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah.

The defending champions, in a bid to revamp their performance in the Saudi Pro League after parting ways with former Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espirito Santo, faced a tricky test, having failed to secure victories in their last five matches (D3 L2).

Karim Benzema, Al-Itithad, Saudi Pro League, hat-trick
Karim Benzema scored his first hat-trick in the Saudi Pro League against Abha. Photo credit: @ittihad_en
Source: Twitter

Benzema, however, emerged as the catalyst for change, delivering a sensational performance that included a remarkable hat-trick and an assist in Al-Ittihad's 4-2 victory on home turf, as cited by talkSPORT.

Benzema inspires resounding Al Ittihad win

According to GOAL, the Frenchman initiated the scoring eight minutes after the half-hour mark, breaking the deadlock with a perfectly executed penalty, deceiving Romanian shot-stopper Ciprian Tatarusanu in the Abha goal.

This marked Benzema's first goal since October 31 in the King's Cup against Al Feiha and his first in the Saudi top flight following a 2-2 draw with Al Hazem five days earlier.

While the home crowd revelled in the joy brought by the Frenchman's goal, Cameroonian international Karl Toko Ekambi briefly dampened their spirits by capitalizing on a goalkeeping error to equalize for Abha after halftime.

Undeterred, the 35-year-old orchestrated a remarkable turnaround within a 15-minute span. Firstly, he showcased his playmaking skills with a stylish backheel pass to set up Igor Coronado, who slotted home from close range in the 54th minute.

Coronado then returned the favour, providing an assist for Benzema's second goal in the 67th minute. The Brazilian and the former Real Madrid striker repeated the sequence, with the latter completing his hat trick and sealing the comprehensive victory for Al-Ittihad.

Despite a late response from Saudi Arabian midfielder Fahad Jumayah, who scored with a powerful header for Abha.

The goal spurred Abha on as they came close to narrowing the gap further, hitting the frame of the post, but it proved to be a case of much ado about nothing as the home side held on to secure a vital win.

Benzema's stellar performance stole the spotlight and marked a significant turnaround for the defending champions.

Exciting news! We have a WhatsApp channel 🤩

➡️ Click to join our channel for all your favourite sports news.

Al Ittihad sack Nuno Espirito Santo

Sports Brief also reported that Al Ittihad have sacked former Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espirito Santo, the Saudi champions said, following a poor run of results under the Portuguese coach.

Nuno was under pressure because of their struggles in the Saudi Pro League, and the club brought down the axe following a 2-0 defeat to Air Force Club of Iraq in the Asian Champions League on Monday, November 6

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.