Saudi Arabia Karim Benzema scores own goal on his return to Al Ittihad

Saudi Pro League: Al-Ittihad coach Gallardo's message to Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema scored an own goal on his return to Al Ittihad, but the Saudi club still qualified for the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League by beating Uzbeks Navbahor Namangan.

It was the Frenchman’s first match since December after media reports of tension with the club’s management. The 2022 Ballon d’Or, aged 36, was not selected to play the first leg last week away (0-0).

Benzema opened the scoring in the 25th minute by heading the ball into his own goal from a corner, but his team, in which the other Frenchman Ngolo Kante also plays, ended up winning 2-1.

The former Madrilenian and Lyonnais was the target of criticism from supporters due to his performance considered low (9 goals, 5 ists in the league), a falling out with his coach and a delay in returning from the winter break.

He is under contract until 2026 with the Saudi club, double winner of the Asian Champions League in 2004 and 2005. Benzema scored 15 minutes from the end of the match but the goal was disallowed for offside of a teammate.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with

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