The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner kicked off his career with the Saudi club in the King Salman Club Cup with a goal and an assist.
A dream start
On Thursday evening, the Arab Club Champions Cup saw Karim Benzema make his debut appearance for Al-Ittihad, the Saudi club he joined after leaving Real Madrid. Facing Esperance Sportive de Tunis, the match ended in a 2-1 victory for Al-Ittihad. Oussema Bouguerra had opened the scoring for the Tunisian side with a fine strike in the 26th minute (1-0). However, the former Merengues player quickly made an impact by delivering a decisive pass in the 34th minute. He showcased his skills on the left flank of the penalty area, providing a cross that found the head of Abderrazak Hamdallah, the Moroccan international, who scored the equalizer for Al-Ittihad in the 35th minute (1-1).
In the second half, Benzema continued to demonstrate his presence on the field. He managed to score his first goal for the Saudi club with a curling right-foot shot from outside the area in the 55th minute (2-1). N’Golo Kanté, who also recently joined Al-Ittihad after departing from Chelsea, made his appearance in the second half as well, contributing to the team’s victorious debut.
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The pan-Arab cup in Saudi Arabia
The match took place at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, where Al-Ittihad faced Esperance Sportive de Tunis, a team with a history of success in the competition having won it three times. The tournament, known as the Arab Club Champions Cup, is currently in its 30th edition and has been given the title of the King Salman Club Cup for this year’s event, as it is being hosted in Saudi Arabia.
In the competition’s format, the two best-performing teams will advance to the knockout rounds, leading up to the final which is scheduled to take place on August 12.