Al Tai’s terrific attacking trio of Musona, Mbenza and Sayoud continue to provide plentiful Roshn Saudi League highlights
It is a measure of the progress made at Al Tai that there was disappointment on Monday at only taking a point off Al Hilal.
The visitors had a 2-0 lead against the defending champions, but were pegged back in the second half in a game that ended 2-2.
Yet this was not a flash in the pan. Al Tai have been on the up for some time now.
This is a team that won promotion to Saudi Pro League in 2021 and then finished in an impressive sixth place last season. As things stand, they are in eighth this time around and eyeing another top-half finish though with their last three games ending 2-2, turning draws into wins would be a major step forward.
Scoring goals is not a problem –only the top five have netted more –and this season they have a trio of talented foreign attacking players from Africa who are able to score and create chances.
Defenders up and down the country are learning that it is possible to stop one, but preventing all three from having an impact in the final third is a difficult task.
If Guy Mbenza can keep scoring, then anything is possible. The Congo international was last seen playing for African champions Wydad Casablanca, where he found the target 16 times in Morocco, before heading to Saudi Arabia in July 2022.
The powerful 23-year-old has scored goals wherever he has played and with nine so far this season, then he is set to enter double figures once more.
His direct runs on goals caused problems for Al Hilal and he went close before opening the scoring with a composed finish with the outside of his right boot from the edge of the area.
Not long later, Amir Sayoud made it two with a similar goal. The Algerian now has seven for the season and Zimbabwe’s Knowledge Musona is on six.
Musona’s decision last year to retire from international duty to focus on his club career has really paid dividends for Al Tai in his second season at the club since arriving from Belgium in 2021. Fans back in his homeland, where he remains one of the country’s best-known players and nicknamed ‘The Smiling Assassin’, have been following his progress at Al Tai with interest.
Sayoud has not quite the same national team experience as his club-mate, but has appeared for Algeria in the past. This well-travelled 32-year-old has played for Al Ahly of Egypt, the most successful club in African history, as well as in his homeland and Bulgaria.
He is also approaching the end of his second season with Al Tai.
As well as scoring goals, these two are also creators as Musona has seven assists for the season, two more than Sayoud.
“We are in a good position in the middle of the table and with seven matches of the season remaining, are always looking to climb higher,” Sayoud told SSC after the Al Hilal game.
The club’s Romanian coach Mirel Radoi, who took the job in January, would agree with such sentiments and knows that if the African trio keep firing then Al Tai have every chance of another great finish.