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Saudi Pro League | Gameweek 22
Mar 1, 2024 at 5pm UK
Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium

3 - 1
Al Ittihad

Al-Shehri (39'), Malcom (59'), Abdul Hamid (67')
Al-Shehri (50'), Al-Faraj (77')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Kante (12')
Fabinho (35'), Al-Sahafi (47'), Hegazy (50')

Preview: Al-Hilal vs. Al Ittihad - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Saudi Pro League clash between Al-Hilal and Al Ittihad, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Al-Hilal will look to continue their dominance in the Saudi Pro League when they take on fellow PIF-owned rivals Al Ittihad at the Kingdom Arena on Friday afternoon.

The hosts have broken seven points clear at the top of the league standings, currently on 59 points after 21 games, while the visitors are fifth with 37 points over the same period.

Match preview

Al Hilal's Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on December 15, 2023© Reuters

While the three points on offer will undoubtedly be Al-Hilal's main priority in this match, they will also be looking to gain a psychological advantage over this opponent before they face off in the first leg of the quarter-final in the AFC Champions League four days later.

The Blue Waves will head into this encounter with their tails up, having restarted the league competition in excellent form, securing back-to-back wins in their first two games, beating Al Raed 3-1 and overcoming Al Ettifaq 2-1 on the road last week.

With those results, Jorge Jesus's side are now on an incredible 24-match winning streak across all competitions, last failing to win a match back in mid-September, when they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Damak.

Barring an opening week draw to Al Fayha, Al-Za'eem have been flawless at the Kingdom Arena this term, currently riding a 10-match winning streak in league competition, scoring 31 goals in that time while only conceding three.

The last time these sides met, Al-Hilal came out on top in a seven-goal thriller that ended 4-3 and, with that result, extended their current unbeaten run against this opponent to five games, dating back to April 2021.

Al Ittihad coach Marcelo Gallardo reacts on December 12, 2023© Reuters

Meanwhile, after winning the Saudi Pro League by five points last season, Al Ittihad have experienced a significant drop-off this term and will head into gameweek 22 already 15 points behind the AFC Champions League qualification places.

After making a promising start to the season, which included six wins in their first seven games, the People's Club failed to win any of their next five games, including three draws and two losses, which led to the sacking of now-former manager Nuno Espirito Santo at the start of November.

Argentine Marcelo Gallardo was brought in to steady the ship but has had a mixed start to life in the Middle East, recording five wins, one draw, and three losses in his first nine league games in charge of the defending champions.

However, the new boss will be looking to make up ground over the final stretch of the season, having managed a positive run following the international break, overcoming Navbahor 2-1 on aggregate in the continental competition and securing consecutive league wins over Al Riyadh two weeks ago and Al Wehda on Monday night.

Al-Numoor are now on a three-match winning streak in all competitions and are unbeaten in their six games, dating back to their 5-2 drubbing at the hands of Al-Nassr on Boxing Day last year.

Al-Hilal Saudi Pro League form:

Al-Hilal form (all competitions):

Al Ittihad Saudi Pro League form:

Al Ittihad form (all competitions):

Team News

Al Hilal coach Jorge Jesus reacts on December 1, 2023© Reuters

Al-Hilal have been without their marquee signing Neymar since mid-October due to the Brazilian suffering a cruciate ligament tear, which is expected to see him remain sidelined for the rest of the season.

Former Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic has hit the ground running in his first season in the Saudi Pro League, currently on 19 goals this season, trailing Al-Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo by just three goals.

Mitrovic has been backed up well by Salem Al-Dawsari and Malcom, who have netted 10 and nine goals, respectively, this term and should continue alongside the Serbian in the three-man attack.

Al Ittihad will have to make do without the services of centre-back Saad Al-Mousa, who will start the first of a three-match suspension here after being sent off in the side's 2-1 win over Al Wehda last week.

Mosa will join a host of teammates on the sideline, including Abdullah Al-Jadani, Ahmed Sharahili, Luiz Felipe and Ahmed Bamasud, all of whom have been out since last year with injuries.

Defenders Muhannad Shanqeeti and Omar Hawsawi missed the last eight matches for Al Ittihad with knocks, but both have returned to training and may be eligible for selection on Friday.

Al-Hilal possible starting lineup:
Bounou; Abdulhamid, Koulibaly, Albulayhi, Lodi, Milinkovic-Savic, Neves, Al-Faraj; Malcolm, Mitrovic, Al-Dawsari

Al Ittihad possible starting lineup:
Maiouf; Al-Sahafi, Al-Manhali, Hegazy, Hawsawi; Kante, Fabinho, Al-Farhan; Romarinho, Benzema, Hamdullah

SM words green background

We say: Al-Hilal 3-1 Al Ittihad

Al-Hilal have been incredible this season and are the only side in the Saudi top flight that are yet to lose a league game this term. Al Ittihad have shown improvement since returning from the break, but we feel they will be no match for the rampant Blue Waves in this one.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Today's games header
Tables header RHS
4Al Ittihad27145851351647
6Al Ettifaq2710983328539
7Al Fateh27107104440437
9Al Fayha2798103643-735
10Al Khaleej2797113138-734
11Al ShababAl Shabab2788113135-432
12Al WahdaAl Wahda2794144147-631
13Al RaedAl Raed2786133540-530
14Al Riyadh2767142348-2525
16Al Okhdood2773172245-2324
17Al Tai2765162755-2823
18Al Hazem27210152565-4016

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