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Saudi Pro League | Gameweek 33
May 23, 2024 at 7pm UK
Kingdom Arena

Al-Hilal
3 - 1
Al Tai

Al-Dawsari (17'), Michael (44'), Malcom (60')
Abdul Hamid (22'), Michael (45+1'), Malcom (84')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Cordea (64')

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

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

Looking to maintain their invincible status in the Saudi Pro League this season, Al-Hilal will welcome relegation-threatened Al Tai to Kingdom Arena in Riyadh on Thursday night - the former's final home fixture of the term.

The hosts have cantered to the first-tier title this campaign after falling off the summit during 2022-23, whilst Al Tai are simply hoping to finish outside of the bottom three.


Match preview

Al Hilal coach Jorge Jesus reacts on April 5, 2024© Reuters

After a sensational 24-game winning run in the Pro League - stretching all the way back to September 21 - Al-Hilal were unable to collect maximum points for only the third time this term last Friday, when Cristiano Ronaldo and company halted the league leaders in their tracks.

All of the goalscoring action between Hilal and Al-Nassr was squashed into each end of the contest, with midfielder Otavio opening the scoring in the first minute, over 90 minutes before Hilal's leading marksman and talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic held his nerve from the penalty spot during added-on time.

Preserving their Pro League unbeaten status in dramatic fashion last time out, Jorge Jesus has guided his troops back to the top-flight crown following a highly-disappointing third-placed finish in 2022-23, when Al-Hilal were well off the pace and, in truth, had no chance of winning the league.

Heading into the final two matches of the season, Al-Hilal are sitting pretty at the top of the Pro League table, a mammoth 12 points ahead of Ronaldo's Al-Nassr, having dropped just six all season, giving up a mere two on home soil and none at Kingdom Arena during the calendar year of 2024.

Such statistics make extremely grim reading for Al Tai ahead of their jaunt to Kingdom Arena on Thursday night, when the visitors will look to join United Arab Emirates outfit Al-Ain as the only side to defeat Al-Hilal since the turn of the year.

Since securing a top-six finish during the 2021-22 season, Al Tai have slowly slid down the rankings in the Pro League and are now in danger of losing their place on the top table of Saudi football, but last week's result helped to ease considerable worries of a bottom-three placement.

Following Djaniny's opener for Al Fateh last time out in just the fourth minute, it appeared as if Al Tai would be heading towards a severely-damaging defeat, although a strike from German centre-back Robert Bauer and Bernard Mensah's brilliant brace turned the contest on its head.

Drafted in during April - tasked with keeping his side in the Pro League - Uruguayan coach Leonardo Ramos has made a respectable start to life in charge of Al Tai, winning two, drawing two and losing just one of his first five contests at the helm, despite having only managed in his homeland prior to a recent Middle East move.

With two matches left to safe their place in the Pro League, Al Tai are currently occupying 14th position in the league standings, two points ahead of 16th-placed Al Okhdood, who Al Tai will clash with on a final day which promises to have plenty of dramatic storylines across the division.

Considering their less-than-ideal away form, Ramos's side will travel to Kingdom Arena with hope more than expectation of a positive result, with Thursday's visitors collecting just nine league points on their travels this season - only whipping boys Abha (two) have earned fewer.

Al-Hilal Saudi Pro League form:


Al-Hilal form (all competitions):


Al Tai Saudi Pro League form:


Team News

Al Hilal's Neymar celebrates on September 15, 2023© Reuters

As all Al-Hilal and Brazil fans are painfully aware of, superstar Neymar is sidelined for the remainder of the campaign after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.

The hosts are also without the services of Saudi Arabia international Salem Al-Dawsari, who picked up a muscle injury at the end of April.

Having dropped points in a league match for the first time in 2024 last week, Al-Hilal could make some alterations to their starting XI, with the likes of Nasser Al Dawsari and Salman Al-Faraj pushing for a place in the team.

Sentenced to the same fate as Neymar, Al Tai centre-back Abdulkarim Al-Sulaiman is out of action until the 2024-25 term due to a ligament issue.

Hussain Qasim was a stalwart at left-back for the visitors in the opening months of the season before picking up a cruciate ligament injury, meaning that he has not featured since October.

Enzo Roco was forced off after 40 minutes in the victory over Al Fateh, so we are expecting Abdulaziz Majrashi to partner German Bauer in defence on Thursday.


Al-Hilal possible starting lineup:
Bounou; Abdulhamid, Tambakti, Al-Bulayhi, Al Burayk; Neves, Kanno; Michael, Milinkovic-Savic, Malcom; Mitrovic

Al Tai possible starting lineup:
Braga; Alnakhkli, Bauer, Majrashi, Ajohani; Semedo, Mensah, Al-Harthi, Misidjan, Cordea; Dugandzic


SM words green background

We say: Al-Hilal 4-0 Al Tai

Having collected 46 points from a maximum of 48 in Pro League home matches this term, Al-Hilal are clearly kings of the Kingdom Arena and should romp to victory on Thursday night.

Al Tai are in desperate need of three points but will still view this clash as a free-hit, given the quality of the opposition they will face.


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


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Game History

How you voted: Al-Hilal vs Al Tai

Al-Hilal
92.3%
Draw
7.7%
Al Tai
0.0%
13
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Alisson during the warm up before the match on April 1, 2024
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Tables header RHS

Group A

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Germany Germany22006
2 Switzerland Switzerland21104
3 Scotland flag Scotland20111
4 Hungary Hungary20020

Group B

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Spain Spain22006
2 Italy Italy21013
3 Albania national flag Albania20111
4 Croatia Croatia20111

Group C

TeamPWDLPTS
1 England flag England21104
2 Denmark Denmark20202
3 Slovenia Slovenia20202
4 Serbia Serbia20111

Group D

TeamPWDLPTS
1 Netherlands Netherlands21104
2 France France21104
3 Austria Austria21013
4 Poland Poland20020

Group E

TeamPWDLPTS
1 Romania Romania11003
2 Ukraine Ukraine21013
3 Slovakia Slovakia21013
4 Belgium Belgium10010

Group F

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Portugal Portugal22006
2 Turkey Turkey21013
3 Czech Republic Czech Republic20111
4 Georgia Georgia20111


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