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Saudi Pro League | Gameweek 21
Feb 26, 2024 at 2pm UK
Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium

Al Ettifaq
0 - 2
Al-Hilal


Toko Ekambi (42'), Al Shamrani (64')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Milinkovic-Savic (39'), Al-Dawsari (45+5')
Mitrovic (45+3'), Neves (52'), Koulibaly (56')

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

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

The penultimate match of gameweek 21 in the Saudi Pro League will see Al Ettifaq taking on champions-elect Al-Hilal at the Al Ettifaq Club Stadium on Monday afternoon.

Al Ettifaq will be looking to rediscover their form following a tough period leading up to the international break, while the visitors will be out to protect their incredible unbeaten league record.


Match preview

Al Ettifaq coach Steven Gerrard on November 4, 2023© Reuters

Al Ettifaq have faced major challenges this term and currently occupy eighth place in the league standings, with a record of seven victories, seven draws and six defeats in their 20 matches played thus far.

Leading up to the winter break, they had gone without a victory in nine consecutive games across all competitions and also saw the departure of now-former captain Jordan Henderson, who joined Ajax just six months after his arrival.

However, despite the gloom and poor run of results, the club opted to maintain faith in manager Steven Gerrard by handing him a three-year contract extension, while Gini Wijnaldum has now taken on the captaincy duties.

The break seemed to have been exactly what The Knights of Ad-Dahna needed, and Gerrard immediately justified the club's decision to maintain faith in him by steering his side to a 2-0 win over Al Khaleej in their first game back last week, with Demarai Gray and the new skipper both getting on the scoresheet.

The Commandos will hope that that result marks a fresh start for them as they head into the second half of the season, but they now have the monumental task of taking on an Al Hilal side that have been nothing short of outstanding this season.

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

The Blue Waves resumed business as usual following the break, securing a commanding 3-1 win against Sepahan in the AFC Champions League upon their return and followed that up with another 3-1 win over Al Raed in their first league match three days later.

Jorge Jesus's side then booked their spot in the quarter-final of the AFC Champions League, where they will face Al Ittihad by beating Sepahan 3-1 in the second-leg encounter as well to claim a 6-2 aggregate win.

That result brought Al-Za'eem's incredible record to 23 wins in a row, dating all the way back to a 1-1 draw against Damak in mid-September, and they are still the only side in the Saudi top flight that are unbeaten after 20 league games (W18 D2 L0).

While Al-Hilal have been rampant in attack this term, already on 62 goals in league matches, the cornerstone of their success has been their defensive solidity as they have only conceded 10 goals in the league to date and just three in their last 10 games.

The visitors won the reverse fixture 2-0 at the Kingdom Arena back in August and are unbeaten against this opponent in their last 11 meetings, including 10 wins and just one draw, dating all the way back to March 2018.

Al Ettifaq Saudi Pro League form:

Al-Hilal Saudi Pro League form:


Team News

Al Hilal's Ali Al Bulayhi is shown a red card by referee Wilmar Roldan on December 1, 2023© Reuters

Al Ettifaq have no injury concerns to report, and following their much-needed win over Al Khaleej last week, it would come as no surprise if Gerrard opted to field an unchanged starting 11 in this match.

Moussa Dembele currently leads the side with seven goals this season and should spearhead the attack with the assistance of Gray and Cameroonian international Karl Toko Ekambi.

Al-Hilal have a few absentees at the moment, with the most notable being Neymar, who is still on the road to recovery from a cruciate ligament tear, which has kept him out of action since October last year.

Mohammed Al Owais and Muteb Al Mufarrij are also sidelined through injury, and neither are expected to return to action in the foreseeable future.

Jesus made several changes to his squad for the second-leg encounter against Sepahan, including the omission of Kalidou Koulibaly and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, both of whom should return to the starting lineup this week.


Al Ettifaq possible starting lineup:
Victor; Yousef, Hendry, Madu, Al Shamrani; Dawran, Medran, Wijnaldum; Ekambi, Dembele, Gray

Al-Hilal possible starting lineup:
Bounou; Al-Beerik, Koulibaly, Al Bulaihi, Lodi; Milinkovic-Savic, Neves; Michael, Malcolm, Al-Dawsari; Mitrovic


SM words green background

We say: Al Ettifaq 0-2 Al-Hilal

Al-Hilal have looked a cut above the rest in the Saudi Pro League this season, and with a record of 18 wins and two losses in 20 games, it is difficult to back against them securing another win here against an opponent that have only just snapped up an eight-match winless league run.

While last week's victory would have gone a long way to improving the mood around the Al Ettifaq camp, we feel they will be no match for the 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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Game History

How you voted: Al Ettifaq vs Al-Hilal

Al Ettifaq
10.3%
Draw
6.9%
Al-Hilal
82.8%
29
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Al Ettifaq's Jordan Henderson celebrates after the match on September 21, 2023
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rhs 2.0
Today's games header
Tables header RHS
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Al-HilalAl-Hilal27252083176677
2Al-Nassr27212480344665
3Al-AhliAl-Ahli27157553282552
4Al Ittihad27145851351647
5Al-TaawounAl-Taawoun27138646301647
6Al Ettifaq2710983328539
7Al Fateh27107104440437
8Damac2798103833535
9Al Fayha2798103643-735
10Al Khaleej2797113138-734
11Al ShababAl Shabab2788113135-432
12Al WahdaAl Wahda2794144147-631
13Al RaedAl Raed2786133540-530
14Al Riyadh2767142348-2525
15Abha2774163169-3825
16Al Okhdood2773172245-2324
17Al Tai2765162755-2823
18Al Hazem27210152565-4016


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