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Saudi Pro League | Gameweek 32
May 16, 2024 at 7pm UK
Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium

Al Khaleej
1 - 1
Al Ittihad

Sherif (81')
Woo-young (50'), Al-Haydar (68')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Al-Shanqeeti (45+3')
Romarinho (79')

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

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

Two sides looking to halt a poor run of form in the Saudi Pro League will meet on Thursday afternoon, when Al Khaleej take on Al Ittihad at Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium.

Both teams are coming into this match following defeats over the weekend, which left the hosts in 11th place and the visitors in fifth with three games left to play this season.

Match preview

Al Khaleej coach Pedro Emanuel reacts on April 5, 2024© Reuters

Barring a dramatic turn of events, Al Khaleej will likely look back at the 2023-24 campaign as a progressive one after last season saw them battle to the very final day to secure their top-flight status.

Indeed, mathematically they are still at risk of being relegated this term, but they are already five points ahead of the 31-point tally they posted last season, and with an eight-point buffer above 16th-placed Al-Akhdoud, Al-Danah require just one point from their final three matches to guarantee their safety.

However, Pedro Emanuel's side enter gameweek 32 in poor form and suffered their 13th league defeat of the season over the weekend at home to Al Wehda, when Nigerian international Odion Ighalo once again did the damage against them, netting a brace after scoring a hat-trick in the reverse fixture back in November.

That result extended their current winless streak in the league to six games, including three draws and three losses and was also their sixth home match without a victory. Al Khaleej have not won a single match in Dammam since the league resumed following the AFC Asian Cup back in February.

While the hosts would love nothing more than to bring their dismal home record in 2024 to an end here, their recent history in this fixture suggests they may struggle to do so, having failed to beat this opponent in their last seven league meetings (W5 D2 L0), including a 4-2 loss in the reverse fixture back in November last year.

Al Ittihad coach Marcelo Gallardo reacts on April 11, 2024© Reuters

Meanwhile, last week was a dismal one for Al Ittihad, who were not only forced to hand over the Saudi Pro League title to Al-Hilal, but also had to endure a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Al Ettifaq on their home ground.

Heading into that match, Nadi Al-Sha'ab had ruled out as many as 13 first-team players for the contest due to injury, fielding a side that featured only two foreign professionals in Brazilian attacker Romarinho and Frenchman N'Golo Kante.

Karl Toko Ekambi scored twice in four minutes at the end of the first half to send Steven Gerrard's side into the break 4-0 up before getting his third just 10 minutes after the interval to extend the margin to five. The result marked Al Ittihad's heaviest defeat since the 2015-16 season when they beaten by the same scoreline by Al-Nassr.

Adding to what was already a torrid week for Ittihad supporters, the club announced on Tuesday that they would be parting ways with manager Marcelo Gallardo by mutual decision, though there is still widespread speculation that the Argentine tactician, who has since been linked with a move to Serie A giants AC Milan, had been dismissed but will remain in the dugout for the final three games.

The visitors are now on a four-match losing streak in all competitions, and after going unbeaten in their first five away games of the season (W4 D1 L0), they have only managed to win three of the last 10 on their travels (W3 D2 L5).

Al Khaleej Saudi Pro League form:

Al Ittihad Saudi Pro League form:

Team News

Al Ittihad's Abderrazak Hamdallah reacts after being shown a red card on March 12, 2024© Reuters

After a VAR review against Al Wehda, Nayef Masoud was adjudged to have handled a goal-bound shot inside the box which led to a second yellow in the match, and he will serve his one-game suspension in this one.

Al Khaleej have just one injury doubt for this match in Fabio Martins, who picked up a knock against Al-Nassr in the side's King's Cup loss at the start of the month and has missed the last two league matches.

As mentioned, Al Ittihad have a laundry list of absentees at present, including their marquee signing Karim Benzema, who has now missed the last four games through injury after returning to Real Madrid for treatment.

Fabinho, Luiz Felipe, Abderrazak Hamdallah, Ahmed Sharahili, Ahmed Bamasud, Sultan Al-Farhan and Abdullah Al-Mayouf are all among the players that are currently on the Ittihad treatment table.

Al Khaleej possible starting lineup:
Al-Mahasnah; Al Yami, Al-Mosa, Kadesh, Al Jaadi; F Al-Ghamdi, Kante, A Al-Ghamdi; Al Amri, Romarinho, Al-Sahafi

Al Ittihad possible starting lineup:
Sehic; Hamsal, Lopez, Al-Shanqiti, Rebocho; Hawsawi, Jung, Rodrigues; Narey, Al Salem, Al-Torais

SM words green background

We say: Al Khaleej 1-1 Al Ittihad

While Al Ittihad enter this match with an excellent record against this opponent, they are missing a host of their starters and seem to have thrown in the towel for the season. Al Khaleej need a single point to secure their top-flight status and could not have chosen a better time to face Nadi Al-Sha'ab. We feel the hosts will take at least a point from this contest.

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

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rhs 2.0
Today's games header
Tables header RHS
5Al Ittihad331661161501154
6Al Ettifaq331212943331048
7Al Fateh33129125552345
8Al Fayha331111114451-744
9Al ShababAl Shabab33118144240241
11Al Khaleej33910143545-1037
12Al RaedAl Raed3399154048-836
13Al WahdaAl Wahda33106174458-1436
14Al Riyadh33711153156-2532
16Al Tai3387183462-2831
17Al Okhdood3386193152-2130
18Al Hazem33312183275-4321

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