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Saudi Pro League | Gameweek 21
Feb 25, 2024 at 5pm UK
Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium

Al Shabab
2 - 3

Carrasco (45+8' pen.), Carlos (67')
Carrasco (26'), Saiss (51'), Al-Sharari (88'), Radif (90+6')
Radif (90+12')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Ronaldo (21' pen.), Talisca (46', 86')
Laporte (45+5'), Boushal (90+6')

Preview: Al Shabab vs. Al-Nassr - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Saudi Pro League clash between Al Shabab and Al-Nassr, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Al Shabab's second match following the restart in the Saudi Pro League will see them play host to title challengers Al-Nassr at the Al-Shabab Club Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts are currently in 10th place in the league standings with 24 points after 20 matches, while the visitors are in second place with 49 points over the same period.

Match preview

Al Shabab's Carlos celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on November 3, 2023© Reuters

Al Shabab will be aiming for a better start to the second half of the campaign after ending 2023 in a bit of a slump, winning only one of their last seven matches of the year while losing three and drawing three.

The White Lion marked the campaign restart with a 1-0 win over Damak last week, with January arrival Ivan Rakitic scoring on debut for his new employers in the final 10 minutes of the match following Sanousi Al Hawsawi's sending off.

Rakitic was not the only one on debut last week, though, as Al Shabab also brought in former Flamengo manager Vitor Pereira during the break, and having won their first game with their new personnel, there is bound to be a sense of optimism in the dressing room.

Al Shabab failed to win any of their first three home games this season, but following a 4-1 victory over Al Hazm in mid-September, the hosts have lost only once in six games on home soil while winning four and drawing one of the remaining five.

However, they now face an Al Nassr side that cruised to a 4-0 win in the reverse fixture back in August, which marked their fourth consecutive match without victory against the Knights of Najd (W0 D1 L3).

Al Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal on February 17, 2024© Reuters

Meanwhile, Al Nassr will resume their quest to reel in league leaders Al Hilal, who maintained their seven-point advantage at the top of the league standings with both sides securing wins last weekend.

Al-Alami returned to league action with a 2-1 win over Al Fateh, which extended their current winning streak in the Saudi top flight to five matches while only suffering one defeat in their last 10, which was against the Blue Waves at the start of December.

Luis Castro's side were also involved in AFC Champions League action in midweek and booked their place in the quarter-final after Cristiano Ronaldo scored their second goal of the evening to give them a 3-0 aggregate win over Al Fayha.

The Portuguese superstar is now on 27 goals and 11 assists in 28 matches across all competitions in 2023-24 and currently leads the goalscorer charts in the league, two ahead of Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Barring that defeat to Al Hilal at the start of December, the visitors have won eight of their last nine away league games and have averaged over three goals scored per 90 in that time.

Al Shabab Saudi Pro League form:

Al Shabab form (all competitions):

Al-Nassr Saudi Pro League form:

Al-Nassr form (all competitions):

Team News

Al Nassr's Alex Telles is brought off the pitch after sustaining an injury on December 1, 2023© Reuters

Al Shabab were dealt a major blow during the Asian Cup, with first-team goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu tearing his anterior cruciate ligament during the group stages, which ruled him out of that competition and potentially the remainder of the season.

Rakitic will almost certainly retain his spot in the middle of the park alongside Colombian Gustavo Cuellar, while Senegalese international Habib Diallo will hope to make the starting 11 after coming off the bench in the last match.

Castro has a bit of a goalkeeping crisis, currently missing his first-choice option David Ospina, who missed a large chunk of the first half of the season due to an elbow injury and is now set for another spell on the sideline after picking up an injury to his thigh in a friendly against Al Hilal last month.

Backup keeper Nawaf Al-Aqidi is currently serving a ban handed down by the Saudi Football Federation, and the third-choice shot-stopper Raghed Al-Najjar has now been ruled out for several weeks after picking up an injury in last week's win over Al Fateh.

Waleed Abdullah lined up between the sticks in midweek and is likely to do so again on Sunday. Abdulrahman Ghareeb and Sultan Al-Ghanam are also ruled out of this match due to injury.

Al Shabab possible starting lineup:
Al Absi; Sharari, Santos, Saiss; Bahbri, Cuellar, Rakitic, Al-Harbi; Vitinho, Carlos, Carrasco

Al-Nassr possible starting lineup:
Abdullah; Lajami, Al-Amri, Laporte, Behich; Al-Khaibari, Brozovic; Yahya, Otavio, Mane; Ronaldo

SM words green background

We say: Al Shabab 1-3 Al-Nassr

Al Nassr have put on three very impressive performances since returning from the international break and are the clear favourites to bag the points in this match. The Knights of Najd have dominated this fixture in recent seasons, and we feel they will secure another victory 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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