Al-Nassr vs Al-Hilal Preview and Prediction – May 17, 2024

This Friday will witness the highly anticipated Riyadh derby between Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal at Al Awal Park, King Saud University.

The clash promises to be a thrilling spectacle for fans as both teams gear up for a battle in the Saudi Pro League.

Match Preview

For the second year running, Al-Nassr missed out on the Saudi Pro League title after Al-Hilal secured the championship with a 4-1 win over Al-Hazem on Saturday.

Al-Nassr claimed their 25th victory of the season by defeating Al-Okhdood 3-2 last week, thanks to two goals, including a late winner from Marcelo Brozovic.

Between Brozovic’s goals, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 33rd league goal of the season and 48th overall, his best since the 2015-16 season when he netted 51 goals with Real Madrid and won the Ballon d’Or.

Ronaldo is now one goal away from the all-time record for most goals in a single Pro League season, held by Moroccan Abderrazak Hamdallah, who scored 34 in the 2018-19 season. With three games left, it is likely he will match or break that record.

Despite Ronaldo’s efforts, Al-Nassr will likely finish as runners-up again. They did beat Al-Hilal in the Arab Club Champions Cup in 2023, but it is not considered an official tournament by FIFA, lessening its significance.

Al-Nassr last faced Al-Hilal in the Super Cup semi-final last month, losing 2-1 after Ronaldo was sent off late in the game. The Nassr captain will seek revenge in this match.

While it is easy to find reasons for Al-Nassr’s failure to win their first league title since 2018-19, Al-Hilal’s dominance this season is undeniable.

The champions secured their 19th Pro League title with three games left, maintaining an unbeaten streak and dropping just four points from 91 available up to gameweek 31.

That victory put Hilal 12 points ahead of Nassr with only nine points left to play for, marking their 24th consecutive league win since a 1-1 draw with Damac in mid-September.

Jorge Jesus’s team’s achievements this season underline their status as Saudi Arabia’s top club. Regardless of the outcome here, they remain favorites to complete the domestic treble when they face Al-Nassr in the King’s Cup at the end of the month.

Team News & Updates:

Vitor Severino stood in for Luis Castro, who missed Al-Nassr’s last match after recent lung surgery, but the Portuguese manager will return to the dugout for this home match.

Waleed Abdullah, dealing with a leg injury, is one of several sidelined players, including Talisca, Sami Al-Najei, and Abdulrahman Ghareeb, who are recovering from muscle injuries.

Nawaf Al-Aqidi is still out of contention with a five-month suspension.

David Ospina will continue in goal, protected by a backline of  Aymeric Laporte, Sultan Al-Ghannam, Abdulelah Al-Amri, and Alex Telles, with Abdullah Al-Khaibari in the midfield pivot.

Brazilian star Neymar celebrated with his team after their victory over Al-Hazem, and reports suggest he will be ready for action in the preseason.

Salman Al-Faraj has missed Hilal’s last two matches after coming off the bench against Al-Taawoun earlier this month and is doubtful for this match as well.

Mitrovic trails Ronaldo by seven goals in the Golden Boot race and will likely lead the attack with Brazilian teammates Michael and Malcom.

Prediction & Analysis

Both teams will be aiming for a victory in this derby clash. Al-Nassr will be seeking redemption after their recent defeat against Al-Hilal in the Super Cup. However, Al-Hilal’s dominant form and unbeaten run make them the favorites for this fixture.

Anticipate goals at both ends with Al-Hilal likely the winner and over 2.5 goals scored in the match.

  • Al-Nassr 1-2 Al-Hilal
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