Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr will look to resume their Saudi Pro League campaign on a high note when they welcome Al-Fateh at Prince Faisal bin Fahad Stadium on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo-starred Al-Nassr will look to continue their winning run against Al Fateh when they square off in the Saudi Pro League 2023-24 on Saturday following a six-week mid-season break.

The long-awaited meeting between Ronaldo and Messi did not happen during the Riyadh Season Cup, which culminated in Al-Hilal winning the mid-season friendly tournament after overcoming Al-Nassr in the final.

The Global One will now turn their attention to competitive action, as they currently sit in second place in the Saudi Pro League with 46 points and are seven points behind table-toppers Al-Hilal.

An opening pair of league defeats had set alarm bells ringing. But the summer decision to hire Luis Castro has proven to be an inspired one. The only serious blemish was December’s 3-0 derby humbling at Al-Hilal, which had seen a second-half collapse.

Since losing that match to Al-Hilal, the Knights of Najd have put together a six-game unbeaten run, including six consecutive victories in which they scored 18 goals.

Luis Castro’s men unsurprisingly enter Saturday’s contest in buoyant mood after Cristiano Ronaldo gave them a 1-0 win at Al-Fayha in the first leg of the all-Saudi Arabian Asian Champions League second-round clash on Wednesday.

The result means that the Riyadh giants are very much in the driving seat ahead of next week’s return match and on course for the quarterfinals.

On the other hand, Al-Fateh came into this match after a 2-2 draw against Ural in a friendly match. The visitors’ have been steady this season as they sit in the top half of the table, with Al-Taawoun and Damac in their sights.

However, their recent form has been all over the place. They have secured just one win in the last 10 games, falling to five defeats and playing out four draws. Slaven Bilic’s side will certainly need to turn things around if they are to repeat last term’s sixth-place finish.

Team News and Tactics


Cristiano Ronaldo missed the high-profile reunion with arch-rival Lionel Messi as he was absent from Al-Nassr’s win over Inter Miami after sustaining a knock, but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has scored 25 goals in 26 competitive matches this term and turned 39 only recently, was back in the starting lineup in the midweek.

That means head coach Luis Castro has only one injury doubt, with starting custodian David Ospina questionable because of a torn thigh muscle. Aside from that, the manager is expected to stay with a similar XI as in the last game. Sadio Mane may replace Abdulrahman Ghareeb in the XI as Al-Nassr returns to full strength.

Nawaf Alaqidi is expected to continue between the sticks for the hosts, with Seko Fofana and Marco Brozovic looking to set the tempo from the engine room. It goes without saying that talismanic striker Ronaldo will spearhead the attack as the central striker, flanked by the lethal wing duo of Talisca and Mane, and supplied by creative Portuguese playmaker Otavio.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Alaqidi; Al-Boushal, Al-Amri, Laporte, Telles; Alkhaibari, Brozovic; Talisca, Otavio, Mane; Ronaldo


Al-Fateh boss Slaven Bilic will have a clean slate in terms of injuries, suspensions, and other absences ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Pro League resumption, with Mukhtar Ali and Abbas Al Hassan returning in time from AFC Asian Cup duty.

Mohammed Al-Fuhaid and Saeed Al-Basisi have both picked up four yellow cards already in the SPL this season and face the risk of a one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation.

Bilic will deploy his full-strength side, similar to the one that he last fielded in their league game in December, ahead of the mid-season break.

Mourad Batna is the club’s top scorer, with eight goals to his name across all competition this season, while teenage sensation Al-Hassan and the duo of Cristian Tello and Lucas Zelaryan form a potent attack.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Malayekah; Denayer, Al-Oujami, Saadane, Al-Najdi; Djaniny, Al-Fuhaid, Tello; Batna, Zelarayan, Al-Hassan

Key Stats

  • In the reverse fixture between these two sides back in August 2023, Al-Nassr registered the biggest victory margin of 5-0 against Al-Fateh.
  • Al-Fateh have failed to score against Al-Nassr three times in the last five head-to-head games.
  • Al-Nassr have kept a clean sheet in their last three outings.
  • Al-Nassr won their last four games.
  • Al-Fateh failed to defeat Al Nassr in their last six games.

Player to Watch

Cristiano Ronaldo

With a remarkable tally of 20 goals and nine assists, Ronaldo continues to demonstrate dominance despite his advancing age, as he continues to be the driving force behind Al-Nassr’s title push.

The 39-year-old scored his first goal of 2024 to give Al-Nassr a 1-0 win over fellow Saudi Arabian club Al-Fayha on Wednesday in the first leg of the Asian Champions League’s round of 16.

It was a well-worked goal as the Portuguese played a neat one-two with former Inter Milan playmaker Marcelo Brozovic, who lifted his return pass over the Al-Fayha backline from the edge of the box for Ronaldo to run onto and flick a lob past the goalkeeper with a first-time shot. He will be looking to continue his rich vein of form in this game.


Al-Nassr 3-1 Al-Fateh

Al-Fateh have struggled for goals of late, with only four goals in their past five games. And facing a superior side with a solid home record is not ideal for the visitors. The Hard Tackle can see the hosts coming away with all three points pretty comfortably at the sound of the final whistle.

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