Al-Nassr vs Al-Hazem: Preview and Prediction

Al-Nassr will look to keep in touch with runaway league leaders Al-Hilal at the top of the Saudi Pro League table when they take on Al-Hazem on Thursday.

Two sides sitting on opposite sides of the Saudi Pro League will meet each other this Thursday afternoon, with Al-Nassr facing Al-Hazem at Al-Awaal Park at King Saud University Stadium.

Al-Alami will come into this one on the back of a 3-2 victory over Al-Shabab last weekend, which extended their current winning streak in the Saudi top flight to six matches, while only suffering one defeat in their last 11, which was against the Blue Waves at the start of December.

On the other hand, after clinching promotion to the Saudi Pro League last season, Al-Hazem look set to head straight back to the Saudi First Division League this term unless they can string together a run of results in the second part of the campaign. Hazem Al Samood have won two games all season and are rock bottom, leaving them six points behind Al-Riyadh, who are above the dotted line.

Team News & Tactics


Luis Castro’s side could be without their talisman for this match, as Cristiano Ronaldo could be slapped with a two-match ban for making an obscene gesture towards the home crowd in response to being taunted with Lionel Messi chants by Al-Shabab fans over the weekend after scoring the opener from the penalty spot to register his 750th goal in club football.

The hosts are also facing a bit of a goalkeeping crisis, currently missing David Ospina (thigh) and Raghed Al-Najjar through respective injury concerns, while Nawaf Al-Aqidi is currently serving a ban handed down by the Saudi Football Federation.

As a result, Waleed Abdullah should continue in goal this midweek. Abdulrahman Ghareeb and Sultan Al-Ghanam are also ruled out of this match due to their respective injuries. If Ronaldo is ruled out, Ayman Yahya could be handed a chance to impress in the starting lineup, while Otavio and Anderson Talisca would most likely play a more advanced position in the attack, with Sadio Mane at the tip.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Abdullah; Boushal, Al-Amri, Laporte, Telles; Al-Khaibari, Brozovic; Talisca, Otavio, Yahya; Mane


Majed Qasheesh and Ben Hassan Traore missed Al-Hazem’s 1-1 draw against Al Khaleej last time out, and they remain major doubts for Al-Hazem for the upcoming tie versus Al-Nassr.

Head coach Jose Daniel Carreno substituted off Brazilian playmaker Vina before the halfway break in the same game due to what seemed to be a knock, and he is expected to miss this encounter, with Basil Yousef Alsayyali set to take over the attacking midfield spot.

Centre-back Paulo Ricardo scored at both ends last week, and he should continue in central defence alongside former SC Braga defender Bruno Viana. The visitors are likely to remain unchanged in attack for this match, with the forward trio of Mohammed Al-Thani, Badamosi, and Toze all set to keep their spots.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Dahmen; Mhemaid, Ricardo, Viana, Al-Aazmi; Al Salman, Moreno; Al-Thani, Alsayyali, Toze; Badamosi

Key Stats

  • Al-Nassr have won their last five Saudi Pro League matches.
  • Al-Hazm have not won a single match in the previous five league matches.
  • Al-Nassr are ranked as the best team away from home this season.
  • The Knights of Najd are unbeaten in 19 of the past 20 home matches across all competitions, winning 16 along the stretch.

Player to Watch

Anderson Talisca

Embed from Getty Images

Very few neutral fans would have been aware of Anderson Talisca’s talents before Cristiano Ronaldo’s shock transfer to Al-Nassr in January. There was also speculation that the Brazilian would be moved on, who was supposedly deemed surplus to requirements at a club that had to shed a foreign player to make way for other star names.

The Brazilian could easily have shrunk into anonymity at Al-Nassr as merely a fringe member, existing only to help keep the spotlight on Ronaldo. However, this season, he and Ronaldo have combined for 35 of Al-Nassr’s 60 goals.

He is playing with that chip on his shoulder; every time he steps foot on the pitch, he has a point to prove. And he proved, with a fine match-winning brace last time out. In Ronaldo’s absence, the onus will be on him to deliver the goods in the final third.


Al-Nassr 3-1 Al-Hazem

Al-Nassr have put on very impressive performances since returning from the international break and are the clear favourites to bag the points in this home match against Al-Hazem.

The Knights of Najd have also been unbeaten in their last eight league games on home soil, including seven wins and a draw. And we feel they will secure another victory in this one, even if the home side are to be without their captain for this match.

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