Al-Nassr vs Al-Fayha: Preview and Prediction

Fresh off the back of a controversial ending to their Super Cup semi-final exit, Al-Nassr return to Saudi Pro League action when they play host to Al-Fayha in Gameweek 28 on Saturday afternoon.

Second-placed Al-Nassr host ninth-placed Al-Fayha in the Saudi Pro League at Al-Awaal Park this Friday night. Following the devastating 2-1 loss to Al-Hilal in the Super Cup semi-final last week, a sombre mood is largely anticipated at Al-Awaal Park for this encounter.

Having already been dumped out of the AFC Champions League, trailing the unbeaten champions-elect league leaders Al-Hilal by 12 points in the league with seven games to go, and with the Super Cup hopes now in shreds, Al-Alami look set to end the 2023/24 season without a major trophy.

The Knights of Najd will now return to league action, where they have been in fine form lately, currently riding a four-match winning run. On the flip side, Al-Fayha find themselves comfortably nestled in the mid-table positions, with an 11-point cushion separating them from the relegation zone.

The visitors have a mixed recent record, securing two wins, suffering two losses, and settling for one draw in their last five league outings. But they come into this one off the back of a convincing 3-0 home victory over Al-Akhdoud last time out.

Team News & Tactics


Luis Castro’s side will have to play this match as well as next week’s game away to Al-Khaleej without the services of their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sent off in a frantic end to the Super Cup tie after clashing with Ali Al-Bulayhi.

Despite the club’s appeal, the Saudi Football Federation’s Disciplinary and Ethics Committee has decided to uphold their initial decision to ban the Al-Nassr skipper for the next two matches. And reports suggest that he may also face a fine for his actions towards the match official after receiving the red card.

With Ronaldo out, Abdulrahman Ghareeb is set to return to the starting lineup, joining Otavio and Sadio Mane in a three-man front line. Talisca has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to a thigh injury.

David Ospina will line up in between the sticks for the hosts, with Nawaf Al-Aqidi still suspended. Fourth-choice Waleed Abdullah is out injured. So, it will be Raghed Al-Najjar who will start on the bench as the backup shot-stopper.

Ali Alawjami, Mohammed Al-Fatil, Aymeric Laporte, and Alex Telles will form the four-man backline, with Sultan Al-Ghanam, Abdullah Al-Khaibari, and Marcelo Brozovic anchoring the midfield.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ospina; Alawjami, Al-Fatil, Laporte, Telles; Al Ghanam, Al-Khaibari, Brozovic; Ghareeb, Otavio, Mane


Malik Al-Abdulmonem and Mohammed Majrashi have both been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with cruciate ligament tear. Al-Fayha are expected to deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Vladimir Stojkovic between the posts.

The Serbian shot-stopper will be protected by the back-four of Mohammed Al-Baqawi, Sami Al-Khaibari, Hussein Al-Shuwaish, and Ghislain Konan in the backline. Abdulrahman Al-Safri and Gojko Cimirot will be the two-way pivot in the middle of the park.

Fashion Sakala continued his stellar recent form in the last match, bagging a brace on either side of the break, which takes his tally for the season to 13, including three in his last two outings.

Sakala’s upturn in form should see him keep his place in attack alongside Nigerian international Anthony Nwakaeme and Henry Onyekuru, with Abdelhamid Sabiri set to operate in the creative No. 10 role after picking up two assists and a goal against Al-Akhdoud last time out.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Stojkovic; Al Baqawi, Al-Khaibari, Al-Shuwaish, Konan; Al-Safri, Cimirot; Onyekuru, Sabiri, Sakala; Nwakaeme

Key Stats

  • Al-Nassr are unbeaten against Al-Fayha in their previous five meetings.
  • Al-Fayha have won three of their last five away games.
  • Al-Nassr beat Al-Fayha in the Round of 16 of the AFC Champions League earlier in the season.
  • Al-Nassr have four straight wins in the Saudi Pro League.
  • Al-Fayha have one win in their last four matches.

Player to Watch

Sadio Mane

Embed from Getty Images

Missing a host of their star attackers, Al-Nassr will hang their hopes on Sadio Mane to deliver the goods in the attacking third. Widely regarded as a world-class winger of his era, the former Liverpool star has managed ten goals and six assists in the Saudi Pro League this season and will look to add to his tally to keep his side’s bleak title hopes alive.


Al-Nassr 3-0 Al-Fayha

Al-Fayha could not have picked a better moment to play Al-Nassr, who are coming off a bitter defeat and will be without their captain and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been in free-scoring form against this opponent this season.

However, Al-Alami has more than enough quality depth to cope with the absence here, and their record in this match has been outstanding for several years. As a result, The Hard Tackle back the hosts to come out on top in this one, quite comfortably in the end.

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