Al-Akhdoud vs Al-Nassr: Preview and Prediction

Al Nassr will travel to relegation threatened Al Akhdoud on Thursday night in the Saudi Pro League.

In a pivotal fixture set to ignite the Saudi Pro League stage, Al-Nassr journey to face Al-Akhdoud at the Prince Hathloul Bin Abdul Aziz Sport City Stadium this Thursday evening. With both teams navigating contrasting ambitions, this encounter promises a compelling showdown of footballing grit and determination.

For Al-Akhdoud, the battle for survival intensifies as they tread above the relegation line by the narrowest of margins. Following a turbulent spell of form, characterised by seven winless outings, including six defeats and a draw, the club made a managerial change, entrusting former Damac boss Noureddine Zekri with the reins.

Zekri’s tenure commenced with a loss against his former club but swiftly saw a glimmer of hope with a crucial triumph over Abha, bolstering their fight for survival. However, a recent stalemate against Al-Hazem has once again cast uncertainty, with the looming threat of slipping down the table if results do not pick up.

In stark contrast, Al-Nassr find themselves navigating a different narrative. While securing AFC Champions League qualification for the upcoming season, their aspirations for the league title hang by a thread.

Despite boasting a star-studded lineup including the likes of Sadio Mane and Aymeric Laporte, the Blue Waves have fallen short in their pursuit of domestic glory, trailing league leaders Al-Hilal by a significant margin. Yet, with the King’s Cup final on the horizon, Al-Nassr seek to salvage their season with a strong finish, aiming to disrupt Al-Hilal’s quest for a domestic treble.

As the season’s climax looms, the stakes are undeniably high for both sides. Al-Akhdoud aim to defy the odds and secure their top-flight status, while Al-Nassr endeavour to reignite their championship hopes and conclude the campaign on a triumphant note. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Team News & Tactics

Al Akhdoud

The minnows will go into the clash as the underdogs and are likely to adopt a safety first approach on the night against a star studded Al-Nassr lineup. Al-Akhdoud’s defensive setup faces a notable setback with the absence of key centre-back Andrei Burca looming large.

Sidelined by a muscle tear just 23 minutes into their recent victory over Abha, Burca’s absence poses a significant challenge for the Najran-based outfit against one of Middle East’s most potent attacks.

In Burca’s absence, the responsibility of anchoring the defence falls upon the capable shoulders of Georgian defender Solomon Kvirkvelia. Whether he can stem the impact made by Cristiano Ronaldo and Co remains to be seen.

The home side are expected to line up in a 4-1-4-1 formation that can transition to a 4-5-1 when needed. Paulo Vítor should start as the last line of defence behind the back four of Awadh Khamis, Solomon Kvirkvelia, Saeed Al-Rubaie and Hamed Al Mansour.

Hassan Al-Habib should anchor the midfield, with Sebastian Pedroza and Alex Collado starting ahead of him in central midfield. The trio will aim to secure the centre, freeing up Yaseen Atiah Al Zubaidi and Saviour Godwin to provide the width. Leandre Tawamba should lead the line as the focal point in the Al-Akhdoud attack.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Vitor; Khamis, Kvirkvelia, Al-Rubaie, Al-Mansour; Al-Habib; Al Zubaidi, Pedroza, Collado, Godwin; Tawamba

Al Akhdoud vs Al Nassr: Preview and Prediction.


Manager Luis Castro sidelined from the touchline, following a recent lung surgery. On the field, Al-Nassr contend with a series of injury setbacks.

Waleed Abdullah, grappling with a leg injury, joins the ranks of sidelined players, alongside Anderson Talisca and Abdulrahman Ghareeb, both nursing muscle ailments. Additionally, the absence of Sami Al-Najei further depletes the squad.

Compounding their roster woes, the continued suspension of Nawaf Al-Aqidi further limits Al-Nassr’s options, as the midfielder serves the remaining duration of his five-month ban. However, the visitors still have a formidable roster of player to choose from. They are likely to retain the side that played against Al-Wehda, with David Ospina in goal in a 4-1-4-1 formation.

The veteran shot stopper should be protected by the backline of Sultan Al-Ghannam, Ali Lajami, Aymeric Laporte, and Alex Telles. Abdullah Al-Khaibari should hold the fort in central midfield, with Otavio and Marcelo Brozovic further upfield. Ayman Yahya and Sadio Mane should provide thw width on the flanks, with Cristiano Ronaldo furthest upfield as the star striker.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Ospina; Al Ghanam, Alawjami, Laporte, Telles; Al-Khaibari; Yahya, Otavio, Brozovic, Mane; Ronaldo

Al Akhdoud vs Al Nassr: Preview and Prediction.

Key Stats

  • Al-Nassr are the second highest goalscorers in the Saudi Pro League, averaging three goals per game so far this season.
  • Al-Akhdoud have found the back of the net just 27 times in the league this season, the least of any side in the competition.
  • A shutout on the night will see Al-Akhdoud keep three clean sheets in a row for the first time in 2024.
  • Al-Akhdoud have conceded 47 times in the league this season, the least of any side in the bottom five.

Player to Watch

Cristiano Ronaldo

Embed from Getty Images

The Portuguese legend is the greatest player to grace the Saudi Pro League and leads the scoring charts this season with 32 goals in 27 appearances so far. He scored a hat-trick in the previous game against Al Wehda, his 66th treble in what has been an illustrious career.

To put things into context, Lionel Messi has managed just 56 hat-tricks. Ronaldo will be buzzing to add to his tally and while Al-Akhdoud are not the most porous side in the league, will need to be on their toes. The longer they can keep him quiet, the more likely he is to be frustrated.


Al-Akhdoud 0-3 Al-Nassr

Given the home side’s profligacy in front of goal, it is difficult to see them trouble the Al-Nassr defence much. Even if they manage to keep Ronaldo quiet, the presence of stalwarts like Sadio Mane should see the visitors come away with a comfortable win.

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