Al-Nassr vs. Al Shabab
Saudi Pro League Game: Al-Nassr vs. Al Shabab | Date: August 29th 2023 | Time: 23:30 Hrs. | Location: Al Awal Park at King Saud University, Riyadh
Al-Nassr will be looking for back-to-back victories in the 2023-24 Saudi Pro League when they host Al Shabab at Al Awal Park at King Saud University on Tuesday.
The hosts enter this match in 10th place in the league with three points after the first three games, while the visitors are in 14th place with only two points.
Following that, their form deteriorated noticeably, as they blew a 2-1 lead to lose their first league match of the season to Al Ittifaq, followed by a 2-0 loss to Al Taawoun a week later.
However, the hosts appear to have rediscovered their rhythm, as they qualified for the AFC Champions League with a 4-2 win against Shabab Al-Ahli in the playoff round and thrashed Al Fateh 5-0 on the road last week.
Luis Castro’s team defeated this opponent 3-2 at this site last season and are unbeaten in their last four meetings, with two victories and two draws dating back to November 2021.
How Good is Al- Nassr?
Al-Nassr ended five points behind Al Ittihad last season and is already six points behind them this season, and the manager will recognize that his club cannot afford to lose any more points or they will face a significant mountain to climb early in the season.
Meanwhile, Al Shabab had another successful season last season, finishing fourth for the second time in a row, and they will be anxious to return to the AFC Champions League qualification spots this season.
Last season, the hosts managed 56 points in 30 matches (W17 D5 L8) when coached by Vicente Moreno, although they finished the season poorly, suffering four defeats in their final five games.
Unfortunately for new manager Marcel Keizer, that form does not appear to have continued this season, as he is yet to win for his new club after 1-1 draws with Al Okhdood and Damak, as well as a 3-1 loss to Al Wehda in his first three matches in charge.
They now face an Al-Nassr team that is starting to look dangerous this season, but if they can pull off an upset here, it could be just what they need to get their season back on track.
Castro’s sole injury absentee for this encounter is keeper David Ospina, who has been sidelined with an elbow ailment since last season and is unlikely to return anytime soon.
With a brace in the last encounter, Sadio Mane increased his league tally to three for the season and is now part of a five-way tie for the Pro League’s top scorer rankings, joined by Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick in the same match.
Fahad Al-Muwallad came off the bench to score the important equalize against Damac last week, and he will be looking for a starting 11 spot this week.
Mohammed Essa Harbush made an immediate effect after coming on in that game, setting up Al-Muwallad for the goal within two minutes of hitting the pitch, and he will also be aiming to be included in the starting lineup.
Al-Nassr’s possible starting lineup:
Al-Aqidi; Al Ghannam, Al-Fatil, Laporte, Konan; Al Khaibari, Brozovic, Ghareeb, Otavio, Mane; Ronaldo
Al Shabab’s possible starting lineup:
Kim; Al Yami, Santos, Al-Sharari, Harbush; Al-Ammar, Alqahtani, Cuellar, Banega, Al-Muwallad; Diallo
Al-Nassr vs. Al Shabab: Who can win?
While the last several meetings between these teams have been close, the hosts appear to have found their groove in the last few weeks, while the visitors are still stumbling out of the gate. In this one, we predict Al-Nassr to cruise to victory.