Al Okhdood vs Al Ittihad: Preview
Saudi Pro League Game: Al Okhdood vs Al Ittihad | Date: September 14, 2023 | Time: 20:30 Hrs. | Location:Prince Hathloul Bin Abdulaziz Sport City Stadium, Najran, Saudi Arabia
Before the international break, the Jeddah giants were defeated 4-3 by their bitter rivals Al Hilal, while Al Okhdood defeated Al Riyadh 1-0 the previous time.
Al Okhdood had two draws and three losses in a row after drawing with Al Shabab in their season opener. However, Jorge Mendonca’s team finally managed to win their first game of the year last time out, defeating Al Riyadh 1-0.
Mendonca will be concerned about his squad’s goal production, though, as Al Okhdood has scored just three goals in their first five league contests this season, trailing just one other team in offensive efficiency.
Al Okhdood, who recently joined the top division, will be hoping to escape an immediate relegation to the second division even though only six teams have allowed fewer goals in the Saudi Pro League this season than Al Okhdood’s six.
Al Ittihad, who have won four of their five games this season, are third in the rankings, eight points ahead of Al Okhdood and one point behind the top two.
The current Pro League champions, who are led by Nuno Espirito Santo, a former manager of Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers, began their title defense with four straight clean-sheet victories while scoring a staggering 12 goals.
The ex-Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a hat-trick to lead his team to a thrilling 4-3 victory over Al Ittihad, but the Lions were on the losing end of a seven-goal thriller against Al Hilal in their last meeting.
The team’s strength was demonstrated last time out when reigning Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema scored his second goal for Al Ittihad while N’Golo Kante and Fabinho played in midfield for the Jeddah giants.
On Thursday, Al Okhdood manager Jorge Mendonca is anticipated to continue using his preferred 5-4-1 formation with Cameroonian attacker Leandre Tawamba as the center forward.
For the hosts, Brazilian goalkeeper Paulo Vitor will remain in goal, and Romanian attacking midfielder Florin Tanase will try to add to his one goal and one assist total.
With N’Golo Kante and Fabinho manning the midfield and Karim Benzema leading the assault for the visitors, Romarinho and Igor Coronado can charge forward from the flanks.
Abderrazak Hamdallah, who has scored five goals in as many league games this season, will probably follow Benzema in the scoring lists as he attempts to pass Cristiano Ronaldo of Al Nassr.
According to the latest injury reports, Al Ittihad will likely be without Ahmed Hegazy, Abdullah Al-Jadani, and Aseel Abed for some time.
Al Okhdood possible starting lineup:
Vitor; Al Zabdani, Kvirkvelia, Alyami, Bruca, Al Mansour; Collado, Al Muwallad, Tanase, Al Harthi; Tawamba
Al Ittihad possible starting lineup:
Grohe; Alolayan, Hawsawi, Sharahili, Bamsaud; Kante, Fabinho; Romarinho, Hamdallah, Coronado; Benzema
Al Okhdood vs Al Ittihad: Prediction
Proleaguefootballsaudi anticipates the defending champions to easily defeat the top-flight newcomers on Thursday since Al Ittihad have already scored 15 goals in the league while Al Okhdood have only scored three goals in five games this year.