It’s an all-Saudi Pro League affair as the league’s top two face off in the 2024 Riyadh Season Cup final on Thursday evening.
The mid-season event was set to contain Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s ‘Last Dance’ but the former was absent as Al Nassr thumped Messi’s Inter Miami 6-0. The MLS side then succumbed to Saudi Pro League leaders Al Hilal 4-3 last Monday. Thus, Thursday’s game between the two Saudi sides will determine the victor of the mid-season competition.
Al Hilal currently lead Al Nassr in the 2023/24 Saudi Pro League, with both teams heading into this contest in supreme form. Ronaldo’s men were beaten away from home in their first head-to-head duel of the season, with Serbians Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Aleksandar Mitrovic finding the back of the net in a 3-0 victory.
Here’s 90min’s preview of Thursday’s Riyadh Season Cup fixture.
Al Nassr vs Al Hilal H2H Record (Last Five Games)
Current Form (all competitions)
TV channel/live stream
Cristiano Ronaldo missed the duel with Messi with a calf injury, but the all-time great is set to return to action on Thursday having recovered from his knock.
Young striker Mohammed Maran will drop out of the team if Ronaldo returns to the starting lineup.
Anderson Talisca, Otavio, Marcelo Brozovic and Aymeric Laporte are among the high-profile stars set to feature for Luis Castro’s side.
Al Nassr predicted lineup vs Al Hilal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Boushal, Alamri, Laporte, Telles; Al Sulaiheem, Brozovic; Talisca, Otavio, Al Aliwa; Ronaldo.
Jorge Jesus could be bolstered by returning AFCON stars Yassine Bounou and Kalidou Koulibaly. Both Morocco and Senegal have exited the competition since Al Hilal beat Inter Miami 4-3 last Monday.
Bono’s return would see Habib Al-Wutaian drop out of the starting lineup. Former number one Mohammed Al Owais continues to struggle with a back injury.
Al Hilal will also be bolstered by the return of nine Saudi Arabian stars from the AFC Asian Cup, but Brazilian superstar Neymar remains out of action with a long-term knee injury.
Al Hilal predicted lineup vs Al Nassr (4-2-3-1): Bono; Al Burayk, Al Dawsari, Koulibaly, Al Shahrani; Neves, Milinkovic-Savic; Michael, Malcom, Al-Qahtani; Mitrovic
This may be dubbed a friendly, but Thursday’s Riyadh derby is bound to be…