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Saudi Pro League | Gameweek 33
May 23, 2024 at 7pm UK
Prince Hathloul Bin Abdul Aziz Sport City Stadium (Najran)

Al Okhdood
1 - 1
Al Wahda

Collado (30')
Al Rubaie (45'), Al Mansour (68'), Khamis (89'), Pedroza (90'), Asiri (90+13')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Ighalo (12')
Al-Hafith (61'), De Moraes (70'), Noor (73'), Rahman Fetais Al Hajri (83'), Ighalo (90+13')

Preview: Al Okhdood vs. Al Wahda - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Saudi Pro League clash between Al Okhdood and Al Wahda, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aiming to avoid an immediate return to the second tier of Saudi football, Al Okhdood will welcome fellow strugglers Al Wahda to Prince Hathloul Bin Abdul Aziz Sport City Stadium on Thursday night in the Saudi Pro League.

The hosts realistically need at least another three points to secure their safety at this level for the 2024-25 campaign, whilst Al Wahda are still looking nervously over their shoulder following a poor run of form recently.


Match preview

Finishing third in the second tier of Saudi football last season, Al Okhdood's quest to avoid an immediate relegation from the Saudi Pro League has taken a severe turn in recent months, with Thursday's hosts now having won just one of their last 12 games after a 1-1 draw against Al Ettifaq on Friday.

An early red card for Ettifaq right-back Mohammed Yousef and Yaseen Al-Zubaidi's opener for Al Okhdood looked to have decided the course of the contest and the claimant of the three points, but substitute Majed Dawran netted late on for the hosts to force a share of the spoils.

Since the sacking of former manager Martin Sevela at the beginning of April, Algerian coach Noureddine Zekri has been tasked with turning the ship around and preserving the club's top-tier status, but the 59-year-old has failed to get his side in the shape required to avoid the drop.

That being said, Al Okhdood have been relatively impressive on their own patch since the arrival of Zerki, narrowly losing a five-goal thriller with Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr on May 9 after smashing relegation-threatened Abha 4-0, representing Okhdood's biggest success of the term.

Heading into their penultimate fixture of the 2023-24 campaign on Thursday night, Al Okhdood are currently occupying 16th position in the Pro League standings, two points behind 15th-placed Al Riyadh and Al Tai in safety, meaning that Zerki's troops realistically need to beat either Al Wahda or Al Taee on the final day to have any chance of staying up.

After escaping the drop by just four points last term, Al Wahda are in danger of being dragged into trouble at the wrong end of the Pro League once again during the closing stages of the campaign, with Thursday's visitors having tasted victory in only one of their last six league fixtures.

A brilliant brace from former Manchester United and Watford marksman Odion Ighalo fired his men to a much-needed maximum at Al Khaleej on May 10, but six days later Wahda were unable to build on an excellent result away from home, losing 1-0 to Al Raed due to a Karim El Berkaoui strike.

Having collected just four points in the last five matches - while scoring only two goals during that period - Al Wahda have slipped down to 13th place in the Pro League table, six points ahead of Thursday's hosts in 16th, meaning that a win in this one would secure the visitors' top-tier safety.

Not always the most popular figure with supporters this campaign, Greek manager Georgios Donis is close to guiding Al Wahda to another season in the Pro League, with the 54-year-old having a 31% win percentage since taking charge last summer, significantly better than during his previous spell at the club (18%).

As well as ex-Red Devil Ighalo leading the goalscoring charts for Wahda with 14 league strikes, a host of other notable international names can be found within the visitors' ranks, including 32-year-old winger Craig Goodwin, who starred for Australia at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Al Okhdood Saudi Pro League form:

Al Wahda Saudi Pro League form:


Team News

Al Okhdood have no fresh injury concerns to contend with following their 1-1 draw with Al Ettifaq last time out, meaning that Zerki could name an unchanged XI.

After saving a first-half penalty last time out with the scores goalless, Brazilian veteran Paulo Vitor is a certainty to keep his place in between the sticks.

Hamed Al Mansour provided the assist for Okhdood's goal and should retain his spot at left-back, although the likes of Hussain Al-Zabdani will be pushing for a start.

Al Wehda are without the services of 25-time international Goodwin, who suffered a broken rib in April and might not return before the end of the campaign.

The visitors' backline was also hit with an injury issue during April, as centre-back Oscar Duarte picked up a muscle strain and has not featured since.

Sultan Al Akouz sustained a cruciate ligament injury at the end of March and will be targeting a slow return to action at some point near the conclusion of 2024.


Al Okhdood possible starting lineup:
Vitor; Faraj, Kverkveliya, Al-Rubaie, Al Mansour; Al-Habib, Al Zubaidi, Collado, Pedroza, Godwin; Kana

Al Wahda possible starting lineup:
Munir; Al Mowalad, Makki, Al Hafith, Ahmed; Bakshween, Fajr, Noor, Anselmo, Hazzaa; Ighalo


SM words green background

We say: Al Okhdood 2-1 Al Wahda

Considering that Al Okhdood are yet to draw in 16 Pro League home matches and desperately require a win from this one, we are expecting an exciting affair on Thursday night.

The hosts' need for maximum points is greater, and during the final matches of the term this can make all the difference, so we are predicting a fourth defeat in five games for Al Wahda.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


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Game History

How you voted: Al Okhdood vs Al Wahda

Al Okhdood
88.9%
Draw
0.0%
Al Wahda
11.1%
9
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Tables header RHS

Group A

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Germany Germany22006
2 Switzerland Switzerland21104
3 Scotland flag Scotland20111
4 Hungary Hungary20020

Group B

TeamPWDLPTS
1 Spain Spain22006
2 Italy Italy21013
3 Albania national flag Albania20111
4 Croatia Croatia20111

Group C

TeamPWDLPTS
1 England flag England21104
2 Denmark Denmark20202
3 Slovenia Slovenia20202
4 Serbia Serbia20111

Group D

TeamPWDLPTS
1 Netherlands Netherlands11003
2 France France11003
3 Poland Poland10010
4 Austria Austria10010

Group E

TeamPWDLPTS
1 Romania Romania11003
2 Slovakia Slovakia11003
3 Belgium Belgium10010
4 Ukraine Ukraine10010

Group F

TeamPWDLPTS
1 Turkey Turkey11003
2 Portugal Portugal11003
3 Czech Republic Czech Republic10010
4 Georgia Georgia10010


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