Al Ittifaq will host Al-Nassr this Monday 14 August for match 1 of the Saudi Pro League 2023/2024.
The new football season has started in Saudi Arabia and there is a growing trend in the league which is evident from the caliber of players joining the teams. Al-Nassr’s standout figure, Cristiano Ronaldo, stands out among the early arrivals. He strongly believes that he can secure the title for his team this year, which he failed to do in the previous season.
In an effort to achieve this goal, Al-Nassr participated in several friendly matches against European teams. Now their focus shifts to the upcoming meeting with Al-Ittifaq. Those who secured seventh position last season are determined to raise their performance this year and fight for the top spot in the league table.
As mentioned above, Ronaldo was sidelined with an injury after scoring a late double to secure his first trophy since arriving in Saudi Arabia. Manager Luis Castro will be sweating over the fitness of his star striker ahead of the start of the Saudi Pro League. But it is highly unlikely that he will start here.
To say he will be missed would be an understatement. Six goals in five games, including the winner that secured Al-Nassr’s place in the knockout stages, the winner in the semi-final and both goals in the showpiece, Ronaldo proved once again that he remains the greatest footballer in history after firing Al-Nassr to Arab Champions success Cup.
In the absence of the Portuguese forward, summer signing Sadio Mane would switch to central striker, flanked by electric wing duo Anderson Talisca and Abdulrahman Ghareeb.
Head coach Luis Castro could continue with his preferred 4-3-3 system, with Fofana and former Inter midfielder Brozovic trying to set the pace from the engine room. Elsewhere, Brazilian left-back Telles will look to bomb forward at every opportunity in an attempt to deliver quality balls into the box with his dangerous left foot.
Goalkeeper David Ospina is still unavailable after breaking his elbow in January. So youngster Nawaf Al-Aqidi will continue to deputize for the former Arsenal striker between the sticks for Al-Nassr against Al-Ettifaq.
Al-Ettifaq Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Victor; Mowalad, Hendry, Velkovski, Khateeb; Henderson, Ozdemir, Hazazi; Quaison, Dembele, Vitinho
Al-Nassr Probable Lineup (4-3-3):
Al-Aqidi; S. Al-Ghannam, Lajami, Madu, Telles; Al-Khaibari, Brozovic, Fofana; Talisca, Mane, Ghareeb