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

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

Al-Ahli and Al Akhdood meet for the first time since securing promotion to the Saudi Professional League when they lock horns at the Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium on Thursday.

Both sides have had contrasting starts to the top-flight campaign, with Matthias Jaissle‘s men amongst just three sides to win each of their opening two league matches.

Match preview

Al-Ahli continued their perfect start to the new Saudi Professional Division campaign as they cruised to a 3-1 victory over Al-Khaleej at the Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium last Thursday.

Roger Ibanez and Riyad Mahrez scored first-half goals to put the visitors in a commanding lead, and after Mansour Hamzi pulled one back in the 58th minute, substitute Sumaihan Al-Nabit made sure of the result in the 11th minute of added time.

This followed a 3-1 victory over Al Hazem in the league curtain-raiser on August 11, when former Liverpool man Roberto Firmino scored a hat-trick to inspire the Royal to an opening-day victory.

Jaissle’s men have now gone unbeaten in each of their last five competitive matches, claiming four wins and one draw since a 2-1 loss against Al Arabi in the First Division back in May.

Al-Ahli stormed to the second-tier title last season when they picked up 21 wins and nine draws in their 34 matches to collect 72 points and secure an immediate return to the top flight following their relegation in the 2021-22 campaign.

Al Akhdood finished just four points behind Thursday’s hosts last season to finish as runners-up in the second tier and secure promotion to Saudi Professional League for the first time in history.

The Najran-based outfit have struggled to hit their strides on the top flight as they kicked off the campaign with a 1-1 draw at Al Shabab on August 14, Ahmed Abu struck in the 66th minute to cancel out Andrei Burca‘s first-held opener.

Al Akhdood failed to get their season up and running last Friday as they fell to a 3-1 defeat against Al-Fateh when the sides squared off at the Prince Hathloul Bin Abdul Aziz Sport City Stadium.

In a game where Alex Collado received his marching orders, former Barcelona forward Christin Telo turned in a clinic as he scored three and set up another to cancel out Florin Tanase‘s 23rd-minute opener and turn the game on its head.

Jorge Mendonca‘s men head into the midweek clash without a win in their last three games on the road, — losing twice and claiming one draw 1 — having gone unbeaten in their first eight away from home this year.

However, Al Akhdood will be backing themselves to find their feet as they take on an opposing side who lost both home and away meetings between the teams in the second division last season.

Al-Ahli Saudi Pro League form:

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Team News

Following his headline-grabbing debut, Firmino missed last week’s game against Al-Khaleej due to a hamstring problem and the former Liverpool forward is a doubt for Thursday’s matchup.

Fahad Ayed Al-Rashidi was trusted with the centre-forward role and the 26-year-old, who scored seven league goals last season, could lead the hosts’ attack for the second game running.

He should be joined in the final third by Allan Saint-Maximin and 32-year-old Mahrez, who opened his account in Saudi Arabia with a venomous strike last Thursday, while Merih Demiral could make his debut following his move from Atalanta.

Al Akhdood, on the other hand, will take to the pitch without Collado after the 24-year-old, who recently joined on loan from Real Betis, picked up a red card last time out.

In his absence, Saleh Al-Harthi could be handed a starting role on Thursday, forming the front three with Musleh Al Shaikh and Smouha loanee Ahmed Mostafa.

Colombian midfielder Juan Pedroza was forced off injured with 20 minutes to go against Al-Fateh last Friday and is also a major doubt for Mendonca’s men.

Al-Ahli possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Alioski, Deniral, Ibanez, Majrashi, Kessie, Aljohani; Saint-Maximin, Boudebou, Mahrez; Al-Rashidi

Al Okhdood possible starting lineup:
Vitor; Al Zabdani, Kvirkvelia, Burca, Faraj; Jahif, Al Muwallad; Al-Harthi, Tanase, Al Shaikh; Mostafa

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We say: Al-Ahli 3-0 Al Okhdood

While Al-Ahli have hit the ground running in the new campaign, Al Akhdood have struggled to get going as they make their first-ever appearance in the top flight. Jaissle’s have been one of the more active sides in the window and we fancy them cruising to a comfortable victory against the inexperienced visitors.

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

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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