The enticing prospect of late drama, at both ends of the table, should strengthen or ebb away throughout an intriguing match-week of the 2019/20 Saudi Professional League.
Leaders Al Hilal’s advantage was pegged back to six points last time out in a consequential 2-1 defeat at AFC Champions League-chasers Al Ahli Jeddah, a result which lifts Al Nassr’s distant dream of retaining their trophy. Promoted Al Adalah, however, have been cut adrift at the bottom and require an unlikely victory this round to stay alive, if results go against them.
Here is a trio of must-watch matches:
AL HILAL V AL FAISALY (TUESDAY, 20:00)
Concerns defined Hilal’s loss in Jeddah.
The greatest was witnessing ex-France international Bafetimbi Gomis collapse, because of a pre-existing condition, in the early runnings. “We will continue to fight for @Alhilal_FC to be champion” was the defiant message that came back from the 20-goal striker, who recovered to play on as Nassr-bound Abdulfattah Asiri struck a 74th-minute winner for the hosts.
This goal not only narrowed Hilal’s lead. It also had ramifications in the race for Asia which has gripped next opponents, Faisaly.
Only a top-three finish will guarantee progression, via automatic qualification or the play-offs, to the 2021 ACL. This is an exalted competition Pericles Chamusca’s men are yet to grace, in 66 years of existence.
Significant obstacles remain for the Brazilian’s fifth-placed side. Least of which are games versus fourth-placed Wehda and Al Raed, who sit sixth, after the daunting trip to Hilal.
Chamusca – who ended 2018/19 on loan at Hilal in a quirky move, virtually unheard of outside the Kingdom – held his former temporary employers to a 2-2 draw in January, courtesy of Trinidad and Tobago battler Khaleem Hyland’s 92nd-minute equaliser.
A repeat would,