How an enthralling Roshn Saudi League title run-in is shaping up for leaders Al Ittihad, Al Nassr, Al Shabab and Al Hilal
The Roshn Saudi League season is now in its final stages – and it is now that fans of the top four become familiar with, not just their remaining fixtures, but those of their rivals.
Al Ittihad, Al Nassr, Al Shabab and champions Al Hilal will know what their teams have to do. As things stand, Al Ittihad have 59 points from 24 game, Al Nassr are next with 56 from 25, Al Shabab are third with 53 from 24 and Al Hilal have 49 from 25.
Al Ittihad are, then, out in front and desperate to win the title for the first time since 2008/09. With 34 points from the last 36 available, the Tigers are in great form, but will be taking nothing for granted
On Wednesday, they travel to Al Taawoun and know they will be in for a tough encounter.
The Buraidah club sit in sixth and while their recent form has not been great with just three points from the last 15, Pericles Chamusca’s men have already shown this season that they can upset the top teams with victories over Al Nassr and Al Hilal. It could be a pivotal evening.
Then comes a home game against mid-table Abha, before a really huge clash against holders Al Hilal.
After that comes a date with bottom club Al Batin who have started to pick up points as their unlikely bid to survive gathers momentum. Then comes a tricky trip to Al Fahya, a team not yet clear of the relegation battle, before it all ends against Al Tai at home.
With Al Ittihad in such fine form, all teams will be looking to put their best foot forward with the rest of the nation watching.
Al Nassr need the leaders to drop some points in that run, but the Riyadh club will also have to make sure that they don’t slip up. Coach Dinko Jelicic will be pleased that three of their last five are at home, with the first of those against relegation battlers Al Khaleej.
After a trip to Al Tai comes the big one, a home clash against Al Shabab. It is fair to say that the team that loses this game will have a huge job on their hands to catch the leaders.
If there is to be a league title number 10 then for Al Nassr, then there must also be good results in the final two games against Ettifaq and Al Fateh, currently in fifth place. Cristiano Ronaldo has won many trophies in his stellar career and his experience could prove to be vital.
Al Shabab are six points behind Al Ittihad in third after losing to the leaders in a dramatic game in late April and there can be no more slip-ups. The Riyadh club host Al Fateh on Wednesday and then head east to face Ettifaq.
Then comes Al Wehda, before the huge game with their Riyadh rivals Al Nassr on May 23. It all ends with a home game against Al Taawoun and then a trip to Damac.
For Al Hilal, they resume after their AFC Champions League Finals commitments with the gargantuan clash at Al Ittihad. Their final quartet of opposition are all currently found in the table’s bottom half: Damac, Al Adalah, Abha and Al Raed.
There is still plenty of football to be played.