So much at stake for both ends of the table in Roshn Saudi League’s ‘Super Saturday’
The penultimate round of the season is often an exciting one – and this Saturday’s matchweek 29 in Roshn Saudi League is no different.
The remaining questions at both ends of the table could be settled or they could be set up for the most thrilling of finales next Wednesday.
Many eyes will be focused on the top of the standings. Al Ittihad sit on 66 points after 28 games, three ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr.
If the leaders win then they will be crowned champions for the first time since 2008/09 (head-to-head results, not goal difference, separates teams who are level on points).
The equation could not be simpler. Victory at Al Fayha will see the Tigers get their mighty paws on the trophy, but while the equation may be simple, completing the task will be trickier.
The hosts are just three-points clear of the relegation zone and know themselves that a win could ensure their top-flight survival. The Al Majma’ah outfit are also in decent form and have not been beaten in their last three games.
With both teams having plenty to play for, it should be quite an occasion.
Al Ittihad recovered from dropping a 2-0 lead at Al Hilal to draw 2-2, to defeat Al Batin 1-0 on Tuesday. Romarinho headed home in the ninth minute in Jeddah and a packed crowd expected a comfortable victory against the bottom team.
It never happened and there was some tension in the closing stages, especially with Al Batin desperate for a goal. They never managed it and fell through the trapdoor into the second tier.
Despite rallying in the second half of the season, the initial run of 16-winless games gave them too much to do.
As well as Al Fayha, there are three teams in the middle of this fierce relegation battle, fighting to avoid joining Al Batin: Al Adalah, Al Khaleej and Al Wehda.
Al Adalah are next to bottom on 27 points and play Al Batin next – and after defeating defending champions Al Hilal 2-0 earlier in the week have new found belief that they can stay up. They are level on points with Al Khaleej, who are also fighting hard after defeating Al Wehda 4-1 to move to within two points of the losers.
Both teams have mid-table opponents on Saturday. Al Khaleej are at Al Raed, who are still theoretically not safe from the drop but should be fine, while Al Wehda travel to Al Tai.
Al Nassr know that they have to win to have any hope of staying in the title race. The Yellows came back in spectacular fashion on Tuesday.
Two goals down to Riyadh rivals Al Shabab, they bounced back and took the points thanks to a spectacular winner from Ronaldo.
They go east to Ettifaq, who are struggling but should have enough in the bank to avoid relegation, needing just one point from their last two games to be certain –the last is a potential nail-biter against Al Adalah.
The pressure is on the visitors, however, and at this stage of the season, it is not about the performances but getting the result for those at the top as well as the bottom.