Preview: Al Hazem vs. Al Ettifaq – prediction, team news, lineups – Sports Mole

The Saudi Professional League returns with a fresh set of fixtures as Al Hazem and Al Ettifaq go head to head at the Al Hazm Club Stadium on Friday.
Both sides head into the weekend fresh off the back of contrasting opening-day results and we anticipate a thrilling contest as they look to put together an early run of form.

Al Hazem enjoyed a stellar 2022-23 as they finished third in the Saudi Second Division to clinch an immediate return to the Professional League.
Filipe Gouveia‘s men were relegated to the second tier in the previous campaign when they picked up just 17 points from 30 league matches to finish rooted to the bottom of the table.
Al Hazem picked up 20 wins from their 34 Second Division matches while claiming eight draws and losing six to collect 68 points and finish level with second-placed Al Akhdood.
However, they were denied a winning start on their return to the top flight as they fell to a 3-1 defeat against Al-Ahli at the Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium last Friday.
Making his debut following his move from Liverpool, Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino announced his arrival in style as he scored a hat-trick to hand the hosts a comfortable opening-day victory.
While Al Hazem will be looking to bounce back this weekend, they face the challenge of an opposing side who are unbeaten in seven of their last eight meetings, claiming five wins and two draws since December 2015.
Steven Gerrard could not have hoped for a more encouraging start to life in the Saudi Professional League as he watched his Al Ettifaq side come from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over Al-Nassr on Monday.
A fourth-minute strike from Sadio Mane put Al-Nassr ahead at the Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium but second-half goals from Robin Quaison and Moussa Dembele turned the game on its head.
Prior to that, Al Ettifaq picked up successive wins over Al-Jazira and Skopje in their final two friendly matches after failing to win any of their opening four games in pre-season.
The Commandos now head into the weekend looking to pick up a fourth win on the trot for the first time since winning four straight games in Group D of the AFC Champions League back in 2009.
However, Al Ettifaq have struggled for results away from home this year, picking up just two wins and losing seven of their 11 Professional League matches since the turn of the year.

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Al Hazem will take to the pitch without the services of Leixoes loanee Ben Traore, who was forced off with a 49th-minute injury in last week’s opener against Al-Ahli.
In the absence of the Ivory Coast midfielder, Mohammed Al-Thain should come into the fold, forming the midfield trio with Basil Yousef Al-Sayyali and former Porto man Toze.
In attack, 32-year-old Vina, who recently signed on loan from Ceara, will look to deliver the goods once again and should form the front two with Yousef Al-Shammari.
Newly-signed striker Dembele opened his account for Al Ettifaq on Monday and should keep his spot in the visitors’ attack, alongside Quaison and 21-year-old Ahmed Al-Ghamdi.
England international Jordan Henderson should retain his role at the heart of the midfield, teaming up with Faisal Al-Ghamdi and Ali Hazazi, while we expect an unchanged centre-back pairing of Marcel Tisserand and former Club Brugge man Jack Hendry.

Al Hazem possible starting lineup:
Aymen Dahmen; Al Shammari, Al Mhemaid, Al-Absi, Tanker, Al-Oteibi: Toze, Al-Thain, Al-Sayyali; Al-Shammari, Vina
Al Ettifaq possible starting lineup:
Victor; Yousef, Tisserand, Hendry, Khateeb; Al-Ghamdi, Henderson, Hazazi; Al-Ghamdi, Dembele, Quaison

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The last four meetings between Al Hazem and Al Ettifaq has produced a combined 21 goals and we anticipate another action-packed contest between the sides this weekend. Gerrard’s side boasts the firepower needed to get this one over the line and we are backing them to pick up from where they dropped off last Monday.

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







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