In the inaugural game of the new season in the Pro Saudi League, Al Nassr staged an impressive comeback, clinching a 2-1 victory over Ettifaq. The captain, Jordan Henderson, and the manager, Steven Gerrard, guided the team to their first competitive win, with Moussa Dembele scoring the winning goal on his debut for Al Ettifaq.
Former Fulham and Celtic striker Dembele, who is a newcomer to his new club, recovered from falling behind in the fourth minute as Sadio Mane’s cross deflected off Vitinho and turned into a goal at half-time.
Al Nassr goalkeeper Nawaf Alaqidi took advantage of the delivery mishap and resulted in Robin Quaison scoring the equalizing goal two minutes into the second half. The corner kick was executed by Jordan Henderson, the captain of Gerrard’s team, who also played alongside Mane during Liverpool’s victory in the 2019 UEFA Champions League final.
Since joining Bayern Munich from the publicly owned Saudi investment fund, Alhassan Ali cut back and clipped the ball into the net early on, scoring his first goal for Al Nassr, which brought the team closer to a range of $30.4 million.
In the nonexistence of Cristiano Ronaldo, Al Nassr suffered a starting loss as an offside indicator disallowed his relentless first-time strike and Mane was deprived of a late equalizer when a strike shortly after almost had a second.
On the second instance, defender Marcel Tisserand courageously obstructed Ayman Yahya’s shot, one of two attempts from the away team to hit the crossbar. The initial one being midfielder Abdulmajeed Al Sulayhem’s long-distance hit.
Several players experienced cramp and injuries during the later stages of the second half due to the scorching conditions, resulting in 14 minutes of added time. Exhaustion played a role in this.
Al Ettifaq started their campaign with three points, with the assistance of Berat Ozdemir, who substituted Henderson in the 88th minute and had a more defensive approach.
Al Ettifaq’s ultimate contributors to the goal tally were Robin Quaison (47′) and Moussa Dembele (53′), whereas Sadio Mane (4′) was the goal scorer for Al Nassr.
48. Paulo Victor (goalkeeper) — 12. Al-Hawsawi (Yousef 72′), 32. Tisserand, 4. Hendry, 70. Khateeb — 16. F. Al-Ghamdi, 10. Henderson (Ozdemir 88′) — 15. A. Al-Ghamdi (Vitinho 46′), 11. Ali Hazazi (Mahzari 72′), 99. Quaison — 9. Dembele (H. Al-Ghamdi 85′): Al Ettifaq (4-2-3-1).
44. Al-Aqidi (Goalkeeper) — 12. Boushal (Sahlouli in the 90th minute), 4. Al Fatil, 21. Mukhtar, 13. Konan — 19. Al Hassan (Adam in the 71st minute), 17. Al Khaibari, 8. Al Sulaiheem (Al Najei in the 65th minute) — 46. Al Alawi (Al Ghannam in the 46th minute), 10. Mane, 29. Ghareeb (Aiman in the 71st minute): Al Nassr (4-3-3).
Al Hazem, located in Ar Rass, will have their inaugural away match of the season against Al Ettifaq on Friday. They experienced a 3-1 loss on Friday, where Brazil striker Roberto Firmino scored three goals.
Al Nassr, under the leadership of Luis Castro, will be playing at their home stadium against Al-Taawoun on the same day. Al-Taawoun, their opponents, secured a point from a 1-1 draw against Al Fateh on Sunday.
Henderson and Gerrard show steel in Saudi Pro League
Accompanied by Henderson, Gerrard’s subsequent position materialized nearly 4,000 miles distant when his initial managerial role in the Premier League abruptly concluded with his dismissal by Aston Villa in October 2022.
After enjoying a successful tenure at the prominent Scottish club Rangers, Gerrard assumed the managerial position in the middle of the previous campaign following a difficult period at Villa Park. He aspires to restore his standing in the football community.
Steven Gerrard is in the house 🙌#yallaRSL #RoshnSaudiLeague pic.twitter.com/58vdfNxJaE
The English national has encountered controversy and disapproval for his departure from Anfield to become part of the group of well-known players who are accepting highly rewarding offers in Saudi Arabia, whereas Gerrard’s move was unexpected.
Throughout the first 45 minutes, Henderson labored for a squad incapable of generating any shots on goal, facing difficulties in moving forward into threatening regions while operating from a defensive position and delivering a cross that was both high and wide during one of his few attempts in the attacking third.
Before heading down the tunnel, Gerrard squabbled with his counterpart Luis Castro. At halftime in the dressing room, Al Ettifaq’s most high-profile acquisitions would have made their exacting standards clear, as they are accustomed to playing among the elite winners of the Champions League.
Jordan Henderson leads his @Ettifaq_EN team out in the #RoshnSaudiLeague for the first time 💪#yallaRSL pic.twitter.com/0Akh43kKJv
Despite the opposing team’s dominance, it was a stroke of luck that Quaison scored a goal for the Swedish national team against re-Al Ettifaq, which was a stark contrast to their overall impressive performance.
The Commandos created an overlap for Brazilian player Vitinho by whipping a cross in front of the goal and latching on to a pass, demonstrating their much crisper passing.
The only thing that truly counts are the points it gained. Dembele, who was criticized by Henderson for not offering a passing option in a subsequent play, is unlikely to spend much time contemplating the poorly executed shot that determined the outcome of this match.
Al Ettifaq and Al Okhdood pick up massive results to finish off matchweek 1 👊#yallaRSL #RoshnSaudiLeague pic.twitter.com/e1eAzusbYl
Why did Cristiano Ronaldo not play for Al Nassr?
In the 98th and 74th minutes, Ronaldo scored goals in a dramatic fashion to secure a win. This was before he played for Al Nassr in the Arab Club Champions Cup, just two days before the start of the new season.
Before the pitch was called off, there was more bad news when the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had to end his game early. Additionally, Ronaldo’s side had been reduced to 10 players three minutes before he scored the equalizer.
The former top scorer of Manchester United, who is likely to be upset, was clearly clutching his leg, which is the likely explanation for him missing their first league game.
Mané’s first goal 🙌💛 pic.twitter.com/Ll9eqAZ7AE
Participating in exhausting temperatures for a total of 104 minutes, which included stoppage time, two of their recent acquisitions in July, Alex Telles and Marcelo Brozovic, were also absent from their lineup for a league game.
Ronaldo, in addition to being a force to be reckoned with, should form a formidable pair with Milan Inter’s left midfielder Brozovic, as Telles Defender has joined Manchester United.
Despite the possibility of being teamed up with Ronaldo, the previous recipient of the Premier League Golden Boot could have still ended up losing, but Mane continues to be an outstanding player, having been awarded the title of African Footballer of the Year twice.
Jordan Henderson leads his @Ettifaq_EN team out in the #RoshnSaudiLeague for the first time 💪#yallaRSL pic.twitter.com/0Akh43kKJv
Besides his invalidated goal, Mane remained subdued in the latter half, as Tisserand and Scotland defender Jack Hendry displayed unwavering strength in defense, effectively fortifying Al Ettifaq’s resolve.
The task of winning the league for the first time looks tough – Firmino’s treble was an early reminder of the caliber of players to follow Ronaldo to the country — The Champions Cup win in Saudi Arabia was Ronaldo’s maiden trophy in a much-improved competition.
MORE: Why the reported transfer of Jordan Henderson to Saudi Arabia is generating so much controversy.
Al Ettifaq vs Al Nassr live updates, highlights, commentary
Final: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr
The crowd erupts with excitement as Steven Gerrard secures his first victory as a manager in the Saudi Pro League!
In the fourth minute, Sadio Mane opened the game, and Dembele Moussa made his debut as the matchwinner, following an insipid first half from Ettifaq Al, to turn the game around.
After 90 minutes plus 9 minutes of extra time, Al Ettifaq emerged victorious with a score of 2-1 against Al Nassr.
This time, Paulo Victor’s performance was not as convincing, as he punched a delivery that he could have easily caught.
Can Mane, the two-time African Footballer of the Year, find a super-late second for his team in a dangerous area, where a razor-sharp turn is produced beforehand?
After 90 minutes plus 8 minutes of extra time, Al Ettifaq defeats Al Nassr with a score of 2-1.
Victor, the brave goal-keeper from Al Ettifaq’s team, races to the edge of his penalty area to produce a difficult smash underarm two-handed volleyball-style, which is both effective and entertaining.
90 +6 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
Ettifaq Al has a chance to run down the clock and secure a win with a deep free-kick in the opposition’s territory. We’re almost at the midway point of added time.
90 +3 minutes: Al Ettifaq leads 2-1 against Al Nassr.
Adam Abdulfattah has managed to go near the edge of the penalty area, in a central position, bypassing the crowd of players, and being hooked away from Al-Khateeb Abdullah’s line by striking a low shot.
Anxious moments for Al Ettifaq!
In the 90th minute plus stoppage time, Al Ettifaq leads Al Nassr with a score of 2-1.
Al Nassr have a set-piece opportunity in a perilous position just outside the penalty box on the right.
90 minutes: Al Ettifaq defeats Al Nassr with a score of 2-1.
The sight of the fourth official’s board might ease some of the annoyance that Sadio Mane may experience in relation to being refused a goal.
There will be an additional 14 minutes of added time. Will Steven Gerrard feel remorseful for substituting Jordan Henderson?
89 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
On the right side of the penalty box, the ball from the left was delivered when he was deemed to have moved slightly past the Al Ettifaq defense, but unfortunately, Sadio Mane skillfully strikes the ball into the net with a superb first-touch shot towards the opposite corner of the goal.
88 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
Regardless, he has been substituted, but Jordan Henderson remains one of the few players who have not visibly experienced muscle fatigue during the latter part of the game.
Berat Ozdemir, the defensive midfielder, assumes his position.
85 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
Moussa Dembele makes way for Al Ettifaq, presumably a satisfied striker after scoring what’s headed to be the winner on his debut.
Midfielder Hamed Al-Ghamdi takes his place. It appears that Steven Gerrard is strengthening the team as his players nears the win.
82 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
Hendry Jack, the Scottish center-back, has been solid for Ettifaq Al, as he athletically crosses the right side while under pressure in a dangerous area.
79 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
Al Nassr seeks a penalty for a handball committed by Marcel Tisserand, but they do not receive it.
77 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
Marcel Tisserand, who is behind the ball, bravely deflects it in the way of his body at point-blank range. The ball strikes the crossbar and the post at a tight angle from Yayha’s half-volley’s crossbar and post angle at a close range! As a result, Nassr Al nearly scores.
75 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
Another potential victim: Robin Quaison collapses with muscle pain inside the penalty box on the right.
He’s extending his right leg in an effort to correct the situation, and needs to leave for medical treatment.
72 minutes: Al Ettifaq defeats Al Nassr with a score of 2-1.
Sadio Mane has had minimal participation. Al Nassr had the sole shot on goal in the first half, but they have generated very few opportunities since halftime.
69 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
The fans of Al Ettifaq’s Sanousi Hawsawi feel a ping and stretch their hamstrings for a few minutes on the turf, which requires treatment subsequently on the side of the pitch.
The unlucky defender will not be participating any longer in this match.
66 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
Jordan Henderson criticizes Moussa Dembele because the forward failed to offer a passing option.
The England midfielder showed no signs of slowing down in his inaugural Saudi Pro League match.
63 minutes: Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr.
It is not a huge surprise to see Al-Fatil Mohammed Nassr’s body pulling up with a hamstring strain, similar to what looks like a technical area. This test of stamina is taking a toll on the players’ bodies.
Steven Gerrard, who is the closest individual to him, ensures the well-being of Al-Fatil.
61 minutes: Al Ettifaq beats Al Nassr 2-1.
Ettifaq Al has shown sharper ambition in their attacking play, as well as taking the lead on their way to passing their opponents, with the temperature being as blistering as the start of the second half.
They had to generate opportunities for Robin Quaison and Moussa Dembele – and they have been compensated for enhancing the delivery routes.
58 minutes: Al Ettifaq defeats Al Nassr with a score of 2-1.
Henderson and Gerrard, Steven, will be much happier to say that they will sideline a few words on tactics. They were at half-time.
55 minutes: Al Ettifaq defeats Al Nassr 2-1.
The midfielder sends a terrific shot from well outside the penalty area, curling it towards the right side of the goal! Unfortunately, Sulayhem Al Abdulmajeed is not fortunate enough to bring Nassr Al Level.
53 minutes: Al Ettifaq leads 2-1 against Al Nassr.
In an offensive play on the left side, Vitinho sprinted towards a pass while Steven Gerrard hoped for the ball to enter the goal.
What a way to begin the second half for Al Ettifaq – another player making their debut manages to score. Moussa Dembele, the recent addition to the team, slightly mishit the ball in front of the goal, and it took at least one deflection before reaching its destination. The substitute then delivered a tempting cross, which was positioned close to the ground.
52 minutes: GOAL – Al Ettifaq 2-1 Al Nassr (Moussa Dembele).
Steven Gerrard raises both of his arms in the air as Al Ettifaq completely changes the game!
💪 @MDembele_10 bags the winner on his #RoshnSaudiLeague debut 🇫🇷 #yallaRSL pic.twitter.com/FlffzPPPko
49 minutes: Al Ettifaq and Al Nassr are tied at 1-1.
It’s a messy way for Steven Gerrard’s side to establish parity, but Liverpudlian won’t care in the slightest! The goal is confirmed.
Nawaf Al-Aqidi made the ball in front of the goal, successfully catching Jordan Henderson’s delivery from the right. Quaison stabs in for the first goal, which was even more straightforward than Sadio Mane’s.
48 minutes: GOAL – Al Ettifaq 1-1 Al Nassr (Robin Quaison).
The ball is poked into the net by Sweden forward Robin Quaison from a short distance after a corner by Jordan Henderson!
However, it will go to VAR in order to review a challenge on goalkeeper Nawaf Al-Aqidi.
47 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
Al Nassr has swapped Ahmed Al-Ghamdi for striker Victor Tavares dos Santos, whereas Al Ettifaq has exchanged Abdulaziz Saud Al Elewai with Khalid Al-Ghannam. Both teams have made a substitution.
46 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
Al Nassr, progressing from the left flank to the right flank, restarts the game as Ghislain Konan attempts to initiate an early offensive on the wing.
Halftime: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr
The incident since the goal at half-time whistle blows is the most eventful, with Castro Luis and Gerrard Steven, opposing managers, arguing fiercely as their characters clash.
In this exhausting heat, both managers, you speculate, will be urging their players to be more aggressive during halftime. However, it doesn’t appear very amicable as they gradually depart, Luis Castro embraces him.
45 plus 1 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
We’re five minutes into added time, and Sulayhem Al Abdulmajeed, who has had an impressive half in the attacking midfield role, could take a break to seize an opportunity or address a minor problem.
43 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
The activity has become quieter to some extent, possibly indicating the demanding circumstances in which these players are competing.
Sitting in his seat, Steven Gerrard is emphasizing a message to his coaching staff while a supporter clad in a Real Madrid jersey is honking a horn.
After 40 minutes, Al Nassr leads Al Ettifaq with a score of 1-0.
Jordan Henderson grimaces as he picks up the ball on the left side of the penalty area, after a well-executed lofted pass clears the target and finds space in the halfway line, prompting him to start a move.
Al Nassr are approaching a halftime advantage.
37 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
The sole effort towards the goal has indeed been a match with limited opportunities – except for Sadio Mane effortlessly putting Al Nassr in the lead.
Al Ettifaq has dominated possession for the majority of the game, except for the final third, with a remarkable 57% of the ball. As one would expect, Captain Jordan Henderson is currently operating in a more defensive role.
34 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
Among the fans, there are plenty of colorful sights as some proudly display their allegiances, waving white and green flags and sporting blue and yellow scarves. The stadium is filled with empty patches of blue seats.
31 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
Tonight, the new head coach of Al Ettifaq, dressed in a dark t-shirt, is making his managerial debut, which is just as exciting as Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard’s debut in this division.
29 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
Paulo Victor, the goalie for Al Ettifaq, contests for a high ball, causing the scorer to briefly lie on the ground. Sadio Mane has something to convey to the referee.
In the scorching heat, everyone was drenched in sweat, except for Mane who seemed unaffected by the unpleasant consequences.
27 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
Omar Hawsawi, a seasoned defender, is being effectively guided by the stewards. However, on the outside of the penalty area, he momentarily resembles Moussa Dembele, as he advances towards the goal for Al Nassr.
Consequently, the newly-signed attacker finishes his run by checking up and running away from the penalty area, avoiding the fizzling danger.
After 24 minutes, Al Nassr leads Al Ettifaq with a score of 1-0.
Jordan Henderson looks up inside the center circle, seeing nothing to attract his attention in front of him and behind him, he passes the ball backward.
Al Ettifaq constructs once again, navigating their way down the left flank and making a throw-in that is almost comparable to the opposing team’s penalty area.
22 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
Ghislain Konan, the Ivorian left-back, enters the penalty area of Al Ettifaq, but fails to find a teammate and ends up looking lost.
Al Nassr clear unconvincingly. Their new Portuguese manager, Luis Castro, gulps from a bottle of water inside his technical area, looking sweaty.
19 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
Paulo Victor confidently claims the ball as the goalkeeper advances from his line, effectively stopping the opposing team’s attack. However, his team fails to generate a significant opportunity, and Abdulrahman Ghareeb, the winger for Al Nassr, demonstrates his quickness by swiftly moving down the left side after interrupting Al Ettifaq’s extended period of ball control.
After 17 minutes, Al Ettifaq is trailing behind Al Nassr by a score of 0-1.
Ettifaq Al has done very little in terms of attacking, despite dominating possession during the last few moments of play, with the opening of a pursuit in which they spread the play and pass the ball around halfway near the line.
After 14 minutes, Al Nassr leads with a score of 1-0 against Al Ettifaq.
With Al Ettifaq searching for a response, Al Nassr’s leader maintains composure while Jordan Henderson elegantly delivers an outswinging corner from the right side into the penalty box.
After 12 minutes, Al Ettifaq is trailing behind Al Nassr with a score of 0-1.
Following a contest for a 50-50 ball, Abdulmajeed Al Sulayhem, the midfielder for Al Nassr, finds himself in a pile just beyond his team’s penalty box.
The movie was really good, but the ending was disappointing.Output: The film was extremely enjoyable, but the conclusion left much to be desired.
11 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
Here’s that achievement!
SADIO MANE SCORES HIS FIRST GOAL FOR AL-NASSR 🇸🇳 pic.twitter.com/SJRC2kZc0S
8 minutes: Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr.
Sadio Mane, who is certain about his ability to score more goals, has undeniably started the season by effortlessly scoring one of the simplest goals he will ever score.
This time his shot from a distance narrowly misses the post.
5 minutes: GOAL – Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr (Sadio Mane).
That was a slick goal as Alhassan Ali, the midfielder from Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, skillfully cut back a low pass from the byline to sweep in Sadio Mane into the path towards the goal in the penalty area.
4 minutes: GOAL – Al Ettifaq 0-1 Al Nassr (Sadio Mane).
There is no problem when you have got Sadio Mane from Senegal as a striker for Nassr Al – he requires less than five minutes to open his account, unlike Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sadio Mane is straight off the mark in the #RoshnSaudiLeague 🇸🇳 #yallaRSL pic.twitter.com/7w79gDfgqX
After 1 minute of play, Al Ettifaq and Al Nassr are tied with a score of 0-0.
Nassr Al had more players participating early in the game. They wore blue shorts and yellow shirts. Additionally, Nassr Al had players wearing red socks and green shirts with white shorts.
(GK) Al-Aqidi — Bushal, Al Fatil, Konan, Mukhtar Ali — Al Khaibari, Al Sulayhem, Al Aliwi — Ghareeb, Mane: Al Nassr’s official starting eleven (potentially 4-4-2) to begin the match in 20 minutes.
Jordan Henderson and Moussa Dembele have been selected to start for Al Ettifaq. Here is their team lineup, employing a potential 4-2-3-1 configuration:
Paulo Victor (GK) – Al-Hawsawi, Tisserand, Hendry, Khateeb – Ali Hazazi, Al-Ghamdi – Henderson, Quaison, Al-Ghamdi – Dembele.
40 mins to kickoff: Team news! It’s big, too: Cristiano Ronaldo is not in the Al-Nassr matchday squad but Sadio Mane starts.
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Tonight, we will soon find out whether they’ll be starting. Sadio Mane and Cristiano Ronaldo are set to kick off in an hour, and we will have to see if they will be paired together for the strike.
Closing in on a 3-1 victory, Al-Hilal’s Brazilian player completed his hat-trick at Abha. It would be quite an accomplishment for any superstar to match Malcom’s performance tonight.
Ronaldo and Mane. Football’s newest bromance 🤝 (via @Nfcdiario) pic.twitter.com/nNS5R84Jun
The kickoff for the first 20 minutes of the game happened this evening in the Saudi Pro League. In another match, Ittihad Al- is leading by 2-0 against Raed Al- after 75 minutes, showcasing their dominance. However, their most notable signing has not yet managed to score.
Al-Hilal are leading 2-1 in Abha, with former Barcelona striker Malcom scoring both of their goals.
Ettifaq Al finished in seventh place last year, with four of their meetings in Nassr Al resulting in three points taken off. However, they started the kickoff with a goal in the first hour, specifically at the 40th minute.
According to bookies, it is anticipated that both teams will score, and the possibility of there being at least three goals is highly favored. The betting market has determined that there will be a significant number of goals in this match.
Hello and welcome to the live broadcast of the first game of the 2023-24 Pro Saudi League season between SN Sporting. The kickoff is just 2 hours away.
International acquisitions in England have not been bad, as they have made two-time African Footballer of the Year signings in the pre-season. Nassr Al has added firepower to their squad with the arrival of Sadio Mane, while Steven Gerrard, the manager of Ettifaq Al, has been reunited with Jordan Henderson.
We’ll have anticipation, updates on whether Mane and Henderson are starting and live coverage of the match coming up!
Al Ettifaq vs Al Nassr lineups
While a duo of renowned European celebrities did succeed in joining, Al Ettifaq lacks the identical support from PIF that Al Nassr enjoys.
Both Jordan Henderson and Moussa Dembele commenced their ultimate preseason game against Al Jazira on August 5. They had come from Liverpool and joined on a complimentary transfer from Lyon. Moreover, they were once more listed on the lineup for this match.
Al Ettifaq starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Paulo Victor (GK) – Al-Hawsawi, Tisserand, Hendry, Khateeb – Ali Hazazi, Al-Ghamdi – Henderson, Quaison, Al-Ghamdi – Dembele.
Following Al Nassr’s impressive performance in the Arab Club Champions Cup, the recent acquisitions of Sadio Mane, Marcelo Brozovic, Seko Fofana, and Alex Telles have undergone intensive training to reach optimal physical condition for upcoming matches.
Only Mane was selected in the starting lineup for this match, with Cristiano Ronaldo among those not included in the matchday squad.