How Cristiano Ronaldo and Al Nassr can clinch Saudi Pro League title

Just three points separate leaders Al Ittihad and Nassr as season reaches dramatic finale

Al Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring the winner against Al Shabab in the Saudi Pro League. Reuters
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Cristiano Ronaldo’s sublime winner for Al Nassr against Al Shabab on Tuesday deprived Al Ittihad of sealing the Saudi Pro League trophy with two rounds to spare. With three points separating the title chasers, we look at what faces both clubs as the season races to a dramatic conclusion.

Saturday, May 27

Needing one win from their two remaining fixtures to secure the title, victory for Ittihad at 12th-placed Al Fayha will get the job done irrespective of what Nassr do away to Al Ettifaq, who sit 10th. Ittihad hold a superior head-to-head record over Nassr – the league’s first decider should teams be level on points – having beaten their title rivals 1-0 at home in March.

The initial encounter between the two, at Mrsool Park in October and long before Ronaldo arrived, finished goalless. So, should Ittihad triumph at Al Fayha, who have one win in 10, they will clinch a first top-flight crown since 2009.

Wednesday, May 31

However, if Ittihad drop points at Fayha, victory for Nassr at Ettifaq would set up a thrilling finale four days later. On the 2022/23 campaign’s final day, Nassr host Al Fateh, currently sixth, while Ittihad entertain eighth-placed Al Tai.

The Jeddah side, who enjoy an incredible home support, will fancy their chances of getting the win that would render redundant Nassr’s result: Ittihad have won seven of their past eight matches at home, including the last five. Yet the pressure will be on the league leaders after they threw away a 16-point lead last season to finish runners-up. Nassr, chasing a first title in four years, need to be ready to pounce.

Updated: May 25, 2023, 5:09 AM