5 things we learned as Al-Ittihad won Jeddah Derby to take Saudi Pro League lead
Al-Ittihad beat Al-Ahli 2-0 in the Jeddah Derby on Friday night to take a two-point lead at the top of the Saudi Professional League. The loss leaves Al-Ahli languishing just above the relegation zone. Here are five things we learned from the action.
1. Coronado exposes Al-Ahli’s Achilles heel
All season, Al-Ahli struggled to defend set pieces and it was a failure that was brutally exposed by Igor Coronado. While Talisca was in great shape for Al-Nassr, there is also an argument that Coronado is the best player in the league right now, and despite a late start to the campaign, he has already contributed three goals and six assists. in five games. – a very remarkable comeback. He made the difference between the two teams on Friday with his crosses creating both goals.
Al-Ahli has struggled with concentration and positioning when the ball has come a long way this season. We could see that it had been worked out and that there was a determination to deal with Al-Ittihad’s set pieces, but in the end, Besnik Hasi’s team couldn’t handle the superb delivery of the shot. frank for the first goal and the corner for the second – led with force by Ahmed Hegazi. Both centers gave Al-Ittihad the points and extended Al-Ahli’s winless start to the season to seven games.
2. A performance of champion of Al-Ittihad
It was a very close game and Al-Ahli asked many questions of his neighbors in the city – and they were answered. It was not a spectacular performance by the Tigers, and if they lift the trophy at the end of the season, it is not a game that will be remembered (except for the fact that it was about ‘derby win) but it’s games like these that make all the difference.
In a close game, moments count and Al-Ittihad had that ability to make a difference. They were tight at the rear with the defense led by Hegazi. The two midfielders, Karim El-Ahmadi and Abdulellah Al-Malki, rarely make the headlines but had to work extremely hard to cope with the pressure from Al-Ahli. Coronado will get the applause, but it was a victory based on hard work, strength and seizing opportunities when they arise. It was a complete professional performance and a sign of Ittihad’s steadfastness.
3. Encouraging display of Al-Ahli but. . .
No one in Saudi Arabia is unaware of the problems Al-Ahli has faced this season. Expectations were high before the start, but five draws and now two losses means they could fall into the relegation zone if other results are against them.
It was perhaps the struggling team’s best performance of the season. They have put Al-Ittihad under more pressure than any other team this season, but simply failed to make their way through the opposing defense. There has been a lot of effort and effort and signs of improving teamwork and fluidity.
The big question is, of course, what happens to coach Besnik Hasi? Many thought he would be out of work, but management decided to give him another chance in the derby. It ended in a loss and sure would be it, but it was an encouraging display. Will this be enough for the bosses? It remains to be seen.
4. A good and bad international break for Al-Ittihad
With 16 points in the last six games, Al-Ittihad might not be happy with the advent of the international break as Cosmin Contra will want to keep the momentum going. But more time on the training ground will not be wasted. Compared to Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad has fewer players in international service and fewer safe starters in the Saudi eleven.
Not only that, but as soon as the international break is over, the two Riyadh clubs have the little affair of the AFC Champions League quarter-final. These are huge games and Al-Ittihad will want their domestic rivals to make it all the way to the final while the Tigers can focus on accumulating points at home.
5. Hasi under pressure but Chamusca’s Al-Shabab improves
Hasi is the coach most under pressure at the moment but, if he stays in Jeddah, he will be able to rejoice in the situation of Pericles Chamusca in Al-Shabab. After an appalling start to the season, it looked like last season’s finalists would quickly go without the Brazilian.
Still, eight points from the last four games, with three of the opponents in the top six, he has the team in the top half of the table and the fans are smiling again. Although he fell behind early against Al-Fayha, Al-Shabab kept his cool, kept the ball and continued to walk away. Confidence in the camp improves and self-confidence was rewarded with two back-to-back goals to secure a 2-1 victory. A challenge for the title is unlikely, however, if the holes can be plugged in the defense then a top three ranking and a place in the AFC Champions League is possible.