Saudi Professional League 2018/19 fixtures announced
The Saudi Football Federation have released the full schedule of games for the upcoming Saudi Professional League season which will begin on August 30.
After having a record 13 Egyptians play in the Saudi top flight last season, there are currently six Egyptians who are on teams entering the season with Abdallah El-Said, Mohamed Awad, and Abdallah Bakri the new additions. The Saudi Professional League will have 16 teams for the first time in the league’s history for the 2018/19 season and will run from August 30, 2018 to May 2, 2019. With the increase in teams, the bottom three teams will be automatically relegated and the 13th placed team will play in the relegation play-off.
Al-Hilal enter the season as the holders but will face stiff competition in the eleventh season of the Professional Era.
Abdallah El-Said & Mohamed Abdel-Shafy
Aballah El-Said, who joined Al-Raaqi from Al Ahly after a breakdown in relations between the Cairo giants and the player, will be joined by former Zamalek defender Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, who was on loan at Al-Fateh for the second half of last season. Al-Ahli open their league journey against Al-Taawoun in the final game of the first match-day on September 1. In the third match-day, the club will face promoted side Al-Hazem on September 21. The Jeddah giants will face Al-Nassr in the eighth and 20th match-days before facing Al-Ittihad in the Jeddah Derby in the 10th and 22nd weeks. The highly anticipated match-up between Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal will take place in the 14th and 27th weeks of the league this season.
Mohamed Atwa joined Al-Raed last season during the winter transfer window from Ittihad of Alexandria. Al-Raed, who were very close to relegation last season, will come up against league title holders Al-Hilal in the second and 16th weeks of the league. In the eighth and 20th weeks, Al-Raed will face Al-Ittihad before facing Al-Nassr in the 13th and 26th weeks. They will also face newly promoted side Al-Hazem in the 14th and 27th weeks.
The former Ismaily keeper joined Al-Wehda after the club was promoted to the top flight. They will begin their season against promoted side Al-Hazem and will face them in the 17th week as well. Al-Wehda will face Jeddah giants Al-Ittihad in the fourth and 18th weeks before facing Al-Hilal in the ninth and 23rd weeks. The Knights of Mecca, who last won a top flight title in 1966, will then face Al-Nassr in the 11th and 24th weeks. Elsewhere, the club will look to remain undefeated against Al-Ohod and Al-Hazem in the seventh, 21st and first, 17th weeks respectively.
Though it was rumored that Al Ahly would cut Saleh Gomaa’s loan short, the 24-year-old will remain with Al-Faisaly for the 2018/19 season. The team will face Riyadh-based club Al-Nassr in the second and 16th weeks of the league. Al-Faisaly will be looking to keep their perfect record against Al-Ohod when they come head-to-head in the third and 19th weeks. Al Annabi will face title holders Al-Hilal in the 10th and 22nd weeks followed by Al-Ittihad in the 12th and 25th weeks.
A product of Al Ahly’s youth system, Hussein El-Sayed spent the second half of last season with Al-Ettifaq and will continue his loan spell with the Saudi-side for the upcoming season. The two-time league winners will face holders Al-Hilal in the fifth and 29th weeks. They will go on to face Al-Nassr in the ninth and 23rd weeks before facing Al-Shabab in the eleventh and 24th weeks. Al-Ettifaq will face the Tigers of Jeddah in the 15th week to close out the first round and in the 28th weeks.
Egyptian Derbies in Saudi Arabia
Al-Raed (Mohamed Atwa) vs Al-Ettifaq (Hussein El-Sayed): Weeks 1 and 17
Al-Raed (Atwa) vs Al-Wehda (Mohamed Awad): Weeks 3 and 19
Al-Ahli (Abdallah El-Said & Mohamed Abdel-Shafy) vs Al-Faisaly (Saleh Gomaa): Weeks 5 and 29
Al-Ettifaq (El-Sayed) vs Al-Ahli (El-Said & Abdel-Shafy): Weeks 6 and 30
Al-Raed (Atwa) vs Al-Faisaly (Gomaa): Weeks 7 and 21
Al-Faislay (Gomaa) vs Al-Ettifaq (El-Sayed): Weeks 8 and 20
Al-Raed (Atwa) vs Al-Ahli (El-Said & Abdel-Shafy): Weeks 12 and 25
Al-Ettifaq (El-Sayed) vs Al-Wehda (Awad): Weeks 13 and 26
Al-Faisaly (El-Sayed) vs Al-Wehda (Awad): Weeks 14 and 27
Al-Wehda (Awad) vs Al-Ahli (El-Said & Abdel-Shafy): Weeks 15 and 28
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