Al Ahli 3-1 Al Hazem (Aug 11, 2023) Game Analysis – ESPN

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Al Ahli’s Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino shone with a debut hat trick to secure a 3-1 home win over Al Hazem in the opening fixture of the Saudi Pro League season on Friday.

The former Liverpool forward scored twice in the opening 10 minutes before another strike in the 72nd for his treble sealed the three points for the newly promoted team.

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Al Ahli and Al Hazem were two of the four clubs promoted to the Saudi top flight, which has increased from 16 teams to 18 this season.

The hosts took the lead after six minutes with a header from captain Firmino, who got his double with a close-range finish from ex-Manchester City winger and fellow new arrival Riyad Mahrez‘s cross four minutes later.

Roberto Firmino takes the match ball after scoring a hat trick on his Saudi Pro League debut for Al Ahli.
Roberto Firmino takes the match ball after scoring a hat trick on his Saudi Pro League debut for Al Ahli.

Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images


Having been largely dominated in the first half, Al Hazem pulled a goal back five minutes after the break as Vina seized on a poor clearance by goalkeeper Édouard Mendy, signed from Chelsea.

Firmino, however, capped a perfect opening night by restoring the two-goal lead with less than 20 minutes to go.

Reigning champions Al Ittihad, who have signed Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema from Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kanté, play their first game on Sunday at Al Raed.

Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Al Nassr, runners-up last season, face Al Ettifaq on Monday. The game could see former Liverpool team mates Sadio Mané, who joined Al Nassr last week, and Jordan Henderson facing off.

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