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Ronaldo’s Al Nassr Remain 6th, Neymar and Al Hilal on Top After Match Week 6 in Saudi Pro League
- The Saudi Pro League was full of exhilarating encounters in match week six
- There were wins for the Saudi 'big four', Al-Ittihad, Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal and Al-Ahli
- While Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr keep making up ground, Neymar's Al-Hilal sit top of the log
As the 2023-24 season progresses in the Saudi Pro League, title contenders Al-Ittihad, Al-Hilal, and Al-Nassr secured impressive victories following the return of club football.
Matchweek six witnessed the highly anticipated debut of Neymar in the Saudi top flight, and he wasted no time making his mark.
Sports Brief provides an analysis of the clubs' performances and their positions in the league standings after the sixth match week, which followed the conclusion of the first international break of the current campaign.
Results from SPL matchday 6
Defending champions Al-Ittihad began the latest match week with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Al Akhdoud, who have managed just one win in their last five matches.
Karim Benzema's unconventional but crucial goal secured the win and maintained Nuno Espirito Santo's team's title defence, keeping them just one point behind Al-Hilal, Livescore reports.
In a dominant display, Al-Hilal dismantled Al Riyadh, scoring six goals against a struggling side that has only accumulated four points out of a possible 18 in six games.
According to Arab News, Neymar, Hilal's marquee summer signing, finally made his debut, contributing an assist during his 26-minute cameo on the pitch.
Elsewhere in Buraidah, Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr continued their resurgence after a shaky start to the season.
Luis Castro's team appears to have found their form in recent weeks, with the Portuguese talisman once again finding the back of the net as the Knights of Najd cruised past Al Raed to chalk a 3-1 win on the road, per Sportstar.
In the Saudi capital, Al-Ahli engaged in an exhilarating five-goal thriller against Al Taawoun. After taking a 2-0 lead, the visitors fought back, but former Newcastle attacker Allan Saint-Maximin sealed the victory with a powerful strike from long-range.
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Also, dark horses Al-Ettifaq quietly secured a 3-1 victory, with Demarai Gray coming off the bench to provide two assists while Moussa Dembele continued his goal-scoring spree.
How the SPL table looks
The 18-time league champions, Al-Hilal, have been in outstanding form since taking the lead from their Clasico rivals, Al-Ittihad, after match week five. Jorge Jesus' team currently holds the top spot in the league standings with an impressive 16 points.
In second place, closely trailing Al-Hilal, is Al-Ittihad, who have accumulated 15 points this season. Meanwhile, Al-Ahli, making their return to the Saudi top flight, are in third place and share the same points total as Ittihad.
Despite suffering their first defeat of the season, the surprise package of the campaign, Al Taawoun, maintain a slightly higher position than Steven Gerrard's Al Ettifaq, who currently sit in fifth place.
Boasting arguably the greatest footballer of all time (GOAT) on their roaster, Al-Nassr are situated in sixth spot, but they will take solace in the fact that they have picked up five wins on the trot across all competitions.
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While moving out of the relegation zone, Al Raed find themselves perilously close to the bottom three with just four points from six games, avoiding the bottom three only due to goal difference.
Al-Riyadh, Damac, and Al Hazm currently make up the drop zone after match week six.
Ronaldo, top stars light up SPL
In a previous report, Sports Brief highlighted the continued impact of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and players of their calibre in the Middle East country.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, made his presence felt in Al-Nassr's 3-1 triumph over Al Raed.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Riyadh at Al-Hilal, Neymar, the world's most expensive footballer, finally graced the field, making a cameo appearance in their dominant 6-1 victory over Al Riyadh.