Here are three factors that will play a role for each side in determining the result of the game:
The versatility of Salem Al Dossary: Al Dossary has been one of Al Hilal’s most dangerous players this season and became even more dangerous after his red card in the AFC Champions League Final, revitalizing him and sending him on a run of hot form, scoring a brace in the 2-0 win against Al Ahli and another goal against Ohod in a 4-1 victory. He has become more than just a runner on the pitch, excelling in receiving and sending through balls while also dribbling past opponents very well.
Creating chances… and finishing them: Al Hilal have been suffering from a problem in finishing chances, despite creating many of them. This is also even though they possess two excellent strikers in AFC Player of the Year Omar Khrbin and Gelmin Rivas, but their ability to score has been very poor in the last few weeks. Should the strikers be on form in this game, Al Hilal are expected to dominate.
Pressing the ball carrier: One of the factors that led Al Hilal to reach the AFC Champions League Final was the smart pressing (and not high pressing). This will be important against Al Ittihad to prevent Fahad Al Ansari and Carlos Villanueva from reaching the final third.
Taking advantage of Al Hilal’s absences: Al Hilal are missing a number of players from goalkeeper Abdulla Al Mayouf (luckily, they have Ali Al Habsi to replace him) to midfielders Abdulmalik Al Khaibary and Salman Al Faraj, which has a negative affect on Al Hilal. Ramon Diaz will lose an important wildcard in Al Khaibary, whose defensive abilities are often used in the later stages of the game to stop the opposition attacking midfielder.
Creativity of Carlos Villanueva: Villanueva is one of Al Ittihad’s most dangerous players and his ability to send through balls and keep the ball under pressure is invaluable to Al Ittihad. His ability to reach the ball to players such as Fahad Al Muwallad and Akaichi is very important for Al Ittihad to get past the Al Hilal midfield.
The efficiency of Fahad Al Muwallad: Al Hilal are expected to keep possession therefore Al Ittihad will play on the counter and it is up to the speed and finishing of Fahad Al Muwallad for The Tigers to take advantage of the Blue Wave’s defensive mistakes.