After Karim Benzema’s Al Ittihad is Forced to Flee Iran, Neymar’s Al Hilal to Play in the Nation Despite Saudi Arabia’s Backlash

Published 10/02/2023, 11:42 PM EDT

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In a surprising turn of events, Saudi side Al Hilal has turned down the FA’s request to return home. The team is currently in Iran and is set to face Nassaji Mazandaran in their AFC Champions League fixture tonight. The Saudi FA had requested both Al Ittihad and Al Hilal to leave Iran due to unforeseen circumstances. However, it seems like Neymar Jr. and his side have decided to proceed as per their schedule.

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This could be a big game for the Brazilian star as he is yet to find his first goal for Al Hilal. Fans will hope that the player can find his lost touch and put on a memorable performance.

Al Hilal goes against Saudi FA’s word as Al Ittihad returns home

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The past few hours have been filled with speculations surrounding the AFC Champions League games. After the Saudi Football Association demanded Al Hilal and Al Ittifaq return from Iran, the two teams seemed to have different ideas. While Al Ittihad has returned home just minutes before their game, Al Hilal has decided to go ahead with their scheduled clash.

Al Ittihad were set to face Iranian side Sepahan in their AFC Champions League clash last night. However, the Naghsh-e Jahan Stadium game had to be abandoned due to unforeseen circumstances. AFC issued a public statement following Al Ittihad’s decision while informing the fans of the abandoned game.

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“The 2023-2024 AFC Champions League Group C match, which was scheduled to bring together Iran’s Sepahan and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad at Naqsh-e Jahan Stadium in Isfahan on Monday evening, was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. The AFC stresses its commitment to ensuring the security and safety of players, officials, fans, and all parties to the game.”

However, while Al Ittihad has returned to Saudi Arabia, Al Hilal is surprisingly set to go ahead with their game. Neymar’s side will be facing face Nassaji in their upcoming encounter and the side will hope that their star player can deliver a win for his team. The Brazilian icon has struggled to find form this season following his move to the Saudi Arabian side.

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Neymar still looking for his first goal in Al Hilal colors

The Brazilian icon stunned fans around the world when he made a surprising switch to Al Hilal this summer. The player signed a massive $400 million+ deal with the side that will see him take home over $200 million a year. However, it seems like the player has yet to justify his price tag following the transfer.

Neymar has visibly struggled so far following his move to Al Hilal. The player had a late debut, as he missed the first few games owing to an injury. Following his return, the player made his debut as a substitute, contributing an assist to mark his arrival. However, fans have yet to see the player score his maiden goal for his new side.

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WATCH THIS STORY- Jimmy Butler Approves $120,000,000 Richer ‘Friend’ Neymar Jr’s Multi-Million Saudi League Deal

With Al Hilal set to take on Nassaji Mazandaran in their upcoming game, all eyes will be on Neymar. The Blues fans will hope that their star signing can deliver in the upcoming game and find his first goal. Do you think Neymar will score tonight? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Saurabh Saket

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One take at a time

Saurabh Saket is a soccer writer at EssentiallySports. While Saket has been a football fan for a while, his passion for the sport stems from FIFA 17 which featured Borussia Dortmund superstar Marco Reus on its cover. With dreams of standing as a part of the Yellow Wall at Signal Iduna Park, Saket loves to write about the game from a fan’s perspective giving his take on recent happenings.
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Edited by:

Daniel D'Cruz

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