Two of the continent’s best strikers face off on Thursday in one of the most anticipated games in Saudi Arabia
Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo will look to outshine Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar when Al Nassr play host to Al-Hilal in a game week 23 clash of the Saudi Arabia Pro League at the Mrsool Park on Thursday, March 3.
Second-place Al Nassr could close the gap on league leaders Al Ittihad to four points with a home win. And with the side boasting the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Golden Boot winner Aboubakar in their ranks, a victory in front of their fans is a realistic target.
But reigning champions fourth-place Al Hilal have enough firepower of their own, and they will hope Super Eagles striker Ighalo is motivated enough to help shoot down their city rivals.
As though the Riyadh derby is not massive enough to take up all the headlines, the Ighalo-Aboubakar storyline is also interesting to note.
Aboubakar was a member of the Cameroon side that strolled to the Afcon title in 2017. Nigeria did not qualify for that event.
But at the 2019 Afcon in Egypt, when the Super Eagles were among the participants, Ighalo outshone all others, scoring five goals to cart home the top goalscorer award. He announced his international retirement after the championship.
But the former Watford man returned to international football just in time to be a part of the Eagles’ squad to the 2021 Afcon.
Ighalo, however, missed the tournament after his former club Al Shabab stopped him from joining the national team. He dumped Al Shabab that same January for Al Hilal.
In his absence, Aboubakar was unstoppable on home soil in Cameroon, racking up a historic eight goals to power the Indomitable Lions to a bronze medal finish.
Ighalo, though, remains the leading goalscorer in the Saudi league with 14 goals, five better than Al Nassr’s Aboubakar. The Nigerian has two in two matches for Al Hilal.
And Thursday’s contest will not only reveal which is the best club in Riyadh but also who is the best African striker in that country.