The opening game of the Saudi Professional League featured a number of players from the English Premier League (EPL).

Al-Ahli defeated Al-Hazm 토토사이트 3-1 in the first round of the 2023-2024 Saudi Professional League at Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at 3 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

Roberto Firmino took off from the opening whistle. Firmino connected with a sensational header off a cross from Ali Mazrashi in the sixth minute. It was a goal that showcased perfect penetration and positioning.

It was Alain Saint-Maximin who played the opening pass. With three defenders closing in on him, Saint-Maximilien slipped a pass to Mazrasi in space on the right. This led to Firmino’s first goal.

Firmino made it a multi-goal game four minutes later. In the 10th minute of the first half, on the counterattack, he headed in a low cross from the right with only his left foot.

Riyad Mahrez (from left), Roberto Firmino, Alain Saint-Maximin (above) and Al Ahli. Al Ahli Twitter capture

It was a collaboration of EPL strikers. Saint-Maximilien won the ball under intense pressure with Frank Kessie, then drove the ball into the center of the field before crossing it to Riyad Mahrez on the right. Mahrez sent a well-timed cross with his right foot to Firmino, who was charging down the other side. It was a scoring opportunity that Firmino could not miss.

Firmino completed his hat-trick in the 27th minute of the second half, this time linking up with Saint-Maximilien. Saint-Maximilien made a split-second turn, beat his defender and sent in a sharp cross. Firmino’s first attempted header was blocked by the keeper, but he was able to pounce on the rebound and slot home with his left foot.

Al Ahli’s spending spree this season has paid off. With investment from the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund (PIF), he brought in Firmino, Saint-Maximilien, and Mahrez, as well as players from the big leagues in Europe, including Kessie, Edouard Mendy, and José Ibáñez. All of them started and were the backbone of the team in their respective positions.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Pro League is preparing to take a leap forward this season. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund has been on an aggressive buying spree, acquiring Al Ahli, Al Ittihad, Al Nasr, and Al Hilal. European soccer stars have already flocked to the Saudi stage, and the momentum is expected to continue until September, when the Saudi transfer market closes.

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