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Two-horse race between Hamdallah and Gomis to the SPL Golden Boot award heats up with three rounds remaining

• Riyadh rivalry has extra award at stake with star strikers batting to be crowned as the league’s top scorer
• Al Nassr and Moroccan striker Abderrazak Hamdallah currently leads with 25 goals, but is followed very closely by Al Hilal and French goalscorer Bafétimbi Gomis with 21 goals

Riyadh neighbors Al Hilal and Al Nassr have both had exceptional seasons in the Saudi Pro League (SPL), maintaining their solid positions at the top of the table in a similar fashion to the way they ended the 2018-2019 campaign. This dominance is largely thanks to their lethal attacking force led by seasoned goal scorers Bafétimbi Gomis and Abderrazak Hamdallah.

Both strikers made their transfers to the region’s most popular league in the 2018 summer transfer window. Gomis, 35, arrived at Al Hilal from Turkish giants Galatasaray after scoring an exceptional 29 goals in 34 games to guide his team to the Süper Lig title. Twenty-nine-year-old Hamdallah arrived with a similar record having scored 28 goals in 30 games for Qatari side Al Rayyan. Both of their performances in the 2017-2018 season earned them moves to the SPL and they haven’t looked back since, with the Frenchman and Moroccan finding the back of the net on 42 times and 59 times in the league, respectively.

During the 2018/2019 season, Al Nassr’s number nine broke the all-time SPL record of the highest number of goals in a single season by scoring a staggering 34 goals, earning him the Golden Boot award. The closest competitor to him was none other than Bafétimbi Gomis with 21 goals in second place. This season, however, the competition has been a lot stronger, a close reflection of the tight title race between Al Hilal and Al Nassr.

Thanks to three hattricks this season, Hamdallah currently sits at the top position with 25 goals to his name as Gomis follows closely with 21, marking just a four-goal difference. Al Ahli striker Omar Al Somah has also been in contention throughout the season and if his recent form is anything to judge by then he may be looking at increasing his 18-goal tally in the remaining three rounds.

The two players differ starkly when it comes to shot attempts on goal, as the ex-Moroccan international totaled the highest number of shots all season (142), 61 of which came on target. Meanwhile the ex-Swansea City striker comes in at 7th position with just 68 shots, over half (38) of which were in between the sticks.

Both stars have three more matches remaining to determine this season’s winner of the prestigious Golden Boot award. Hamdallah’s Al Nassr face-off Al Fayha at home before travelling to Jeddah to take on in-form Al Ittihad and ending the season at the King Fahd International Stadium against Al Ettifaq. On the other hand, Al Hilal will be hoping to cement their six-point lead at the top of the table with a home match against Al Hazm, a difficult trip to Mecca against Al Wehda and a final day match-up against Riyadh compatriots Al Shabab at the King Saud University Stadium.

As the SPL’s action shows no sign of slowing down with just three rounds to go, everyone will undoubtedly keep a close-eye at the race to the golden boot as Hamdallah will look to retain the award in his second season in the league, and Gomis will be hoping to replicate his personal AFC Champions League top scorer award success in the domestic league this season.