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John Higgins v Mark Allen live stream | Northern Ireland Open final preview

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Heroic John Higgins sets up Mark Allen showdown in Northern Ireland Open final

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Marvellous Mark Allen holds off John Higgins to seal Northern Ireland Open glory

Higgins and Allen go head to head once more on Thursday (Steven Paston/PA Archive/PA Images)

John Higgins and Mark Allen go head to head in an eagerly anticipated Northern Ireland Open final at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Sunday.

The four-time World champion and the home favourite are looking to land the first Home Nations title of this season.

Victory for either will see them become only the fifth multiple winner of Home Nations events since the series began in 2016-17, after Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham.

This will be the 18th meeting between the pair in professional competition, with Allen narrowly shading the head-to-head record 9-8.

Although, Higgins has prevailed in all four of their previous encounters over the best of 17 frames or greater.

The Scotsman is seeking a 32nd ranking title in what is his 52nd such final, having produced three brilliant turnarounds along the way.

The 46-year-old recovered from 3-0 down to edge out fellow Class of 92 member Mark Williams in the last 16, before overturning 2-0 deficits against Championship League winner David Gilbert and Masters champion Yan Bingtao in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.

Meanwhile, having never previously advanced beyond the last eight of his home event, Allen has certainly risen to the occasion this week.

Following his memorable maximum against Si Jiahui in round one, the Pistol has also chalked up creditable wins over Stephen Maguire and three-time defending champion Judd Trump.

Indeed, Trump had won each of his 25 previous matches at this event and surged into a 3-0 lead over Allen, but the home favourite produced an inspired turnaround by reeling off five successive frames to delight the Belfast crowd.

Can he do so once more on Sunday against one of the all-time greats?

The final will be contested over the best of 17 frames at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

Play commences with the opening eight frames at 1pm BST, before a maximum of nine will occur from 7pm.