Bosnia, Ukraine win at Euro Championship

Updated 09 September 2013
0

Bosnia, Ukraine win at Euro Championship

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia: Bosnia-Herzegovina overcame a 10-point deficit in the final quarter to beat Montenegro 76-70 for its first victory at the European basketball championship on Friday.
Also, Ukraine beat Germany 88-83 in the other early game to all but book a place in the second round with its third victory in three games.
In Jesenice, Nihad Djedovic sank a pair of key free throws with 16 seconds remaining and added a spectacular layup to seal Bosnia’s victory over its Balkan rival.
Djedovic finished with 13 points. Mirza Teletovic led Bosnia with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Nemanja Gordic sparked Bosnia’s comeback by adding 17 points, all of them in the second half.
Bojan Dubljevic led Montenegro with 16 points, while American-born guard Tyrese Rice had 13. But Rice missed three 3-point attempts in the final minute.
Montenegro has one win and two losses in Group B.
In Lubljana, Sergii Gladyr scored 25 points to lead Ukraine past Germany, which dropped its second straight after upsetting France in the opener.
Ukraine is the only unbeaten team in Group A.
Gladyr nailed half of his 10 three-point attempts. American-born guard Eugene Jeter added 19 points for Ukraine.
Heiko Schaffartzik led Germany with 22 points and 11 assists, while Niels Giffey added 16 points.
Spain upset
Goran Dragic scored 18 points to lead host Slovenia to a 78-69 upset of defending champion Spain at the European basketball championship on Thursday.
Dragic, a guard in the NBA, also had six rebounds, seven assists and two steals and scored the last four points of the game in Celje.
Spain is bidding to become the first team to win three consecutive European titles since Yugoslavia in the 1970s. Spain led early in the game but could never slip from Slovenia.
“Everything worked out,” Dragic said. “We had nothing to lose and we deserved to win.” Bostjan Nachbar, who finished with 14 points, made two free throws to put Slovenia up 74-69 with 1:12 left. Jose Calderon missed on Spain’s next possession and Dragic made a layup and sank a jumper to send his team to its second win in two games. Spain is 1-1.
Marc Gasol had 17 points for Spain.
In Ljubljana, France got 17 points from Nicolas Batum and 16 from Tony Parker in crushing Britain 88-65 to bounce back from an opening loss to Germany.
Greece beat Russia 80-71 to stay perfect after two games. Russia, bronze medalist two years ago, is in deep trouble after two straight losses.


London clash between Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad a chance to showcase Saudi football to the world, says SAFF

Updated 16 August 2018
0

London clash between Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad a chance to showcase Saudi football to the world, says SAFF

  • Super Cup final in UK capital can boost Saudi football's image around the world, claims SAFF official
  • SAFF defends number of foreign players allowed to play in Saudi Pro League claiming they help raise the standard.

LONDON: Saturday’s Super Cup final between Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad in London will not just be a great experience for the players, but also a chance to showcase the best of Saudi Arabian football on an international stage ahead of what should be a season to remember.
That is according to Luai Al-Subaiey, the General Secretary of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF)ahead of the cup clash at Loftus Road, the home of Queen’s Park Rangers. The match is the traditional season curtain-raiser that features the champions and the winners of the King’s Cup. And with holding fixtures overseas a growing trend in modern football, Al-Subaiey told Arab News the decision to play the match in London was a no-brainer.
“Club teams from one country playing in another country is commonplace,” Al-Subaiey said.
“Teams from the English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese leagues played in the US this summer. The Spanish Super Cup was played in Morocco last week.
“We do it because it is good for our players to gather more international experience, to learn what it’s like to play in large overseas stadia, and of course, there is a large Saudi Arabian and Middle Eastern population living and working in London, (roughly) 300,000 people there.”
Al-Subaiey and Co. are confident that a great game in London this Saturday will be a springboard to a great season to come, especially with leading clubs in the country active in the international transfer market.
With eight overseas players allowed in Saudi Arabian teams in the upcoming Saudi Pro League season, there have been concerns that opportunities for local talent could be reduced. Al-Subaiey, however, believes that importing quality players can only be a good thing.
“Foreign players in the Saudi League will help improve the quality of football,” he said.
“But it also needs to be managed and balanced with the need to nourish domestic talent and provide our homegrown players with a pathway to the top.”
International stars such as Omar Abdulrahman have a part to play in the development of the Saudi Pro League and its ambition to be one of the leading leagues in the world. The United Arab Emirates playmaker joined Al-Hilal earlier in August in a season-long loan deal worth a reported $15 million — the second highest in football history.
As well as Abdulrahman, Al-Hilal have signed Peruvian international Andre Carrillo, who scored at the World Cup this summer, as well as former Barcelona defender Alberto Botia. Al-Nassr have bought Nigerian international Ahmed Musa from Leicester City and Nordin Amrabat from Watford.
“Has Wayne Rooney added something to DC United and the MLS? Has Omar Abdulrahman added to Al-Hilal? Of course, additions like these improve the quality of football,” Al-Subaiey said. “For the fans, these players bring excitement, and for the clubs and their league, these players bring a higher profile and greater attention — but there is something deeper too.”
For the official, what the best players bring is attitude and the utmost professionalism.
“Central to high performance sport is the right mindset. People like Rooney and Abdulrahman bring a great work ethic and possess great skills — but they also possess a professional mindset. And the young players who will work with them will see this, experience this — and learn from this.”
If all goes according to plan Saudi Arabia will qualify for the 2022 World Cup and perhaps even
progress to the second round for the first time since 1994. In Russia the Green Falcons started off with a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of the hosts in the opening game in Moscow. The team tightened up before losing narrowly to Uruguay, and then going on to beat Egypt 2-1 in the final game.
“We were absolutely delighted to be at the World Cup,” Al-Subaiey said.
“As you can tell with teams like Italy, Holland and the USA not qualifying and teams like Germany and Argentina not progressing (far in the tournament), the standard of play in international football is very high.
“Our particular group was quite challenging, and our initial game against host Russia, one of the biggest surprises of the World Group, was a difficult first match. Our final game, our win against Egypt, was a World Cup high point for our team. It was a match our young players and our national program can build on.”