Jeddah United-Syriana, Pilipinas-Social vs. Egypt in Intercultural Basketball

Saudi community basketbal team. (AN photo)
Updated 17 May 2017

Jeddah United-Syriana, Pilipinas-Social vs. Egypt in Intercultural Basketball

JEDDAH: From six starters the field is down to four and Thursday’s knockout semifinals will determine the two to battle it out for the championship crown in the 2nd Open Intercultural Basketball Tournament.
Will defending champion Team Pilipinas-Social Café of coach Francis Magat find its best form to retain the title? Can Jeddah United handle the pressure in its bid for a seven-game title sweep? Will there be surprises from Syriana IKK or the Egypt community basketball team?
These are the story lines in the semifinal games pitting Jeddah United against Syriana at 8:30 p.m. and Pilipinas-Social Café against Egypt at 10:30 p.m.
The semifinal cast was set after the concluding elimination round games at the weekend at the spanking new Jeddah United sport complex basketball court.
Though they did their part of the bargain Syriana’s fate was in the hands of Egypt, which surprised everyone when it took down Lebanese community team, one of the pre-tournament favorites, in the second game on Friday.
Thursday, Jeddah United finished as the No. 1 team on 5-0 after beating the Filipinos 72-67 while Hassan Zeineddein’s Syriana trounced Saudi community team 71-58.
The must-win against the Saudis done, Syriana had to wait for the result of the Egypt-Lebanese tiff if they are to continue in the knockout stage of the tournament .
Fortunately for Syriana, Egypt opened the door to the semis as it bravely battled from 20 points down to beat the Lebanese 68-66 in a thrilling game.
The Egyptians tied the game at 50-all to end the third quarter after trailing the Lebanese by as many as 20 points.
A basket from the perimeter by Mohammed Abulmajd and a split free throw by Mohammed Hamdi gave the Egyptians a 65-61 lead with 2:31 to play in the fourth quarter after the Lebanese had closed within 62-61.
The Lebanese were to threaten two more times at 65-64 and 66-65, and with the score at 68-66 to Egypt, time down to 10.3 seconds, the Lebanese had a chance to steal the game but American import Mo Abdulaleem flubbed his free throws, Ahmad Kheir missed a field goal and Mohammed Ziden from under the basket in the last second.
The result put Egypt at 3-2 in a tie with Philippines and Lebanese at 2-3 in a deadlock with Syriana. But Syriana went through to the last four by virtue of the winner over the other rule.
The event is an annual project of Event Manager Mohammad Shobain with support from Consultant-adviser Mohamed Bayoumi, a friend of the Filipino community and recipient of the Presidential Banaag Award.

Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 20 July 2019

Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

  • Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute
  • For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on

CAIRO: Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.

Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.

For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.

It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi completing a whirlwind 12 months at the helm after inheriting a side that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.

With defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for Senegal, Salif Sane deputised at the back and Ismaila Sarr was recalled in attack, while Belmadi kept faith in the same side that overcame Nigeria with an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez.

Senegal had understandably feared the absence of Napoli star Koulibaly, banned after two bookings in the knockout rounds, although the towering Sane was desperately unlucky as Algeria grabbed the lead with scarcely a minute played.

As Bounedjah took aim from 20 yards his effort smacked off Sane and arced high into the air before dropping underneath the crossbar and beyond a static Gomis, sparking delirious celebrations from both players and fans, some of whom arrived for the final on military planes provided by the Algerian government.

It was the first time Gomis had conceded in almost 400 minutes in Egypt having replaced the injured Edouard Mendy ahead of Senegal’s final group game.

Henri Saivet, who missed a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Tunisia, tried to catch Rais Mbohli out with a free-kick while Mbaye Niang fizzed a powerful drive just over as Senegal gradually showed signs of life before the half ended with both sets of players embroiled in a scuffle as they headed for the tunnel.

Senegal thought they had won a penalty on the hour when Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum pointed to the spot for a suspected handball by Adlene Guedioura, but the official reversed his decision after a VAR review.

Niang rounded an advancing Mbohli after a searching ball through from Cheikhou Kouyate but the forward sliced wide of the target from a tough angle, with the Algeria ‘keeper then acrobatically tipping over a rasping drive from Youssouf Sabaly.

The Desert Foxes started to look jaded as Senegal brought on fresh legs in Krepin Diatta and Mbaye Diagne, but Youcef Belaili nearly made it 2-0 when his cross brushed the head of a defender and skimmed the roof of the net.

Sarr blazed over on the volley as Algeria clung on to their advantage in the closing minutes, the final whistle greeted by an outpouring of raw emotion as the North Africans emerged worthy winners of the expanded 24-team event.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman telephoned Algeria’s interim president Abdelkader Bensalah to congratulate him on Algeria’s African Cup of Nations win, with Bensalah thanking the king for his phone call.