'Where are our stars?’ cry Saudi Arabia fans after La Liga clubs leave out Green Falcons

Fahad Al-Muwallad joined Levante and Salem Al-Dawsari moved to Villarreal
Updated 03 February 2018
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'Where are our stars?’ cry Saudi Arabia fans after La Liga clubs leave out Green Falcons

LONDON: Some Saudi Arabia football fans have reacted with bemusement after two of their World Cup stars were left out of the match day squads by their adopted La Liga clubs.
Fahad Al-Muwallad joined Levante and Salem Al-Dawsari moved to Villarreal last month as part of a joint initiative between La Liga and the Saudi Football Federation that saw nine Saudi players move to Spain in a bid for them to gain top-level experience ahead of the World Cup.
However, Al-Muwallad has not been named in the Levante squad for their game with Real Madrid tonight while Al-Dawsari has missed out on selection for Villarreal’s game at Real Betis this evening. Both clubs announced their lineups on Twitter and fans took the opportunity to bombard the accounts of both teams with comments, expressing their frustration, with a mixture of annoyance, frustration and good humor.



















 



Saudi Arabia to face Japan in Asian Cup second round after defeat to Qatar

Updated 25 min 3 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia to face Japan in Asian Cup second round after defeat to Qatar

  • A double from Almoez Ali means Qatar top Group E.
  • Juan Antonio Pizzi's men now face Japan in second round on Monday.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia now know they will have to overcome Japan in the second round if they are to keep their hopes of a fourth Asian Cup title alive. 

A 2-0 defeat at the hands of Qatar meant Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men finished second in Group E — both sides went into the top-of-the-table clash knowing they had already secured a spot in the knockout stages. 

A brace from Almoez Ali in Abu Dhabi was enough to give Qatar the three points and leave them top of the group. 

From the kick-off the Green Falcons were the ones who looked the more likely to make the initial breakthrough —  Fahad Almuwallad slamming a right-foot shot against the post after 22 minutes.

Qatar captain Hasan Al-Haydos then missed a penalty in the 42nd minute after Ali had been clattered in the box.

But Ali, who scored four goals in Qatar's 6-0 rout of North Korea last weekend, made no mistake in first-half stoppage time.

He calmly slotted the ball past Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais to become the first player to score six goals in a single Asian Cup since South Korea's Lee Dong-gook in 2000.

Ali subsequently headed in a seventh goal of the tournament 10 minutes from time, celebrating with a jig of delight.

While the defeat was not ideal Green Falcons coach Pizzi said he was still hopeful Saudi Arabia would be able to go far in the tournament. 

"It was an intense game but we have to hide our feelings and prepare for the last 16," Pizzi said.

"We were missing quality in the final third and individual errors have cost us," he added.

"But we will bounce back. I respect every team left in the competition, including Japan, but I don't feel that we are inferior to them in any way."

Qatar, who have never gone beyond the quarterfinals, advance to face Iraq in the last 16.