Al-Ahli still feel confident of AFC Champions League progess despite defeat in Doha

]Al-Sadd's Morteza Pouraliganji (top) and Baghdad Bounedjah (front left) vie for the ball against Al-Ahli's Claudemir de Souza (second top) and Mortaz Hawsawi (second right) during a full-blooded AFC Champions League football clash in Doha. (AFP)
Updated 08 May 2018

Al-Ahli still feel confident of AFC Champions League progess despite defeat in Doha

  • Al-Ahli lose 2-1 in first leg of last-16 tie
  • But Jeddah outfit have that all-important away goal

Al-Ahli may have lost the first leg of their AFC Champions League round of 16 clash with Al-Sadd in Qatar 2-1 on Monday, but the Saudi Arabians were the happier of the two teams at the end and they believe that a quarter-final spot is within reach.
Al-Ahli, who topped their group unbeaten, were 2-0 down at the break after two goals from Boualem Khoukhi and there was a fear the tie could have been over after the first leg. But the Saudi Arabians rallied in the second half, created numerous chances and pulled one back thanks to a header from Mohanned Aseri. It could turn out to be a vital away goal.
The second leg will take place at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah on Monday when a big crowd is expected — and caretaker coach Fathi Al-Jabal is already looking forward to the test. “We achieved our first objective of scoring a goal away from home,” the Tunisian tactician said in the post-match press conference in Doha. “This could be of great importance in the return leg.”
Al-Ahli had 21 attempts on goal during the 90 minutes compared to 16 from Al-Sadd, which suggests they gave as good as they got in Doha and have the tools to open up the Qataris.
“It was a tough game between two good teams but were conceded the two goals in the first half,” said Al-Jabal. “We came back in the second but luck was not always on our side.”
Despite Al-Ahli’s second-half revival, Al-Sadd almost extended their advantage late in the game and it took two fine saves from Al-Ahli goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais to deny Baghdad Bounedjah and Akram Afif and leave the second leg very much in the balance.
“OK, we lost and this was a negative result but this is only half-time and there is a second game,” Al-Jabal added. “We will play next week in front of our fans and in our stadium. We have enough to overcome the deficit and progress to the next round.”
Jesualdo Ferreira, the Al-Sadd coach, has plenty of experience of knockout football with European giants Benfica and Porto and he feels his side missed a trick in not putting the tie to bed.
“It was not a satisfactory result for us,” Ferreria said. “It was important not to concede a goal but unfortunately we did. I was not happy with our defense today. We could have scored five goals with the number of chances we created. And in the end we were punished.”
The Portuguese boss is expecting a tough game in what is set to be a bouncing atmosphere in Jeddah.
“Now they need just a goal in the return leg to win on aggregate,” he said. “It’s a harsh result and I am very sad because of it. Not just the defenders, the whole team did not defend well. I want to be logical, not pessimistic, but the match in Jeddah will be a very difficult for us.”
Al-Ahli’s domestic season finished last month and they can rest up ahead of the second leg. Al-Sadd, meanwhile, have a big game just three days before the showdown in Jeddah. “We are playing back-to-back matches in different tournaments,” Ferriera said. “We have the Emir Cup semifinal against Duhail on Friday and then we travel to Saudi for the match on Monday. It will be difficult for us.”

Saudi female bowlers off to Las Vegas tournament

Updated 22 August 2019

Saudi female bowlers off to Las Vegas tournament

  • The team’s six members will compete against the best women bowlers around the world

JEDDAH: The Saudi women’s bowling team left on Wednesday to participate in the sixth World Bowling Women’s Championship, a first in the history of Saudi bowling. The championship will be held at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas from Aug. 22-31.

The six bowlers who will participate in the championship are Mashael Al-Abdulwahid, Ghada Nimir and Amani Al-Ghamdi from Riyadh, Nahla Adas and Mariam Al-Dosari from Alkhobar and Hadeel Termein from Jeddah, under the supervision of British coach Mario Joseph.

The Saudi delegation will be headed by Badr bin Abdullah Al-Asheikh (head of the delegation), Dr. Razan Baker, team manager, Waleed Al-Dawsari, team director and media relations official Hamd Al-Shaghrood.

The team’s six members joined a training camp in Riyadh in preparation for the championship, and participated in three local open tournaments in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar this year. The team will participate in the singles, doubles, trios and team competitions.

In an interview with Adas, who won third place in the fourth Women’s Championship held in Alkhobar this year, said: “It is a great honor for me to participate in this world championship, and this is a feat by itself. I have always dreamed about standing next to the world’s women champions, and my dream is coming true now, after one year of effort and giving, under the leadership of the federation’s chairman Badr Al-Asheikh and his constant support. He is like a leader who ventures out, challenges and allows us to compete for a bright vision full of achievements in the Arab world and internationally.”

In a history-making feat the Saudi national women’s bowling team will participate in the World Bowling Women’s Championship in Las Vegas. (Photo/Supplied)

Nimir spoke about the playoffs in Riyadh, having scored the highest total: “From the beginning to the end of the playoffs which qualified me for the world championship, I was able to win first place in Riyadh. This feeling has been indescribable, a dream come true due to my love for the game, practice as a hobby then as a professional and now participation in the world championship. I am very happy to participate in this international and historical event, and I hope we achieve a positive result in this championship. I also thank the Saudi Federation with all its members for their efforts and this opportunity they gave us.”

As for Al-Ghamdi, she spoke about her passion for bowling which pushed her to reach an international level. She said: “Bowling is a sophisticated sport that requires concentration, training, perseverance and skills, and the women’s empowerment we are witnessing today has greatly contributed to our presence in all the local and international events. That is why I cannot describe my feelings to have qualified for the world championship, and I am grateful for your support of our dear and beloved country.”

“I am very happy to participate in this international and historical event, and I hope we achieve a positive result in this championship.

Ghada Nimir

Al-Abdulwahid, who won the bronze medal at the federation’s women’s championships in 2018 and 2019, said: “I cannot describe my happiness to see my dream come true, and this is my first move toward my goal. I have had this dream since I was a child, and I am proud to have qualified among the best players of the Saudi national team in order to participate in the world championship which is a precious chance. I am lucky to be honored to play with professionals from all over the world, which will give me confidence and experience in my bowling career, and I hope that our presence will be honorable, positive and fruitful for the rest of the players and motivate them to excel.”

Termein said: “I am happy and proud to represent my country first, and my city second since I am the only qualified player from Jeddah. I aim to reach advanced rankings in the championship, and I would like to thank the Saudi Bowling Federation for giving us the chance to join the international championship.”

Al-Dosari, who also won a bronze medal in the federation’s championship in 2018, expressed her happiness saying: “I am grateful and proud to have this opportunity and qualify to participate in the international championship to represent the Kingdom. I consider this a great honor and I am very excited seeking to give my best performance.”