Saudi Arabia defender signs new contract at Pro League runners-up Al-Ahli

Motaz Hawsawi played against Romelu Lukaku in March. (AFP)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia defender signs new contract at Pro League runners-up Al-Ahli

  • Motaz Hawsawi signs until 2022
  • Defender is now hoping to make the final World Cup squad

Saudi Arabia national team defender Motaz Hawsawi received a boost on the eve of the World Cup after it was announced he has signed a contract extension at Al-Ahli.
Hawsawi had one year to run on his existing contract with the Jeddah giants, but the club have moved to tie him down long term and contract him until 2022.
The extension is a reward for a season that saw the 26-year-old make 32 appearances as Al-Ahli finished runners-up to Al-Hilal in the Saudi Pro League and then reach the last 16 of the AFC Champions League where they were knocked out over two legs by Al-Sadd.
Hawsawi is with Juan Antonio Pizzi’s World Cup squad in Zurich and hopes are high that he will make the final 23-man squad submitted on June 4. However, he has only started one game under the Argentine — and that was the 4-0 defeat to Belgium against Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard. Hawsawi has won nine caps since his coming on as a half-time substitute against Georgia in 2014.
News of Hawsawi committing his future to the club will be welcome news for new coach Pablo Guede. The Argentine has already seen star striker Omar Al-Somah and key defender Mohamed Al-Fateel pen new deals, creating a sense of stability at the club ahead of the new season.

 


“Captain fantastic” Harry Kane to the rescue as England beat Tunisia at the death

Updated 18 June 2018
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“Captain fantastic” Harry Kane to the rescue as England beat Tunisia at the death

  • Harry Kane came to the rescue with two goals, the second a dramatic injury-time winner
  • England had started brightly in a blur of passing and movement and could have been two goals up inside the first four minutes

VOLGOGRAD, Russia: Captain Harry Kane came to the rescue with two goals, the second a dramatic injury-time winner, as England began their World Cup Group G campaign with a stuttering 2-1 win over Tunisia on Monday.
Gareth Southgate’s men almost paid a heavy price for missing a slew of first-half chances when Tunisia’s Ferjani Sassi slotted home a softly-awarded penalty 20 minutes before half-time.
And the north Africans were still level as the game went past the 90-minute mark.
But Harry Maguire won a header from a corner and Kane was on hand at the far post to nod in the winner before being mobbed by his ecstatic teammates.
“I’m so proud of the lads,” Kane said. “They kept going, kept going to the last second.
“I am absolutely buzzing, everyone on the staff is. It shows good character to get the job done.”
England had started brightly in a blur of passing and movement and could have been two goals up inside the first four minutes.
First Jordan Henderson’s lofted first-time pass released Dele Alli and when the ball eventually broke to Jesse Lingard he saw his shot from six yards saved by the outstretched left boot of Mouez Hassen in the Tunisia goal.
Kane had been kept quiet in the opening salvos but he exploded into action in the 11th minute when he cut inside from the left and saw his shot from the edge of the box deflected wide for a corner.
Ashley Young delivered the set piece for John Stones to rise highest and meet with a powerful header. Hassen saved acrobatically but Kane was on hand to tap home the rebound with his right foot and open his World Cup account.
Hassen, who had injured his left shoulder making an earlier save, could not continue and left the field in tears as he was replaced in goal by Farouk Ben Mustapha.
England continued to press and were made to pay for not converting a succession of chances when they conceded a soft penalty.
Kyle Walker swung a lazy arm across Fakhreddine Ben Youssef who fell as if poleaxed and Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan pointed to the spot, with his decision being upheld by the VAR.
Ferjani Sassi took one step and fired home confidently past the hitherto unemployed Jordan Pickford and Tunisia who had been outplayed for the first half-hour were somehow level 10 minutes before half-time.
Still there was time for Lingard to come close again twice, first from a goalbound shot and then a dink over the keeper which agonizingly struck the post.
Alli too hit the woodwork with a header and England went into half-time wondering how they had not sealed victory already.
England still enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but could not find the same zip and penetration they had enjoyed at the start of the first half.
The ineffective Sterling gave way to Marcus Rashford with just over 20 minutes to go and the Manchester United man almost fashioned a chance straight away with a jinking run into the box.