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.

 


Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

Updated 20 May 2019
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Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

  • Milwaukee’s MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggles to just 12 points
  • He then fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period

LOS ANGELES: Kawhi Leonard scored eight of his 36 points in the second overtime period Sunday to lead the Toronto Raptors to a gritty 118-112 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The Raptors, who dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Milwaukee, clawed their way back to 2-1 in front of home fans and will try to level the set when they host game four on Tuesday.
Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and Spanish center Marc Gasol added 16 for the Raptors, who got off to a quick start and led much of the night but had to battle to put the Bucks away.
“We just played a lot tougher,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We were up guarding, we were physical. We were ready to play tonight.”
Milwaukee’s Most Valuable Player finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled to just 12 points on five-of-16 shooting.
Antetokounmpo’s 23 rebounds helped the Bucks stay in touch, but he didn’t reach double figures in points until the middle of the fourth quarter and he produced eight of the Bucks’ 20 turnovers.
Antetokounmpo fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period.
Moments later the Bucks managed to edge ahead 105-103 — taking the lead for the first time since Antetokounmpo scored the game’s opening basket — but Leonard and the Raptors roared back.
Leonard’s steal and dunk put Toronto ahead 112-109 and his driving bank shot gave Toronto a 114-110 lead with 32.4 seconds remaining.
Leonard played a key role in limiting Antetokounmpo and Nurse said his defensive play was “probably the biggest key of the game.”
“Not only did he just play good, but he made some huge plays with some steals and rip-aways and break aways,” Nurse said.
“Offense was hard to come by there for both teams for a while and any time you can get a steal and a break out it’s a huge momentum play.”
Toronto had a chance to win it in regulation, but they let a 96-91 lead slip away in the final 1:13 of the fourth quarter.
Milwaukee guard Khris Middleton’s putback basket from his own miss with 2.2 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.
The Raptors led 103-99 with 1:29 remaining in the first extra session.
But Malcolm Brogdon floated in a shot and George Hill drained two free throws to tie it before Leonard’s jump shot fell short.
The Raptors overcame a slow night from Kyle Lowry, who scored 11 points before fouling out with 6:12 left in the fourth.
Although Leonard scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and both overtimes, some grimaces from the Raptors star sparked concerns he might be injured.
“I’m feeling all right,” he said. “This is playoff basketball. Everybody’s hurting, you just have to keep fighting.”
Hill led the Bucks with 24 points and fellow reserve Brogdon added 20. Center Brook Lopez led the Bucks starters with 16 points.
“I feel like we gave ourselves several chances,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We weren’t able to get over the hump.
“When you have opportunities you’ve got to make them and we didn’t quite make enough of our good ones. I think we’ll be better in game four, Giannis, everybody.”