Unimpressive Germany beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in World Cup warmup

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Saudi Arabia's foward Mohammad Al-Sahlawi missed a penalty. (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia's midfielder Taisir Al-Jassim pounced on a penalty save to score. (AFP)
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The Green Falcons would be pleased by a competitive game against the world champions Germany. (AP)
Updated 09 June 2018
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Unimpressive Germany beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in World Cup warmup

  • Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf was impressive throughout
  • Joachim Loew’s side again failed to shine

LEVERKUSEN, Germany: Defending World Cup champion Germany defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1 on Friday for a timely but unimpressive win one week before its title defense begins in Russia.

Having failed to win any of its previous five friendly games since wrapping up qualification with a perfect 10 wins from 10 matches, Germany was keen to deliver a statement four days before the side leaves for its tournament base in Moscow, especially after last Saturday’s lackluster 2-1 defeat to Austria.

But Joachim Loew’s side again failed to shine and had to rely on Mats Hummels denying Mohammad Al-Sahlawi an injury-time equalizer.

Loew started his strongest available side. Mesut Ozil, who is laboring with a knee injury, was left out with Julian Draxler of Paris Saint-Germain taking the Arsenal midfielder’s place.

Timo Werner fired the home side into an early lead after Marco Reus cut the ball back. It was one-way play thereafter, though the visitors did create some chances as the home side relaxed before the break.

Just when it seemed there might be an equalizer, Werner crossed for Omar Hawsawi to turn the ball into his own net under pressure from Thomas Mueller.

Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf, who was impressive throughout, denied Gundogan just minutes after he came on.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who came on for Manuel Neuer at the break, saved a late penalty from Al-Sahlawi but Taisir Al-Jassim followed up on the rebound. The result arguably does more for Saudi Arabia’s hopes than Germany.


Saudi Arabia legend extends his remarkable football career by another season

Updated 19 July 2018
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Saudi Arabia legend extends his remarkable football career by another season

LONDON: The indefatigable Hussein Abdulghani is back in Saudi Arabia and set to continue his playing career with yet another season of top-level football.
The 41-year-old first started his professional career way back in 1995 with Al-Ahli and, fitness permitting, he could still be playing 24 years later after it was announced he has signed a short-term deal with Ohod.
Ohod finished bottom of the pile last season, but they managed to avoid relegation by beating Al-Ta’ee over two legs in a playoff. They have sought the experience of Abdulghani in a bid to avoid the struggles of last season.
“Allow me first to extend my sincere thanks to Ohod Club’s management for the confidence and trust they have shown in me,” said Abdulghani in a video interview on the club’s Twitter account. “I hope to be an addition to the club and together be able to entertain and wow the audience and gain their support. The club’s management exerted enormous effort in this regards by signing contracts with several players, and I hope that they support the club in the upcoming period.”
Abdulghani, who turns 42 in January, has spent the last season playing in Bulgaria, but he has decided to return to the Kingdom and play for a third Saudi Pro League club. He played nearly 300 times for Al-Ahli during a 13-year spell and then went on to make nearly 150 appearances for Al-Nassr. There was also, in between, a season-long spell at Swiss club Neuchâtel Xamax. In a quirk of the fixture list, Ohod's first two league games this season will be against Al-Nassr and Al-Ahli, two of Abdulghani's former clubs.
The full-back, who has played 134 times for his country, was on the verge of making a shock return to the national team set-up earlier this year for the first time in four years after coach Juan Antonio Pizzi recalled the defender to the squad and picked him in the starting XI for the game against Iraq at Basra International Stadium.
But his hopes were cruelly dashed after his Bulgarian club side Vereya refused to release him for the historic friendly match because it fell outside the FIFA International Match Calendar.