Saudi Arabia powerhouse Al-Ahli sign international striker

Djaniny Tavares has penned a long-term contract at Al-Ahli. (@ALAHLI_FCEN)
Updated 20 July 2018
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Saudi Arabia powerhouse Al-Ahli sign international striker

  • 6ft 3in forward Djaniny Tavares will play for the Jeddah giants this season
  • Cape Verde international set to partner Omar Al-Somah in new-look strikeforce

LONDON: Al-Ahli have taken another positive step towards wrestling the title away from Al-Hilal by adding to their already prolific strike force.
The Jeddah side have signed Cape Verde international striker Djaniny Tavares on a four-year deal and he is set to spearhead an attacking unit that scored 59 times in the league last season, 12 more than anyone else. 
Tavares, 27, is 6ft 3in and is likely to be used as a target man, making him the perfect foil for sharpshooter Omar Al-Somah, who has been the league’s top-scorer in three of the past four seasons.
Somah scored 11 times in the league last season — one less than Al-Fayha’s Ronnie Fernández who led the league scoring charts —  while Leonardo, with ten, and Giannis Fetfatzidis, who got nine, were not far behind for Al-Ahli, but the latter two have been released as part of a cull of the club’s foreign players, so Tavares has been recruited with a view to replacing their goal threat.


Tavares is not a household name — he has spent most of his career playing for some of the lesser known clubs in Portugal — but he has spent the last four years in Mexico, scoring 40 goals in 124 games for Santos Laguna. He has been capped 24 times by his country, scoring four goals and will join up with his new Al-Ahli teammates in Austria for their pre-season training camp.
Tavares is the club’s fifth summer signing, following on from the capture of Spaniard’s Jose Manuel Jurado and Alexis Ruano, Egyptian international Abdallah El-Said and Nouh Al-Mousa. Al-Somah, Mohamed Al-Fateel and Motaz Hawsawi have signed new contracts while Pablo Guede is the new coach.

Al-Ahli missed out on the title by a single point last season and are keen to kick on and land the title for the first time since 2016.
Al-Ahli begin the competitive season on Aug. 7 with an Arab Club Champions Cup game against Muharraq before kicking off the Saudi Pro League season on Aug. 30 with a home game against Al-Batin


Real Madrid can still win title, claims Santiago Solari

Updated 17 February 2019
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Real Madrid can still win title, claims Santiago Solari

  • Defeat leaves Real in third, nine points behind arch-rivals Barcelona.
  • Girona had not won in the league since November.

LONDON: Santiago Solari insisted Real Madrid could still win the La Liga title despite a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Girona.
The capital club were coming off a five-match winning streak, but were not able to get past their relegation-threatened rivals at the Bernabeu, conceding twice in the second half after taking a 1-0 half-time lead.
Girona had not won in 13 matches in all competitions and were coming off six straight losses. The Catalan club had not won in the league since November and had entered the weekend one point from the relegation zone. So to say this was a shock would be understating the case, Real were on the up, and this was supposed to be an easy win to aid their slim title hopes and add to the momentum of their good 2019 form.
But Solari — clearly a “glass half full” man — claimed Real’s title charge was far from over. Asked if the title was lost, the Argentine, who took over the asked Julen Lopetegui in October, said: “Not at all, not at all, next week there is another match, our rivals, too. All the matches are difficult, as Girona have shown today, we have to keep winning to try to cut the gap.
“This is football and there is always a rival, in this case Girona, who played well.
“In the second half there was a lot of energy. Girona were forceful when they attacked and we lacked clarity. The fatigue is not only physical, it is mental, concentration. We come from a major bustle, many games with good results, and that may have happened to us at the energy level in the second half. It’s likely.”
The surprise defeat dropped Madrid to third place and left them nine points behind Barcelona, who edged Valladolid 1-0 on Saturday with a penalty kick converted by Lionel Messi. The result at the Nou Camp ended a three-game winless run for the Girona neighbors in all competitions.
Madrid had won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions, with the only setback a 1-1 draw at Barca in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals. They had cut Barcelona’s lead from 10 points to six in recent rounds after seeing their arch-rivals go through a slump.
Solari made some changes to the starting lineup, leaving Vinicius Junior and Gareth Bale on the bench after they started midweek in the 2-1 win at Ajax in the Champions League second round clash.
Casemiro opened the scoring with a firm header from near the penalty spot in the 25th minute after a cross by Toni Kroos, and Girona equalized with a penalty kick converted by Cristhian Stuani in the 65th after a handball by Sergio Ramos inside the area.
Girona had a golden chance to equalize about five minutes before the penalty, when Aleix Garcia’s close-range shot went over the crossbar. The visitors moved in front with a 75th-minute header by Portu after Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois initially saved a shot by Anthony Lozano.
Portu had hit the post a few minutes earlier with a booming shot from inside the area.
Solari put on Vinicius Junior and Bale in the second half, but they were unable to save Real. Courtois made it to the area in a last-gasp attempt, but could not get enough on his header, sending the ball just wide of the post.
As if to emphasize the dire day, Ramos was sent off in 90th minute after receiving a second yellow card.