Slaven Bilic sacked by Al-Ittihad after just 15 matches

Updated 25 February 2019
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Slaven Bilic sacked by Al-Ittihad after just 15 matches

  • Former West Ham Croatia boss fired after only 15 matches in charge with Jeddah club in relegation zone.
  • Former boss Luis Sierra given task of saving side from relegation.

LONDON: Al-Ittihad have sacked Slaven Bilic after just five months in charge after the former West Ham United boss was unable to left the Saudi giants out of the Pro League relegation zone.
The Croatian was brought in to steer the Jeddah club to safety after they sacked Ramon Diaz just weeks into the new season. Bilic, however, was unable to have the desired impact on The Tigers as he won just three of the 15 matches he was in charge of.
The 50-year-old was dished out with his marching orders after the side’s 2-0 home defeat to arch-rivals Al-Hilal.
Former boss Luis Sierra has already been confirmed as Al-Ittihad’s new manager. the Chilean faces a huge task of trying to avoid the drop with just nine games left until the end of the season and Al-Ittihad second from bottom.
Al-Ittihad — who have eight Saudi Pro League titles to their name — released a statement thanking Bilic for his time at the helm.
“After reviewing the modest results of Ittihad Club in the past period, which did not rise to expectations despite the efforts exerted by the board to provide the coaching staff with everything they needed to put Ittihad back on the right track,” the statement read.
“The Board has decided to terminate the contract of Croatian coach Slaven Bilic and the assistant coaching staff.
“The Board thanks them for everything they did.”
That the Jeddah giants are in the relegation zone comes as a shock. They spent a lot of money before the season in a bid to challenge defending champions Al-Hilal. Sierra is the club’s fourth coach in less than a year.


Arsenal open US tour with 3-0 friendly win in Colorado

Updated 16 July 2019
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Arsenal open US tour with 3-0 friendly win in Colorado

LOS ANGELES: Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli scored in his Arsenal debut Monday as the English Premier League club launched their pre-season tour of the US with a 3-0 friendly win over the Colorado Rapids.

Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka also scored for the Gunners, who cruised to victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in suburban Denver.

Martinelli, the 18-year-old forward signed from Ituano on July 2, was given a surprise start in attack by Unai Emery and sent an early chance wide.

Saka, 17, was an energetic presence and put Arsenal up 1-0 in the 13th minute as he collected a through-ball from Eddie Nketiah.

Another teenager — 18-year-old Olayinka —  doubled the score in the 29th, seizing a stray pass from defense and racing in to fire into the top left corner of the net.

Martinelli, having missed his early chance, capped the scoring in the 61st when he slotted home a cross from close range.

The Rapids, in the midst of the Major League Soccer season, fielded a mostly reserve side that featured several players from the lower-rung Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

Arsenal, too, started a reserve team as they begin their build up to the Premier League season after again failing to secure a Champions League berth.

The tour has not started without controversy. Captain Laurent Koscielny refused to travel to the US, and a group of influential Arsenal supporters’ organizations published a statement on Monday hitting out at Stan Kroenke’s “passive ownership.”

Under a hashtag “WeCareDo You” the statement decried a “soulless” atmosphere at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and a lack of transfer strategy.

Kroenke, who began investing in the club in 2007 through his company Kroenke Sports Enterprises and took full ownership in 2018, also owns the Rapids as well as the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.