Italy’s El Shaarawy leaves Roma for China’s Shanghai Shenhua

AS Roma Italian forward Stephan El Shaarawy warms up prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16, first leg football match AS Roma vs FC Porto on February 12, 2019 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. (File/AFP/Andreas Solaro)
Updated 08 July 2019
0

Italy’s El Shaarawy leaves Roma for China’s Shanghai Shenhua

  • El Shaarawy — nicknamed The Pharoah because of his Egyptian ancestry — had only a year left on his contract with the Serie A club
  • Shenhua are aiming to bolster their squad during the summer transfer window after slipping to 14th in the 16-team Chinese Super League

SHANGHAI: Italy forward Stephan El Shaarawy has agreed to join China’s Shanghai Shenhua, the club announced Monday, 10 days after it was reported he wanted to stay at Roma.
Terms were not disclosed but Italian media reported El Shaarawy will earn a lucrative 15-16 million euros a year ($17-18 million), while Roma will pocket a transfer fee that could reach 20 million euros ($22.5 million) according to Transfermarkt.com.
Sky Sport Italia had reported in late June that the 26-year-old had rejected a move to the Chinese Super League strugglers, with newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport claiming Shenhua had balked at his demands to have input into choosing the club’s coach and playing staff.
El Shaarawy — nicknamed The Pharoah because of his Egyptian ancestry — had only a year left on his contract with the Serie A club, having joined Roma in 2016 from AC Milan after a loan spell in Monaco.
Capped 23 times for Italy, he had reportedly sought a new deal worth four million euros a year with Roma.
He scored 11 goals in Serie A last season as Roma finished sixth and qualified for the Europa League.
Shenhua are aiming to bolster their squad during the summer transfer window after slipping to 14th in the 16-team Chinese Super League, one point above the relegation places, at the season’s midway point.
The club said last week that Spanish manager Enrique “Quique” Sanchez Flores had resigned for “personal reasons” after just half a season in charge.
The former Watford boss Sanchez Flores has been replaced by South Korean Choi Kang-hee, who coached K-League giants Jeonbuk Motors for five years until 2018 when he moved to China’s Tianjin Quanjian before moving to Dalian Yifang.
Choi will reunited with his former Jeonbuk frontman Kim Shin-wook after Shenhua also said Monday that they had signed the South Korean international striker.


Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 20 July 2019
0

Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

CAIRO: Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.
Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.
For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.
It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi completing a whirlwind 12 months at the helm after inheriting a side that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.
With defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for Senegal, Salif Sane deputised at the back and Ismaila Sarr was recalled in attack, while Belmadi kept faith in the same side that overcame Nigeria with an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez.
Senegal had understandably feared the absence of Napoli star Koulibaly, banned after two bookings in the knockout rounds, although the towering Sane was desperately unlucky as Algeria grabbed the lead with scarcely a minute played.
As Bounedjah took aim from 20 yards his effort smacked off Sane and arced high into the air before dropping underneath the crossbar and beyond a static Gomis, sparking delirious celebrations from both players and fans, some of whom arrived for the final on military planes provided by the Algerian government.
It was the first time Gomis had conceded in almost 400 minutes in Egypt having replaced the injured Edouard Mendy ahead of Senegal’s final group game.
Henri Saivet, who missed a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Tunisia, tried to catch Rais Mbohli out with a free-kick while Mbaye Niang fizzed a powerful drive just over as Senegal gradually showed signs of life before the half ended with both sets of players embroiled in a scuffle as they headed for the tunnel.
Senegal thought they had won a penalty on the hour when Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum pointed to the spot for a suspected handball by Adlene Guedioura, but the official reversed his decision after a VAR review.
Niang rounded an advancing Mbohli after a searching ball through from Cheikhou Kouyate but the forward sliced wide of the target from a tough angle, with the Algeria ‘keeper then acrobatically tipping over a rasping drive from Youssouf Sabaly.
The Desert Foxes started to look jaded as Senegal brought on fresh legs in Krepin Diatta and Mbaye Diagne, but Youcef Belaili nearly made it 2-0 when his cross brushed the head of a defender and skimmed the roof of the net.
Sarr blazed over on the volley as Algeria clung on to their advantage in the closing minutes, the final whistle greeted by an outpouring of raw emotion as the North Africans emerged worthy winners of the expanded 24-team event.