Seahawks, Ravens advance in NFL playoffs

Updated 08 January 2013
0

Seahawks, Ravens advance in NFL playoffs

BALTIMORE, Maryland: The stellar rookie seasons of quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III came to an end on Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins respectively lost in the NFL wild-card playoffs.
The only remaining rookie quarterback in the playoffs is Russell Wilson, who teamed with Marshawn Lynch to guide the Seattle Seahawks to a 24-14 comeback win over Washington.
“It was a tremendous game,” Wilson said. “We were fortunate enough to come out with a win. It was a battle, we kept playing. One play at a time, that’s what I kept telling the guys.” The Seahawks overcame a 14-0 first-quarter hole — their biggest deficit this season — and will visit the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons next Sunday. Seattle has a six-game winning streak, and ended the stigma that it couldn’t win on the road in the playoffs; it had lost the previous eight away games in the postseason.
“It was a huge win,” Wilson said, “and we’re excited about the opportunities.” In Baltimore, Ray Lewis and the Ravens eliminated No.1 draft pick Luck and the Indianapolis Colts with a 24-9 win. The victory delayed Lewis’ retirement for at least another week as Baltimore heads to top-seeded Denver next Saturday.
“I knew how it started, but I never knew how it would end here in Baltimore,” said Lewis, who played his final home game. “To go the way it did today, I wouldn’t change anything.” The other playoff games next weekend are Green Bay at San Francisco on Saturday, and Houston at New England on Sunday.
The Packers set up the showdown with the 49ers after beating the Minnesota Vikings in the wild-card round Saturday. The teams met in the season opener, a 30-22 victory by San Francisco.
Houston gets another chance against New England after beating Cincinnati 19-13 on Saturday in quarterback Matt Schaub’s first postseason start. The AFC East champion Patriots trounced the Texans 42-14 at Foxborough on Dec. 10, the first of three losses in four games for Houston to end the regular season.
Griffin did not finish the game against Seattle, buckling his right knee as he tried to collect a bad shotgun snap. That left the Redskins an offseason to worry about their quarterback’s fitness.
Griffin was playing in his third game since spraining his right knee about a month ago against Baltimore, and he had been looking preppy since tumbling backward following an ill-advised sidearm throw in the first quarter.
Nevertheless, he stayed in the game. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he didn’t pull Griffin because the quarterback wanted to continue.
“I did put myself at more risk,” Griffin said. “But every time you get on the field, you’re putting yourself on the line.” Griffin was scheduled for a scan to determine the extent of the injury.
Lynch ran for 132 yards, and Wilson completed 15 of 26 passes for 187 yards and ran eight times for 67 yards for the Seahawks.
Baltimore’s Anquan Boldin set a franchise record with 145 yards receiving, including the clinching touchdown in the Ravens’ victory. It set up a rematch with Denver, who cruised past Baltimore 34-17 three weeks ago.
“I wanted Denver,” Boldin said, “because they beat us. We’ll make it different.” Lewis, who made 13 tackles, ended his last home game in Baltimore at fullback for the final kneel-down. He then went into a short version of his trademark dance before being mobbed by teammates. He followed with a victory lap, his right arm, covered by a brace, held high in salute to the fans after playing for the first time since tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14 against Dallas.
The loss ended the Colts’ turnaround season in which they went from 2-14 to the playoffs in coach Chuck Pagano’s first year in Indianapolis. Pagano missed 12 weeks while undergoing treatment for leukemia and returned last week.
Indy’s only points came on three field goals by Adam Vinatieri. Luck completed 28 of 54 passes, the most attempts by a rookie in a playoff game, for 288 yards.


Juan Antonio Pizzi picks little-known striker in search of more Saudi Arabia firepower

Updated 25 April 2018
0

Juan Antonio Pizzi picks little-known striker in search of more Saudi Arabia firepower

  • Haroun Kamara has only played seven times for his club side
  • Green Falcons to play Algeria and Greece next month

Al-Qadisiyah’s 20-year-old striker Haroun Kamara has been given an opportunity to stake an unlikely claim for a World Cup spot after being surprisingly named in Juan Antonio Pizzi’s squad for a three-week training camp in Spain.
Kamara, who was born in Jeddah to Guinean parents, has only made seven league appearances for lowly Al-Qadisiyah, scoring four goals and claiming two assists, but he has been given the chance to shine in friendlies against Algeria on May 9 and Greece six days later and book a seat on the plane to Russia.
The youngster follows in the footsteps of the likes of Somalian-British Mukhtar Ali and Egyptian Ahmed Al-Fiqi as the Saudi Football Federation look to harness the pool of players born in the Kingdom to expats and increase the depth of the Green Falcons’ squad.
Pizzi has turned to Kamara having struggled to find options in attack. Hazza Al-Hazza and Mujahid Al-Mania, who were both given their debuts over the past six months, have failed to convince upfront, while Mohannad Assiri has just one goal for his country in more than seven years. Mohammed Al-Sahlawi, who has 26 goals in 33 internationals, is favorite to lead the line, but Pizzi needs more options in attack.
In goal, Yasir Al-Mosaileem, Mohammed Al-Owais and Fawaz Al-Qarni retain their place in the squad, while Al-Nassr’s Waleed Abdullah, who featured in the last squad, made way for Al-Hilal’s Abdullah Al-Mayouf. Only three goalkeepers will be selected for the final 23-man squad.
In defense, Ali Al-Bulayhi is in line for a debut, having established himself as a key player at the heart of Al-Hilal defense, while Mohammed Al-Burayk’s performances at right-back for the Blues earned him a recall to the squad for the first time under Pizzi, replacing Hassan Muath.
The three Hawsawis — Osama, Omar and Motaz — retain their places as do full-backs Yasir Al-Shahrani, Mansour Al-Harbi and Saeed Al-Muwallad. The backline is edging closer to taking shape as Mohammed Jahfali, who was first brought into the squad in March’s friendlies against Ukraine and Belgium, looks to have done enough to convince Pizzi to hand him a second opportunity.
There were no real surprises in midfield as the team is boosted by the recovery of two high-profile names. Nawaf Al-Abed makes his long-awaited return to the national team set-up, having suffered an injury in November’s ill-fated Portugal camp under the now departed coach Edgardo Bauza. Al-Abed’s Al-Hilal teammate, Salman Al-Faraj, is also back in the squad after recovering from a three-month injury lay-off.
Spain-based trio Fahad Al-Muwallad, Yahya Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari miss out due to club commitments.

 

Saudi Arabia squad for games against Algeria (May 9) and Greece (May 15)

Goalkeepers: Yasir Al-Mosaileem, Mohammed Al-Owais, Fawaz Al-Qarni, Abdullah Al-Mayouf.
Defenders: Osama Hawsawi, Motaz Hawsawi, Omar Hawsawi, Mohammed Jahfal, Ali Al-Bulayhi, Mohammed Al-Burayk, Saeed Al-Muwallad, Yasir Al-Shahrani, Mansour Al-Harbi.
Midfielders: Abdulmalik Al-Khaibari, Abdllah Al-Khaibari, Ibrahim Ghaleb, Abdullah Otayf, Taisir Al-Jassim, Hussein Al-Moqahwi, Salman Al-Faraj, Nawaf Al-Abed, Mohammad Kanno, Mohammed Al-Kuwaikbi, Hattan Bahebri.
Forwards: Mohammed Al-Sahlawi, Mohannad Assiri, Haroun Kamara