Fighting performance from Al-Ahli not enough as Saudi club exit AFC Champions League

Al-Ahli exited the 2018 AFC Champions League on Monday after a 2-2 draw with Al-Sadd. (AFP)
Updated 14 May 2018
0

Fighting performance from Al-Ahli not enough as Saudi club exit AFC Champions League

JEDDAH: Al-Ahli exited the 2018 AFC Champions League on Monday after a 2-2 draw with Al-Sadd in their second leg in Jeddah gave the Qatari team a 4-3 aggregate win in this round of 16 clash.
It was a fighting performance from the Saudi Arabian team, down 2-1 from the first leg in Doha a week earlier, who recovered from conceding an early goal to push Al-Sadd all the way in an open and exciting game.
Two goals from tournament top scorer Baghdad Bounedjah made the difference. The first came after just three minutes as, just as in the first leg, Al-Ahli fell conceded early.
Bounedjah was freed on the left and given too much space to cut inside to enter the penalty area and fire a right-footed shot past the despairing dive of Mohammed Al-Owais.
Within five minutes however, the hosts drew level on the night with a simple free-kick. The Al Sadd defence failed to deal with Saleh Al-Amri’s floated ball into the area from the right side and there was Claudemir at the far post to head home from close range.
At the 20-minute mark, Al Ahli almost scored from a similar position. Al-Amri sent another cross from the right to the far post but this time, Salman Muwashar headed high and wide from a closer range and a tighter angle. Soon after, Claudemir was shooting over from the edge of the area as Al-Ahli started to pile on the pressure.
Yet just past the half-hour it was Al-Sadd who should have scored. A delightful pass from former Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez found Akram Afif free inside the area but Al-Owais came out quickly to block the shot with his legs. Moments later, Morteza Pouraliganji shot just wide from a free-kick.
Six minutes before the break, Al Ahli were back on level terms for the first time in the tie since the opening minutes of the first leg. This time, the delivery came in from the left and Mansour Al-Harbi’s inswinging cross was met by Aseri, who got the better of Abdelkarim Hassan and bundled home from close range to tie the overall score at 3-3.
Both teams continued to attack after the restart with the first chance falling to Xavi whose low shot was well-saved by Al-Owais. The goalkeeper was helpless just before the hour as Bounedjah’s overhead kick from close range rattled the crossbar as Al Sadd threatened to take control.
Shortly after however, Aseri missed an open goal that would have put Al-Ahli ahead. Abdulafttah Asiri sent over a perfect low cross from the left that eluded everyone except the Saudi striker who somehow shot over from inside the six-yard box.
The turning point came with 20 minutes remaining. Claudemir brought down Hamid Ismaeil in the area and while Al-Owais saved Bounedjah’s initial shot, the Algerian followed up to send Al Sadd into the last eight and end Saudi Arabian participation in the 2018 AFC Champions League.


Ex-England forward Beardsley suspended over racist comments

Updated 19 September 2019

Ex-England forward Beardsley suspended over racist comments

  • Peter Beardsley suspended from all football-related activity for 32 weeks
  • Beardsley, who denied the allegations, has also been ordered to complete a face-to-face education course

LONDON: Former Newcastle Under-23s coach Peter Beardsley has been suspended from all football-related activity for 32 weeks after he was found guilty of making racist comments.
The England international, who played for Newcastle and Liverpool, was charged earlier this year by the Football Association with three counts of using racist language.
The 58-year-old’s departure from the Premier League club was confirmed in March after he was placed on leave while an investigation into bullying was carried out.
An FA statement said: “All three breaches of FA Rule E3 were denied but subsequently found proven based upon the results and findings of Newcastle United FC’s disciplinary proceedings.”
It added: “An independent regulatory commission has suspended Peter Beardsley from all football and football-related activity for a period of 32 weeks until 29 April 2020.”
The commission’s report described Beardsley as a “towering figure in football” and said his football reputation was “beyond question.”
But it found: “On the three occasions which are the subject of the charges, he made remarks which were obviously racist and were wholly unacceptable.
“Even if he did not intend to do so, he plainly did cause offense. It is particularly important at a time when racism in football is prevalent that remarks of the kind made by Mr. Beardsley are punished severely.”
Beardsley, who denied the allegations, has also been ordered to complete a “face-to-face” education course.
In a statement released on his behalf by his solicitors, Beardsley spoke of his disappointment at the decision, but vowed to return to football.
It said: “Peter Beardsley is very surprised and disappointed by the decision of the regulatory commission.
“It was almost impossible for Peter to clear his name because of the serious flaws and contamination of evidence that occurred in the disciplinary process before Newcastle United and by the unusual fact that the FA Rules put the burden of proof on him to prove his innocence in the proceedings.
“After a long process which has been unnecessarily protracted, Peter feels vindicated that the commission has expressly found that he is not a racist.”