Saudi Arabia cup winners Al-Ittihad sign Brazilian and welcome back Green Falcons star

Thiago Carleto has joined Al-Ittihad from Atletico Paranaense. (AFP)
Updated 20 July 2018

Saudi Arabia cup winners Al-Ittihad sign Brazilian and welcome back Green Falcons star

  • Left-back Thiago Carleto has joined the Saudi Pro League club
  • Fahad Al-Muwallad is back in training after his goal at the World Cup

LONDON: Al-Ittihad continue to bolster their King’s Cup winning squad, this time announcing they have signed Brazilian left-back Thiago Carleto.
The Saudi Pro League outfit made a significant double signing last week, recruiting Serbian international striker Aleksandar Pesic and Australia World Cup defender Matthew Jurman — and the Tigers have now moved to strengthen the left-back position by landing Carleto.
The 29-year-old joins from Atletico Paranaense and will bring with him the experience of playing for some of Brazil’s top clubs and in Spain for Valencia and Elche. He is set to join the rest of his new teammates in Austria where they are preparing for the new season under the guidance of new boss Ramon Diaz.
Diaz, the former Al-Hilal coach, has been hired to try and bring about a change in the Tigers’ fortunes. They have not won the league since 2009 and could only finish ninth last season. They did, however, win the King’s Cup for the ninth time, beating Al-Faisaly in a match that was overshadowed by the original referee Fahad Al-Mirdasi offering to take a bribe to influence the outcome of the match.
Since then, Al-Ittihad have been active in the transfer market. They have signed Saudi Arabia international defenders Hassan Muath Fallatah and Abdullah Al-Shammari, recruited youngster Jaber Issa and also extended the contract of goalkeeper Fawaz Al-Qarni until 2022.
Wanderson Ferreira de Oliveira, who is more commonly known as Valdívia, has joined on loan from Sao Paulo for a season.
Star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad has also been reintegrated back into the fold after his loan spell at Levante and then his World Cup exploits. He was given an extended break by coach Diaz and did not report for pre-season training in Austria until Sunday. He will be a key player for the team this season.
The 23-year-old became the first ever player from Saudi Arabia to play in La Liga when he came on as a substitute in Levante’s 3-0 away win at Leganes and he then went on to play in all three of the Green Falcons’ World Cup matches, coming on as a substitute against Russia and then starting the last two games against Uruguay and Egypt. He scored his tenth goal for his country in the 2-1 win over Egypt.
He will be eased slowly into the pre-season program, which features friendlies against Slovenian side
NK Krka, Al-Wahda and Al-Fujairah, the club once coached by Diego Maradona.
The Tigers start the competitive season with an Arab Club Champions Cup game against Al-Wasl on Aug. 7 followed by a Saudi Super Cup tie in London against Al-Hilal on Aug. 18.

Vardy hits double in Leicester’s 8th straight victory

Updated 09 December 2019

Vardy hits double in Leicester’s 8th straight victory

  • Leicester takes the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool

BIRMINGHAM: Jamie Vardy scored for an eighth straight game for Premier League high-flyer Leicester on Sunday with a double in a 4-1 dismantling of Aston Villa.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also scored to help Leicester set a new club record of eight consecutive top-flight wins and take the second-place team within eight points of Liverpool.

Jack Grealish did make it 2-1 just before the break but the Foxes were rarely in danger.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are 14 points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United in the pursuit of Champions League qualification.

“We are up there, we are challenging and playing well,” Evans told broadcaster Sky Sports. “Probably now, today, I think people are starting to talk more about that.

“Coming away from Villa with a really good performance, I think that’s the best Villa team we have played against for quite a while and we had to grind it out and it shows we are capable of getting good results.”

By contrast, Villa is only out of the relegation zone on goal difference after slipping to a fifth defeat in seven games.

Villa was wide open and Leicester should have taken the lead after 10 minutes.

Caglar Soyuncu knocked James Maddison’s deep free-kick back for Evans, who could only shoot straight at goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

Immediately, Villa broke to spurn their own golden chance when Matt Targett crossed for Anwar El Ghazi to hit the bar from six yards. With the chance went Villa’s early hopes and they swiftly lost any grip of the game when Vardy continued his scoring streak in the 20th minute.

Wesley lost the ball and the lively Iheanacho slipped the striker in to race clear and round Heaton. Vardy miscued his kick when preparing to shoot but recovered to tap in, despite Konsa’s efforts on the line.

Vardy is now just three games away from equalling his own Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive games.

Villa’s problems were partly of their own making with center back Tyrone Mings unable to cover having already suffered a hamstring injury and the defender was immediately replaced by Bjorn Engels.

Villa could not handle Vardy’s pace and Iheanacho’s movement.

There was a touch of fortune but Leicester deserved to double its lead in the 41st when Maddison crossed and Iheanacho diverted in at the near post.

The Foxes were cruising but Grealish pulled a goal back in first-half injury time when he curled in from 16 yards after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Leicester, though, wasted no time in restoring their two-goal lead four minutes after the break.