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Relegation-battle boost as Al-Muwallad penalty ensures narrow win for nervous Al-Ittihad

DUBAI: After a miserable resumption of the Saudi Professional League (SPL) season for Al-Ittihad, who lost two matches in the space of a week, they finally gave their fans something to smile about on Friday with a 1-0 home win over Al-Ettifaq at King Abdullah Sports City. However, it was another uncomfortable night for the…

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DUBAI: After a miserable resumption of the Saudi Professional League (SPL) season for Al-Ittihad, who lost two matches in the space of a week, they finally gave their fans something to smile about on Friday with a 1-0 home win over Al-Ettifaq at King Abdullah Sports City.

However, it was another uncomfortable night for the struggling giants and the result was partially overshadowed by an unseemly scuffle between the teams’ players and coaching staffs.

Al-Ittihad started the day 13th in the league, just one point and one place above Al-Fateh, who occupied the first of the three relegation spots. With six games left to play, the message coming out of the club was that they are being treated like six cup finals — six crucial matches in the battle to avoid the ignominy of dropping out of the top flight or facing a play-off to ensure survival.

By the time the under-pressure players took to the field they knew that Al-Fateh had overtaken them in the race for survival, thanks to a 2-1 win over Abha Club. As a result, Al-Ittihad kicked off their 25th match of the season in the relegation zone.

It was perhaps not surprising then that in a first half littered with errors, a nervous Al-Ittihad lacked cohesion and confidence, and coach Fabio Carille’s decision to start Brazilian playmaker Romarinho nominally on the left side of midfield seemed to unbalance the team. Still, despite some promising attacks, especially down the wings, Al-Ettifaq were unable to take advantage of their opponents’ uncertainty.

Five minutes into the second half, Al-Ittihad got the break they so desperately needed when Al-Ettifaq midfielder Ibrahim Mahnashi clipped Saud Abdulhamid in the penalty area, and the referee correctly awarded a penalty after consulting with the video assistant referee. Saudi international Fahad Al-Muwallad made no mistake from the spot, firmly placing the ball to the right of goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi.

The Al-Ittihad giants struggled throughout the game, but finally managed to give their fans reason to smile with a 1-0 win. (SPA)

 

 

Al-Ittihad failed to capitalize on their advantage but, despite having to endure a few close calls as the referee added six extra minutes, they managed to hold out to secure a narrow 1-0 win and three priceless points.

At the final whistle, Al-Ittihad’s exhausted players sank to their knees, a reaction more often seen at the end of grueling cup final than a more routine league game. The victory allowed them to leapfrog both Al-Fateh and Al-Hazem and claim 12th place.

“This was an important win for us; mentally we needed this win,” said match-winner Al-Muwallad. “But I have to say that despite the win we didn’t perform to our best. We fell short in certain parts but, thankfully, we got the most important thing, which is the three points. I hope this will help our morale ahead of the match against Al-Faisaly (on Wednesday).”

The Saudi international admitted he is concerned about the number of mistakes his team continue to make, even after taking the lead in Friday’s game.

“If you watch the last two matches you’d see that it was individual mistakes that led to two defeats,” he said. “Today we managed to fix some of those problems but not all of them.

“We still made mistakes and, as I said, we didn’t play to the level that Al-Ittihad fans expect from us, despite the presence of a very good group of players. This win should make us more relaxed in the coming games.

“After the goal we retreated somewhat. We tried to finish the game with our counterattacks but couldn’t. Thankfully, we still got the win. We will take it one match at a time — now we should forget this match and start thinking about the match against Al-Faisaly.”

The Al-Ittihad giants struggled throughout the game, but finally managed to give their fans reason to smile with a 1-0 win. (SPA)

Abdul Aziz Al-Bishi, who was making his first appearance for Al-Ittihad since the SPL resumed after it was suspended for more than four months because of the coronavirus crisis, said the players found it hard to take advantage of the extra space that opened up after Al-Muwallad’s goal.

“The weather didn’t help, and coming back from the break maybe some of the players found it hard out there,” he said. “But this should help us in the coming matches and we can add more points to climb up the league table.”

Al-Ettifaq defender Saleh Al-Qumaizi was disappointed that his team’s performance did not earn at least a point.

“I think we played a big match,” he said. “We controlled the majority of the play and we gave everything we had. We made some mistakes and they scored from one of them.

“We have many key players on the left, right and down the middle. I think today we concentrated mostly on the left and a little on the right channels but it wasn’t to be.”

In the day’s other matches, Al-Fayha and Al-Shabab played out a 1-1 draw at Al-Majma’ah Sports City, while two goals in the last 13 minutes helped Al-Raed beat relegation-threatened Al-Hazem 3-1 to remain in fifth place.

 

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Families struggle as heavy rain, more floods expected in Sudan

Thousands of people continue to live under the threat of incoming heavy rain and further flooding in parts of Sudan, months after floods ravaged nearly all of the country’s states. Since July, at least 115 people have been killed in the aftermath of days of torrential rains that brought record-breaking flash floods. The African nation through which…

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Thousands of people continue to live under the threat of incoming heavy rain and further flooding in parts of Sudan, months after floods ravaged nearly all of the country’s states.
Since July, at least 115 people have been killed in the aftermath of days of torrential rains that brought record-breaking flash floods.
The African nation through which the Nile river flows is in the middle of its rainy season, which lasts from June to October.
The United Nations is scaling up emergency food assistance, and hundreds of thousands of people are living in desperate conditions in makeshift camps.

Hanan Shariff, a flood victim, has been living in a makeshift camp for the past 13 days in Sinjah, a town in the southwestern state of Sennar, after the floods submerged her village.
“We tried to build fences to protect our home but the winds were too strong, so we decided to salvage what we could and fled,” Shariff told Al Jazeera.

Sudan’s Sinnar state flooding: Families find shelter in schools

The rain and flooding exceeded records set in 1946 and 1988, forcing the government to declare a three-month state of emergency.
In recent days, the government has issued new warnings to communities living on the banks of the Nile that rains in the highlands of Ethiopia could lead to more flooding along the river, said Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, reporting from Sinjah.
A total of 18 villages in Sennar state are “marooned by the floodwaters and cut off from the rest of the state,” Adow said.
Rowda Tayyib said people have “lost all hope”.
“The floods destroyed our homes and swept away our livestock and everything we owned. We have nothing left,” she told Al Jazeera.
A committee tasked with dealing with the ramifications of the floods warned two weeks ago that the country may face more rains, adding that the water level in the Blue Nile rose to a record 17.58 metres.
The floods have so far affected more than half a million people and caused the total and partial collapse of more than 100,000 homes in at least 16 Sudanese states.
Camps for the displaced are growing in number and size in the outskirts of Sinjah, according to Adow.
Mutwali Adam of the UN children’s fund (UNICEF) said people at the camp require “basic humanitarian needs like food, shelters and medicine”.
“Local communities provided some food, and also we complement each other as humanitarian actors here in the field,” Adam told Al Jazeera.
The dire humanitarian situation has been exacerbated by the country’s economic downfall and political deadlock. The government declared an economic state of emergency after its currency fell sharply in recent weeks.
The cost of food and transport have continued to soar across the country.
According to Adow, prices of some staple foods like bread and sugar have increased by 50 percent over the past few weeks, with many fearing the crisis will worsen.

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LendingTree, LLC is a Marketing Lead Generator and is a Duly Licensed Mortgage Broker, as required by law, with its main office located at 11115 Rushmore Dr., Charlotte, NC 28277, Telephone Number 866-501-2397 (TDD/TTY). NMLS Unique Identifier #1136. LendingTree, LLC is known as LT Technologies in lieu of true name LendingTree, LLC in NY. LendingTree technology and processes are patented under U.S. Patent Nos. 6,385,594 and 6,611,816 and licensed under U.S. Patent Nos. 5,995,947 and 5,758,328. © LendingTree, LLC. All Rights Reserved. This site is directed at, and made available to, persons in the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii only.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dead: Hillary Clinton, More Stars React

Honoring Her Honor. Tributes poured in from stars after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday, September 18, at age 87. The Supreme Court confirmed that the judge died at her home in Washington after complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. “Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice…

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Honoring Her Honor. Tributes poured in from stars after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday, September 18, at age 87.
The Supreme Court confirmed that the judge died at her home in Washington after complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.
“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Ginsburg was hospitalized for a potential infection in July. “She underwent an endoscopic procedure at Johns Hopkins this afternoon to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August,” spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg told CNN in a statement at the time.
The Brooklyn native previously suffered from acute cholecystitis, a benign gallbladder condition which she received treatment for in May. She was hospitalized in November 2018 after fracturing three ribs in a fall. She underwent surgery to remove two cancerous nodules the following month.

Ginsburg fought cancer four times, most recently in August 2019. She announced in January that she was cancer-free.
The judge became an icon for women’s rights as she served on the Supreme Court, to which she was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She was only the second female justice after Sandra Day O’Connor. Before serving on the country’s highest court, she studied at Cornell, graduated from Columbia Law School and became the first female tenured professor at Columbia.
Ginsburg made her mark on pop culture in recent years. Not only did Kate McKinnon spoof her on Saturday Night Live, but she was also the subject of the 2018 documentary RBG and the 2018 biopic On the Basis of Sex. Felicity Jones portrayed her in the movie and confessed she was “insanely nervous” to meet her.
“I felt like I wanted to curtsy,” the actress, 36, exclusively told Us Weekly in January 2019. “Ruth was incredibly welcoming. We went to her office first and it felt like a very warm environment — covered in photographs of friends and family and all sorts of mementos that had been sent to her by her fans.”
Scroll down to see tributes to Ginsburg.

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