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Abha’s Relegation Fears Resurface After Crushing Loss

  • April 18, 2024
  • 2 min read
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Abha’s Relegation Fears Resurface After Crushing Loss

Coach Pitso Mosimane’s hopes of steering Abha out of the relegation zone were dashed in a heavy 5-0 defeat to Al-Shabab in the Saudi Pro League on Thursday night.

Abha entered the match with some momentum, having secured a 2-1 victory over Al Fateh in their previous game. This win positioned them 15th in the table with 25 points, just one point above the relegation zone with seven matches remaining.

Seeking to build on their October victory over Al-Shabab (2-1), Mosimane’s team faced a much stronger opponent this time around. Al-Shabab boasted a more potent attacking force, with Romain Saïss (leading scorer with four goals), Habib Diallo, and Abdullah Radif (each with three goals) leading the line. Abha’s attack relied heavily on Grzegorz Krychowiak, who had netted eight goals, including four opening goals.

Abha weathered an early storm as Saïss unleashed a powerful shot from distance, forcing Abha’s goalkeeper Anton Tatarusani to make a spectacular save. Vitor Pereira’s Al-Shabab side, boasting AFCON winner Diallo and former Atletico Madrid attacker Yannick Carrasco, relentlessly pressured the visitors.

The pressure finally paid off in stoppage time of the first half. Musab Al Juwayr turned his marker, leaving Carrasco unmarked in the box to slot home the opening goal.

Early in the second half, Krychowiak had a chance that left Mosimane crushing his face, as the ball narrowly missed the target. Saad Abdullah almost equalized for Abha with a powerful shot that came off the crossbar. However, Abha’s hopes were dashed a minute later as Diallo doubled their lead, rolling the ball past Tatarusani.

The floodgates opened in the second half. Brazilian Carlos Junior added two goals (78th and 84th minutes), while Carrasco netted his second (87th minute) with an assist from Junior. The goal went through a VAR check before being confirmed.

This heavy defeat puts Mosimane’s team in a precarious position as they fight to avoid relegation.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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