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Taider In Saudi - One Goal, Two Defeats

Saphir’s ambitious new outfit rock bottom after three rounds.

Saphir Taider celebrates after scoring a debut goal for Al-Ain from the penalty spot against A-Ittifaq. Taider’s strike made the score 1-1, but Al-Ittifaq went on to win, 2-1

Saphir Taider wasted no time gaining popularity with his new Saudi fans.

Trailing to a goal in their second league game away at Al-Ittifaq, Taider on his debut assumed responsibility and despatched a 48th minute penalty into the net for the equalizer.
Unfortunately an 89th minute goal by Saudi u20 international, Ibrahim Mahnashi won the day and sealed the points for Al-Ittifaq.

Taider’s second game, last weekend, against Al-Fateh saw him begin on the bench with German coach Michael Skibbe introducing the Algerian into the action for Venezuelan Juan Pablo Anor in the 76th minute. Al-Ain were leading 2-1 at the time.

But it was not to be a happy outcome for Taider nor his team-mates. They had a player red-carded in the 89th minute, and in fact it was former Moroccan international Murad Batna who stole the show.

The 30-year-old equalized in the 82nd minute, before setting up Norwegian Gustav Wikheim for the go ahead goal (90 mins), then finally putting a seal on the victory with his second goal 5 minutes into added time.

It was the third defeat in a row for the ambitious Al-Ain club in their first-ever season in the country’s top league and they sit rock-bottom of the sixteen teams.

Taider, who still sports the number 8, narrowly missed out on a confrontation with an old foe in not arriving in time for the first league match. Al-Ain were defeated 0-1 by champions AlHilal, for whom Toronto’s former Italian striker Sebastien Giovinco was in the line-up.

Tomorrow Saphir Taider and Al-Ain take on Al-Ahli (6 pts from 2 games) at home, seeking their first-ever points in the Saudi Professional League.