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Season 2021-22
Al-Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) (a) Friendly (70 minute match)


Friday 28th January 2022, 6.30pm

Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Conditions: around 20 degrees at kick-off

Programme: none





1 - 2





9 mins Allan Saint-Maximin shot 1-0

33 mins Hamdallah shot 1-1

Half time: Tigers 1 Magpies

57 mins Ryan Fraser shot 2-1

Full time: Tigers 1 Magpies 2

Home win - apparently....


We Said

Eddie Howe said:

"It was a good work out. The standard of the game was good. The standard of the opposition was good, too. It was a good test for us and I think when you play a game like this, that’s what you want.

"We were set certain challenges when the game went to 10 players each and we’re pleased we came through.

"We scored two outstanding goals: Allan’s was very special, trademark individual brilliance from a situation where we won the ball high up the pitch but a fantastic bit of individual play.

"He also had another good run which was well worth seeing again and we were unlucky not to score from that and I thought he had a really good half.

"Ryan’s goal was great to see, I thought it was a really good team move. We kept the ball for a long period of time and Ryan finished it off really well.

"We’ve still got a lot to work on and our performance levels have still got to improve and that was evident today but I was pleased with the player’s response especially in the second half.

"Providing we’ve come through the game with no injuries, I think the trip has been a brilliant experience for everyone. We’ve all come closer together.

"We needed the game; you could see a bit of rustiness but we’ve had some good training and I think there was a little bit of fatigue going into the game but we’re all trying to get into the best possible shape for Everton.”

On Clark's dismissal:

"Both sides were very keen to play the game in the right spirit. I thought there was a couple of difficult moments for the referee.

"There was no need for the red card, I thought he could have dealt with it in a different way but by the book, it was probably the right decision.”

Before the game, Howe confirmed that he and the squad had met the Newcastle United Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan during the trip:

"There’s huge ambitions at the club and through time I’m sure those will be reality. The long term will take care of itself but I have to be careful - my work is day-to-day, minute-to-minute, to make sure the players can win the next game.

"I’ve spoken with the chairman: we met him one of the days and that was a great experience to hear his thoughts on the club, his vision and how the future looks. I think the players enjoyed that, I enjoyed that.

"A lot of people around the PIF team have been here as well, so it’s been a very good experience from that side to bring everyone closer together."

Asked about the nature of the conversations:

"It was more short-term. There is no point looking too long-term with the players at the moment.

"It was more of a motivational and inspirational talk based on the shorter-term; the collective team spirit and the collective aims we have between now and the end of the season.

"We were all very impressed with what was said and how it was said. I’m sure the players feel very enthused and ready to work.

"It was just a nice feeling rather than any big promises or assurances. It was just a nice way for us all to spend a little time together and get to know each other better."

They Said


Cosmin Contra (once a West Brom player) said:




The Magpies broke new ground with a first visit to Saudi Arabia, having staged a training camp almost exactly seven years ago in Dubai, around 1,000 miles away. In terms of playing matches, the nearest we've been to here was a UEFA Cup tie in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2004 - 900 miles away.

Also in the training squad but not featuring in the match squad were Martin Dubravka, Jamal Lewis, Paul Dummett, Emil Krafth, Federico Fernandez, Joelinton, Max Thompson and Callum Wilson.

Miggy Almiron and Chris Wood were elsewhere on international duty while Isaac Hayden is recuperating from knee surgery. We're unsure whether Matt Ritchie travelled to Saudi.

Ciaran Clark's dismissal in a kickabout is by no means unheard of; this the sixth such occurrence that has been recorded in the Premier League era:

Andy Griffin (Helmond Sport 1999)
Fabricio Coloccini (Pacos De Ferreira 2013)
Massadio Haidara (Sacramento 2015)
Jesus Gamez (Sporting Lokeren 2016)
Jamaal Lascelles (Boro 2020)
Ciaran Clark (Al-ittihad 2022)

No hard feelings - the two red card
offenders swapped shirts post-match





Newcastle's first team squad concluded their six day visit to Saudi Arabia with a 70 minute training match in Jeddah on Friday.

Their opponents were Saudi Professional League leaders Al-Ittihad, although they were at anything but full strength and the black and whites were led out by Kieran Trippier with Jamaal Lascelles on the bench.

United took a ninth minute lead when Allan Saint-Maximin shot home, before Abderrazak Hamedallah levelled on 33 minutes, the Moroccan forward joining Al-Ittihad earlier this month.

Eddie Howe's side won it thanks to a 57th minute effort from substitute Ryan Fraser. By that time both sides were a man short after a double dismissal - Ciaran Clark seeing red for United after tangling with the home goalscorer, who was also sent off.

Although neither Paul Dummett nor Joelinton were risked, fellow Elland Road injury victim Lascelles did appear as a substitute. Matty Longstaff meanwhile got his first outing in a Newcastle shirt since returning from loan at Aberdeen, while Dwight Gayle played the full 70 minutes.

Page last updated 21 June, 2022