Al-Ittihad star Al-Mowallad faces ban for doping

Al-Ittihad and Saudi national team striker Fahad Al-Mowallad in action. (SPA file photo)
Updated 16 May 2019
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Al-Ittihad star Al-Mowallad faces ban for doping

  • The Saudi Doping Commission conducted the test on April 27 after the match against Al-Nassr, which Al-Ittihad won 3-2
  • Last February, Qadiai goalkeeper Faisal Masrahi was handed a one-year ban by the Saudi Football Federation for a similar offense

JEDDAH: Al-Ittihad and Saudi national team standout Fahad Al-Mowallad faces a one-year ban from local and international competitions after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
Al-Ittihad received a notice three days ago from the Saudi Doping Commission that the test on its prize striker returned positive for phenethylamine, a banned substance.
The commission conducted the test on April 27 after the Saudi Professional League match against Al-Nassr, which Al-Ittihad won 3-2.
Prior to last month’s test, Al-Mowallad underwent five drug tests this season, which he passed. A decision will be handed down after a hearing on Thursday.
Reports said Al-Mowallad’s massage therapist gave him the drug to relieve muscle pain. It is not clear whether the therapist was under the employ of Al-Ittihad.
Another player, Faisal Masrahi, a goalkeeper for Qadisia, was handed a one-year ban by the Saudi Football Federation for a similar offense. He was tested on Feb. 19 after a league match.
Two samples were taken to the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland. One of the samples returned positive for a banned substance, which Masrahi did not contest.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Professional League concludes on Thursday with Nassr set to win the championship crown with a match against Al-Batin. Nassr sits on top of the league table on 67 points with Al-Hilal, which plays Al-Shabab on the same day, trailing by one point on 66.
Shabab is a distant third on 54 points. Batin, which has been relegated to the second tier of the Saudi football league, is on 25 points.


Raptors beat Bucks to reach first NBA final

Updated 26 May 2019
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Raptors beat Bucks to reach first NBA final

TORONTO: Kawhi Leonard had 27 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Toronto Raptors into the NBA Finals for the first time with a 100-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.
The Raptors overcame a 15-point deficit to win the series in six games and will host the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.
Pascal Siakam scored 18 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet 14 for the Raptors, who used a 26-3 run late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to turn the game in their favor.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 21 points and 11 rebounds, but the NBA’s top team in the regular season saw its bid for a first finals berth in 45 years come to a disappointing end with a fourth consecutive defeat.
Down 76-71 to start the fourth, the Raptors tied it with an 8-2 run while Leonard and Antetokounmpo were both on the bench. Ibaka’s dunk with 10:32 to go tied it at 78.
Antetokounmpo returned after a timeout, but Leonard kept sitting. That didn’t matter to Toronto, with Siakam’s basket giving the Raptors an 80-78 lead, their first lead since it was 6-3.
Leonard’s one-handed slam after Lowry’s steal gave Toronto an 87-79 lead with 6:46 to go before the Bucks responded. George Hill answered with a layup, Brook Lopez converted a three-point play and Antetokounmpo scored to cut it to 87-86 with 5:19 to go.
Lowry and Lopez swapped baskets before Gasol’s 3 put the Raptors up 92-88 with 3:50 left. After another basket by Lopez, Leonard made a 3 to push Toronto’s lead to 95-90 with 3:04 to play. It was Leonard’s first 3 after missing his first seven attempts of the game.
Toronto made 12 of 27 3-point attempts, including four of eight in the fourth quarter.
Siakam, who missed a pair of free throws late in the fourth quarter of Toronto’s double-overtime win in Game 3, hit one to make it 98-94. Leonard grabbed the rebound on the second and was fouled. He made both, putting the Raptors up 100-94 with 3.9 seconds to go.
Brogdon and Middleton each made a pair from long range as the Bucks shot 6 for 9 from 3-point range in the first and closed the quarter with 10 unanswered points to lead 31-18. Toronto shot 6 for 19 in the opening quarter, missing six straight twice in the first 12 minutes.
The Bucks extended their lead to 38-23 on a 3 by Ersan Ilyasova with 7:46 left until half. Toronto cut the gap to 46-43 on a 3 by VanVleet with 1:07 left in the second, but Eric Bledsoe answered with a 3 and Antetokounmpo split a pair at the line, giving the Bucks a 50-43 advantage at the intermission.
The lead went back to 15 in the third before Leonard finished the period with a flourish. He had eight points in the final 2:01 and Toronto closed with a 10-0 run, cutting a 15-point deficit to 76-71.
TIP-INS
Bucks: Milwaukee shot 4 for 16 in the second but three of its made baskets were 3-pointers. ... The Bucks had six points in the paint in the first half. ... Coach Mike Budenholzer was called for a technical foul on Milwaukee’s first possession of the second half. Leonard missed the free throw. ... Antetokounmpo shot 5 for 10 at the free throw line.
Raptors: Danny Green, who missed all three of his field goal attempts in 16 minutes in Game 5, had another rough night. Green shot 0 for 4 in 14 minutes. ... Leonard’s 17 rebounds were his most in any game this postseason. ... Lowry had eight assists.
DRAKE WATCH
Raptors fan and ‘global ambassador’ Drake sat in his regular seat adjacent to the Toronto bench. The rapper wore a black hoodie with ‘KAWHI ME A RIVER’ printed on the back.
UP NEXT
The NBA Finals comes to Canada for the first time when the Raptors host the Warriors on Thursday night. Toronto swept Golden State in the regular season.