Posts Tagged ‘Al-Fateh’

Al-Shabab v Al-Fateh, Wednesday 3rd May 2023, 9.30pm

May 20, 2023

This was a fairly meaningless end of season fixture. Al-Shabab were in third place in the table but nine points behind leaders Al-Ittihad and the games remaining were quickly running out. There’s only one Champions League spot available, although I suppose if second placed Al-Nassr imploded then Al-Shabab might qualify for the next level down Asian competition. Visitors Al-Fateh were fifth but well adrift from the top four.

The walk to the Prince Faisal bin Fahd ground took me around the perimeter of King Abdullah Park. There’s a significant cat population in the area and they are well fed by the locals. I saw one woman dragging what looked like a fifteen-kilogram bag of food about with her. There are always plenty of kittens too and with no pressure on any of them to catch their own dinner I imagine a far larger proportion of them reach adulthood than in other areas of town.

I passed the ticket office on the way around to my entrance gate and noticed that it was open. There were three fellas inside and they had printed tickets on A4 paper presumably prepared ready for people who were struggling to buy online.

I’d already sorted my seat and for a very reasonably ten riyals, which equated to two pounds and eighteen pence. I was in Block 201 which was formerly the family area and is in the covered stand, right next to the VIP section. There was a Perspex screen to make sure that I didn’t stray into the posh bit. Despite the bargain ticket price there was a very small crowd, probably in the hundreds rather than thousands. I didn’t see any away fans but it’s a three-hour drive from Al-Hasa and with such a late kick-off I doubt many would have fancied that sort of round trip.

I hadn’t been too sure about attending either. Partly because it wouldn’t finish until getting on for half past eleven, but mainly because I’ve just started watching the Get Back documentary. It’s an astonishingly good piece of work and looks like it could have been filmed yesterday rather than fifty-odd years ago. I’d happily watch the full sixty hours of footage if it’s ever made available. In the end though I decided that I could eke it out and go to the match instead.

The game was half-paced with little urgency. Neither team put much venom into their shots or tackles and it had nil-nil written all over it. One decent effort was always likely to be enough and a well-taken Al-Shabab free-kick early in the second half was enough to seal the win.