Pitso’s Abha in trouble as they bleed goals in big defeats in Saudi

Marc Strydom Digital Sports Editor
Abha Club coach Pitso Mosimane.
Abha Club coach Pitso Mosimane.
Image: Abha Club/X

Pitso Mosimane's attempts to save Abha Club from relegation from the Saudi Pro League (SPL) have received a severe blow as they have bled goals in successive defeats.

Abha suffered one of their worst losses of the season from a survival standpoint as they were hammered 4-0 away to fellow relegation battlers Al-Akhdoud at Prince Hathloul Bin Abdul Aziz Sport City Stadium in Najran on Saturday.

The result saw Akhdoud go to 27 points in 15th place in the 18-team SPL, a position outside the bottom three who are all automatically relegated. It kept Abha rooted in second-last (17th) place on 25 points.

Worse, Mosimane's side are bleeding goals and clearly have major defensive problems as the defeat against Akhdoud came after a 5-0 hammering away to ninth-placed Al-Shabab on April 18, making for nine goals conceded and none scored in two games.

Mosimane briefly steered Abha out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at home to Al-Fateh before the past two defeats.

However, that victory followed an 8-0 annihilation at the hands of Cristiano Ronaldo's second-placed Al-Nassr on April 2 inspired by a hat-trick by the 39-year-old Portuguese.

All is not yet lost for Abha.

Their 25 points have come from 29 matches, keeping them reasonably comfortably above last-placed Al-Hazm, who have 19. The clubs above Abha are closely grouped — 16th-placed Al-Tai have 26 points, Akhdoud 27 and 14th-placed Al-Riyadh have 28, all also on 29 games. 

But a huge concern for Abha is the 18 goals they have bled in four games.

After some initial positive results — two wins, a draw and two defeats from the five games leading into their difficult past four matches — Mosimane now needs to plug the holes at the back and somehow restore confidence to arrest Abha's free fall if they are to pick up points in their last five games.

The coach faces a big test avoiding another goal glut when his team host fifth-placed Al-Ittihad at Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Sports City Stadium in Abha on Friday night.

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