Saudi football champions Al Ittihad sack coach Nuno Santo over poor results

Nuno took Al Ittihad to the Saudi Pro League title last season, but the club have lost five matches this season as well as a match in the Asian Champions League.

Al Ittihad have sacked their Portuguese manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, after a poor run of results, the Saudi champions say.

Nuno was under pressure because of their struggles in the Saudi Pro League, and the club brought down the axe after a 2-0 defeat to Air Force Club of Iraq in the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Monday.

The Tottenham Hotspur manager, who enjoyed a successful spell as Wolverhampton Wanderers boss from 2017 to 2021, had been in charge of Jeddah-based Al Ittihad since July last year.

He took Al Ittihad to the Saudi title last season, but there were reports of a difficult relationship with striker Karim Benzema, who joined the club in June as part of the influx of foreign stars into the Pro League.

“The club has announced the end of its contract with Portuguese coach Nuno Santo,” Al Ittihad said in a statement posted late on Tuesday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“This decision comes after a comprehensive technical evaluation of the past phase during which he was in charge of coaching the first football team.”

Assistant coach Hassan Khalifa will take temporary charge while the club finalise a replacement for Nuno, the statement said.

The club suffered their first defeat in this season’s ACL when they were beaten in Iraq and are also their home league. They have not won in five matches and have slipped to sixth position in the league’s standings.

Meanwhile, Dutch coach Alfred Schreuder has also parted ways with United Arab Emirates club Al Ain after just six months in charge after reports he would be moving to Saudi Arabia with Al Ittihad.

“An agreement was reached with Dutch coach Schreuder to terminate his contract by mutual consent due to the lack of harmony between the coach and his assistant technical staff with the company’s institutional work system,” Al Ain said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Local media have linked 51-year-old Schreuder to the Saudi club.


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