Al-Ittihad have suffered a blow ahead of the final sprint in the Saudi Pro League title race after defender Zakaria Al-Hawsawi was banned for the last six games of the season for spitting at an opponent.
Al-Ittihad, who are hoping to win the Saudi title for the first time in 14 years, lead the league by three points ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr with a game in hand.
The Disciplinary Committee of the Saudi Federation announced on Sunday that the left back had been suspended for spitting at Poland’s Grzegorz Krychowiak during stoppage time of Al-Ittihad’s 2-1 victory over Al Shabab last Thursday.
The 22-year-old one-cap international was shown a red card for the incident, which occurred just after he came on as a substitute. He was also fined 60,000 riyals ($15,997.01).
The ban concludes a disappointing season for Al-Hawsawi, who was named in the preliminary Saudi squad for the World Cup in neighbouring Qatar but did not make the cut when coach Herve Renard named his final 26 players.
($1 = 3.7506 riyals)