Hakeem Al-Araibi has been freed by Thailand, as Bahrain dropped its extradition request for the refugee soccer player.
Al-Araibi, 25, is a refugee in Australia after fleeing his homeland of Bahrain in 2014.
He was held in Bangkok in November after traveling to Thailand on his honeymoon, as Bahrain had sent out an Interpol notice to detain Al-Araibi.
The former player for the Bahrain national team was granted political asylum in Australia and if he was extradited to Bahrain many feared he would be subjected to torture due to his criticism of the government.
Bahrain want him to serve a 10-year prison sentence for his alleged involvement in vandalism of a police station.
Al-Araibi denies the charge and says that he was previously blindfolded and beaten when held in Bahrain and believes he has been targeted due to his Shiite faith and because his brother is involved in politics in the Middle East country.
Craig Foster, a former Australian national team player and current broadcaster, has led the protests for Al-Araibi to be freed as the likes of Didier Drogba and Jamie Vardy have also supported the cause.
Many wonderful people stepped forward to help Hakeem. They all deserve to be in front of camera now, not only me. I can’t list them, but will thank each of them in time. My thoughts are with Hakeem’s wife. Her nightmare will shortly be at an end. Our prayers answered #Hakeemhome
Harry Maguire nodded a long free kick on frame, and Hugo Lloris had to slap it over the bar in the name of safety. The ensuing ninth minutes corner was popped over the frame, and Spurs were off the hook.
The other side saw a penalty shout become a yellow card to Heung-min Son for simulation after Maguire got a piece of his ankle in the box and Son hit the deck. If it would’ve been awarded, you’d say Son embellished but the contact was sloppy. Shoulder shrug emoji.
Danny Rose continued a fine run of form in the early stages, and had an 18th minute run and shot foiled by Kasper Schmeichel‘s right arm.
A designed set piece allowed Spurs to break through in the 34th, as Christian Eriksen spotted a just onside Sanchez for a 33rd minute header. The goal was the Colombian’s first for Spurs.
Leicester’s second half was much improved, with Ben Chilwell getting a left-footed shot on target.
That’s when Jamie Vardy got his final instructions, but he wasn’t introduced until after James Maddison won the Foxes their penalty after coming together with Jan Vertonghen.
Vardy came on for Gray, and Maddison gave him the ball. His first touch of the game came from the spot, and Lloris saved the effort!
Three minutes later, Ricardo Pereira‘s clearance skills doomed Leicester for a second-straight week. His effort his Oliver Skipp and wound up on the boot of Eriksen, who ripped a classy long strike past Schmeichel.
Here’s a stat!
20 – Christian Eriksen has scored 20 Premier League goals from outside the box – more than any other player since his debut in September 2013. Spectacular.
Lloris then stopped a hard Barnes drive at the other end, as the Foxes did not quit.
And Vardy got his goal anyway, sliding in front of Toby Alderweireld to get onto the end of a Pereira cross from the right.
Just as Leicester seemed prepared for stoppage time heroics, Son dribbled the better part of 60 yards after meeting a Moussa Sissoko clearance. He beat Schmeichel 1v1 from outside the 18 to close out the win.
There’s plenty on the line in Sunday’s high-profile matchup between Manchester City and Chelsea. Meanwhile, in the first match of the morning, surging Tottenham takes on Leicester City side that is winless in its last five.
After a week in which Manchester City defeated Arsenal and Everton in somewhat comfortable fashion, Pep Guardiola‘s side faces a new, even tougher test.
It was only Huddersfield Town last week, but Chelsea looked back to its best once again in its 5-0 victory, with Gonzalo Higuain already looking like a terrific fit at the top of Chelsea’s attack. Higuain’s addition will take up a lot of Manchester City’s mental energy as they plan to face Chelsea, which could leave more space for Juninho to quarterback the Blues attack or for Eden Hazard and Willian to break down the wings on the counter attack.
Then again, this is Manchester City. Guardiola has his team firing on all cylinders. Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are set to return to the starting lineup. Manchester City can set a new Premier League record if they score two goals; it will be their 15th consecutive home match with at least two goals scored.
Though this is the Premier League, this game could be played with some caution. Both teams face each other again later this month at Wembley Stadium in the Carabao Cup final.
Tottenham v. Leicester City — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
They won’t be on the field, but Harry Kane and Dele Alli gave Tottenham a huge boost this week by returning to training. That could be just what the team needs as it makes a mid-season push to stay in the top four, and potentially – who knows?! – try and win the Premier League title. Tottenham can win its fourth successive Premier League match and could come within two points of Man City before it plays Chelsea. Despite cup defeats in late January, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side has found a way to win in each of its last three league matches, all one-goal victories.
On the other side, Leicester City has dropped to 12th in the table as discontent for manager Claude Puel grows. Leicester hasn’t won a match since New Year’s Day, but they suffered a narrow loss to Manchester United and drew with Liverpool, perhaps showing some improvement, even without the result. Youri Tielemens appears to have improved the midfield, and Jamie Vardy has a great history facing Tottenham. He’s scored four goals with three assists in his last seven matches against Spurs.
The Reds are 2-2-2 in their last six matches across all competitions, and while this is the Premier League club power rankings, there’s little question that they’ve lost some mojo.
Man City has been pretty good despite a loss to Newcastle, and Spurs have gone about their business despite missing Harry Kane and Dele Alli (for a relatively soft patch of schedule).
So is this enough to sink Liverpool below Man City (or Spurs), given that Liverpool is just a win in its match-in-hand from reclaiming the league lead?
Read on (Or just scroll down real quick. We’re kidding. Read every word. Twice).
20. Huddersfield Town — It’s been 417 league minutes since the Terriers scored a goal. They have one point in league play since the calendar turned to December 2018. Last week: 20 Season high: 16 Season low: 20
19. Fulham — The two goals allowed against Palace make it 12 conceded in Fulham’s last five matches. Last week: 18 Season high: 11 Season low: 20
18. Burnley — The point gained at Manchester United is almost offset by the two dropped at home to Southampton. The Clarets’ run-in is tricky, and they simply have to find wins more often than not when they are not facing the big boys. Last week: 17 Season high: 13 Season low: 20
17. Cardiff City — Whether you’re a Neil Warnock fan or not, the reaction he’s provoked from his men after a 3-0 loss to Newcastle and the disappearance of Emiliano Sala’s flight is impressive. A close loss to Arsenal followed by a defeat of Bournemouth sits well with all. Last week: 19 Season high: 13 Season low: 20
16. Southampton — A point earned at Burnley is fine, especially considering the club’s luck in not conceding an early penalty. Last week: 16 Season high: 13 Season low: 20
15. Brighton and Hove Albion — Failed to rebound from the loss Fulham loss; The Seagulls looked flat in a home draw with Watford. Last week: 12 Season high: 9 Season low: 19
14. Newcastle United — Solid resolve against Spurs; The goalkeeper is part of the team, yeah, but the Magpies deserved better than the loss resulting from a very rare Martin Dubravka error. Probably too stubborn to go down now. Last week: 15 Season high: 13 Season low: 19
13. Everton — The home loss to Wolves was disconcerting, but a close contest at Goodison Park versus Man City was encouraging enough to proffer some hope; Everton deserved a point against the champions. Last week: 14 Season high: 5 Season low: 15
11. Bournemouth — Just when the Cherries had claimed three points against one of the big boys (in their eighth try), they fail to deal with a charged-up Cardiff City and lose 2-0. Last week: 9 Season high: 6 Season low: 14
10. Leicester City — Jamie Vardy was just a shade off his game, and it cost the Foxes a point against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s Red Devils. Last week: 10 Season high: 7 Season low: 13
9. West Ham United — A plucky point versus Liverpool sends the Irons above a Leicester side which couldn’t get their plucky point at home to Manchester United. Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 20
8. Watford — A huge match ahead against former boss Marco Silva‘s Everton. Last week: 8 Season high: 4 Season low: 14
7. Arsenal — We wouldn’t want to be Huddersfield Town this weekend, even if the desperate Terriers are at home. Last week: 5 Season high: 2 Season low: 9
6. Wolves — If Liverpool fails to win the league, Nuno Espirito Santo should be Premier League Manager of the Year. Last week: 7 Season high: 5 Season low: 13
5. Chelsea — Yes, it was against Huddersfield Town, but if the Eden Hazard-Gonzalo Higuain brace-bagging performance was a sign of what’s to come, well, maybe Maurizio Sarri is playing with a stacked deck. Last week: 6 Season high: 1 Season low: 6
4. Manchester United — The most odd thing about United’s unconvincing win over Leicester City is how encouraging it is to see the Red Devils win when it really isn’t that deserved. Ole’s unbeaten streak goes forward, and should reach PSG. Last week: 4 Season high: 4 Season low: 14
3. Spurs — Not Mauricio Pochettino‘s fault Man City got to play twice while we only saw Spurs slip past Newcastle. One spot back. Last week: 2 Season high: 2 Season low: 8
2. Liverpool — The best thing Liverpool has going for it right now is that they’d have to lose a game in order to fall from the title fight’s driver seat, and they are picking up points even while looking quite average (for a Top Four team). Last week: 1 Season high: 1 Season low: 4
1. Man City — Similar to their neighbors, City’s defeat of Everton showed some resolve while on the back foot. And that win over Arsenal, aside from the set piece goal, well, c’est magnifique. Last week: 3 Season high: 1 Season low: 3