Football: International legends to play in Iraq

Hernan Crespo (R), retired Argentine footballer, and Michel Salgado, retired Spanish footballer, answer reporters questions at the stadium in Basra on August 14, 2017 ahead of a match between International footballers and Iraqi footballers. (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2017
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Football: International legends to play in Iraq

BASRA, IRAQ: International legends will play in Iraq next month in an exhibition match aimed at helping people in the war-torn country to forget hardship, organizers said Monday.
The game in the southern city of Basra on September 9 is expected attract about 65,000 fans, and will feature former stars of top European clubs.
“We are going to give our best along with our Iraqi friends,” former Argentina and Inter Milan striker Hernan Crespo told reporters in Basra.
He was joined at the news conference by former Spain defender Michel Salgado, who will also play in the match.
Salgado, a former Real Madrid right-back, said he hoped the “match of legends in Iraq” can help people to forget for at least 90 minutes “their hard conditions of life.”
Among the other players who are to take part in the game are Brazil legends Zico and Rivaldo, as well as former Barcelona midfielder Deco, of Portugal.
Younes Mahmoud, Iraq’s record international goalscorer and appearance holder, said he would participate in the match along with others who played in the side that won the Asian Cup in 2007.
“This is an important game for us Iraqis,” he said.
Basra hosted Iraq’s national team in June for their first home match since 2013, after the lifting of sanctions by world football’s governing body FIFA.
The ban was imposed after a series of jihadist attacks that targeted football pitches and cafes during the broadcast of hugely popular matches.
FIFA lifted the restrictions in early May, limiting the holding of international matches to three stadiums in the country.


Green triple-double fuels Warriors’ comeback win

Updated 19 May 2019
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Green triple-double fuels Warriors’ comeback win

  • The Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland
  • The two-time defending champion Warriors trailed by as many as 18 in the second quarter

LOS ANGELES: Draymond Green exploded for a seventh career playoff triple-double Saturday as the Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland and a 3-0 lead in the NBA Western Conference finals.
The two-time defending champion Warriors trailed by as many as 18 in the second quarter, but with Green driving them they produced another dominant third period to seize control of the contest and the series.
No team has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win an NBA playoff series. The Trail Blazers will try to fend off elimination when they host game four on Monday.
Green scored 20 points with 13 rebounds and 12 assists, keeping the Warriors afloat in the first half before superstar Stephen Curry came alive with 21 of his 36 points after the interval.
“There aren’t many guys in the game that can (affect both ends of the floor),” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Green beforehand. “Draymond can do both.”
His intensity was on display on both ends of the court, and on the sidelines as he exhorted teammates to keep pushing.
Klay Thompson added 19 points for the Warriors, who were again without injured star Kevin Durant.
“All my teammates, my coaches have been telling me, ‘Draymond, get to the hole, be aggressive,’” Green said of his mindset.
“We’ve got guys out there, Steph, Klay and those guys who draw a lot of attention, so it’s on me to do my job and come through for those guys.”
CJ McCollum led Portland with 23 points. Damian Lillard, relentlessly double-teamed by the Warriors, added 19 points.
Center Meyers Leonard, making just his third start of the season, finished with 16 points.
Leonard made the most of his opportunity early, connecting on five of seven shots from the field in the first half on the way to 13 points.
The Trail Blazers, energized in front of a rowdy home crowd at the Moda Center, quickly built a 10-point lead before the Warriors trimmed it to two — 29-27 — at the end of the first quarter.
But the Blazers kept the pressure on, stretching the lead to 18 in the second quarter.
A steal by Lillard produced a thunderous dunk from Leonard, then Portland’s Seth Curry stole the ball from his superstar brother Stephen and raced for a three-pointer that made it 60-42 with 2:28 remaining in the first half.
Portland took a 66-53 lead into the locker room, but the Warriors responded with a monster third quarter, using a 22-6 scoring run to take their first lead of the game, 77-76 on a layup by Kevin Looney — assisted by Green.
Golden State out-scored Portland 29-13 in the quarter to lead by three heading into the final frame.
The Warriors pushed the lead to 11 with 4:51 remaining and the Trail Blazers wouldn’t get the deficit below eight from there.