Rose puts pressure on Fleetwood with fast start

England’s Tommy Fleetwood plays a shot on the 14th hole during the first round of the DP World Tour Championship golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Updated 17 November 2017
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Rose puts pressure on Fleetwood with fast start

DUBAI: Justin Rose continued his blistering form with a six-under par first round in Dubai on Thursday as he chased a third straight victory and a second European Tour crown.
The world No.6 from England, winner of the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open in successive weeks, hit a 66 in the $8 million(6.8 million euros) DP World Tour Championship. Rose was tied for second, one shot behind Patrick Reed. The American fired a bogey-free 65, thus setting himself up for what could be his first win of the season. Australia’s Scott Hend also shot a 66.
Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood, the man Rose is trying to catch, had a poor opening day. After starting with a double bogey, the 27-year-old Englishman had an inconsistent round and signed for a one-over par 73 card, tied for the 46th in the 60-man field.
Fleetwood leads the race by 256,737 points. If he does not win, Rose can claim his second European rankings title by finishing in an untied second place. A top-five finish could be enough for Rose, depending on where his younger compatriot ends on Sunday.
The only other player with a distant chance of winning the Race to Dubai, Masters champion Sergio Garcia, opened with a 70 and was tied for 21st on a low-scoring day at the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Rose took advantage of the two par-5s on the front nine, but a bogey on the ninth meant he made the turn at one-under par. However, after back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th, the 37-year-old holed out from the front bunker on the par-5 14th for an eagle and closed with a radar-guided approach shot on the 18th that set up a tap-in birdie.
“A lot of good things happened,” said Rose, who hit 17 greens in regulation. “I drove the ball well today. The front nine, my iron play was actually terrible. Even though I didn’t miss a green, iron play wasn’t really on song at all. Little things started to really go my way on the back nine.”
“I was happy to be patient no matter what happened today. But also, conscious that I’ve won from eight back on the weekends the last two times, but that’s not really a recipe that you want to continue to follow.”
Fleetwood rued a poor start and blamed it on nerves.
“The start was shocking. I gifted the first with the double, should have made five, at worst, on the second. I was giving shots away early on,” he said.
“It was such an up-and-down day. There was a bit of nerves there. There’s always going to be. I’ve never been in this position before, so a bit of nerves.”
World number 23 Reed, who has been a European Tour member for two years now, is aiming to win his first title of the year and was delighted with his start.
“I felt like ball-striking was where it needed to be. I pretty much had control over the golf ball today,” said Reed.


LIVE: Spain 1-1 Morocco - Spain strike back after early Khalid Boutaïb goal

Updated 1 min 13 sec ago
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LIVE: Spain 1-1 Morocco - Spain strike back after early Khalid Boutaïb goal

GOAL FOR MOROCCO! An unbelievable header from Youssef En-Nesyri from a corner. He lept higher than all the Spanish defence to give De Gea no chance in the Spain goal. De Gea and Co. cannot say they weren't warned, Hakim Ziyech shot was diverted wide to earn the corner from which they scored. 

10.35PM: That sums up the eveing so far for Spain. They pass the ball around but without much cutting edge, Ramos is forced to hit the ball high and wide from 30 yards. That cannot and wil not hurt Morocco. 

10.33PM: A sign of just how well Morocco have played is that Diego Costa has not had a kick all game. The former Chelsea striker makes way after a frustrating 70 minutes for Iago Aspas. Thiago Alcantara also comes off, Marco Asensio replaces him.

10.28PM: Spain are seeing most of the possession but taking too many touches and moving the ball around too slowly. As it stands they will finish second in the group and face Uruguay in the second round...

HAPPY MOROCCO FANS: The Atlas Lions supporters have every reason to be smiling, their team is giving Spain a real game here. 

10.19PM: Great goaline clearance from Morcco. Isco's header was goal-bound with the keeper beaten. But Romain Saïss somehow rises to nod it away. From the resulting corner Pique, who is lukcy to still be on the pitch, heads just wide. We're not sure how this match is still 1-1. 

MOROCCO HIT THE POST:  What a strike from Amrabat, just outside the area on the righthand side the Watford man hits a sweet shot which beats De Gea all ends up, deserved to go in but hits the upright. So, so close. Nervous times for Spain. 

10.08PM:  Football fans have warmed to the Atlas Lions.

 

 

10.03PM:  A good start to the second period for Morocco, once again Spain are half asleep in defence and the Atlas Lions are seeing a lot of the ball. That results in Pique handling the ball on the edge of the box, for some reason the ref does not see the infringment and play continues. Good signs, though, for the North Africans. 

SECOND-HALF STARTS:  A key 45 minutes coming up here for Spain and Morocco. Spain know they have to win to get Russia in the next round, not an easy task but an easier one than Uruguay who they will face if they finish second. Morocco will want to finish the tournament with a result. They have played better thatn their results so far and will want to avoid three straight defeats. 

HALF-TIME: A mixed half for Morocco - they are creating chances and causing Spain problems in attack, But when without the ball they are under constant pressure, as the three yellow cards illustrate. Can they keep out Iniesta and Co. in the next 45 minutes? As it stands both Portugal and Spain are going thought, with Portugal beating Iran 1-0. A crucial next half coming up. 

SPAIN STRIKE: Iniesta and Isco celebrate the much-deserved equalizer. 

9.42PM: They may have been defending for long periods of this half, but they have always been comfortable on the ball and when they have got the chance to attack they have. A very well-worked move down the left ends with Ziyech having a decent shot from outside the box. They are doing themselves and their fans proud here. 

HISTORY MAKER: Take a bow Boutaib! 

 

 

9.33PM: Busquets has a great chance for Spain but heads wide from a corner. The Spainish are trying to turn the screw here, it's important Morocco get to half-time still level or you worry Spain may run away with it. Important nxt 10 minutes coming up. 

9.30PM: Spain, as expected, are seeing alot of the ball, while Morocco are seeing several yellow cards. The Morocco captain Moubarak Boussoufa rowing with the ref makes him the third Atlas Lion to go into the book — it's looking unlikely that Morocco will end this one with 11.

BRILLIANT BOUTAIB: The moment the Moroccan striker shocks Spain

9.23PM ANOTHER GREAT CHANCE FOR MOROCCO: Schoolboy defending by Spain gifts Boutaib another clear run-in on goal, De Gea does brilliantly to save and spare his side's blushes. Spain are being very adventurous here, there will be more chances you fancy for the Atlas Lions. 

9.17PM GOAL FOR SPAIN: That goal has given Spain a wake-up call. They come straight back. Iniesta atones for his mistake with a neat interchange with Diego Costa, before pulling back for Isco to finish from close range. Lovely goal.

9.12PM GOAL FOR MOROCCO!  Two of Spain's most experience players, Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta, both dithered on teh halfway line gifting the ball to Khalid Boutaïb who had a clean run in on goal. If he was nervous he didn't show it as he coolly slotted home past David de Gea. What a response! 

9.05PM: It has been a bright star for Spain, they are definitely not taking Morocco lightly. The Noerth Africans are chaing shadows at the moment. 

KICK-OFF: We're under way in Kaliningrad...

9.00PM: Should they lose this match, it will be only the second time Morocco have lost all of their World Cup group matches in a single campaign, having previously done so in 1994.

Whereas Spain have won their final group game in each of the last eight World Cup tournaments, a run stretching back to 1986.

8:50PM: Such is the support for the Atlas Lions in the stadium that is is almost like a home game. 

 

 

8:40PM: Morocco might be out, but that has not prevented plenty of their supporters showing up here in Kaliningrad. 

8:35PM: Starting line-ups...

Spain:
David De Gea; Dani Carvajal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; Isco, Thiago Alcantara, David Silva; Diego Costa
Coach: Fernando Hierro (ESP)

Morocco:
Monir El-Kajoui; Achraf Hakimi, Manuel Da Costa, Ghanem Saiss, Nabil Dirar; Noureddine Amrabat, Mbark Boussoufa, Karim El-Ahmadi, Younes Belhanda, Hakim Ziyach; Khalid Boutaib
Coach: Herve Renard (FRA)

Tonight's referee is Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan.

8.30PM: So, after the dramatic late winner for Saudi Arabia in Group A, we move our attention to Morocco's final game of the 2018 World Cup. The Atlas Lions cannot progress, but could make like difficult for the former world champions Spain. The Spanish know nothing but a win will guarantee their progress at this tournament, and have named a strong side in their quest to get through.

Kick off is 20:00 KSA time.