Chelsea boss Antonio Conte calls for more of the same after thrashing

Antonio Conte oversaw an impressive Chelsea performance at Brighton. (AP)
Updated 20 January 2018
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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte calls for more of the same after thrashing

LONDON: Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has called on his players to maintain the form they showed during their 4-0 thrashing of Brighton until the end of the season to ensure a top-four finish.
The Blues were brilliant as they eased past the hosts going 2-0 up after just six minutes through an Eden Hazard strike and a wonder goal by Willian. They then doubled their lead in the second-half thanks to another Hazard strike and a Victor Moses goal.
It was an impressive display from the defending Premier League champions who looked close their best at the Amex Stadium and underlined just what they can do when on song.
And Conte was very happy with the performance.
“It was an important performance. We started very well and scored quickly, with good combinations,” the Blues boss said.
“We started with a lot of worries, for injuries and suspensions, but the response of the team was incredible. I am very happy for this. Another clean sheet.
“Today it was a really good performance of the team. We moved the ball quickly, we tried to find the players between the lines, to have good combinations.
“I saw important things. Now we have to continue.”
It has been a tough season both for Conte and Chelsea. Although they lie in third spot in the table performances this season have, at times, been patchy with rumors rife that Conte is looking to leave Stamford Bridge come the summer. But from the opening seconds against Brighton the visitors looked every inch like defending champions. Hazard thumped the ball home from close range to net his 100th career league goal in the third minute.
Hazard was also involved in the second goal only three minutes later as some intricate link play ended with Brazil midfielder Willian producing a venomous right-footed shot that gave Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan no chance.
Brighton’s Ezequiel Schelotto had two penalty appeals turned down and Davy Propper headed against the post for the home team before Chelsea struck again with late goals from Hazard and Moses.
Hazard ran the game and showed exactly why Real Madrid are rumored to be interesting in taking the Belgian to the Bernabeu at the end of the season.
“It’s my job (scoring goals), that’s why I like to play football,” said Hazard.


Saudi Arabia's young athletes return from Youth Olympics with hope and expectation

Updated 21 min 44 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia's young athletes return from Youth Olympics with hope and expectation

  • Saudi young guns hopeful for future with glory at Tokyo and Paris Olympics on their minds.
  • Yousif Jalaiden, the Saudi delegation’s chef de mission, tells young stars 'the hard yards start now.'

BUENOS AIRES: With heavier hand-luggage and loftier dreams, the Saudi athletes who competed at this month’s Youth Olympic Games will arrive back in Riyadh on Saturday, their medals suggesting reaching Tokyo 2020 is a target as attainable as it is alluring.
The Kingdom brought nine athletes to Argentina and left with a historic gold in karate and two bronze, one each in weightlifting and the 400m hurdles. Mohammed Al-Assiri’s momentous triumph in the final of the Men’s Kumite -61kg on Wednesday night represented the county’s first Olympic gold at any level. It also ensured Buenos Aires will be remembered as Saudi Arabia’s greatest medal haul, eclipsing the one bronze and one silver secured at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. 
Al-Assiri, 16, was awarded SR1 million riyals by Turki Al-Sheikh, head of Saudi’s General Sports Authority, for his achievement. 
“Of course, we are delighted. We came here hopeful and we leave with our best ever performance,” said Yousif Jalaiden, the Saudi delegation’s chef de mission, before boarding the flight to Riyadh. “We expected two medals but hoped for three, although we did not know which colors they would be. To get the three and a gold, that’s why we are so happy. Thanks to God, it’s been a great success.”
The two-week campaign was somewhat of a slow-burner; the first seven days passing without as much as a glimpse of a medal for the delegation marked “KSA.” Swimming, taekwondo and fencing all failed to produce tangible reward, although the delegation’s youngest athlete, fencer Ali Saeed Al-Bahrani, took much consolation from the experience
“We will benefit a lot from this participation,” said the 15-year-old, who had been invited to contest the Men’s Sabre Individual and progressed through his group before being defeated in the last-16. “God-willing, this here will help us enjoy better success in the future.”
The midway point of the games marked a change in fortune — and provided genuine reasons for positivity ahead of the Olympic Games proper, which takes place in less than two years. Ali Yousef Al-Othman had finished third at the Asian Championships in April, but a dedicated training program and the assistance of Egyptian coach Khaled Qur’any helped him emulate that feat on the world stage. 
Al-Othman was understandably confident after accepting his bronze medal, telling Arab News that Tokyo is now at the forefront of his mind. “My dream was to win a medal at the Youth Olympics,” he said. “Now that dream has changed and I will work harder than ever to make Tokyo 2020 a reality.”
Qur’any, who has coached at the past two Olympics, however, was keen to keep his athlete’s feet on the ground, a feat possibly made trickier by the awarding of SR200,000.
“He is only 16, so I think Tokyo will come too soon for him,” Qur’any said. “Paris in 2024 is different — we would hope to be there. Ali has the potential, but there is a lot of work to be done before we can think of that.”
On the athletics track, Raghad Bu Arish won her heat in the 100m but her time was some distance off the pace. Mohammed Al-Muawi, meanwhile, benefited from the disqualification of South Africa’s Lindukhule Gora in the Men’s 400m hurdles to leap up a place and on to the podium. It was his first competitive event and the culmination of more than five months of training in California with American former World Championships silver medallist Ryan Wilson.  
“This medal is an amazing achievement for me,” said Al-Muawi, who was also awarded SR200,000. “I need to thank my coach. I hope to keep working with him. He always gives me so much support. Next year I have the Asian Championships and some Arab races, but of course I am dreaming about Tokyo. I want to challenge the best in the world, guys like Karsten Warholm from Norway and Abderrahman Samba.” 
The Asian Athletics Championships are scheduled to take place in Qatar next April, before the IAAF World Championships five months later. Jalaiden confirmed Saudi Arabia intends to send a delegation, adding he hopes the results in Buenos Aires can help inspire more victories at this level.
“We hope that we can take this success and build upon it ahead of Tokyo,” said Jalaiden. “And also use the experience here to help the next generation of Saudi athletes who will compete at the 2022 Youth Olympics (in Senegal). The hard work starts all over 
again now.”