Al-Ahli players pick up SR10,000 win bonus after AFC Champions League win

Al-Ahli's Abdulfattah Asiri fights for the ball with Tractor Sazi's Reza Sharbati (L) and Mohammed Naderi during their Asian Champions League match at the Al-Seeb stadium in Muscat. (AFP)
Updated 14 February 2018
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Al-Ahli players pick up SR10,000 win bonus after AFC Champions League win

LONDON: The players of Al-Ahli are 10,000 riyals richer after they won their opening AFC Champions League game against Tractor Sazi.
The players of Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal were offered the incentive by Turki Al-Sheikh, the head of the General Sports Authority, for the opening round of matches in the continental competition but while Al-Ahli beat Iran’s Tractor Sazi to land the bonus, with Mohanad Aseri netting the only goal of the match in the 67th minute, last season’s runners-up Al-Hilal could only manage a goalless draw with Al-Ain.
Al-Ahli’s game was played in Oman due to the ongoing political tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Group D matches between Iran’s Esteghlal and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal will also be staged at neutral venues.
Saudi Arabia had not wanted its teams to play in Iran and despite a plea from the Iranian FA to FIFA president Gianni Infantino last week to intervene so they could host the matches, the AFC ordered the games to be played at neutral venues.
In Group A, UAE champions Al-Jazira edged out Qatar’s Al Gharafa 3-2 in Abu Dhabi in a game played out amid a political backdrop.
It was the first time that a club from Qatar had played in the UAE since Qatar was diplomatically and economically isolated by Gulf rivals in June 2017. The game drew 5,000 spectators to the Mohammed ben Zayed Stadium and was played in a relaxed atmosphere.
Romarinho, who previously played for Qatar’s El-Jaish, put Al-Jazira ahead in the 10th minute, but new signing Mehdi Taremi equalized a minute later for Al Gharafa.
UAE star Ali Mabkhout restored the home lead in the 27th minute and Ahmed Al-Attas consolidated it on 69 minutes.
A 71st-minute strike by former Dutch star Wesley Sneijder gave Al Gharafa hope but Al Jazira held on to grab three points.


Jabeur becomes first Tunisian woman to make WTA final

Updated 19 October 2018
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Jabeur becomes first Tunisian woman to make WTA final

  • Jabeur, ranked 101st in the world and who came through qualifying, prevailed over Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
  • In Saturday’s final, Jabeur will face sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia, last year’s runner-up, who put out Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-3.

MOSCOW: Ons Jabeur made history on Friday when she became the first Tunisian woman to reach a WTA final by seeing off Latvian fifth seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
Jabeur, ranked 101st in the world and who came through qualifying, prevailed in one hour 37 minutes.
“This is really amazing and I’m really happy. I gave it all today, and it wasn’t easy because she plays really good,” said 24-year-old Jabeur, who unleashed 45 winners on her way to victory.
“Maybe I was too relaxed in the second set. At the end, I stayed calm. It was a little bit frustrating because I missed some easy balls, but I said I was just going to play my game, and if it goes, it goes.”
In Saturday’s final, Jabeur will face sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia, last year’s runner-up, who put out Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-3.
“They’re both playing good, so I hope they fight for four hours,” Jabeur had said. “The best win is that there is a Tunisian in the final.”
Jabeur lost her only career meeting against Kasatkina at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“She (Jabeur) plays interesting tennis with plenty of drop shots, often advances to the net,” Kasatkina said.
“Everything is possible in tomorrow’s final and I will just come onto the court and try to play my best.”
In the ATP event, France’s Adrian Mannarino ended Egor Gerasimov’s run beating the Belarus qualifier 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 to set up a semifinal with Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who ousted fourth seeded Serb Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
Second seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia beat last year’s runner-up Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 will face third-seeded compatriot Karen Khachanov, who saw off Mirza Basic of Bosnia 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).