Karachi celebrates the PSL final

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A view of the National Stadium after refurbishment. The stadium was deserted for nine years due to the law and order situation in the city. (Photo Arab News/M.F. Sabir)
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Pole banners with photos of national and international cricket stars hang with poles at Shahrah-e-Faisal, a thoroughfare which connects the airport with downtown Karachi. (Photo Arab News/ M.F. Sabir)
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The front of the National Stadium. (Photo Arab News/M.F. Sabir)
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Huge portraits of international cricket stars displayed at Karachi thoroughfares. (Photo Arab News/M.F.Sabir)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Karachi celebrates the PSL final

KARACHI: All thoroughfares leading to the National Stadium have been decorated with portraits of cricket stars and national flags, creating a cricket festival environment in the Pakistani seaside city of Karachi.
Karachi, which will host international cricket for the first time in more than nine years, has a new colorful look due to preparations for the PSL final.
In March, Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah approved 210 million Pakistani rupees ($1.83 million) for the beautification of the city, after which departments of provincial and local governments collaborated to clean up and beautify the city.
The National Stadium has been handed over to Pakistan’s paramilitary Rangers for the tightened security arrangements, which the authorities have described as “security with festivity.”
Shuttles will run between the stadium and parking areas to transport the cricket fans.
Fans not able to make it to the stadium will be watching the PSL final on big screens throughout the city.

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Man City humbled in 2-1 loss to Lyon in Champions League

City were humbled by French side Lyon in Manchester. (Reuters)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Man City humbled in 2-1 loss to Lyon in Champions League

  • City’s players were humbled 2-1 by Lyon in a sloppy and apathetic display at the start of their European campaign

MANCHESTER, England: If Manchester City wants to finally win a first Champions League title, it will have to start taking the competition a bit more seriously — on and off the field.
Surrounded by swathes of empty seats in the Etihad Stadium, City’s players were humbled 2-1 by Lyon in a sloppy and apathetic display at the start of their European campaign on Wednesday.
Banned from the touchline and unable to communicate with the bench, City manager Pep Guardiola did fill one seat in the stands and he saw his Premier League champions easily picked apart by the French visitors.
“We felt under threat every time we lost the ball and sometimes that brings the confidence a little bit lower,” said City assistant manager Mikel Arteta, who was in charge on the bench in Guardiola’s absence.
Errors by midfielder Fernandinho led to both Lyon goals, typifying how careless City was against a team that finished third in the French league last season and was even held to a draw at the weekend by 10-man Caen.
When a pass by the Brazilian midfielder was intercepted around the halfway line, Lyon charged forward. Nabil Fekir sent in a cross from the left that evaded Fabian Delph’s swinging legs, allowing Maxwel Cornet to slot it home in the 26th minute. Delph held his head in his hands as the consequences of his mistake became clear.
City’s troubles deepened when Fernandinho was caught in possession again. Memphis Depay set Fekir on a run and the forward doubled Lyon’s lead in the 43rd by striking through the legs of John Stones.
“It was a difficult game,” said Depay, who struggled to make an impact at Manchester United before leaving after two seasons in 2017. “But when we had the ball we tried to play and when we won the ball we tried to counterattack.”
Perhaps the only reason for City to feel aggrieved in the first half was Gabriel Jesus being denied a penalty when he was tripped by former Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva just before Depay scored.
“To concede two goals like we did is very frustrating,” Stones said. “We came in at halftime a bit deflated I think. But we picked ourselves up and we came out second half fighting and played a better second half.”
But the improvement wasn’t sufficient.
City pulled one back in the 67th when Bernardo Silva scored from substitute Leroy Sane’s cutback. But the attacking threat was too patchy from a City side that won the Premier League with a record 100 points only four months ago, and are widely seen as one of the big favorites in this season’s Champions League.
“I suffered as I was scared they’d score a second goal,” Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. “We would have taken 2-2 before the match but given the way the game went we’d have been disappointed not to leave with the three points.”
With Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk also in Group F, City appeared to have one of the kinder draws but is now playing catch-up.
Celebrating a decade under Abu Dhabi ownership, which allowed City to assemble a squad for more than $1 billion, the Champions League is the one big prize the club has yet to win.
But City fans still have a fraught relationship with Europe’s premier competition.