Liverpool fans outnumber, outsing Real Madrid

Liverpool fans watch a large screen in Anfield stadium in Liverpool, northern England on May 26, 2018 showing the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Kiev. (AFP / OLI SCARFF)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Liverpool fans outnumber, outsing Real Madrid

  • The game kicked off with Liverpool fans’ current Champions League song, “Allez, Allez, Allez,” booming around the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.
  • Both teams were allocated more than 16,000 tickets for the game.

KIEV, Ukraine: Liverpool fans are outnumbering and outsinging Real Madrid’s following in the 63,000-capacity crowd.
Both teams’ fan anthems were played before kickoff and the red scarves of Liverpool fans peppered one corner of the end occupied by Madrid supporters during “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
The game kicked off with Liverpool fans’ current Champions League song, “Allez, Allez, Allez,” booming around the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.
Both teams were allocated more than 16,000 tickets for the game.
UEFA expects a global television audience of more than 160 million for the Champions League final.
Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA’s marketing director, says the audience rating will include viewers watching the game streamed live on YouTube in Britain.
Epstein tells The Associated Press that Real Madrid and Liverpool have “two strong brands” and global appeal.
Liverpool, which has a strong following in Asia, is also playing in its first Champions League final for 11 years.
“There has been a lot of hype with the way the teams qualified,” Epstein says. “It’s been a mad season.”
The best-performing recent final was a 175 million “global in-home average audience” for the 2011 final when Barcelona beat Manchester United.
Cristiano Ronaldo leads the Real Madrid attack needing to score twice to match his own single-season Champions League record.
The Madrid star has 15 goals in the competition, and got 17 in the 2013-14 title-winning season. His record year included a penalty in the last minute of extra time in the final to cap a 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid.
Ronaldo seems sure to be the Champions League top scorer for the sixth straight year, and outright top scorer in five of them.
He is five goals ahead of Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, who have 10 each. Sadio Mane, who also starts in the Liverpool attack, has nine.
It’s the same Madrid lineup as last year’s final — a 4-1 win against Juventus.

The lineups:
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric; Francisco ‘Isco’ Alarcon, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema.
Liverpool: Loris Karius; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson; Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, James Milner; Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane.


Australia captain Tim Paine worried about brittle batting after Pakistan win in Abu Dhabi

Updated 8 min 45 sec ago
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Australia captain Tim Paine worried about brittle batting after Pakistan win in Abu Dhabi

  • Aussie skipper admits side has to sort out batting ahead of Test series against India.
  • Abbas destroys Australia with a haul of 17 wickets in the series.

LONDON: Tim Paine admitted Australia need to sort out their batting and fast with a Test series against India to prepare for.
The Baggy Greens skipper was speaking after his side had been beaten by 373-runs by Pakistan in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Friday. That victory gifted the hosts a 1-0 win in the two-Test series and left the Aussies scratching their heads as to what they need to do before they come up against the No. 1 ranked India side on home soil.
Pakistan’s medium pacer Mohammad Abbas did the damage once again as he took his maiden 10-wicket haul in a match to fire his side to victory. Abbas followed his five for 33 in the first innings with figures of five for 62 to bowl out the tourists for 164 after they were set a daunting 538-run target.
It was Australia’s heaviest defeat against Pakistan, beating the 356-run hammering at this same venue four years ago. And Paine admitted the defeat had given his food for thought, especially regarding the side’s brittle batting line-up.
“It is obviously really disappointing to have them five for 57 on day one and we let that opportunity slip,” the captain said.
“When you do that against really good teams in Test cricket you pay the price and I thought they batted really well after that in the first innings, put us under pressure and we weren’t up to the challenge with the bat.
“I thought our bowlers toiled pretty well on that wicket. To bowl them out twice was not a bad effort.
“It’s just our batting. Mohammad Abbas challenged our defense time and time again and as we’ve seen a number of times over the last couple of years we’ve come up short. There’s certainly no sugar coating that we’ve got some real issues with our batting and we need to address it really quickly.”
Paine’s opposite number Sarfraz Ahmed was left to praise Abbas, who in 10 Tests has already taken 59 wickets at an average of 15.64.
“The way Abbas has bowled all series is one of the biggest positives for us,” the Pakistan captain said.
“All the youngsters who have come through in recent times have done well. We have to groom them all. There was pressure, when the team loses there is pressure, the most important is that the team wins. Thankfully my batting performance in this Test contributed to the win.”
It was Abbas who destroyed Australia with a haul of 17 wickets in the series — becoming the first Pakistani fast bowler to take ten wickets in a Test since Mohammad Asif’s feat against Sri Lanka at Kandy in 2006.
Abbas had jolted Australia with four wickets off just 23 balls while Yasir Shah finished with three for 45 to give Pakistan their tenth series win on the neutral venues of UAE.
They have only lost one series — 2-0 to Sri Lanka last year — since being forced to play their home matches in UAE since 2009.