QPR hoping for 'very popular' Saudi Super Cup game at Loftus Road

Al-Hilal celebrate winning the Saudi Super Cup at Loftus Road stadium in 2015. (AFP)
Updated 06 August 2018
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QPR hoping for 'very popular' Saudi Super Cup game at Loftus Road

  • London club to host showpiece game on Aug. 18
  • 'We are ideally located for Saudi nationals who are in London for the month of August'

LONDON: English football club Queens Park Rangers hope staging the Saudi Super Cup match will deepen ties with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF).
The club’s Loftus Road ground will host the match between Al-Hilal, the winners of the Saudi Pro League, and Al-Ittihad, the winners of the King’s Cup, on Aug. 18. It is the second time in four years the match will be staged at the stadium in West London, a result of a tie-up with sports marketing agency Sela Sport.
“We are definitely keen to develop our working relationship with Sela Sport and SAFF,” said Euan Inglis, QPR’s Commercial Director. “We have worked with Sela Sport previously, so we have built a good relationship.”
Sela Sport helped export the fixture to Loftus Road in 2015 and then to Craven Cottage in Fulham in 2016. It is now back in Shepherd’s Bush.
“Sela Sport make the decision on stadium venues ... with Loftus Road Stadium being located in West London, we are ideally located for Saudi nationals who are in London for the month of August,” said Inglis. “The event has been very popular previously and ticket sales are currently going very well. There is a mix of Saudi nationals visiting London during August and who are based in London full time. Providing a good venue and experience for our guests from Saudi Arabia is our only objective.”
The match will be the first competitive fixture for Al-Hilal under their new coach Jorge Jesus. He spent most of last month getting to know his players during a training camp in Austria and integrating new signings Alberto Botia and Andre Carrillo. The Portuguese coach has also been boosted by the return of Carlos Eduardo, the Brazilian who missed the second half of last season with a knee injury. The playmaker is now fully fit and was on target in a couple of the pre-season friendlies.
One man who will know all about Eduardo is former Al-Hilal coach Ramon Diaz. Sacked by the champions in February, he is now in charge of Al-Ittihad and he will be keen to put on a good show in the game against his former employers.
Diaz has been busy in the transfer market, signing Aleksandar Pesic, a Serbian international striker, and Australia World Cup defender Matthew Jurman. Saudi Arabia international Fahad Al-Muwallad is also back after spending the second half of last season on loan in Spain.
Al-Ittihad are keen to arrest a slide down the Saudi Pro League after finishing ninth last season.


Real Madrid appoint Solari as coach until 2021

Updated 50 min 11 sec ago
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Real Madrid appoint Solari as coach until 2021

  • The 42-year-old Argentine has led the team to four wins in four games since taking over as interim manager
  • Solari played for Real from 2000 to 2005 in the Galacticos era alongside Zinedine Zidane

MADRID: European champions Real Madrid have handed Santiago Solari a contract as first-team coach through to June 2021, the club announced in a statement on Tuesday.
The 42-year-old Argentine has led the team to four wins in four games since taking over as interim manager in place of sacked former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui two weeks ago.
Solari has enjoyed the best start of any coach in the club’s history and his appointment as permanent manager was approved by the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) on Monday.
He played for Real from 2000 to 2005 in the Galacticos era alongside Zinedine Zidane, who became the club’s coach and won three Champions League titles in a row before stepping down.
Solari led Real’s reserve team from 2016 until he took over from Lopetegui last month after the club’s poor run of form culminated in a painful 5-1 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona.
He has presided over victories against Melilla in the Copa del Rey, Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League plus Real Valladolid and Celta Vigo in La Liga.
Lopetegui was sacked after Madrid sank to ninth in the domestic standings. However, after Sunday’s 4-2 win at Celta, the club are sixth, four points behind leaders Barca.