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

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.


Boult, Southee rattle Sri Lanka in second Test

Updated 23 August 2019

Boult, Southee rattle Sri Lanka in second Test

  • Weather permitting, extended playing time is planned for the day after only 36.3 overs were possible on Thursday due to rain in the Sri Lankan capital

COLOMBO: Trent Boult and Tim Southee led New Zealand’s charge against Sri Lanka on day two of the rain-hit second Test on Friday, with the host skipper Dimuth Karunaratne’s offering resistance with a half-century.
Boult took two early wickets in one over after Sri Lanka resumed the day on 85 for two at Colombo’s P. Sara Oval, where the start was delayed due to a wet outfield.
Sri Lanka were 144 for six at lunch with Dhananjaya de Silva, on 32, and Dilruwan Perera, on five, at the crease.
Southee, like Boult, also delivered a double-wicket maiden as the duo put on a superb display of seam bowling under overcast conditions.
Boult got overnight batsman Angelo Mathews caught behind for two to reach a landmark of 250 Test wickets — only the third Kiwi bowler to achieve the feat.
He trapped Kusal Perera lbw for nought after just three balls as Sri Lanka slipped to 93-4 and would have been in further trouble had Boult held on to a simple catch from de Silva off his own bowling a few overs later.
Karunaratne also got a lifeline on 61 when Kane Williamson could not grab a tough chance at short mid-wicket off Ajaz Patel.
But the left-hander, who completed his 23rd Test fifty after resuming the day on 49, soon fell, caught behind off Southee for 65.
Southee struck again in the same over to send Niroshan Dickwella trudging back to the pavilion for nought.
Perera then played out the rest of the session with de Silva.
Medium-pace bowler Colin de Grandhomme and spinner William Somerville took a wicket each on the opening day after Sri Lanka elected to bat first.
Weather permitting, extended playing time is planned for the day after only 36.3 overs were possible on Thursday due to rain in the Sri Lankan capital.