Saudi Arabia left to rue lack of concentration after letting two-goal lead slip against Bolivia

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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
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Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh. (Twitter: Saudi National Team)
Updated 11 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia left to rue lack of concentration after letting two-goal lead slip against Bolivia

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia were left to rue a lack of concentration and discipline as they let a two-goal lead slip against Bolivia in Riyadh.
Goals from Yehya Al-Shehri and Saudi star Salem Al-Dawsari from the penalty spot were not enough to beat the South Americans at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, who battled back with goals from Jhasmani Campos and a late penalty from Marcelo Martins.
Unlike Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side, Bolivia did not play at this summer's World Cup. But their FIFA ranking of 59th, compared to Saudi Arabia’s 70th, illustrated that the hosts knew they had a tough challenge on their hands.
From the start at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium Saudi Arabia looked busy and played with purpose, getting a 2-0 lead after just 11 minutes. But Campos’ goal came 10 minutes before the break, and once Pizzi made five changes to his starting line-up, Bolivia came back into the game.
With eight minutes left on the clock, Martins scored to equalize and both teams had to be content with a draw.
The Green Falcons came into the friendly on the back of an up-and-down World Cup. Having been thrashed 5-0 in the tournament opener against hosts Russia, they then narrowly lost 1-0 to Uruguay before ending on a high with a 2-1 victory against Arab rivals Egypt.
That was enough to convince the Saudi Arabian Football Federation that Juan Antonio Pizzi, appointed late last year, was the right man to lead the side into next January’s Asian Cup in the UAE.
It was also enough for the side to come into the friendly against the South Americans confident they could carry on the form shown in the last two clashes at the World Cup and set up a successful end to the year and subsequent springboard into the Asian Cup.
The World Cup campaign had illustrated the side’s strengths, while at the same time highlighted its glaring weaknesses — solid in defense (bar the opening shocker against Russia), but all too shy in front of goal. For all their possession they failed to create much and when they did were too profligate, much like the second half against Bolivia.

But a win and a draw from the past two matches at least indicates the side are on the right path and gives them something to build on heading into the Asian Cup in five months' time. 

 


Max Verstappen threatened to ‘punch’ Esteban Ocon after Brazil Grand Prix crash

Updated 12 November 2018
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Max Verstappen threatened to ‘punch’ Esteban Ocon after Brazil Grand Prix crash

SAO PAULO: Max Verstappen was accused of trying to punch French rival Esteban Ocon after a controversial clash at Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix which was won by five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Red Bull star Verstappen was seen on TV pushing Force India’s Ocon three times and accused of threatening to hit him, after the pair had collided on track.
The collision cost Verstappen the race and he had to settle for second place.
The livid Dutchman, 21, had earlier said he did not see the Frenchman in the paddock after the race, but made no effort to avoid him in the drivers’ weighing room where he walked straight at him.
“We were at the scales room,” said Ocon. “He wanted to punch me. He pushed me and he was wanting to be violent. It was not professional.”
Ocon added that his rivalry with Verstappen “goes back a few years” and said he “has always been the same. I’m used to the fights with Max. He’s always been the same. It goes back a few years.”
Verstappen swore so much on team radio that his comments bleeped out after he described him as an “idiot.”
Ocon was given a 10-second stop-go penalty by the race stewards for causing the collision.
A video clip of the post-race incident went viral soon afterwards but Verstappen said he had no regrets.

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Max Verstappen and Sebastian Ocon’s coming-together at the Brazilian Grand Prix has clearly been brewing for a while after years of simmering tensions. Given both could well be challenging for the world championship in the future, it is intriguing how it will play out. Here Arab News looks at other times there was no love lost between sport stars.

Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss
Absolute chalk and cheese characters. Pietersen was an abrasive, brash and fiery cricketer. Strauss, almost universally respected in the game, the complete opposite. And the pair’s relationship was strained considerably when Pietersen sent disparaging texts to South African players (and England’s opponents) about Strauss. Awkward.

Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy
Ireland captain Keane lost the plot and stormed out of his country’s 2002 World Cup preparations when he criticized coach McCarthy’s approach and accused him of being a liar. McCarthy questioned Keane over a newspaper interview he had given, and the two started a long-running feud. The incident was even turned into a stage play.

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier
Another duo who were polar opposites, albeit both supremely talented in their own ways. While Ali won two of their three epic bouts, their rivalry did prompt two of the best insults in sport, with Ali saying his Manila bout with “the gorilla” Frazier would be a “chilla, and a killa, and a thriller,” and Frazier’s more understated response: “If he was thirsty in the desert, I’d drive right by.” Ouch.