Kashima Antlers set up reunion tie with Real Madrid in FIFA Club World Cup

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Kashima Antler's midfielder Serginho (2nd-L) celebrates his goal during the second round match of the FIFA Club World Cup 2018 football tournament between Japan's Kashima Antlers and Mexico's C.D. Guadalajara at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on December 15, 2018. / AFP / Giuseppe CACACE
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Kashima Antler's midfielder Serginho (2nd-L) celebrates his goal during the second round match of the FIFA Club World Cup 2018 football tournament between Japan's Kashima Antlers and Mexico's C.D. Guadalajara at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on December 15, 2018. / AFP / Giuseppe CACACE
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Kashima Antler's midfielder Serginho (2nd-L) celebrates his goal during the second round match of the FIFA Club World Cup 2018 football tournament between Japan's Kashima Antlers and Mexico's C.D. Guadalajara at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on December 15, 2018. / AFP / Giuseppe CACACE
Updated 15 December 2018
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Kashima Antlers set up reunion tie with Real Madrid in FIFA Club World Cup

ABU DHABI: Real Madrid will face Kashima Antlers in Wednesday’s FIFA Club World Cup semifinals after the Asian champions came from behind to beat Mexico’s Guadalajara.
The AFC Champions League winners could not have made a worse start, as the Japanese club fell behind just three minutes into Saturday’s match in Abu Dhabi, with Angel Zaldivar’s header from an Isaac Brizuela cross putting the CONCACAF champions into an early lead.
Guadalajara looked the better side as the half went on, and were unlucky not to extend their lead before half-time, when Orbelin Pineda’s rocket of a shot from distance came crashing off the crossbar.
That proved to be kick-start the J-League side needed to get back into the match, who took full advantage of their good fortune after the interval when Shoma Doi raced into the box to deliver a low ball to midfielder Ryota Nagaki, who grabbed the leveller with a side-footed finish.
Kashima’s second came with twenty minutes remaining, and from the penalty spot after Nagaki drew a clumsy foul in the box from Guadalajar’s Michael Perez.
Serginho tucked away the resulting penalty and Kashima must have thought the game was done and dusted as they doubled their advantage with an exceptional curling shot from Hiroki Abe six minutes from time.
But there was late drama to come when VAR had to be used to award the Mexican side a late spot-kick.
Kwoun Sun-Tae made a fine save to deny Alan Pulido, but was unlucky to see the ball turned into his own net by Hugo Leonardo.
Kashima’s meeting with Real Madrid later this week will be a re-run of the 2016 final, which the Spanish giants won 4-2 after extra-time.
Real will traveled to the UAE after their La Liga match against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.


KSA’s martial arts heroine: ‘I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym’

Updated 19 March 2019
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KSA’s martial arts heroine: ‘I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym’

  • Young Saudi triumphant at Open International Tournament despite just two years of training
  • Zahra Al-Qurashi took the gold in the women’s 70 kg category, beating Jordanian Heba Wasfi

JEDDAH: Zahra Al-Qurashi never expected to be where she is today: A gold medal winner in full contact kickboxing at the Open International Tournament for Clubs aged just 21. What started out as a gym class two years ago soon turned into a passion, leading to her victory in Amman on Sunday.

“I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym. I found the class and gave it a try, and decided to keep attending the classes,” she said. “A year ago, I joined Flagboxing Gym, and started training with my coach Grethe (Kraugerud). With her help, I developed my style and I am improving every day.”

Full contact is a discipline of kickboxing where punches and kicks must be delivered to legal areas of the body. According to the World Association for Kickboxing Organizations’ rules, it is legal to attack the front of the head and front and side of the torso, using “ankle-level foot sweeps.” It is prohibited to attack the throat, lower abdomen, back, legs, joints, back of the head and top of the shoulders.

A medal at her first international competition, then, speaks volumes about Al-Qurashi’s tenacity. She took the gold in the women’s 70 kg category, beating Jordanian Heba Wasfi.

“As soon as I entered the ring, everything went blank, I couldn’t hear or see anyone but my opponent, so I don’t really recall hearing my name even,” said Al-Qurashi. “I got a couple of really good kicks and punches, but she was a good opponent. I was in my own zone though, following every move and made sure I didn’t make mistakes.”

Zahra Al-Quraishi, 21, is already a gold medal winner at an international event despite being a virtual rookie in the demanding sport of kickboxing. (Supplied photos)

Hala Al-Hamrani, the owner of Flagboxing Gym in Jeddah, said: “I am over the moon. I have dreamt about this happening for 16 years, ever since I started coaching. My goal was to eventually provide the ladies of this country with an opportunity to compete.”

For approximately two months, Kraugerud, from Norway, oversaw Al-Qurashi’s workouts, adding more sparring, interval training and intense ring practice.

“I’ve had Zahra spar with men, who are bigger and stronger than her, to give her a sense of what to expect in the ring, to give her more confidence and make her mentally prepared,” said Kraugerud. “I was very proud of her as she entered the ring, you could see the respect for the sport reflected in her. We did a really good job at Flag, we really pushed for this together as a team. She’s young, but she’s talented and she will go far.”

Al-Hamrani, a member of the Saudi Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Federation, added: “We got her ready by providing her with the right practice and training. It’s a dream come true and it’s very overwhelming because it was such a long process for something like this to happen. Zahra is an up-and-coming athlete who hopefully has a long future and I’m extremely excited to see what that future holds.”

Abdul Aziz Julaidan, chairman of the Saudi MMA Federation, hailed the result after a tough bout between the two competitors, and thanked Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sport Authority, for the support he had given to the team.

Upon returning to her hometown of Jeddah, Al-Qurashi was greeted by her mother. “I was hugging her and crying and mom, being mom, asked if I was crying because I got hit,” she laughed. “That was her way of saying: I’m proud of you.”