Al-Hilal show AFC Champions League potential with victory over Al-Duhail

Gomis was once again in fine form for Al-Hilal. (AFP)
Updated 14 March 2019
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Al-Hilal show AFC Champions League potential with victory over Al-Duhail

  • Riyadh giants make it two from two with victory over Qatar club.
  • Al-Hilal looking good to exit group stage having fallen at first hurdle last year.

RIYADH: Bafetimbi Gomis and Sebastian Giovinco starred as Riyadh giants Al-Hilal grabbed a 3-1 victory over Qatari champions Al-Duhail to take top spot in Group C of the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.
Al-Duhail’s new signing Shoya Nakajima’s 75th-minute strike had canceled out a first-half Carlos Eduardo goal, but Ali Al-Bulayhi put the hosts ahead again in the 77th minute, chesting the ball over the line from Italy international Giovinco’s corner at the King Saud University Stadium in Saudi Arabian capital.
Rui Faria’s men barely had time to regroup before former Lyon and Swansea City striker Gomis made it 3-1 in the 79th minute, rounding goalkeeper Amine Lecomte and firing into the roof of the net after a pass from Salem Al-Dawsari.
The win gave two-time champions Al-Hilal top spot in the group with six points, following their opening victory over the UAE’s Al-Ain 1-0 last week.
In Group D, Al-Sadd pipped Iran’s Persepolis 1-0 for their first victory with Baghdad Bounedjah scoring a dramatic winner five minutes into injury time.
Al-Sadd dominated proceedings but poor finishing let them down at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium before last year’s top scorer Bounedjah came to the hosts’ rescue.
The Algerian striker, who had a goal disallowed for offside earlier in the game, rose above the defense to nod home after Abdelkarim Hassan had headed the ball in his direction following a free-kick.
The victory helped 2011 champions Al-Sadd get back on track after they were beaten by Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahli 2-0 in the opening week.
Al-Ahli, meanwhile fell to a 1-0 defeat by Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor in Tashkent, with Marat Bikmaev scoring the winner with a fine free-kick in the 62nd minute.
Pakhtakor took top spot in Group D with four points, having drawn their first match against Persepolis.
Iran’s Esteghlal and Al-Ain played out a 1-1 draw earlier on Tuesday.


Green triple-double fuels Warriors’ comeback win

Updated 19 May 2019
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Green triple-double fuels Warriors’ comeback win

  • The Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland
  • The two-time defending champion Warriors trailed by as many as 18 in the second quarter

LOS ANGELES: Draymond Green exploded for a seventh career playoff triple-double Saturday as the Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland and a 3-0 lead in the NBA Western Conference finals.
The two-time defending champion Warriors trailed by as many as 18 in the second quarter, but with Green driving them they produced another dominant third period to seize control of the contest and the series.
No team has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win an NBA playoff series. The Trail Blazers will try to fend off elimination when they host game four on Monday.
Green scored 20 points with 13 rebounds and 12 assists, keeping the Warriors afloat in the first half before superstar Stephen Curry came alive with 21 of his 36 points after the interval.
“There aren’t many guys in the game that can (affect both ends of the floor),” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Green beforehand. “Draymond can do both.”
His intensity was on display on both ends of the court, and on the sidelines as he exhorted teammates to keep pushing.
Klay Thompson added 19 points for the Warriors, who were again without injured star Kevin Durant.
“All my teammates, my coaches have been telling me, ‘Draymond, get to the hole, be aggressive,’” Green said of his mindset.
“We’ve got guys out there, Steph, Klay and those guys who draw a lot of attention, so it’s on me to do my job and come through for those guys.”
CJ McCollum led Portland with 23 points. Damian Lillard, relentlessly double-teamed by the Warriors, added 19 points.
Center Meyers Leonard, making just his third start of the season, finished with 16 points.
Leonard made the most of his opportunity early, connecting on five of seven shots from the field in the first half on the way to 13 points.
The Trail Blazers, energized in front of a rowdy home crowd at the Moda Center, quickly built a 10-point lead before the Warriors trimmed it to two — 29-27 — at the end of the first quarter.
But the Blazers kept the pressure on, stretching the lead to 18 in the second quarter.
A steal by Lillard produced a thunderous dunk from Leonard, then Portland’s Seth Curry stole the ball from his superstar brother Stephen and raced for a three-pointer that made it 60-42 with 2:28 remaining in the first half.
Portland took a 66-53 lead into the locker room, but the Warriors responded with a monster third quarter, using a 22-6 scoring run to take their first lead of the game, 77-76 on a layup by Kevin Looney — assisted by Green.
Golden State out-scored Portland 29-13 in the quarter to lead by three heading into the final frame.
The Warriors pushed the lead to 11 with 4:51 remaining and the Trail Blazers wouldn’t get the deficit below eight from there.