Nasr-Ahli showdown

Updated 22 May 2012
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Nasr-Ahli showdown

JEDDAH: Under the patronage of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Al-Nasr from Riyadh and title holder Al-Ahli meet today in the final match for the King’s Cup.
Al-Nasr reached the final after beating Saudi Professional League champion Al-Shabab 2-1 home and away (4-2 on aggregate) in the quarterfinals (only 8 teams took part in the championship), then knocked out Al-Fatah 2-1 on aggregate in the semifinals after beating it 2-0 at home game then losing the away game by a solitary goal.
Al-Ahli, second in Zain League, beat Al-Faisali 8-2 on aggregate in the quarterfinals then knocked out Al-Hilal 3-2 on aggregate, after beating Al-Hilal 1-0 on their home ground in Riyadh then drew in Jeddah 2-2, to reach the final.
Al-Nasr’s coach Columbian Francesco Maturana will probably play 4-5-1 that would be changed to 4-3-3 when attacking. Al-Alahli’s coach Czech Karel Jarolim probably play 4-4-2.
This final is the fifth. Riyadh’s Al-Shabab won two competitions while Jeddah’s Al-Ittihad and Al-Ahli won one each.
Prince Nawaf bin Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, General President of Youth Welfare and the President of Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, expressed, in his name and on behalf of Saudi youth and sportsmen, gratitude to the King for patronizing the final and providing the opportunity to meet him.
Italian ref
Italian Luca Bantie referee the King’s Cup final between Al-Ahli and Al-Nasr. He will be assisted by Lucca Mageeana and second assistant Masmilino Qrala.
Born March 27, 1974, and a salesman in Italy, Bantie has emerged in the world of arbitration in the season 1999-2000 where he led a number of fourth division matches before being promoted to the league third division until the 2004 season.


Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad

Updated 21 min 26 sec ago
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Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad

MADRID: Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata was left out of Spain’s World Cup squad, announced on Monday.
Morata paid the price for a disappointing debut season in the Premier League as Spain coach Julen Lopetegui picked Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno up front, along with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.
“The decision is always difficult because of the talent of the players we have,” Lopetegui said.
“We have opted for three other players who had different assets and including four players up front was not something we wanted to do.”
Two more Chelsea players also missed out as Marcos Alonso and Cesc Fabregas were not included in the 23-man group.
Morata’s absence was the stand-out decision, however, even if it was not an entirely surprising one given the 25-year-old’s dramatic dip in form.
After scoring seven goals in his first seven games for Chelsea, a back injury seemed to affect his confidence. Morata has scored only three times in 22 games since the turn of the year.
“I’ve talked to the players I had to talk to,” Lopetegui said. “I’m not going to name anybody, but there are players who had to find out from me that they were not going to be on the list.”
In contrast, Aspas and Moreno have been in excellent form for Celta Vigo and Valencia respectively, with Aspas the top Spanish scorer in La Liga on 22 goals.
Costa is expected to start when Spain open up against Portugal in Group B on June 15 but Aspas, with his speed and direct running, remains an attractive option.
Alonso only made his debut in a friendly against Argentina in March and lost out to Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal. Fabregas fell behind Spain’s impressive wealth of options in midfield, which will include Sergio Busquets, Saul Niguez, Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Isco, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.
Manchester United’s David de Gea was included as expected, along with fellow goalkeepers Pepe Reina and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta did make it in, as did Monreal. Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Nacho and Jordi Alba complete Spain’s group of defenders.
“I’ve had several doubts, making a list of 23 is very difficult,” Lopetegui said. “But we have decided this was the most balanced decision and the one we think will help us most at the World Cup.”