Gueye fires Senegal to Africa Cup semifinal

Senegal’s Idrissa Gueye scores during the African Cup of Nations quarterfinal match against Benin. (AP)
Updated 11 July 2019

Gueye fires Senegal to Africa Cup semifinal

  • Coach Aliou Cisse’s side are playing in the last four of the tournament for the first time in 13 years

CAIRO: Senegal reached the Africa Cup of Nations semifinal for the first time since 2006 when Idrissa Gueye scored to deliver a 1-0 last-eight win over Benin in Cairo on Wednesday.

Everton midfielder Gueye struck on 70 minutes, side-footing the ball into the net from close range after being set up by Liverpool star Sadio Mane.

This was the first Cup of Nations match to use the VAR (video assistant referee) system and there were no controversial incidents.

Benin were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages when Olivier Verdon was given a straight red card for a last-defender foul.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse made one change to the team that defeated Uganda to reach the last-eight stage with Keita Balde replacing fellow forward Ismaila Sarr.

Benin boss Michel Dussuyer changed three of the team that shocked Morocco after a penalty shootout to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.

Khaled Adenon missed out due to a suspension and Seibou Mama and Jodel Dossou were benched with Seidou Baraze, Sessi D'Almeida and Steve Mounie taking their places.

This was only the third time the countries met in a competitive match with Senegal winning 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 away in 2002 World Cup qualifying.

Senegal applied most of the early pressure with Benin content to sit back and soak it up before a small crowd at the 30,000-capacity 30 June Stadium in the Egyptian capital.

But the first scare for Benin was self-inflicted as goalkeeper Owolabi Kassifa fumbled a weak shot and had to swiftly regain possession as Mane darted forward. Mickael Pote, the veteran Benin forward who bagged a brace in a group draw with Ghana, came agonisingly close to putting the Squirrels ahead midway through the opening half.

He cleverly backheeled a free-kick driven low into the box and the ball flew just wide with goalkeeper Alfred Gomis beaten.

A free-kick at the other end offered Kalidou Koulibaly a chance to break the deadlock, but he narrowly failed to connect with the ball after it eluded the defensive wall.

There was intense Senegal pressure as the opening half drew to a close with Verdon coming to the rescue by clearing a Henri Saivet cross.

Verdon and his fellow defenders then blocked three close-range attempts by the Teranga Lions to end the stalemate before the break.

Senegal did get the ball in the net nine minutes after halftime, but the Algerian referee blew for offside and VAR confirmed that his decision was correct.

A howler from Gomis nearly gifted Benin a mid-second-half lead as he miscued his clearance of a back-pass and the ball trickled just wide of the goal.

Soon after, Senegal were rewarded for their dominance of possession and territory when Gueye burst into the box and fired over Kassifa.

Benin were lucky not to fall further behind in the following few minutes as Senegal had a shot cleared off the line and Mane was denied by a marginal offside call.


Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

  • First woman from the Kingdom to compete in the championship in Indonesia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is sending its first woman to compete in the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup that begins in Indonesia.

Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.

Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating in the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating in the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The men’s competition started Sunday at 9 p.m.

The women’s competition will begin at 3 p.m. today, where Mashael will take part in six rounds. The competition will run until Nov. 24.

HIGHLIGHT

  • Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.
  • Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating at the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating at the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The competition continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and after completing 24 rounds, the top 24 players will be selected to compete for the top eight positions by playing eight runs on Friday. On Saturday, the best four female players and four male players will be chosen to compete in the finals.

Abdulrahman said that he is looking forward to the world cup. “This year there is a new advantage and that is having teammate Mashael joining me for the first time. I’m proud of her! It’s a big thing for Saudi women and for us in the team because this world exposure will help them to learn and give them an incentive to develop their skills,” he said.

The 20-year-old player has been bowling for the past 10 years. Despite his young age, thanks to his perseverance and sense of discipline he managed to win many victories, but the most distinguished were those in 2018. He delivered the bronze medal at the World Cup in Detroit, and two bronzes at the Asian Bowling Championship in the Philippines in the same year, and a gold medal for the trio event at the Arab Bowling Championship in Oman.

Mashael, 32, was only able to play officially last year in February 2018 when the Saudi Bowling Federation (SBF) received the decree to allow women to play in sports. However, she has been playing for fun since early childhood when she used to travel to Egypt with her family and where she managed to learn from the professionals and get hooked on the game. Mashael was chosen to take part in the Egypt Arab Championship and World Bowling Women’s Championship in Las Vegas in August 2018.

Mashael said: “Playing for fun is definitely enjoyable but when you wear your country’s flag that’s a huge responsibility put on your shoulder. You become an ambassador and a role model and when I’m put in that situation, I definitely want to give my all to be fit for that honor, and give the best image worthy of our beloved country.”

The bowlers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi Bowling Federation and its president Bader bin Abdullah Al-Alsheikh for his support and for creating opportunities for them so that they can progress, enrich their experiences and win awards and achievements.