Hulk double saves ‘lost’ Shanghai in Champions League quarters

Hulk was a €55.8m capture from Zenit St. Petersburg three years ago. (AFP)
Updated 27 August 2019

Hulk double saves ‘lost’ Shanghai in Champions League quarters

  • The 33-year-old Hulk held his nerve twice in the second half from the spot

SHANGHAI: Brazilian striker Hulk scored twice from the penalty spot to rescue Shanghai SIPG in a 2-2 stalemate against Urawa Reds in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.
J-League side Urawa will go into the home second leg as slight favorites on the away-goals rule, but it could have been so much better after they led 2-0 at the break.
The 33-year-old Hulk held his nerve twice in the second half from the spot to keep Vitor Pereira’s Chinese champions alive in the tie.
Pereira felt that his side, boasting expensively assembled attacking players Hulk, Oscar and Marko Arnautovic, could have gone on to win the game.
“At half-time we were maybe out of the competition,” said the Portuguese.
“But now everything is possible.
“In the first half the team looked lost, lost on the pitch and without confidence,” he added.
“We suffered a bit, but the reaction in the second half gave us hope to win the game.”
Shanghai’s Chinese international goalkeeper Yan Junling was badly at fault for the opener as Urawa threatened to go goal-crazy at a stunned Shanghai Stadium.
On only three minutes he flapped at a high ball, dropping it at the feet of Tomoaki Makino, who swivelled to fire into an empty net.
The home side complained bitterly but Yan was culpable, spilling the ball under negligible pressure from Makino.
On 30 minutes the visitors, two-time Asian champions, stretched their lead when Shinzo Koroki ran through on goal and slotted under Yan, who again might have done better.
Shanghai’s record of never losing in the Champions League at home in 19 matches was in serious danger.
Boos rang out at half-time in the direction of referee Mohammed Abdulla Hassan of the United Arab Emirates, the home crowd feeling that Yan was fouled for the opener.
Arnautovic, signed from West Ham United during the summer, was making his Asian Champions League debut, but the Austrian striker was subdued throughout.
Shanghai, whose domestic league defense is faltering after racking up too many draws, emerged for the second half with intent and scored on 49 minutes.
Oscar, an Asian-record €60m capture from Chelsea in 2017, took on several Urawa players before he was felled in the box.
It looked harsh on the visitors, with Oscar appearing to leave his leg in to win the penalty.
His fellow Brazilian Hulk, a €55.8m capture from Zenit St. Petersburg three years ago, smacked in the spot-kick and Urawa were reeling.
On 71 minutes it was 2-2 thanks to another unerring Hulk penalty after Brazilian defender Antonio Mauricio inadvertently blocked a goal-bound shot with his arm.
The second leg is on September 17.


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.