Liverpool, Man City cruise as Man Utd, Chelsea flop again

Liverpool players celebrate their third goal during their match against Burnley on Saturday. (Reuters)
Updated 01 September 2019

Liverpool, Man City cruise as Man Utd, Chelsea flop again

  • The Reds stay top with club record-breaking win at Burnley

LONDON: Liverpool maintained their 100 percent start to the Premier League season with a 3-0 win at Burnley to retake top spot from Manchester City, who earlier thrashed Brighton on Saturday.

But Manchester United and Chelsea lost further ground on the leaders in disappointing draws with Southampton and Sheffield United.

Liverpool have now won a club record 13 straight Premier League games stretching back to last season when they missed out on the title to City despite amassing 97 points.

Another titanic title race between the two looks on as Liverpool withstood an early Burnley assault before two goals in four first-half minutes took the game away from the Clarets.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross looped in off Chris Wood for a fortunate opener, but Burnley were masters of their own downfall for the second as Bee Mee presented the ball to Roberto Firmino and the Brazilian teed up Sadio Mane to slot home. Firmino added Liverpool’s third himself 10 minutes from time.

City’s 4-0 victory came at a cost as influential center-back Aymeric Laporte was stretchered off with a knee injury that looks set to rule him out for the forseeable future.

“He has gone to the hospital. Tomorrow we will know exactly what he has. I think he will be out for a while,” said City manager Pep Guardiola on Laporte’s injury.

Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring after just two minutes at the Etihad before Sergio Aguero made the game safe by blasting high into the net just before the break.

The Argentine produced another sublime finish to curl into the top corner for his second 10 minutes into the second-half before Bernardo Silva then rounded off the scoring.

How United must wish they had some of their local rivals’ firepower as Southampton clung on for a 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s despite playing the last 17 minutes plus stoppage time a man down after Kevin Danso’s red card.

Daniel James had given the visitors the perfect start with his third goal in four appearances for United, but Jannik Vestergaard headed home an equalizer just before the hour mark.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have now failed to win in their last three games and won just one of their last 10 dating back to last season.

“We’ve been dominating, creating chances and just haven’t been clinical in front of goal to win the games,” said Solskjaer. “It’s not a dip in form, (but) it’s a dip in results definitely.”

Frank Lampard is still waiting for his first win at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea manager after the Blues threw away a 2-0 half-time lead given to them by Tammy Abraham.

The Blades hit back at the start of the second half through Callum Robinson and Kurt Zouma’s own goal a minute from time earned the visitors an unlikely point in a 2-2 draw.

“We have to take responsibility, we allowed that to happen. It was on us to take the game away from them and we allowed them to get back into it,” said Lampard.

“If we can’t go on and get a third goal that’s something we have to work on, this is the Premier League, it’s ruthless.”

As United and Chelsea stumble, Leicester are the closest challengers to the top two as their unbeaten start continued with a 3-1 win over Bournemouth.

Jamie Vardy scored twice and set up Youri Tielemans for the Foxes’ second goal.

Crystal Palace backed up their shock victory at Old Trafford last weekend with a 1-0 win over 10-man Aston Villa thanks to Jordan Ayew’s goal 17 minutes from time to go fourth.


Runners step back in time on AlUla’s historic trails

Updated 19 February 2020

Runners step back in time on AlUla’s historic trails

  • Top-ranked athletes came from Saudi Arabia, the US and the Netherlands

ALULA: More than 260 athletes from around the world took part in the recent EcoTrail AlUla, a multi-track running race through the dramatic landscapes of AlUla in Saudi Arabia’s northwest.
Top-ranked athletes came from Saudi Arabia, the US and the Netherlands. The race was staged as part of the second season of the Winter at Tantora festival, organized by the Royal Commission for AlUla to promote the historic site as an exceptional tourist destination for heritage, arts, culture and sports.

Events took place on three different courses — an 83 km track, followed by a 45 km and a 10 km track — with international athletes taking part in each of the races.

In the 10 km course, 139 contestants took part in the competition, with 125 managing to complete the run. Saudi runner Mohammed Madkhali won first place, while Yemeni runner Fares Aman Aldin came in second and another Saudi runner, Meshari Almuhanna, finished third.

In the women’s category, US runner Meredith Byrne won first place, Saudi runner Sarah Abdullatif came in second, and British runner Maureen McConnell finished third.

Ninety athletes took part in the 45 km race, with 85 finishing. Saudi runner Abdulaziz Al-Ghamdi came in first, with Australian Matthew Sudich second and French runner Nicholas Mordelet in third.

In the women’s category, Dutch runner Floortje Rawee came in first, followed by Italian Alessandra Grassi in second and American Natasha Turak third.

The 83 km race featured 37 athletes with only 17 finishing. In the men’s category, US runner Michael Wardian finished first, followed by Pierre Breuer from Belgium in second and Malaysia’s Soonseng Ong third.

In the women’s category, Amy Sproston from the US ranked first, with Ruth Theresia from Indonesia second and American Rachel Bessette third.

EcoTrail AlUla attracted athletes from around the world, most notably the US, UK, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Sweden, the UAE, Malaysia, Singapore, Jordan, Oman, Peru, Poland and Indonesia.

The one-day trail gave visitors the opportunity to become acquainted with AlUla and its distinctive natural, cultural, architectural and historical monuments. The trail is an eye-catching destination for running enthusiasts and jogging clubs, and will encourage people to visit AlUla and Saudi Arabia to take part in a global sporting event that promotes environmentally friendly principles and initiatives.

The race contained several medical care stops and catering stations, and each participant received a number in addition to a welcome gift and a shirt. An inaugural dinner was held to welcome contestants on the night before the race.

EcoTrail AlUla is the first race to occur in the Middle East and one of the most notable sports events of this year’s Winter at Tantora festival. The race was sponsored by STC, Almarai Company, Sabeeka Energy Bar, Whites, and Hussak Adventures. The festival’s latest season also provides a wide range of diverse experiences that meet the needs of all visitors and entertain all tastes, for individuals, groups or families from all walks of life.

The festival began on Dec. 19 and will run until March 7, 2020. Guests of the second season of this year will be able to visit the astonishing historical and heritage sites exclusively, and attend the international musical and artistic performances.