Leicester end Pellegrini’s time at West Ham, Man Utd close on top four

Leicester end Pellegrini’s time at West Ham, Man Utd close on top four
Manuel Pellegrini was sacked soon after the Hammers succumbed to a Leicester side. (AFP)
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Updated 29 December 2019

Leicester end Pellegrini’s time at West Ham, Man Utd close on top four

Leicester end Pellegrini’s time at West Ham, Man Utd close on top four
  • Leicester move 10 points behind Liverpool and stretch their lead in second over Manchester City to four points
  • Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford struck late in each half to take United above Tottenham

LONDON: A much-changed Leicester inflicted the final blow of Manuel Pellegrini’s time in charge of West Ham with a 2-1 win on Saturday as Manchester United closed on the Premier League’s top four with a 2-0 victory at Burnley.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford struck late in each half to take United above Tottenham in fifth after Spurs were held 2-2 draw at Norwich.
Pellegrini was sacked soon after the Hammers succumbed to a Leicester side that made nine changes after a Boxing Day thrashing by Liverpool.
Jamie Vardy was among those missing due to the birth of his daughter, but Kelechi Iheanacho and Demarai Gray made the most of their chance for a rare Premier League start by scoring either side of half-time.
“Anytime you come in if you’re not playing so much you have to try and stamp your mark and get yourself in the team,” said Gray, who also saw an early penalty saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
The Foxes move 10 points behind Liverpool and stretch their lead in second over Manchester City to four points.
Pablo Fornals levelled for the Hammers just before half-time, but a seventh defeat in nine games left them just one point above the relegation zone.
“It has become clear that a change is required to get the club back on track in line with our ambitions this season,” said the Hammers joint-chairman David Sullivan.
“We felt it was necessary to act now in order to give the new manager as much time as possible to try and achieve that goal.”
United closed to within a point of fourth-placed Chelsea with Martial and Rashford again their talismen at Turf Moor.
Martial produced a clinical finish after Andreas Perreira pounced on an error from Charlie Taylor a minute before half-time.
The Frenchman had another goal ruled out in the second half, but United had to wait till stoppage time to secure all three points when Rashford rounded off a rapid counter-attack.
Tottenham edged ahead of Wolves on goal difference into sixth, but missed the chance to leapfrog Chelsea as their defensive deficiencies were again exposed by bottom-of-the-table Norwich.
Mario Vrancic was afforded time and space to fire the Canaries into an early lead and only the finest of margins on a VAR review for offside denied Teemu Pukki putting Norwich 2-0 up before half-time.
Christian Eriksen’s brilliant free-kick levelled for Spurs early in the second half, but Jose Mourinho’s men shot themselves in the foot again soon after as Serge Aurier’s own goal restored Norwich’s lead.
Tottenham’s dominance after the break was rewarded eight minutes from time through Harry Kane’s penalty after the England international had been chopped down inside the area.
“We conceded two very, very bad goals,” bemoaned Mourinho.
“You cannot concede as many goals as we do but our defensive mistakes are match after match.”
Carlo Ancelotti’s flying start at Everton continued with a 2-1 win at Newcastle thanks to a double from the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin to move into the top half.
The 22-year-old twice showed his predatory instincts from close range either side of Fabian Schaer’s equalizer.
“We are getting back to where we want to be after a below par start,” said Calvert-Lewin. “It was not good enough and it was vitally important we turned it around. “
Crystal Palace missed the chance to close to within three points of the top four as they surrendered a lead to draw 1-1 at Southampton as Danny Ings canceled out James Tomkins’s opener.
Brighton climbed up to 14th, five points clear of the drop zone, as Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Aaron Mooy scored their first goals for the club in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth.
Watford closed to within three points of safety thanks to a second home win in as many games under Nigel Pearson as Troy Deeney scored twice in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa 3-0 despite the Hornets playing half an hour with 10 men after Adrian Mariappa saw red.


Euro hero Chiellini signs two-year deal with Juventus

Euro hero Chiellini signs two-year deal with Juventus
Updated 02 August 2021

Euro hero Chiellini signs two-year deal with Juventus

Euro hero Chiellini signs two-year deal with Juventus
  • Chiellini, 36, was out of contract after his previous deal with Juve expired at the end of June
  • He put pen to paper on a contract which runs until 2023

ROME: Giorgio Chiellini has signed a new two-year contract with Juventus, the Serie A club announced on Monday, a few weeks after the Italy captain led his country to triumph at Euro 2020.
Chiellini, 36, was out of contract after his previous deal with Juve expired at the end of June, while Italy were still on their charge to European Championship victory.
He put pen to paper on a contract which runs until 2023, contrary to initial reports in Italy which said he was prepared to agree to a deal until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which takes place in November and December next year.
“Giorgio Chiellini embodies everything that Juventus stands for, and it is through his commitment and excellent displays over the course of last 16 years that has earned him a contract renewal,” Juve said.
“There is an overlap in Giorgio’s DNA and that of Juve’s. He forms a big part of Juve’s history, yet also the present and the future,” they added.
The announcement of his new contract was expected, with chairman Andrea Agnelli saying last week that the club were waiting for the center-back to return from his post-Euro holidays before agreeing a new deal.
Chiellini began his long Juventus career in 2005 and was a pillar of the team which won nine successive Serie A titles before Inter Milan broke their rivals’ run of domestic dominance last season.
He has also contested two Champions League finals and won five Italian Cups with Juventus.
Chiellini and his Juve teammate Leonardo Bonucci were central to Italy’s success at this summer’s Euro, providing the solid basis from which Roberto Mancini’s vibrant team flourished.
The Azzurri won the tournament in impressive style, cruising through their group and seeing off the likes of Belgium and Spain in the knockout stages before beating England on penalties in the final at Wembley.
He has played 112 times for his country, finishing runner-up at Euro 2012.


Belarusian athlete to fly to Warsaw from Tokyo on Wednesday

Belarusian athlete to fly to Warsaw from Tokyo on Wednesday
Updated 02 August 2021

Belarusian athlete to fly to Warsaw from Tokyo on Wednesday

Belarusian athlete to fly to Warsaw from Tokyo on Wednesday
  • Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya will fly from Tokyo on a direct flight to Warsaw

WARSAW: Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya will fly to Warsaw on Wednesday, the chairman of the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation said on Monday.
Tsimanouskaya who took refuge in the Polish embassy in Tokyo a day after refusing her team’s orders to board a flight home from the Olympic Games.
“She will fly from Tokyo, a direct flight to Warsaw on August 4, in two days’ time,” Aleksandr Opeykin told Reuters.
“She has accepted the offer issued by the Polish Foreign Ministry to request international help, she has done that and she has received a Polish visa today. We, at the Foundation, helped her to get the ticket to Warsaw,” he added.


‘Best thing ever’: Gianmarco Tamberi basks in shared glory with friend Mutaz Barshim

Gianmarco Tamberi has expressed his joy at sharing an Olympic high jump gold medal with his friend from Qatar Mutaz Essa Barshim. (AFP)
Gianmarco Tamberi has expressed his joy at sharing an Olympic high jump gold medal with his friend from Qatar Mutaz Essa Barshim. (AFP)
Updated 02 August 2021

‘Best thing ever’: Gianmarco Tamberi basks in shared glory with friend Mutaz Barshim

Gianmarco Tamberi has expressed his joy at sharing an Olympic high jump gold medal with his friend from Qatar Mutaz Essa Barshim. (AFP)
  • The high jump rivals and friends decided to share Olympic gold rather than have a deciding jump-off

TOKYO: Gianmarco Tamberi has expressed his joy at sharing an Olympic high jump gold medal with his friend Mutaz Essa Barshim, calling it the “best thing ever.”

The Qatari and Italian athletes captured the hearts of sports fans around the world when, in an unprecedented show of sporting solidarity, they decided to share the gold medal in the men’s high jump rather than participate in a deciding “jump-off” against each other.

“Mutaz is my big friend so we enjoyed the evening yesterday and we decided to share the gold medal,” Tamberi told Arab News Japan as he prepared to leave the Olympic Village in Tokyo.

“It’s the best thing ever and that’s the Olympic spirit,” he added. “It was amazing.”

Tamberi had perviously revealed that it was Barshim who, more than anyone else, helped him get over the severe disappointment of missing out on the high jump competition at Rio 2016 due to a injury.

On Sunday, the friends and rivals both cleared 2.37 meters, but then failed with three attempts each at 2.39 meters.

As a Tokyo 2020 official explained to Tamberi and Barshim that a jump-off could be introduced to separate them, the Qatari athlete uttered the words that have now gone down in Olympic history: “Can we have two golds?”

As the official confirmed they could, the duo hugged and broke into tearful celebrations, finally banishing years of injuries and close calls.

Having won bronze in London in 2012 and silver in Rio five years ago, the 30-year-old Barshim now has his gold. Barshim missed a large part of the 2018 season with an ankle injury, but returned to win gold at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha.

“This is a dream I don't want to wake up from,” Barshim said on Sunday. “I have been through a lot. It's been five years that I have been waiting, with injuries and a lot of set-backs.”

“But we are here today sharing this moment and all the sacrifices. It's really worth it now in this moment,” he added.


Glory for Morocco’s Soufiane El-Bakkali as he wins gold in Men’s 3000m Steeplechase at Tokyo 2020

Soufiane El Bakkali, of Morocco celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP)
Soufiane El Bakkali, of Morocco celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP)
Updated 02 August 2021

Glory for Morocco’s Soufiane El-Bakkali as he wins gold in Men’s 3000m Steeplechase at Tokyo 2020

Soufiane El Bakkali, of Morocco celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP)
  • The 25-year-old left a strong field behind him as pre-race talk focused on battle between Kenyans and Ethiopians

A glorious run by Moroccan runner Soufiane El-Bakkali saw him win the gold medal in the Men’s 3000m Steeplechase at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Monday.

The 25-year-old, who finished fourth in this event at Rio 2016, won with a time of 8:08:90, ahead of Lamecha Grima of Ethiopia in second and Benjamin Kigen in third.

Before the final, all the talk had focused on the fact that no Ethiopian had ever won this event at the Olympics, while the Kenyans had won every 3000m Steeplechase gold medal since Los Angeles 1984.

But the Moroccan proved to be the ace in the pack, in the end comfortably stretching away from his opponents on the last lap and collapsing into tears at the finish line.

El-Bakkali had won the 3000m Steeplechase Heat 3 on Friday with a time of 8:19:00, ahead of Topi Raitanen of Finland and Alexis Phelut of France, who both qualified to the final.

Previously, he had won bronze in this event at the 2019 World Athletics Championship in Qatar and silver two years earlier in London.

The Moroccan will now turn his attentions to the Men’s 1500m Round 1 — Heat 3 (3:27 a.m. KSA).


Saudi sprinter Mazen Al-Yassin’s brave semi-final run sees him depart men’s 400m at Tokyo 2020

Saudi sprinter Mazen Al-Yassin’s brave semi-final run sees him depart men’s 400m at Tokyo 2020
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi sprinter Mazen Al-Yassin’s brave semi-final run sees him depart men’s 400m at Tokyo 2020

Saudi sprinter Mazen Al-Yassin’s brave semi-final run sees him depart men’s 400m at Tokyo 2020
  • 25-year-old produced some of Saudi delegation’s most competitive performances of Olympics, but will miss out on Thursday’s final

RIYADH: Saudi sprinter Mazen Al-Yassin has been eliminated from the men’s 400 meters at Tokyo 2020 after on Monday finishing fourth in the second semifinal at the Japanese capital’s Olympic Stadium.

Despite a fine run that saw him post a time of 45.37 seconds, the 25-year-old will now miss out on Thursday’s final.

Michael Cherry of the US, and Christopher Taylor of Jamaica, finished first and second and will be in the field of eight vying for the medals on Thursday. Steven Solomon of Australia came in third, 0.22 of a second ahead of Al-Yassin.

 

 

Al-Yassin had produced a thrilling run when winning heat two at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday to progress to the following day’s semifinals against some of the world’s best short-distance runners. A personal best time of 45.16 seconds saw him finish ahead of Kevin Borlee of Belgium and Ricky Petrucciani of Switzerland.

The runner received his call-up to the Olympics on July 2, one of the last of Saudi Arabia’s 33 athletes to confirm his place in Tokyo.

His exit from the Games means that Tarek Hamdi, who will take part in the karate 75-kilogram category on Friday, is the last remaining Saudi at Tokyo 2020.