AC Milan turn to Serie A title chase after Europa exit

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, left, and  Souhaliho Meite of AC Milan  during their  Europa League round of 16 second leg match. (AFP)
Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, left, and Souhaliho Meite of AC Milan during their Europa League round of 16 second leg match. (AFP)
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Updated 20 March 2021

AC Milan turn to Serie A title chase after Europa exit

AC Milan turn to Serie A title chase after Europa exit
  • the quarterfinals of the elite European competition for the first time in five years

MILAN, Italy: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s AC Milan return to their decade-long Serie A title quest on Sunday desperate to close the gap on leaders Inter after their Europa League exit to Manchester United.

“I want to play to win something,” said Ibrahimovic, who returned after an injury layoff in Thursday’s 1-0 defeat in the last-16 second leg against his former club.

“There are still a few games to win and at the moment we are second, we have to continue the race to win the championship.

“Then if we reach the Champions League, it’s nice, but the goal is to win a trophy.

“We have a winning mentality and no one accepts losing, and that’s something I brought.

“To continue, to come back stronger and learn from mistakes. This is part of success, we have to grow up and think about Sunday.”

Ibrahimovic returned to Milan in January 2020 and has been credited with helping turn the team into title contenders again as they target a 19th Serie A trophy and first since 2011, when he also played with the club.

The 39-year-old’s performances have also seen him recalled to the Sweden squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers, reversing a five-year international retirement.

For Milan, as the other Italian teams, it was another bruising week of European football.

Atalanta and Lazio both exited the Champions League, after Juventus crashed out last week.

No Italian team have advanced to the quarterfinals of the elite European competition for the first time in five years.

Roma saved face in the Europa League with a 5-1 aggregate win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Inter’s focus has been solely on the league since their Champions League group stage exit, and Antonio Conte’s side are on an eight-match winning streak.

However, their game against Sassuolo on Saturday has been postponed on the orders of health authorities after four Inter players contracted coronavirus this week including captain Samir Handanovic.

In their absence, second place  Milan will be looking to get back to winning ways at 13th-placed Fiorentina and reduce their nine-point deficit before the international break.

Stefano Pioli’s side have lost ground to their city rivals in recent weeks with just two wins in their last six league games, and cannot afford another slip-up.

Juventus are a further point behind in third with a game in hand, and host lowly Benevento as they push for a 10th consecutive league title.

Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo hit back with a hat trick against Cagliari last weekend after Juventus’s Champions League last 16 exit to Porto.

“It’s time to keep our heads down and stay united, showing that we believe until the end,” said Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini.

Atalanta, in fourth, travel to mid-table Hellas Verona. The Bergamo side are just two points ahead of Champions League rivals Napoli and Roma, who go head-to-head in the Stadio Olimpico.


USA lose first men's Olympic basketball game since 2004

USA lose first men's Olympic basketball game since 2004
Updated 24 min 55 sec ago

USA lose first men's Olympic basketball game since 2004

USA lose first men's Olympic basketball game since 2004
  • The USA face Iran in their next game on Wednesday when France take on the Czech Republic

SAITAMA, Japan: A USA team led by 11-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant were beaten 83-76 by France on Sunday, snapping an Olympic winning streak stretching back to the 2004 Athens Games.
France, with a team containing NBA players including Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier, limited Durant to just 10 points in the first-round game.
Durant sat out most of the third quarter with foul trouble and when it mattered, he was unable to inspire his team as the French came from behind to take control in the final quarter as the Americans missed their final nine shots.
The USA had looked unconvincing in the build-up to Tokyo and the defeat will underline the fears Durant expressed before the Games that his side will not face a "cakewalk" in Japan.
Fournier top-scored with 28 points for France. Although the Boston Celtics player only made four from 12 from beyond the three-point line, he found his range when it mattered to help the French stun the Americans.
"I tried to be aggressive. As an NBA player I know the players we were facing. We had to show the team how to attack them," Fournier said.
France clawed back a 10-point deficit to set up a breathless final quarter and as the Americans failed to find any rhythm, the French smelled victory in Saitama, where spectators were absent because of coronavirus measures.
Fournier's three-pointer with 57 seconds remaining put his team ahead 76-74 and when Durant hit the rim with a three-point attempt the French closed out the game with a succession of free throws.
When Jayson Tatum fouled Nicolas Batum, the French veteran NBA forward hit both free throws from the line to seal victory.
Gobert played down the significance of the win.
"I mean it's great, but until we have what we want to have around our neck, it doesn't really matter," the Utah Jazz player said.
"Every single guy that came in the game brought us something," he added.
"It's really the team that we want to be and it's exciting for the rest of the tournament."
The USA face Iran in their next game on Wednesday when France take on the Czech Republic.


Tickets for F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix now on sale

Tickets for the inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix are now on sale. (Supplied)
Tickets for the inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix are now on sale. (Supplied)
Updated 25 July 2021

Tickets for F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix now on sale

Tickets for the inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix are now on sale. (Supplied)
  • Initially, 40 percent of the tickets will be released
  • All ticket holders will also gain access to the festivals and live concerts

LONDON: Tickets for the inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix are now on sale now for fans in the Kingdom and fans living abroad, it was announced on Sunday.

The first ever F1 race taking place in Saudi Arabia will be run around the Jeddah Circuit on the weekend of December 3 to 5.

Initially, 40 percent of the tickets will be released, with hopes of increasing to full capacity over time, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Minister of Sports, announced the opening of ticket sales and thanked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his continued support for bringing major sporting events to the Kingdom.

“We will prove to the whole world — God willing and with ambitious leadership — that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has become an exceptional home to the most prestigious racing series in the world, and we look forward to presenting an unforgettable race for all motorsport lovers and enthusiasts, whether those watching at the track or on TV screens,” he said.

“Today we mark a new step on our way to hosting the first Formula 1 race in the Kingdom, as we enter the most exciting stages of hosting the event,” Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, said.

“We look forward to experiencing a great race in the latest, fastest and longest street circuit in Formula 1, in addition to various types of entertainment over three days outside the circuit,” he added.

F1 fans will be able to choose from three types of ticket: Paddock Club, Premium Hospitality and Grandstand, with package prices starting at SR1,800 ($480).

Grandstand tickets will allow fans to see the start and finish line as well as the hyper-fast final section of the track, while Premium Hospitality tickets give you a fuller racing experience with the best views of the racing action.

Fans can also visit the F1 Paddock Club to enjoy the race weekend in style in the Pit and Team Building overlooking the Red Sea coastline. 

All ticket holders will also gain access to the festivals and live concerts taking place across the circuit and F1 Fanzone.


UAE shooter Saif Bin Futais aiming to improve on Olympic best at Tokyo 

UAE shooter Saif Bin Futais aiming to improve on Olympic best at Tokyo 
Updated 25 July 2021

UAE shooter Saif Bin Futais aiming to improve on Olympic best at Tokyo 

UAE shooter Saif Bin Futais aiming to improve on Olympic best at Tokyo 
  • The 47-year-old Emirati finished 29th in the Men’s Skeet at Rio 2016

TOKYO: Emirati shooter Saif Bin Futais racked up 70 points in the three rounds of Tokyo 2020’s Skeet Men’s qualification on the first day of the event, held at Asaka Shooting Range in the Japanese capital.

It was performance equalled by 30 other participants, while French shooter Eric Delaunay and US shooter Hancock Finkett tied for first place with 75 points. Tammaro Cassandro of Italy and Jacub Tomecek of the Czech Republic followed, scoring 74 points each.

Each shooter was involved in three rounds of 25 attempts.

Bin Futais, 47, is taking part in his second Olympic games having finished in 29th place in the Skeet Men’s competition at Rio 2016.

Among the other Arab shooters taking part in the event are Saudi Arabian Saeed Al-Mutairi who clocked up 71 points, and Abdullah Al-Rashidi of Kuwait, who finished the day tied in sixth place.

The competition resumes on Monday morning, from 4:00 a.m. in Riyadh time, with a further two rounds for each of the competitors.


Pandemic-hit IPL to resume on Sept. 19 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah

Under the new schedule, 13 IPL matches will be held in Dubai, 10 in Sharjah and eight in Abu Dhabi. (Twitter: @IPL/File Photo)
Under the new schedule, 13 IPL matches will be held in Dubai, 10 in Sharjah and eight in Abu Dhabi. (Twitter: @IPL/File Photo)
Updated 25 July 2021

Pandemic-hit IPL to resume on Sept. 19 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah

Under the new schedule, 13 IPL matches will be held in Dubai, 10 in Sharjah and eight in Abu Dhabi. (Twitter: @IPL/File Photo)
  • The tournament was only half finished when it was halted in India on May 4 due to COVID-19

NEW DELHI: The Indian Premier League, the world's richest cricket tournament, will resume in the UAE on September 19, more than four months after it was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said Sunday.

“A total number of 31 matches will be played in the duration of 27 days,” said a statement by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“The 14th season, which was postponed in May this year in the wake of the pandemic, will resume on 19th September in Dubai with a blockbuster clash between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.”

The tournament was only half finished when it was halted in India on May 4 after a number of players and team officials caught coronavirus despite being in bio-secure bubbles.

Under the new schedule, 13 matches will be held in Dubai, 10 in Sharjah and eight in Abu Dhabi.

The final will be staged in Dubai on October 15, just two days before the rescheduled Twenty20 World Cup gets underway, also in the Gulf.

In the new-look IPL, there will be seven double headers.

The final game of the league stage will be played between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals on October 8.

The first qualifier will be played in Dubai on October 10 with the eliminator qualifier 2 to be played in Sharjah on October 11 and 13.

The World T20 was originally meant to take place in Australia at the end of 2020 but it was called off as the pandemic swept across the globe causing widescale lockdowns.

It was then switched to India before it was rescheduled again to be staged in Oman and the United Arab Emirates from October 17 to November 14.

The BCCI remains the ‘host’ of the World T20 but the competition will now be held across four venues — the Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground.


Syrian athlete brothers separated by war hug at Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony

Alaa Maso from the Refugee Olympic Team — who will be competing in the men’s swimming — was photographed embracing his brother Mohamed Maso, who is competing in the triathlon. (Screenshot)
Alaa Maso from the Refugee Olympic Team — who will be competing in the men’s swimming — was photographed embracing his brother Mohamed Maso, who is competing in the triathlon. (Screenshot)
Updated 25 July 2021

Syrian athlete brothers separated by war hug at Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony

Alaa Maso from the Refugee Olympic Team — who will be competing in the men’s swimming — was photographed embracing his brother Mohamed Maso, who is competing in the triathlon. (Screenshot)
  • Both brothers, originally from the city of Aleppo in Syria, now live in Germany

DUBAI: A picture of two Syrian brothers — one representing the Olympic refugee team, the other the Syrian team — hugging on the sidelines of the Tokyo Games has been circulating on social media.

Many praised the image, with one Twitter user saying: “The most beautiful image from the #OpeningCeremony are the two #Syrian brothers, who were reunited.” Others called it “surreal.”

Alaa Maso from the Refugee Olympic Team — who will be competing in the men’s swimming — was photographed embracing his brother Mohamed Maso, who is competing in the triathlon.

Both brothers, originally from the city of Aleppo in Syria, now live in Germany.

Alaa left Syria in 2015 and resettled in Germany after his training facilities were damaged during fighting, according to his profile on the International Olympic Committee website. 

His brother Mohamed also fled the war in Syria for Europe in 2015. During his journey to Europe, “his Syrian triathlon suit and running shoes” were in his backpack, his profile read.

Alaa will also be competing alongside another Syrian refugee swimmer, Yusra Mardini.

About half a million people have been killed in Syria and millions more forced to flee their homes since anti-government protests in 2011 led to a deadly war.