Saudi U-23s in 1-1 draw with Mexico in latest friendly ahead of Olympic Games

Saudi U-23s in 1-1 draw with Mexico in latest friendly ahead of Olympic Games
Action from Saudi's U-23 match against Mexico in preparation for Tokyo 2020. (Arriyadiyah)
Short Url
Updated 09 June 2021

Saudi U-23s in 1-1 draw with Mexico in latest friendly ahead of Olympic Games

Saudi U-23s in 1-1 draw with Mexico in latest friendly ahead of Olympic Games
  • Saad Al-Shehri’s team will face Brazil, Germany and Ivory Coast at Tokyo 2020

RIYADH: The Saudi U-23 football team on Tuesday night drew 1-1 with Mexico in the latest friendly match at its training camp in Marbella, Spain as part of its preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.

The first half ended scoreless, with the young Saudis missing several chances to take the lead.

After the break, the Mexican team broke the deadlock, and the Green Falcons looked to be heading for a narrow defeat.

However, there was a reprieve for the Saudis when the referee awarded a penalty in stoppage time which substitute Ayman Yahya converted, to end the match on a positive note for coach Saad Al-Shehri and his players.

The training camp in Marbella will run until June 15 ahead of Tokyo 2020, which kicks off on July 23.

In Japan, the Saudi U-23 team will face Brazil, Germany and Ivory Coast in Group D of the men’s football tournament.


Major changes to Yas Marina Circuit promise new era of exciting Formula 1 racing at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Major changes to Yas Marina Circuit promise new era of exciting Formula 1 racing at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Updated 25 June 2021

Major changes to Yas Marina Circuit promise new era of exciting Formula 1 racing at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Major changes to Yas Marina Circuit promise new era of exciting Formula 1 racing at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
  • Changes to some of track’s most famous zones will be first since circuit’s launch in 2009
  • Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will follow first-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah, Dec. 3-5

Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management has announced a wide-ranging track reconfiguration program at the Yas Marina Circuit that will be carried out over the summer months. The changes are set to significantly alter the driving experience and promote a more exciting spectacle at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Yas Marina Circuit has hosted the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the past 12 years, with the 13th installment of the race scheduled to take place on Sunday, Dec. 12.

“Having an exciting race in Abu Dhabi is something we’ve been working on,” Saif Al-Noaimi, acting CEO, Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, said. “The modifications this year are significant. It’s the first time we’ve made changes to the track since it opened in 2009. We’ve been listening to the spectators, the fans, the drivers, the teams. We, the Formula 1 management and the FIA have been working jointly on creating opportunities where we can see more changes in the lead, overtaking on the track and closer wheel-to-wheel racing.”

The restructuring of the track will take place in three areas — North Hairpin, South Marina and around the Hotel section — and will incorporate 12 corners in total, with one of the key enhancements being increased opportunities for drivers to overtake, adding an exciting new element to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and all other motorsport events.

The first zone to feature changes, the Northern Hairpin, will eliminate existing turns five and six, and will feature a wider entry, allowing drivers to go in at higher speeds and to take different racing lines through that hairpin.

“Zone two is the Marina section, the end of the Support Pit straight, which is the second DRS zone where the South Grandstand is,” Al-Noaimi said. “We are eliminating four corners over there. Effectively, there is a series of 90-degree left, right, left, left corners. Some of them are off-camber, and they’re slow corners. We’re eliminating all of this, and we’re creating a single wide, banked corner in that area. That to us is going to be the iconic corner of Yas Marina circuit.”

Finally, at the Hotel section, the new design will allow for closer racing, which in turn should lead to additional overtaking opportunities.

“There is a series of fairly sharp corners, currently numbered 17 to 20, and what we’re doing over there is opening up the radius of those corners, effectively allowing the cars to run faster through them and maintaining a flow through that section so they are able to stay closer to each other,” Al-Noaimi added.

This means that changes to turn 20 will create a full-throttle corner, allowing cars to follow more closely together with an entry speed of 253 kph, before exiting the last corner before the pit lane.

The 2020 edition of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was not accessible to the general public, but this time around fans will be back at 30 percent of the capacity — almost 16,000.

“We’re really excited to have the fans back in the stands and across the venue,” said Al-Noaimi. “Last year was challenging. We’re proud that we were able to host a limited number of frontline heroes last year, but this year it’s about having people in the grandstands, people on Abu Dhabi Hill and across the different venues.

“All of our products are now on sale: the different zones and different categories from general admission, grandstands, hospitality and VIP in the Paddock Club. We’re also implementing best practices and government guidelines in terms of safety.”

United Arab Emirates (UAE) residents attending must have received two doses of a UAE-approved coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, as well as providing a negative PCR test result not more than 48 hours earlier. Non-UAE residents will also need to provide authorized documentation and evidence of vaccination, along with a negative PCR test result.

Fans attending this year’s event can look forward to the return of the traditional Yasalam after-race concerts, produced by Flash Entertainment, with four AAA artists, who will be announced in the coming weeks, performing each night over the course of race weekend. Each ticket holder, however, can only attend one concert that is accessible from their particular package.

Once again, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the 2021 Formula 1 season-closing race, and this year has the added excitement of following the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix taking place in Jeddah on Dec. 3-5.

“We’re really excited for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to take place,” said Al-Noaimi. “It’s looking like it’s going to be a very exciting track. We’re seeing what the layout looks like, and we’re really looking forward to having another Formula 1 race in the region.

“I think what the Grand Prix in the Kingdom demonstrates is the importance of motorsports to the region and also the importance of the region to Formula 1,” he added. “Having three Grand Prix races, including Bahrain, in the region is testament to how important it is to Formula 1 and to motorsports in general. We view this as an opportunity to grow awareness about Formula 1. Having another race in our neighborhood is something we’re really excited about.”


Five-star performance sees Palestine through to 2021 FIFA Arab Cup in Qatar

Five-star performance sees Palestine through to 2021 FIFA Arab Cup in Qatar
Updated 25 June 2021

Five-star performance sees Palestine through to 2021 FIFA Arab Cup in Qatar

Five-star performance sees Palestine through to 2021 FIFA Arab Cup in Qatar
  • A 5-1 win over Comoros means Palestine will be in Group C alongside Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Jordan later this year

Palestine came from behind to defeat Comoros 5-1 and book their place at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup and will now join Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Jordan in a strong Group C at the end of the year, the FIFA official website reported.

The tournament will take place in Qatar from Nov. 27 to Dec. 18.

Comoros started off as the better of the two teams at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha and took the lead after only five minutes thanks to Moussa Djoumoi, who got on the end of Mohammed M’Changama’s pass.

Palestine slowly got into the game and squared the match on 34 minutes when Layth Kharoub tapped in from close range after Comoros keeper Moyadh Ousseni failed to deal with the free kick.

Eight minutes later, Palestine took the lead, Oday Dabbagh producing a moment of individual brilliance with a firm left-footed shot past Ousseni.

Palestine kept the momentum going after the break and extended its lead with the goal of the night as Dabbagh curled in an outside-of-the-boot cross for Tamer Seyam, whose fine run to the near post was rewarded with a glancing header that hit the post and went in to make it 3-1.

The 71st minute saw a repeat of the third goal as Dabbagh again crossed from the right for Seyam to score from close range.

Ten minutes later, Islam Batran took advantage of some poor defending before scoring Palestine’s fifth and confirming their spot at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup later this year.


Paul George leads Clippers over Suns, 106-92 in Game 3

LA Clippers' Patrick Beverley knocks the ball from the hands of Suns' Devin Booker during Game 3 of the NBA West finals on June 24, 2021. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP)
LA Clippers' Patrick Beverley knocks the ball from the hands of Suns' Devin Booker during Game 3 of the NBA West finals on June 24, 2021. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 25 June 2021

Paul George leads Clippers over Suns, 106-92 in Game 3

LA Clippers' Patrick Beverley knocks the ball from the hands of Suns' Devin Booker during Game 3 of the NBA West finals on June 24, 2021. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP)
  • Kawhi Leonard remained out with a right knee sprain, leaving George to carry the load again
  • Game 4 is Saturday night at Staples Center

LOS ANGELES: Paul George scored 27 points and the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away in a dominant third quarter, beating newly returned Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns 106-92 on Thursday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.
The Clippers cut their series deficit to 2-1, ending the Suns’ franchise-record playoff winning streak at nine games.
Kawhi Leonard remained out with a right knee sprain, leaving George to carry the load again. After missing two crucial free throws in a one-point loss in Game 2, Paul had 15 rebounds and eight assists and played a game-high 43 minutes. He made 6 of 7 free throws.
The Suns got Paul back after he missed the first two games while being sidelined since June 16 because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The former Clipper, who was booed heartily during intros, had 15 points and 12 assists, but was 5 of 19 from the field.
Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 18 points.
Reggie Jackson added 23 points for the Clippers, and Ivica Zubac had 15 points and tied his career playoff high with 16 rebounds.
Game 4 is Saturday night at Staples Center.
After Phoenix won the first two games by a combined seven points, the teams played a close first half. Then the Clippers went to work in front of their raucous, Thunder Stix-pounding fans.
They took control with the biggest run of the game, a 21-3 spurt that left them leading 71-56 in the third. Terance Mann got it going with six straight points and Jackson scored four in a row before George scored inside. Zubac dunked off George’s pass and made a pair of free throws. The Suns were limited to a 3-pointer by Paul.
Devin Booker picked up his third and fourth fouls in a 42-second span during the Clippers’ run. Booker — wearing a clear mask to protect his nose that required stitches after he and Patrick Beverley banged heads in Game 2 — was 5 of 21 from the field, making only one of seven 3-point tries, and finished with 15 points.
Jae Crowder, who assisted on Deandre Ayton’s winning dunk on Tuesday, fouled out with 4:51 remaining. He had nine points, six rebounds and six assists.
George capped the third by banking in a 3-pointer from just inside midcourt, and it beat the buzzer, stunning the fans and sending the Clippers into the fourth leading 80-69. He nearly bobbled the ball along the right sideline, with Booker and Cam Johnson pressuring, before getting the shot off.
Luke Kennard opened the fourth with a 3 from the right corner, getting fouled and making the free throw. Marcus Morris hit a three before George got fouled. He confidently made both, keeping the Clippers ahead 89-71.
Cameron Payne, who so ably filled in for Paul in the first two games, went down with a left ankle injury after playing four minutes and didn’t return.

TIP-INS
Suns: Fell to 10-3 in the playoffs, losing for the first time since May 27 against the Lakers at Staples Center in Game 3 of the first round. ... Booker and Beverley were called for double technicals in the third. ... Paul and Booker each missed their first six shots of the game and were both 2 of 10 with seven points each in the first half.
Clippers: Zubac is the first Clipper with a double-double in the first half of a postseason game since DeAndre Jordan on April 30, 2017, against Utah. ... Longtime fan Billy Crystal sat courtside.
 


No more beer bottles in front of Muslim Euros players: Officials

No more beer bottles in front of Muslim Euros players: Officials
Updated 24 June 2021

No more beer bottles in front of Muslim Euros players: Officials

No more beer bottles in front of Muslim Euros players: Officials
  • Players will now be allowed to decide whether they object to having a beer bottle in front of them

LONDON: Officials running the European Football Championship have announced that they will stop placing bottles of beer in front of Muslim players.

The decision comes after French star Paul Pogba moved the tournament’s sponsor drink during a press conference last week.

Pogba, a devout Muslim, removed the Heineken bottle from in front of him during a post-match press conference after his French national team defeated Germany.

Teams, managers and players will now be asked beforehand whether they object to having a bottle of Heineken 0.0 — an alcohol-free variant of the popular Dutch beer — on the podium on religious grounds, the Daily Telegraph reported.

It is forbidden in Islam to consume alcohol.


Arkan Sports and Punjab Green face off in national cricket final

Arkan Sports and Punjab Green face off in national cricket final
Updated 24 June 2021

Arkan Sports and Punjab Green face off in national cricket final

Arkan Sports and Punjab Green face off in national cricket final
  • The grand finale of Saudi Arabian cricket will be played between Arkan Sports and Punjab Green
  • The two teams reached the final having played nine league matches, quarter-finals and semi-finals

RYADH: Arkan Sports Club and the Punjab Green Cricket Club will meet in the final of the National Cricket Championship 2021 on Friday at the NOFA Resort.

The final of the competition, which was launched by the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation (SACF) in partnership with the Sports For All Federation (SFA), is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. It will be followed by the awards ceremony.

“The National Cricket Championship, conducted in the middle of the pandemic, has been a huge success; and its vibrations have been heard across Saudi Arabia and beyond and this is just the beginning” Prince Saud bin Mishaal, SACF Chairman, told Arab News.

The final will mark the culmination of the biggest tournament of its kind ever held in the Kingdom.

“This final to be played at the NOFA Resort, a new cricket ground established with the support of the NOFA management, is part of the National Cricket Championship which is played in grounds all over Saudi Arabia,” SACF general manager Nadeem Nadwi said.

“This is the grand finale which will be played between Arkan Sports and Punjab Green, two teams that have reached the final having played nine league matches, the quarter-finals and the semi-finals.”

The championship was launched on Jan. 29 and matches were spread across 11 cities. More than 6,800 players from 369 teams, representing 15 cricket associations, took part in the biggest tournament of its kind in the Kingdom.

The matches were in the T20 format and took place every Friday on 106 pitches in Riyadh, Dammam, Jubail, Jeddah, Madinah, Yanbu, Tabuk, Abha, Jazan, Qassim and Najran.

“Together with our partners the Saudi Cricket Federation, and with the support and guidance of the Ministry of Sports, we are excited to be wrapping up what was a riveting and competitive season in the Kingdom,” said SFA president Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal. “The Quality of Life program, consistent supporters of our healthy and active community, joins us in looking at the national championship as a moment that reflects wellness, physical fitness, and fraternal spirit amongst players.”

Prince Fahd bin Jalawi, president of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, is expected to attend the final alongside Prince Saud and Prince Khaled, as will ambassadors from cricket-playing countries such as the UK, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

There will also be more than 250 other guests present at the close of the cricket season.

“We have made arrangements for them to enjoy the grand finale at this beautiful resort in the middle of the desert,” Nadwi added.