AS IT HAPPENED: Boca Juniors win Maradona Cup over Barcelona in Saudi Arabia

Update Argentina's Boca Juniors Marcelo Weigandt raises the Maradona Cup trophy following a friendly football match against Spain's Barcelona. (AFP)
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Argentina's Boca Juniors Marcelo Weigandt raises the Maradona Cup trophy following a friendly football match against Spain's Barcelona. (AFP)
Update Dani Alves plays his first game tonight since returning to Barcelona. (Twitter: @FCBarcelona)
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Dani Alves plays his first game tonight since returning to Barcelona. (Twitter: @FCBarcelona)
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Updated 15 December 2021

AS IT HAPPENED: Boca Juniors win Maradona Cup over Barcelona in Saudi Arabia

Argentina's Boca Juniors Marcelo Weigandt raises the Maradona Cup trophy following a friendly football match against Spain's Barcelona. (AFP)
  • The Argentine legend played for both clubs during his career

RIYADH: Fans of football and admirers of the Argentine legend, Diego Armando Maradona, got a treat in Riyadh on Tuesday as Barcelona and Boca Juniors played out a match in honor of one of the sports’ biggest icons at Marsool Park Stadium, in Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Maradona Cup.

The Argentine club got the better of their more illustrious opponents 4-2 in a penalty shootout after the match finished all square at 1-1.

The game marked just over a year since the passing of Maradona, who was laid to rest on Nov. 25. The two teams participating in Tuesday's event had met ten times previously in friendlies, with Boca having won five of those matches, Barcelona four, and one draw.

Both teams share close ties to the late Argentine, who donned the famous colors of both teams. Although Maradona struggled with injuries during his two-year spell at Barcelona his impact was evident, Barca coach Xavi Hernandez says he grew up idolizing him.

And during Maradona’s lifetime, he was a regular visitor to Boca's La Bombonera Stadium long after he hung up his boots and enjoyed his own private box at the ground.

(See how the action unfolded below, all times GMT)

19:05 - BOCA JUNIORS WIN THE MARADONA CUP! Perfect from the spot, the Argentine side beat Barcelona 4-2 in the penalty shootout and claim the trophy in Riyadh.

18:50 - FULL-TIME: The match comes to a close, with both sides desperate to find a late winner. But the referee blows his whistle and we are headed for a penalty shootout to decide the Maradona Cup...

18:40 - GOAL: The Argentinian club score! Boca Juniors' Oscar Zeballos equalizes in the 77th minute.

18:30 - More subsitutions for the Catalans, a double change for Barcelona sees Mika Marmol and Matheus Pereira replace Eric Garcia and Alvaro Sanz.

18:25 - YELLOW CARD: Carlos Izquirdoz receives a caution after a collision with Barca's Ricard Puig.

18:20 - Barcelona substitutions as Oscar Mingueza and Ilias Akomach take the place of Clément Lenglet and Yusuf Demir. Boca also make a change, as Exequel Zeballos comes on in the place of Edwin Cardona.

18:15 - GOAL: Barcelona score! And it's summer signing Ferran Jutgla with the goal.

18:05 - SECOND HALF: We are back underway in Riyadh.

17:50 - HALF-TIME: Barcelona will be disappointed not to have turned their dominance into a goal at Marsool Park as both teams head off the pitch for the interval.

17:45 - Barcelona’s Sergino Gianni Dest gets the crowd on their feet with a ball that just hits the side netting, and then just minutes later Jordan Campuzano fouls Yusuf Demir just outside the box giving Barcelona a free-kick and a chance to score the first goal of the game. But it results in a simple catch for Augustin Rossi.

17:40 - Local favorite Dani Alves gets his first shot on target, albeit a difficult one, but the Boca 'keeper Rossi Augustin is equal to it. We have a balanced game on our hands heading into half-time, as Barcelona begin to control possession, but Boca are keeping them honest and coming back at the Spanish giants.

17:30 - Ferran Jutgla, a former player for Barcelona's city rivals Espanyol, makes an unsuccessful attempt for the Catalans from the wing and his shot goes wide, resulting in a goal kick for Boca. Since joining Barcelona in July 2021, Jutgla has made 15 appearances for the team, scoring four goals and notching up as many assists.

17:20 - Boca Juniors are now putting the pressure on Barcelona, dominating possession after the first quarter of the match. Barcelona have had a couple more attempts on target after the Puig shot, but they only draw out routine saves from Boca goalkeeper Augustin.

17:15 - CLOSE: Barcelona create a great chance as Riqui Puig shoots from midfield, but his shot went just wide.

17:00 - KICK-OFF: And we are underway in Riyadh in the Maradona Cup, with an already tense back and forth. Fans cheered as Dani Alves made his first touch for Barcelona since his return.

16:55 - We are just moment away from kick-off as Barcelona and Boca Juniors walk out onto the pitch, to a rapturous reception from the fans who are now on the edge of their seats for the match ahead. We will observe the Saudi national anthem before kick-off...

16:35 - Both teams have now released their starting XIs for the Maradona Cup clash, which kicks off in around 25 minutes.

 

 

16:15 - Boca Juniors players are out on the Marsool Stadium pitch for their warm up...

15:45 - Cristian Pavón stands out tonight for Boca Juniors, the 25-year-old striker is key for his speed and ability to champion on the attack. Sebastián Battaglia, who coaches Boca, will be looking to end the year with a victory to pay tribute to one of their greatest idols.

Meanwhile, after a less than explosive start under new manager Xavi, Barcelona will be hoping to boost their confidence with a win.

15:20 - The season so far has been difficult for the Barcelona manager — inheriting the team mid-season and trying to impose his tactics in a short period of time as he seeks to end the run of poor form that has resulted in Barcelona dropping down the La Liga table. Riddled with injuries and a grueling upcoming schedule, Xavi will use this game to try and keep the first-team players as fit as possible as they prepare to embark on their first Europa League campaign since 17 years ago when it was still dubbed the UEFA Cup. The Catalans will have to fight past Napoli for the right to advance in the Europa League, as their string of bad luck continues as they were paired with one of the toughest teams left in the competition.

Dani Alves plays his first game tonight since returning to Barcelona. The 38-year-old Barca legend plans to play his heart out with his teammates, and following his debut tonight will then be registered in January, when he can start featuring in official competitions, with the hope of adding to his stacked trophy cabinet.


Cameroon beat Brazil 1-0 in final group game at World Cup

Cameroon beat Brazil 1-0 in final group game at World Cup
Updated 10 sec ago

Cameroon beat Brazil 1-0 in final group game at World Cup

Cameroon beat Brazil 1-0 in final group game at World Cup
LUSAIL, Qatar: Vincent Aboubakar scored with a header two minutes into stoppage time in Cameroon’s 1-0 win over Brazil at the World Cup on Friday, a result that still allowed the five-time champions to win the group and eliminated the Africans.
Aboubakar was then sent off with a second yellow card for taking off his shirt during his celebration.
Brazil, which had already reached the knockout stage after victories over Serbia and Switzerland, will face South Korea in the round of 16.
Brazil finished with six points, the same as Switzerland but the South Americans had a better goal difference. The Swiss also advanced and will face Portugal. Cameroon ended with four points and Serbia one.
Coach Tite rested nearly all of his regular starters and made 10 changes from the win against Switzerland on Monday.
Brazil was still without the injured Neymar, but the star forward was at Lusail Stadium to watch the match with his teammates.

Switzerland beat Serbia 3-2 to reach last 16 of World Cup

Switzerland beat Serbia 3-2 to reach last 16 of World Cup
Updated 11 min 47 sec ago

Switzerland beat Serbia 3-2 to reach last 16 of World Cup

Switzerland beat Serbia 3-2 to reach last 16 of World Cup
  • Remo Freuler scored the winning goal just after halftime as the Swiss secured second place in Group G
  • They will next face Portugal on Tuesday at Lusail Stadium

DOHA: Switzerland advanced to the last 16 of the World Cup for the third tournament in a row after a 3-2 win over Serbia on Friday.
Remo Freuler scored the winning goal just after halftime as the Swiss secured second place in Group G. They will next face Portugal on Tuesday at Lusail Stadium.
Xherdan Shaqiri put Switzerland ahead early in the first half before Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic responded for Serbia. Breel Embolo evened the score just before halftime.
Switzerland needed a win to guarantee themselves a place in the knockout round after beating Cameroon and losing to Brazil in their opening two games. The team reached the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and again four years later in Russia. They lost 1-0 in both matches, to Argentina and Sweden, respectively.
Against Portugal, the Swiss will be looking to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since hosting the competition in 1954.


Ronaldo ‘insulted’ by South Korean player in World Cup loss

Ronaldo ‘insulted’ by South Korean player in World Cup loss
Updated 02 December 2022

Ronaldo ‘insulted’ by South Korean player in World Cup loss

Ronaldo ‘insulted’ by South Korean player in World Cup loss
  • The 37-year-old skipper looked miffed and ambled off slowly when his number went up in the 65th minute
  • "He was angry with the player from Korea and everyone saw that," Santos said

DOHA: Cristiano Ronaldo was “insulted” by a South Korean player as he was substituted during Portugal’s 2-1 World Cup defeat on Friday, coach Fernando Santos said.
The 37-year-old skipper looked miffed and ambled off slowly when his number went up in the 65th minute.
Santos denied that was because he was upset at being hooked.
“He was angry with the player from Korea and everyone saw that,” Santos said after his side topped Group H despite conceding in injury time to fall to defeat for the first time in Qatar.
“The player was insulting him, telling him to go away (get off the pitch) so that’s why he was angry and everyone saw that.
“I saw the interaction with the Korean player and have no doubt about it.”
Becoming irritated by the line of questioning, Santos added: “He (the Korean player) was not aggressive, he was verbally aggressive.
“He was speaking in English to Cristiano and Cristiano said, ‘Well, perhaps he did not have a good day.’“
South Korean midfielder Hwang In-beom attempted to play down the controversy.
“I didn’t see it, I was too tired,” he said. “I was looking at the ground, so I didn’t see it and I have nothing to say.”


Uruguay beats Ghana 2-0 at World Cup but both teams out

Uruguay beats Ghana 2-0 at World Cup but both teams out
Updated 02 December 2022

Uruguay beats Ghana 2-0 at World Cup but both teams out

Uruguay beats Ghana 2-0 at World Cup but both teams out
  • Suarez was distraught on the sidelines and covered his face
  • Suarez had been substituted when the screen at Al-Janoub Stadium suddenly flashed that South Korea was in second place

AL-WAKRAH, Qatar: This time, Luis Suarez cried on the sidelines after Uruguay were eliminated from the World Cup despite a 2-0 win over Ghana on Friday.
The result also put Ghana out of the competition.
Suarez played a key role in both first-half goals scored by Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Uruguay appeared headed for the round of 16 after inflicting more pain on Ghana 12 years after their now-infamous meeting in the quarterfinals at the World Cup in South Africa.
Then, Suarez denied Ghana a winning goal with a deliberate handball on the goal-line and having been sent off, he celebrated wildly on the sidelines when Ghana missed the resultant penalty.
Uruguay were in a position to go through in Qatar until South Korea’s late goal gave it a 2-1 win over Portugal in the other Group H game. That meant Uruguay needed to score one more goal in the dying minutes of its game to qualify.
They didn’t and were eliminated because they had scored fewer goals than South Korea in the group stage. Suarez was distraught on the sidelines and covered his face with his shirt having been substituted in what was likely his last World Cup appearance.
Uruguay’s goals came in a six-minute spell soon after Ghana raised more memories of the 2010 quarterfinal by missing a penalty.
A Suarez shot led to De Arrascaeta’s opener and Suarez set up the second with a clever pass that De Arrascaeta volleyed in. After those two strikes, Uruguay thought it was on its way to the knockouts.
Ghana captain Andre Ayew, the team’s only survivor from the 2010 squad, had his penalty saved by Sergio Rochet in the 21st minute and the game changed immediately after that. De Arrascaeta scored in the 26th and 32nd minutes to crush Ghana hopes.
But the Uruguayans were ultimately also crushed.
Suarez had been substituted when the screen at Al-Janoub Stadium suddenly flashed that South Korea was in second place in the group after a late goal against Portugal.
Uruguay surged forward in search of the goal that would have put it through. Substitutes Maximiliano Gomez and Sebastian Coates both missed late chances and Suarez was crying after the final whistle.


Saudi motorsport chiefs predict ‘best ever’ Red Bull Car Park Drift world final in Jeddah

Saudi motorsport chiefs predict ‘best ever’ Red Bull Car Park Drift world final in Jeddah
Updated 02 December 2022

Saudi motorsport chiefs predict ‘best ever’ Red Bull Car Park Drift world final in Jeddah

Saudi motorsport chiefs predict ‘best ever’ Red Bull Car Park Drift world final in Jeddah
  • Jeddah will host 21 drifters from 18 different countries who will battle it out to be named the Red Bull Car Park Drift King

JEDDAH: For the first time ever the Red Bull Car Park Drift World Final will be held in Saudi Arabia on December 8 in Jeddah.

Organizers Saudi Motorsport Company and Jeddah Corniche Circuit are promising fans the “best ever” season-ending event as tickets for the final have gone on sale.

Jeddah will host 21 drifters from 18 different countries who will battle it out to be named the Red Bull Car Park Drift King of Drift for 2022. 

Expert power control, pure pace, and the most delicate of touches will be the difference between victory and defeat for the competitors, set to deliver packed grandstands and a festive atmosphere.

For Saudi motorsport fans, the event will welcome three competitors from the Kingdom. Those drivers will be confirmed at a qualifying event on 3 December.

With tickets available for all fans of high octane, Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC) CEO, Martin Whitaker, said he is counting down the days to one of Jeddah’s biggest automotive moments. 

“I believe the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is one of the best ever venues in the long and impressive history of the Red Bull Car Park Drift and we expect an event which is more than equal to this stunning location,” he said.

“This is such a special event for the region, and we are so proud to be able to bring it to Jeddah and give drifting fans the chance to experience world-class competition.

“Of course, with three Saudi Arabian drivers competing in the final we expect the crowd to be more enthusiastic than ever and how special it would be to see a local driver crowned the King of Drift,” he added.

The Saudi drivers will go head-to-head with drifters who qualified in competitions from Jamaica to Mauritius, Sri Lanka to Pakistan, Kenya to South Africa, while the series also travelled through Poland, Estonia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, as well as Qatar, Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Lebanon.