Barcelona held by Frankfurt, 10-man West Ham draw with Lyon in Europa League

Barcelona held by Frankfurt, 10-man West Ham draw with Lyon in Europa League
1 / 2
Barcelona's Spanish forward Ferran Torres celebrates scoring the 1-1 equalizer during the UEFA Europa League quarterfinal first leg football match against Eintracht Frankfurt in Frankfurt on April 7, 2022. (AFP)
Barcelona held by Frankfurt, 10-man West Ham draw with Lyon in Europa League
2 / 2
Lyon's Brazilian striker Tete (L) fights for the ball with West Ham United's English defender Ben Johnson during their UEFA Europa League quarter final first leg football match at The London Stadium in east London on April 7, 2022. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 08 April 2022

Barcelona held by Frankfurt, 10-man West Ham draw with Lyon in Europa League

Barcelona held by Frankfurt, 10-man West Ham draw with Lyon in Europa League
  • Leipzig salvage a 1-1 draw, Braga beat Rangers 1-0

Barcelona failed to win an away match in the Europa League for the first time after they  were held 1-1 by 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Ferran Torres salvaged the draw in the second-tier European competition with an equalizer following a series of fluent passes around the box in the 66th minute.

Barcelona were knocked out of the lucrative Champions League in the team's first post-Lionel Messi season. They are  playing for the first time in the Europa League and never won its precursor, the UEFA Cup, reaching the semifinals on four occasions but not getting to a final.

Frankfurt won the UEFA Cup in 1980.

Rebuilding under recently hired coach Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona have relied on big away performances to get to the last eight, beating Napoli (4-2) and Galatasaray (2-1) on the road after first-leg home draws.

In other games, 10-man West Ham also drew 1-1 with Lyon. The Hammers reached the quarterfinals of a European competition for the first time since 1981 after eliminating six-time champion Sevilla.

Atalanta goalkeeper Juan Musso saved a penalty and a follow-up attempt but he couldn’t keep out an own-goal by Davide Zappacosta from the resulting corner as Leipzig salvaged a 1-1 draw.

Also, Braga beat Rangers 1-0.

In the Europa Conference League, Roma, one of the favorites to win UEFA’s new third-tier competition, failed to get their revenge at Bodo/Glimt and lost 2-1. The Norwegian club routed Roma 6-1 in the group stage for Jose Mourinho’s biggest loss as a coach. Bodo/Glimt also earned a draw in the return match in Italy, and have eliminated Celtic and AZ Alkmaar in the knockout stage.

Also, Leicester were held 0-0 at home by PSV Eindhoven, Marseille beat PAOK Thessaloniki 2-1 and Slavia Prague earned a 3-3 draw at Feyenoord.

In Frankfurt, Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué had to be substituted in the 23rd minute due to an injury after he slipped and could not continue.

In the first half, Barcelona didn’t look like the in-form team that have moved to second place in the Spanish league.

Ansgar Knauff put the hosts ahead three minutes into the second half with a dipping shot after Barcelona failed to clear a corner. Brazilian defender Tuta received his second yellow in the 78th minute and was ejected.

West Ham's Aaron Cresswell downed Lyon forward Moussa Dembélé, who was running on goal outside the area, and received a straight red in first half injury time.

Despite that setback, West Ham's Jarrod Bowen delighted the packed London Stadium by giving the hosts the lead on a counterattack early in the second half.

Tanguy Ndombélé, who is on loan at Lyon from Tottenham, canceled out that lead to give the visitors a decent result ahead of the second leg.

Atalanta's Musso denied André Silva from the spot in the 58th minute, and also denied Willi Orban from the rebound in Leipzig.

Moments later, Zappacosta was under pressure from a corner and sent the ball into his own net.

Luis Muriel’s first-half goal gave Atalanta the lead after he cut into the box from the left to beat Leipzig goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi with an angled shot into the roof of the net.

Both sides hit the woodwork twice. Atalanta is bidding to become the first Italian club to win the competition since Parma won its precursor, the UEFA Cup, in 1999.

Abel Ruiz netted the sole goal five minutes before halftime for Braga against Rangers. In another chance, Ricardo Horta hit the post.

Hugo Vetlesen scored the winning goal for Bodo/Glimt in the 89th minute after teammate Ulrik Saltnes had equalized around 10 minutes into the second half.

Roma’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan chipped the ball over the defense for Lorenzo Pellegrini to fire home two minutes before the interval.

Gerson volleyed in the opening goal for Marseille. Dimitri Payet, who set up that first goal, doubled the advantage at the end of the first half with a perfect drive off Cengiz Ünder’s corner.

Payet picked up a piece of broken glass on the field during the game — as he prepared to take a corner — and gave it to the referee.

Leicester's Harvey Barnes hit the bar and Kelechi Iheanacho chipped wide in the first half against PSV.

Ibrahim Traoré scored with a backheel shot in the dying seconds of injury time for Slavia Prague to earn a draw. It was the third encounter between the Dutch and Czech clubs this season.

Orkun Kökçü scored with a low free kick four minutes before the end to put Feyenoord 3-2 up in an entertaining game in Rotterdam.


Real Madrid beats Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 for UEFA Super Cup

Real Madrid beats Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 for UEFA Super Cup
Updated 57 min 55 sec ago

Real Madrid beats Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 for UEFA Super Cup

Real Madrid beats Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 for UEFA Super Cup

HELSINKI: This time, there were only two goals.
David Alaba and Karim Benzema scored in each half for Real Madrid to win the UEFA Super Cup with a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday.
Alaba prodded the opener home from close range in the 37th minute when Casemiro cushioned Benzema’s header back after a corner. The French star then sealed Madrid’s record-equaling fifth Super Cup title in the 65th thanks to an assist from the lively Vinícius Júnior.
It was Benzema’s 324th goal for Madrid, overtaking club legend Raúl. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has more after scoring 450 goals for the club between 2009-18.
But the game between the Champions League winners, Madrid, and Europa League champions, Frankfurt, failed to match the spectacle of their previous meeting.
Their only other competitive game was the 1960 European Cup final, when Alfredo Di Stéfano scored three goals and Ferenc Puskás chipped in with four to give Madrid a 7-3 win and fifth consecutive European crown.
Frankfurt goal-scorer Erwin Stein and teammate Dieter Stinka were in Helsinki for the rematch 62 years later, but it was the 93-year-old José Santamaria — the only remaining Madrid player from that final in Glasgow — who celebrated another win. The three veterans embraced warmly when they met before kickoff.


Cricket federation to establish four regional associations across Saudi Arabia

Cricket federation to establish four regional associations across Saudi Arabia
Updated 10 August 2022

Cricket federation to establish four regional associations across Saudi Arabia

Cricket federation to establish four regional associations across Saudi Arabia
  • New centers will be in Jouf, Hail, Al-Hudud Ash Shamaliyah and Al-Baha

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation is set to establish four new regional associations to help promote the sport across the Kingdom.

The federation told Arab News on Wednesday that is has 15 official associations representing the sport in nine regions, but aims to establish new associations in the remaining four regions “to make sure that we have future cricket activities all around the Kingdom.”

The long-term aim is for Saudi Arabian cricket teams to compete professionally at regional and international competitions, with the national teams taking on world’s best.

In recent years, the SACF has introduced several competitions and programs to encourage the country’s youth to take up one of the world’s oldest and most popular sports.

In October 2021, it signed an agreement with sports management company JSW Sports to develop cricket in Saudi Arabia, focusing on high-performance academies.

The SACF was established in 2020 and lined up a series of major initiatives the following year, including a national cricket championship, a corporate cricket tournament, a cricket league for expatriate workers, and a social program in several cities.

The initiatives are part of a mission to promote healthy and active lifestyles under the Saudi Vision 2030’s Quality of Life scheme, with the SACF — supported by the Ministry of Sports and Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee — mandated to increase physical activity levels by 40 percent over the next decade.

In November, the SACF partnered with Saudi’s Sports For All Federation to launch the Kingdom’s first cricket talent-spotting program.


FIFA looks to start World Cup in Qatar 1 day earlier

FIFA looks to start World Cup in Qatar 1 day earlier
Updated 10 August 2022

FIFA looks to start World Cup in Qatar 1 day earlier

FIFA looks to start World Cup in Qatar 1 day earlier
  • FIFA is looking at a plan to let the host nation play Ecuador on Nov. 20
  • The World Cup is set to open on Nov. 21 with the Netherlands facing Senegal

GENEVA: Host nation Qatar is set to play in the opening game of its own World Cup tournament after all — and on a stand-alone day being added to the schedule barely 100 days before kickoff.
Soccer’s marquee tournament is now set start one day earlier than originally scheduled seven years ago in a move that would allow Qatar to play Ecuador on Nov. 20, a person familiar with the proposal told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the matter.
The proposal will be put before a committee comprised of FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the heads of the six continental soccer bodies, the person said. A decision is expected this week.
According to a letter sent by FIFA this week and seen by the AP, the governing body is asking for approval from the continental soccer bodies by Thursday.
Qatar should now get an exclusive Sunday slot for its opening ceremony and World Cup debut at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium.
The World Cup is currently scheduled to start on Nov. 21, a Monday, based on a FIFA decision in 2015 after it agreed to push back the tournament to avoid the extreme desert heat in June and July. FIFA also got agreement for a shorter, 28-day program to minimize disruption to domestic soccer, especially in Europe, which will shut down ahead of the World Cup.
Recent World Cup tradition gave 2014 host Brazil and 2018 host Russia exclusive opening days to play their first opponents. But the tighter schedule in Qatar called for four games daily for the entire group stage — 48 games in 12 days.
At the tournament draw in Doha on April 1, the Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador landed in Group A with Qatar. The Dutch and Senegal were allocated the 1 p.m. local time start and Qatar was to play Ecuador in the third game with an evening kickoff six hours later.
The proposal to create a 29-day tournament instead of 28 has been favored by Qatari officials and South American soccer body CONMEBOL, with talks also involving the Qatar and Ecuador soccer federations, the person told the AP.
FIFA acknowledged in its letter that changing the date, after tickets have been sold, would affect some traveling fans. However, FIFA said “any risk is sufficiently outweighed by the value and benefits of the proposal” commercially.
A Qatar-Ecuador game involves only a few players who are with European clubs. Several on the likely Ecuador roster play for clubs in Spain, the United States and Mexico, where leagues stop play ahead of the Nov. 12-13 weekend.
The schedule switch would have been tougher to agree to if Qatar was scheduled to open against the Netherlands, which has key members playing until Nov. 13 with clubs in England and Italy.
Because of the proposal, FIFA is expected to push back the Netherlands-Senegal from the lunchtime start to the early evening slot that would be vacated by Qatar.
While an opening game on a Sunday evening in Qatar should play well with viewers in Asia and Europe, in the United States it puts the World Cup in direct competition with NFL games. The US soccer team plays its World Cup opener against Wales as the late Monday game in Qatar.
The 2022 World Cup is the first in the tournament’s 92-year history to be played outside of the traditional northern hemisphere summer. The previous 21 editions were all played between late-May and the end of July.
The Nov. 21-Dec. 18 tournament schedule was agreed to so European clubs could play on the Nov. 12-13 weekend before releasing their players to the 32 World Cup teams. Changing opening day should not alter the tournament rule that players must report from their clubs to national teams no later than Nov. 14, FIFA said in its letter.
The final will be played on Qatar’s National Day, a Sunday, allowing a full week for players to return to clubs before the Premier League plays its traditional Boxing Day games on Dec. 26.
Qatar original bid was made to host the tournament in June-July, promising innovative stadium cooling technology to overcome heat expected to reach 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) during the first World Cup held in the Middle East.
In December 2010, Qatar won a controversial bid contest beating the United States 14-8 in a final round of voting by the FIFA executive committee, a group later widely discredited by corruption scandals.
More than four years later, FIFA moved the tournament to be played on dates when temperatures should be around 25 to 30 degrees C (77 to 86 degrees F).
Now, a further seven years later, the dates are set to change again.


SAFF Integrity mobile app established to combat corruption in football

SAFF Integrity mobile app established to combat corruption in football
Updated 10 August 2022

SAFF Integrity mobile app established to combat corruption in football

SAFF Integrity mobile app established to combat corruption in football
  • The new app was officially launched through a collaboration between SAFF and Sportradar Integrity Services
  • The SAFF Integrity Unit will be responsible for handling reports received through the app

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has announced the launch of the SAFF Integrity mobile app, which allows players, officials and members of the public to report suspected match-fixing, match-manipulation or other integrity concerns in a safe and secure manner.
The SAFF Integrity mobile app, available in both Arabic and English, was established in collaboration with Sportradar Integrity Services.
The launch comes just in time for the start of the 2022-2023 season and will further support the work of the SAFF Integrity Unit, composed of experienced lawyers from the federation’s legal and governance department.
The SAFF Integrity Unit will be responsible for handling reports received through the app, investigating credible reports and initiating any necessary disciplinary procedures under the disciplinary and ethics regulations.
The new platform, which is closely modeled on the FIFA Integrity and AFC Integrity mobile apps, is one of a range of tools acquired by SAFF to combat match-fixing under a partnership agreement signed with Sportradar Integrity Services. It will further strengthen SAFF’s efforts in promoting and safeguarding the integrity of football in the Kingdom.
“Safeguarding the integrity of Saudi Arabian football is one of the biggest priorities at SAFF, and in looking to achieve this, we are delighted to be working with Sportradar Integrity Services, who are the clear leaders in the particular field of sports integrity,” said Ibrahim Alkassim, general secretary at SAFF.
“Monitoring services provided by their team of experts through the [Universal Fraud Detection System] will strengthen our existing integrity measures, whilst the Education and Prevention webinars will ensure that all stakeholders are adequately and appropriately educated in how best to tackle integrity challenges.”
As part of the agreement, several football competitions organized by SAFF will be monitored by Sportradar’s UFDS, a technically advanced bet monitoring system that has been independently assessed and verified by recognized experts in sports betting and integrity. Sportradar Integrity Services will also provide SAFF with an integrity risk assessment to identify any potential integrity risks.
In addition, teams, players, match officials and other key SAFF staff and stakeholders will also be educated on the importance of integrity via a series of informative webinars delivered in both English and Arabic. Players and officials from teams participating in the 2021-2022 Saudi Pro League were the first group to have attended the webinars, followed by SAFF staff members.
Sportradar Integrity Services Managing Director Andreas Krannich said: “It is an honor to partner with SAFF, and as the global leader in sporting integrity, we are confident that our experience and expertise can help protect SAFF against integrity-related issues. We look forward to working alongside them throughout the next few years and providing our support to their overall integrity program.”


Zamalek president jailed for insulting rival

Zamalek president jailed for insulting rival
Updated 10 August 2022

Zamalek president jailed for insulting rival

Zamalek president jailed for insulting rival
  • Al-Ahly and Zamalek are historic rivals whose fans regularly clash after matches
  • Zamalek boss, Mortada Mansour, was initially sentenced to one year in prison for insulting Mahmoud al-Khatib, president of Al-Ahly

CAIRO: An Egyptian appeals court has sentenced the president of Zamalek football club to a month in prison for insulting the president of bitter rivals Al-Ahly, a judicial source told AFP on Wednesday.
Al-Ahly and Zamalek, the country’s two biggest clubs and among the continent’s most successful, are historic rivals whose fans regularly clash after matches.
The 70-year-old Zamalek boss, Mortada Mansour, was initially sentenced to one year in prison for insulting Mahmoud Al-Khatib, president of Al-Ahly and a former star player, and his family in a video posted on social networks and on Zamalek’s club channel.
On Wednesday, Mansour’s sentence was reduced to one month in prison and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (500 euros).
A former magistrate and member of parliament, Mansour is regularly in the news. He has had a long-running battle with Al-Ahly and has physically attack his counterparts.
His parliamentary immunity had for a while enabled him to avoid legal proceedings after complaints of insults and defamation.
In 2007, he was sentenced to three years in jail by a criminal court in Cairo for “insulting” court officials and levelling accusations of corruption against them.