Everton beat misfiring Man Utd to boost survival hopes

Everton beat misfiring Man Utd to boost survival hopes
Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka in action with Everton’s Richarlison and Alex Iwobi Soccer during their Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool on Saturday. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 April 2022

Everton beat misfiring Man Utd to boost survival hopes

Everton beat misfiring Man Utd to boost survival hopes
  • Victory at Goodison Park, courtesy of Anthony Gordon's first-half deflected effort, lifts Frank Lampard's team four points clear of the bottom three
  • Man United's season is in danger of imploding -- they remain three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham

LIVERPOOL: Everton beat Manchester United 1-0 on Saturday to boost their Premier League survival hopes and deal a blow to United’s chances of finishing in the top four.
Victory at Goodison Park, courtesy of Anthony Gordon’s first-half deflected effort, lifts Frank Lampard’s team four points clear of the bottom three having played a game more than 18th-placed Burnley.
But United’s season is in danger of imploding — they remain three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham having played a game extra and look increasingly unlikely to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo returned after missing last week’s 1-1 draw with Leicester, along with out-of-form fellow forward Marcus Rashford.
United were content to let Everton pass the ball around in the spring sunshine in the early stages.
The visitors were the first side to threaten against a team desperately short of confidence following a string of disappointing results, including a 3-2 loss to Burnley in midweek.
Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made two fine early saves from Rashford, first keeping out a powerful drive and then scrambling low to his right to keep out a downward header.
The home side scored against the run of play in the 27th minute, courtesy of a huge deflection off the luckless Harry Maguire, who has struggled to find his form this season.
United lost the ball in midfield and Richarlison, initially forced wide on the left, cut the ball back toward the box, where it fell for Gordon.
The winger struck his shot well but a deflection off England defender Maguire left David de Gea stranded.
The goal lifted the tension and energised the home crowd and Everton came close to doubling their lead in the 36th minute, when De Gea tipped over a stinging shot from Richarlison.
United had a chance to equalize in the early stages of the second half but Rashford failed to connect with a long pass from Bruno Fernandes.
Victor Lindelof then made a crucial block in to deny Gordon a second goal before Richarlison indulged in some ball-juggling with his head as Everton confidence grew.
Interim United boss Ralf Rangnick threw on Juan Mata and Anthony Elanga for midfielder Nemanja Matic and Rashford, to add guile and pace.
But the visitors could not find a way back despite long phases of possession and remain stuck in seventh place in the table.
Rangnick has a two-year contract to remain as a consultant at United beyond this season but his temporary stint in the Old Trafford hotseat looks like ending in bitter disappointment.
But Lampard now has real hope that Everton — who have played continuously in the English top flight since 1954 — will be playing Premier League football next season.


Algeria second team after Morocco to qualify for African Cup

Algeria second team after Morocco to qualify for African Cup
Updated 57 min 11 sec ago

Algeria second team after Morocco to qualify for African Cup

Algeria second team after Morocco to qualify for African Cup
  • Striker Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal was enough for Algeria to beat Niger 1-0 in African Cup of Nations qualifying and book its place at the tournament

CAPE TOWN: Striker Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal was enough for Algeria to beat Niger 1-0 in African Cup of Nations qualifying on Monday and book its place at the tournament in Ivory Coast next year.
Algeria is the second team to qualify after World Cup semifinalist Morocco.
Bounedjah struck in the sixth minute, putting a shot in the bottom right corner after he was played in by Riyad Mahrez. Algeria held firm in a game played in Tunisia to improve its record to four wins from four in the final qualifiers.
The race is on between Tanzania, Niger and Uganda to take the other qualifying place in Group F alongside Algeria.
Morocco qualified last week without playing after South Africa and Liberia drew 2-2 on Friday. That meant Morocco will definitely take one of the top two places in Group K, which was reduced to a three-team and not four-team group because Zimbabwe was disqualified from the qualifiers.
Morocco celebrated by beating Brazil 2-1 in a friendly on Saturday.
Morocco made history last year in Qatar when it became the first African team to reach the last four of the World Cup and will be considered one of the favorites for the African Cup title next year. The North African nation is enjoying a golden period after hosting FIFA’s Club World Cup in February and being announced this month as part of a joint bid with Spain and Portugal to stage the 2030 World Cup.
Its victory over Brazil was its first against the five-time World Cup winner.
Defending champion Senegal is also top of its African Cup qualifying group and on course to reach the final tournament following forward Sadio Mané’s return to action with his country last week. Senegal can qualify on Tuesday if it wins in Mozambique.
In other qualifiers on Monday, Nigeria gained revenge for a surprise home loss to Guinea-Bissau on Friday by winning in Guinea-Bissau 1-0. Moses Simon converted a penalty in the 30th minute to put Nigeria back on top of Group A.
Angola and Ghana drew 1-1 and Ghana leads a tight Group E by a point from Central African Republic, and three points from third-placed Angola with two rounds of games to play.


With Mbappe quiet, Pavard earns France 1-0 win at Ireland

With Mbappe quiet, Pavard earns France 1-0 win at Ireland
Updated 28 March 2023

With Mbappe quiet, Pavard earns France 1-0 win at Ireland

With Mbappe quiet, Pavard earns France 1-0 win at Ireland
  • France makes it back-to-back wins to open Group B but is far from the easy ride during pevious match

DUBLIN: With Kylian Mbappe kept quiet, France relied on another brilliant finish from recalled defender Benjamin Pavard and two sensational late saves by Mike Maignan to win at Ireland 1-0 in European Championship qualifying on Monday.

Making his first appearance since France’s opening match of last year’s World Cup, Pavard intercepted a stray pass just outside Ireland’s area and sent in a shot that glanced in off the underside of the crossbar in the 50th.

It was the right back’s third goal for France and all three have been screamers. His first, against Argentina in the 2018 World Cup, was voted goal of the tournament.

France made it back-to-back wins to open Group B but this was far from the easy ride that the Netherlands gave Les Bleus in a 4-0 thrashing on Friday. That night, Mbappe scored twice in his first match as France captain but the striker was barely a factor against a resolute Ireland team which defended stoutly early on before piling on the pressure near the end at the Aviva Stadium.

It needed Maignan to produce two stunning stops at corners — first off his own teammate, Jules Kounde, and then from a header from Ireland defender Nathan Collins that was heading into the top corner — to preserve the win.

“It was a tough game. Ireland are always difficult to play here,” France manager Didier Deschamps said. “They were dangerous at the end, especially from set-pieces. We have a young team, but they have quality and character, too.”

France brought Olivier Giroud back into the lineup and the striker, at 36 years, 178 days, became the oldest outfield player in the history of the national team to start.

Giroud was also quiet, though was involved in the highlight of a low-key first half when his header at a corner took a double deflection before Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazuna flopped on the ball at Mbappe’s feet.

It fell to Pavard to produce the magic.

“The World Cup didn’t go the way I would have imagined,” the defender said. “But I was happy after every win, I was there for the collective.”

It was Ireland’s opening game of group play.

“We’re disappointed and frustrated, but that’s why they’re such a good team,” Ireland captain Seamus Coleman said of France. “We didn’t allow them a lot of chances. I thought we defended well, kept them quiet.”


Jeddah MMA fighter eyes success as Saudi’s leading contender

Jeddah MMA fighter eyes success as Saudi’s leading contender
Updated 27 March 2023

Jeddah MMA fighter eyes success as Saudi’s leading contender

Jeddah MMA fighter eyes success as Saudi’s leading contender
  • 22-year-old Nawef Chahlal has already competed in the flagship French MMA Supreme League, as well as across Europe

RIYADH: Long established as one of the world’s fastest-growing spectator sports of the 21st century, Mixed Martial Arts is starting to get a foothold in Saudi Arabia as a participatory one as well.

It might still be relatively early, but hopefuls from across the Kingdom are slowly but surely making their move into regional and, in the future, international competitions.

For one of them, Nawef Chahlal, inspiration came from a close source.

The 22-year-old prodigy from Jeddah told Arab News that his father’s passion for boxing served as the impetus for him to enter the sport.

“My father, he always supported me, since my beginnings. He used to come to my fights when I was a kid, he used to assist me, he even coached me sometimes,” said Chahlal.

After growing up in France as a big fan of Bruce Lee, considered by many as the godfather of MMA, Chahlal competed in the country’s flagship MMA Supreme League, as well as across Europe.

“One of the biggest competitions I had the opportunity to participate in was the Supreme League, and (I) also had the chance to fight in many countries in Europe, notably in Hungary, Switzerland, Croatia and Spain, but in another discipline, K1,” he said.

Chahlal’s record in K1 is 8-3-0, and with the flyweight fighter looking to sign his first MMA contract next week - a three-fight deal in AEF Championship - his first professional bout is set to take place on Oct.14.

The road ahead — as was the case with his journey so far — will be a difficult one, and Chahlal explained that there are many challenges for him to overcome in order to thrive in the sport, including finances and other rising talents.

“We weren’t poor, but let’s just say that as we grow up, we all have expenses that accumulate and it’s a bit complicated sometimes,” he said. “Beyond the money, if we stay really focused on the sport, there is also the fact of the strong competition in the field, which is a real challenge but which pushes us to surpass ourselves.”

Chahlal aspires to be the biggest name for KSA in the world of MMA.

“I visualize a very precise goal: to be the first Saudi world champion in different MMA organizations, and one day to reach the biggest world federations such as UFC, One, KSW, and to represent the flag of Saudi Arabia.

"Give me some time. I will make you proud and make our country go down in the history of combat sports,” he said.

Chahlal’s coach Mathis Nazil, from the French Atch Academy, believes the Saudi has what it takes to succeed.

“He is a fighter who has a lot of potential and we have to work to be at the best level. He is very dedicated in what he does,” Nazil said.

“As far as our future is concerned, we try to go slowly, step by step and we hope to be at the best level.”


Chelsea FC hosts open iftar for Muslims at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea FC hosts open iftar for Muslims at Stamford Bridge
Updated 27 March 2023

Chelsea FC hosts open iftar for Muslims at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea FC hosts open iftar for Muslims at Stamford Bridge
  • Ramadan celebrated at football club as part of its No To Hate campaign

LONDON: Chelsea football club hosted its first Open Iftar on Sunday, bringing Muslims together to break their fast at the Stamford Bridge stadium. 

The iftar was organized in partnership with the Ramadan Tent Project, a UK charity dedicated that brings communities together and expands understanding of the holy month. 

(Supplied/Chelsea FC)

The event began with a speech by Dowshan Humzah, advisory board member of the charity and was followed by speeches from Daniel Finkelstein, the chairman of the Chelsea Foundation, and former Chelsea player Paul Canoville.

”We are a big community with lots of supporters from different backgrounds and we want to honor, respect and share the joy of every single fan,” Finkelstein said.

“This is about saying yes to love, inclusion, community and yes to everyone who wants to be a Chelsea fan. 

“It’s very special to be the first Premier League club to host an Open Iftar and something we are extremely proud about.”

(Supplied/Chelsea FC)

Imran Abu Hassan led prayers after the speeches.

The event was part of Chelsea and the foundation’s No To Hate campaign against racism and discrimination.


Saudi national team in training ahead of Bolivia friendly

Saudi national team in training ahead of Bolivia friendly
Updated 27 March 2023

Saudi national team in training ahead of Bolivia friendly

Saudi national team in training ahead of Bolivia friendly
  • The Green Falcons are holding one final training session before the Bolivia match on Monday evening, open to the media

JEDDAH: The Saudi Arabia national team continued their training camp on Sunday ahead of Tuesday's friendly with Bolivia at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal stadium.

The training session was held under the supervision of head coach Herve Renard, and included possession exercises and mini-matches.

Players Hassan Al-Tambukti, Abdel-Rahman Al-Aboud and Riyad Sharahili had to miss out on the training session due to injury.

The Green Falcons are holding one final training session before the Bolivia match on Monday evening, which is open to the media.