Newcastle United head coach ‘really pleased’ with Chris Wood’s performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers

Newcastle United head coach ‘really pleased’ with Chris Wood’s performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers
Newcastle United’s Chris Wood celebrates scoring their first goal before it was disallowed after a VAR review during their Premier League against Wolverhampton Wanderers at St. James’ Park, Newcastle on Saturday. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 April 2022

Newcastle United head coach ‘really pleased’ with Chris Wood’s performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers

Newcastle United head coach ‘really pleased’ with Chris Wood’s performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers
  • The New Zealand international won the penalty that proved decisive in the 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers
  • Wood has struggled to justify his hefty January price tag since arriving from Burnley for around $32 million at the turn of the year

NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has praised Chris Wood’s “broad shoulders” as the January signing proved Newcastle United’s Premier League matchwinner.
The New Zealand international won the penalty that proved decisive in the 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday evening. Wood then stepped up to slot home the only goal of the game from 12 yards to take Howe’s Magpies 10 points clear of the top-flight drop zone ahead of a busy weekend of encounters at the bottom of the top-flight table.
The winner, a confident strike sending Wolves’ keeper Jose Sa the wrong way, came after Wood had seen what looked like a perfectly well-taken strike chalked out for offside by video assistant referee officials.
And Howe has praised the player for his confidence after the disappointment of seeing only his second goal in black and white ruled out.
Howe said: “When you haven’t scored in front of your supporters, I think that it can be difficult. He was really challenged, as he scored what he thought — we all thought — was a good goal, and then it was cut away from him. He must have thought at that moment, ‘When’s it going to come?’ There was a lot of pressure on his shoulders, but I thought he struck the penalty really well. That was a big, big thing for him.”
Wood has struggled to justify his hefty January price tag since arriving from Burnley for around $32 million at the turn of the year.
The 30-year-old has just two goals to show for his 12 United appearances so far and has been criticized by some sections of the fanbase for some below-par, less-than-dynamic performances.
However, Howe could not be happier with the player, who has proven an important cog in the United wheel, which has now rolled toward lower mid-table safety from the depths of relegation mire when he arrived.
“He is a center forward. He is a goal scorer. He wants to score, and I always trust my players. If they want the penalty, he gets it,” said the head coach.
“Really, really pleased he did. He wants that responsibility. And when you come to a club like this, you need to have broad shoulders. He has since he’s come in. I have spoken very highly of him in several moments and I have said every word honestly about how valued he is to me and to the team. But he needs to score, so I am really, really pleased.”
While Newcastle dominated the opening 45 minutes, it was Wolves who began to wrestle control after the break.
The waves of gold pressure were only broken by a burst of speedy, unpredictable flair provided by Allan Saint-Maximin. The Frenchman came to life in the second period, and a five-minute spell of brilliance, in which he injected drive and purpose to a pinned-back Newcastle side, ultimately led to the goal.
Saint-Maximin’s influence was not lost on Howe, who praised the work rate of the enigmatic forward, who has missed much of the last month or so through illness and injury.
“With the length of time he was out and the training he missed, he probably needed the two games,” said Howe of Saint-Maximin.
“There was no lack of effort from Maxi; he gave everything for the team. I think he maxed out physically, to his best fitness levels.
He is a player who decides games. I thought the move for the penalty was really good.
He had a few chances, which was good to see him in those goalscoring areas. We have been working on that with him, despite the fact he didn’t take any of those chances. Positive signs for Maxi.”
Newcastle United will next host Leicester City at St. James’ Park on Sunday, Apr. 17.


NEOM’S ENOWA boosting Extreme E with green hydrogen power

NEOM’S ENOWA boosting Extreme E with green hydrogen power
Updated 29 June 2022

NEOM’S ENOWA boosting Extreme E with green hydrogen power

NEOM’S ENOWA boosting Extreme E with green hydrogen power
  • Partnership comes after megacity named title partner of McLaren Formula E, Extreme E racing teams
  • Saudi Arabia has hosted the Extreme E season-opening Desert X Prix for the last two years

Extreme E has announced a multi-year relationship with ENOWA, NEOM’s energy, water and hydrogen subsidiary, to introduce green hydrogen power to the sustainable all-electric racing series.

Saudi Arabia has hosted the Extreme E season-opening Desert X Prix for the last two years.

The announcement comes just days after NEOM, a sustainable region in northwest Saudi Arabia being built from the ground up, was revealed as the title partner of the McLaren Formula E and Extreme E racing teams under the banner of “NEOM McLaren Electric Racing.”

Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “We are delighted to have ENOWA on board as our official Green Hydrogen Power Partner. We have collaborated with NEOM for some time, particularly in delivering a hugely successful first Desert X Prix of Season Two; this partnership with ENOWA marks a further step in our mission for a more sustainable future.

“The work undertaken by ENOWA is extremely ambitious and an exciting prospect. NEOM, much like ourselves, pushes the boundaries of environmental sustainability and we are delighted to be partnering with ENOWA to go even further in our objective to raise awareness of the climate crisis.

“ENOWA plans to lead the development of world-class sustainable energy water and hydrogen systems which I am sure will become a reference point in the future, and our series will also benefit from this greater focus on technology and innovation.”

Extreme E has become a leader in introducing sustainability in motorsports and green hydrogen is widely seen as the most promising energy carrier for the future in the fight against climate change. The technology supports the transportation of renewable energy over long distances and could spur the decarbonization of major industries and infrastructure.

By partnering, Extreme E and ENOWA aim to implement innovative green hydrogen-based technologies to not only power the championship toward a 100 percent “leave no trace” ambition, but also to showcase the opportunities offered by the technology.

ENOWA will play an active part on the scientific advisory board of Extreme E and together the partners will look to develop educational programs covering climate positive solutions aimed at younger generations.

Commenting on the relationship, Peter Terium, ENOWA CEO, said: “Business decisions in NEOM have sustainability at their core, which is why we are delighted to partner with Extreme E. Our partnership is aimed toward both creating visibility to the most urgent problems the planet is facing, but at the same time demonstrating solutions that deliver meaningful impact.

“Together we can accelerate innovations in clean technologies powered by green hydrogen, contributing to hydrogen mobility markets and the future of global decarbonization.”

NEOM is the first to produce green hydrogen at scale, paving the way for the growth of the hydrogen economy globally. Due to the abundance of solar, wind and water resources in NEOM, ENOWA and partners will provide large quantities of green hydrogen that many industries can use. ENOWA benefits from NEOM’s greenfield site — which has no legacy infrastructure — to advance energy, water, and hydrogen innovation while providing sustainable fuels like green hydrogen to international users. It shares an ethos with Extreme E in its demands for a greater sustainability focus.

At the Season Two opener of Extreme E in NEOM in February 2022, the series revealed its plans to launch an off-road hydrogen championship in 2024. Named Extreme H, the championship will sit alongside Extreme E, its existing electric racing series, and will be a world first for motorsport — further reiterating the commitment to showcasing the possibilities of new, sustainable technologies in the race to fight climate change.

Development for the Extreme H vehicle is already underway, with the aim being the launch of a prototype in early 2023.


Last World Cup tickets to go on sale next week: FIFA

Last World Cup tickets to go on sale next week: FIFA
Updated 29 June 2022

Last World Cup tickets to go on sale next week: FIFA

Last World Cup tickets to go on sale next week: FIFA
  • About 1.8 million tickets sold so far
  • Tickets to go on sale online from July 5 until August 16

DOHA: The remaining tickets for this year’s World Cup in Qatar will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from next week, FIFA said on Wednesday.
About 1.8 million tickets were sold in the first two batches of sales, FIFA said, without saying how many are now available.
Qatar will host the first World Cup in the Middle East from November 21 to December 18 at eight stadiums in and around the capital, Doha.
The latest tickets will go on sale online from July 5 at 12pm Doha time (0900 GMT) until 12pm on August 16, FIFA said in a press release.
“Huge worldwide interest is anticipated in the new sales period,” the world body said.
Officials said three million tickets are available in total, including those allocated to sponsors.
Last week, the World Cup’s chief organizer Hassan Al-Thawadi said 1.2 million tickets had been sold so far.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said there were five million ticket requests just for the final at the 80,000-seat Lusail stadium.
Doha, with a population of about 2.4 million and limited accommodation, is bracing itself for a huge influx of visitors for the 32-team tournament.
Last month, Qatar announced scores of daily shuttle flights from neighboring Gulf countries, allowing fans to stay elsewhere and fly in to watch games.


World’s media hail Al-Hilal’s 18th Saudi Pro League title triumph

World’s media hail Al-Hilal’s 18th Saudi Pro League title triumph
Al-Hilal's Argentine coach Ramon Diaz (third from left) celebrates winning the Saudi Pro League title. (Arriyadiyah)
Updated 29 June 2022

World’s media hail Al-Hilal’s 18th Saudi Pro League title triumph

World’s media hail Al-Hilal’s 18th Saudi Pro League title triumph
  • Outlets in Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria and other international networks celebrate third consecutive trophy for the reigning Asian champions

The world’s media has hailed Al-Hilal’s record-extending 18th Saudi Pro League title after Ramon Diaz’s team defeated Al-Faisaly 2-1 at King Fahd International Stadium on Monday night.

The victory secured a third consecutive domestic title for the reigning Asian champions, finishing two points clear of long-time league leaders Al-Ittihad.

Argentina’s El Grafico highlighted the achievement of compatriot Diaz and several other South American players in Al-Hilal’s ranks, including Matheus Pereira (Brazil), Gustavo Cuellar (Colombia) and Andre Carrillo (Peru). Also, ESPN’s Spanish-language Twitter account posted a photo of the champions with the caption “It’s Ramon’s team.”

Nigerian outlet Sports Brief meanwhile celebrated the role of forward Odion Ighalo who’s double confirmed the title on Monday, and who also bagged the SPL’s Golden Boot for top scorer with 24 goals this season.

Brazilian network TNT congratulated former Flamengo forward Michael Delgado for his contribution to the championship win, while online website Soccernet ran with the headline “Ex-Manchester United star Ighalo leads Al-Hilal to league triumph.”


Morocco crowned 2022 Arab Futsal Cup champions in Dammam

Morocco crowned 2022 Arab Futsal Cup champions in Dammam
Morocco are the 2022 Arab Futsal Cup champions. (SAFF)
Updated 29 June 2022

Morocco crowned 2022 Arab Futsal Cup champions in Dammam

Morocco crowned 2022 Arab Futsal Cup champions in Dammam
  • A 3-0 win over Iraq sees team retain the title they won in Cairo last year

DUBAI: Morocco are the 2022 Arab Futsal Cup champions after defeating Iraq 3-0 in the final at the Green Hall in Dammam on Tuesday evening.

The 10-team tournament, organized by the Union of Arab Football Associations and hosted by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, kicked off on June 20, and is the sixth edition of the competition.

The triumph sees Morocco retain the trophy they won last year in Cairo, and means they are now two-time champions, a record shared with Egypt and Libya.

Badr bin Abdulrahman Al-Qadi, Saudi deputy minister of sports, presented the victorious North African team with their medal, and Anis Al-Ayan, with the man of the match award.

The award for the best player of the tournament went to Morocco’s Sufian Al-Masrar, and top goalscorer award to Kuwait’s Abdulrahman Al-Taweel.

Iraq’s Zaher Hadi was named the tournament’s best goalkeeper, with the Egyptian team receiving the event’s fair play award.


Gamers8 and Spotify team up for Saudi Arabia’s first live international esports season

Gamers8 and Spotify team up for Saudi Arabia’s first live international esports season
Updated 29 June 2022

Gamers8 and Spotify team up for Saudi Arabia’s first live international esports season

Gamers8 and Spotify team up for Saudi Arabia’s first live international esports season
  • The world’s most popular audio streaming platform will be exclusive partner for the $15m event
  • Highly anticipated anthem by DJ and producer R3HAB, featuring Kingdom’s pop artist Meteb Alshalan, set for release

RIYADH: Gamers8 have unveiled an exclusive partnership with streaming giant Spotify, who will become the official audio streaming partner for the all-new major esports and gaming season taking place live in Riyadh this summer.

Spotify boasts a community of more than 422 million monthly active listeners, including 182 million subscribers, across 183 markets. Under this partnership, gamers and their fans can enjoy specially curated audio inspired by the esports community.

Gamers8, from the creators of Gamers Without Borders, will be held in the Saudi capital from July 14 to Sept. 8, with a total prize pool of $15 million.

Omar Batterjee, head of marketing, communications, and partnerships at the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “Music and audio are an essential part of esports. We are thrilled to partner with Spotify to provide our fans with a one-stop destination where they can enjoy the ultimate curated content and iconic experiences. Together with Spotify, we can collectively combine esports, technology, entertainment, and music to inspire the gaming community, as well as the next generation of gamers and fans.”

Gamers8 will have an official co-curated playlist by Spotify’s music team as well as lists by gaming professionals and celebrities. In addition, Spotify and Gamers8 will create and launch a podcast dedicated to the season in partnership with Rising Giants Network. The eight-episode series will be the go-to place for gaming enthusiasts to hear about the top players through game highlights and one-on-one interviews.

The partnership will also see the release of the highly anticipated Gamers8 anthem produced by DJ and producer R3HAB, featuring Saudi pop artist Meteb Alshalan.

Commenting on the partnership, Nicole Aoun, Spotify’s marketing and partnership lead in Saudi Arabia, said: “While at Spotify, we continue to be laser-focused on growing the creators’ community, we are equally as passionate about creating memorable experiences for the Saudi youth, demonstrating our commitment to the local community.

“The Saudi Esports Federation shares our vision of providing world-class entertainment for the gaming community, and we are thrilled to embark on this journey together, making Saudi gamers and fans connect meaningfully through music and podcasts.”