Verstappen wins Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to rekindle title bid

Verstappen wins Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to rekindle title bid
Max Verstappen celebrates, after winning the Emilia Romagna GP, with third-placed Lando Norris, at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy, Apr. 24, 2022. (AP Photo)
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Updated 24 April 2022

Verstappen wins Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to rekindle title bid

Verstappen wins Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to rekindle title bid
  • Max Verstappen led team-mate Sergio Perez home in a dominant one-two triumph, in Ferrari’s backyard, at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
  • Charles Leclerc, sixth, and Ferrari endured a disappointing day in front of passionate home support at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari

IMOLA, Italy: World champion Max Verstappen rekindled his title defense and acclaimed his resurgent Red Bull team on Sunday after he led Sergio Perez home in a dominant one-two triumph in Ferrari’s backyard at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
In a rain-affected race, the 24-year-old Dutchman came home 16.5 seconds ahead of his Red Bull team-mate as Charles Leclerc and Ferrari endured a disappointing day in front of passionate home support at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
Leclerc, who started second on the grid, finished sixth after making a poor start and spinning in the closing laps while running third, allowing Lando Norris to take third for McLaren.
After Saudi Arabia, it was Verstappen’s second win this season which has also included two retirements, and the 22nd win of his career.
He reeled off a ‘grand slam’ weekend with pole position, victory and fastest lap as well as victory in Saturday’s sprint race.
He moved up to second in the title race behind Leclerc, reducing his deficit from 45 points to 27 to set up the prospect of an intense duel this year between them and their teams.
“It’s always tough to achieve something like that, but already yesterday and the day before, we were on it,” said Verstappen.
“And it was looking like a strong weekend. You never know with the weather how competitive you are going to be, but I think we did very well and this one-two is very deserved.
“The start was very important, but afterwards, judging the conditions and when to swap to the slick tires — because in the lead you have to always dictate the pace.”
Perez said he was delighted to bring smiles to the Red Bull team.
“It was really intense,” he said. “The most important thing today was not to make mistakes because with these conditions it was so tricky. To get a one-two, out there, is a great result for the team.
“I am very pleased to see everyone in my team smiling today and I am happy for Max.”
Norris said: “An amazing race! An amazing weekend.
“I’m happy. The team deserves it. It was a mixture of tricky conditions, but we’ve been able to capitalize on that — I love these conditions, so always do quite well.”
George Russell produced a stirring drive for Mercedes to come home fourth after starting 11th, fending off Valtteri Bottas’s Alfa Romeo at the finish, while team-mate seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton finished a distant 14th.
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff apologized to a disappointed Hamilton on team radio after the race.
“I am sorry for what you had to drive today,” said Wolff.
“I know it was undriveable — this was a terrible race.”
“No worries, Toto,” Hamilton responded. “Just keep working hard.”
“We will come out of this,” said Wolff, who added later that Mercedes “are not good enough for a world champion — and just need to fix the car.”
AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda finished seventh ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in an Aston Martin, Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Lance Stroll of Aston Martin.
Verstappen surged into the lead from pole position.
Leclerc, starting second, was passed by the Dutchman, Perez and Norris before Daniel Ricciardo in a McLaren tangled with Sainz at the first chicane.
It was a second consecutive early exit for Sainz after his misery in Melbourne.
Hamilton, who had been reluctant to pit, was impeded by Estaban Ocon’s Alpine, but avoided a collision while Perez, who stopped on lap 19, managed to retain second place ahead of a charging Leclerc.
Ocon was given a five seconds penalty for his unsafe release.
By half-distance, Verstappen was cruising with a 10-second cushion ahead of Perez and Leclerc, frustrated in third.
On lap 41 came Hamilton’s most humbling moment when he was lapped by Verstappen as he battled for 13th with Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri.
Leclerc pitted on lap 50 for softs, dropping to fourth behind Norris. Perez followed on 51, as Leclerc passed the McLaren and Verstappen one lap later, retaining a 13-second lead.
The Monegasque charged hard to pass Perez on lap 53, but spun off at Variante Alfa, damaging a front wing.
He pitted, re-joining eighth as Norris inherited third and Russell took fourth, resisting Bottas in the final laps.


Man United bottom of Premier League after 4-0 thrashing by Brentford

Man United bottom of Premier League after 4-0 thrashing by Brentford
Updated 7 sec ago

Man United bottom of Premier League after 4-0 thrashing by Brentford

Man United bottom of Premier League after 4-0 thrashing by Brentford
LONDON: Erik ten Hag’s bad start as Manchester United manager descended into an embarrassment as a 4-0 thrashing by Brentford on Saturday left the Red Devils bottom of the Premier League.
The former Ajax boss’ reign began with Brighton’s first ever win at Old Trafford last weekend, but much worse was to come as the Bees punished a series of errors to score four times in the first 35 minutes.
Josh Dasilva’s strike slipped through David de Gea’s grasp to open the floodgates before Mathias Jensen pounced on United’s attempt to play out from the back to make it 2-0 inside 18 minutes.
Ben Mee then exposed the visitors’ frailty from set-pieces for his first Brentford goal and Bryan Mbuemo rounded off a stunning counter-attack 10 minutes before half-time to sink United to the bottom of the table for the first time in 30 years.
The jubilant home support taunted Ten Hag with chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning.”
But the Dutch coach has inherited a rabble rather than being the root cause as United lost a seventh consecutive away league match for the first time since 1936.
That run included shipping four goals at Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton last season.
The arrival of £57 million ($69 million) center-back Lisandro Martinez from Ajax has done little to shore up United’s leaky defense and questions will be asked of why Ten Hag has left Raphael Varane on the bench in favor of the Argentine and the out-of-sorts Harry Maguire.
Ten Hag did recall Cristiano Ronaldo to the starting line-up, but the wantaway five-time Ballon d’Or winner played a part in the opening goal.
Ronaldo went to ground too easily seeking a foul as he was surrounded by Brentford bodies. Dasilva’s shot should still have been a comfortable save for De Gea, but the ball squirmed underneath the Spaniard.
De Gea compounded that mistake eight minutes later with an attempted pass to Christian Eriksen, who was outmuscled by his former teammate Jensen, and the Dane coolly slotted home to double Brentford’s lead.
Martinez’s diminutive 5ft 9in (1.8m) frame was raised as a red flag for his ability to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League.
And the Argentine was beaten at the back post by Mee for the third goal after Ivan Toney headed a corner across goal.
Credit to Brentford in just their second season in the English top-flight for 75 years may get swept away in the waves of criticism coming United’s way.
But Thomas Frank’s men produced a stunning move to tear United open again for their fourth goal.
Toney was released down the left wing and picked out Mbuemo with a precise first-time pass for the Frenchman to race in behind Luke Shaw and finish low past De Gea.
Ten Hag made his feelings clear at the break with a triple substitution with Shaw, Martinez and Fred the scapegoats.
United did at least stop the bleeding after the break and should have had at least one consolation as Ronaldo looped a header over before Eriksen’s header lacked the power to beat David Raya.
The damage, though, was long since done for Ten Hag and worse could still be to come.
United host Liverpool, who beat their historic rivals 5-0 and 4-0 last season, in their next game on August 22.

Eddie Howe admits Newcastle lucky to earn ‘valuable’ point at Brighton

Eddie Howe admits Newcastle lucky to earn ‘valuable’ point at Brighton
Updated 1 min 9 sec ago

Eddie Howe admits Newcastle lucky to earn ‘valuable’ point at Brighton

Eddie Howe admits Newcastle lucky to earn ‘valuable’ point at Brighton
  • The Magpies were lucky to play out a 0-0 draw on the south coast of England
  • United chief admits he was pleased with the spirit shown by the dressing room to grind out result

BRIGHTON: Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe has admitted the Magpies rode their luck in their draw at Brighton - although he was pleased to get another Premier League point on the board.

The Magpies were lucky to play out a 0-0 draw on the south coast of England with Graham Potter's Seagulls dominating the Magpies as both sides continued their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.

It was a far from vintage show by Howe's players, but the United chief admits he was pleased with the spirit shown by the dressing room to grind out a positive, if arguably undeserved, share of the spoils.

“I am always disappointed not to win but very pleased with a point in the end, especially after the second-half,” he said.

“I thought it was a difficult second-half, Brighton played very well. We rode our luck at times but dug in and showed a great spirit and unity.

“We got a valuable point.”

Former Seagulls defender Dan Burn, as well as United keeper Nick Pope, were the stand out performers for the Magpies - and both had to be at their very best to keep Potter's men at bay.

And while Pope was brought in to produce the kind of saves he did at the Amex Stadium, Burn was not added to the group to play left back, which he did at Brighton.

“I thought Dan did great today,” said Howe.

“It was very difficult. Although it’s a small transition across the pitch, it’s a huge one at the same time. He hadn’t played left-back for a long time but I thought he did very well against his former team.

“He put in one crucial block that saved us at a key time in the game.

“Overall, very pleased with his performance and his attitude to doing that position.”

Pope made three or four top class saves to deny Brighton three points on the day and further his England ambitions with a flashy show.

"I just thought he was top class and he has been since he came to the club,” said Howe.

"He is a very relaxed figure, very confident in the dressing room. He’s got a real calmness about him.

"The save from Adam Lallana was top class. Not just that save, he made a number of really important ones for us. I think he showed his importance to us this season.”

In a rare moment of forward threat, Callum Wilson did see a goal disallowed for a high foot in the opening exchanges. It was a controversial call from Graham Scott - and one Howe questioned.

"I’d need to see it again. My initial reaction was I thought it was harsh and given too quickly,” he said.

"The decision could have been let go to see what VAR said but it wasn’t to be. We had a number of moments in that first-half. We had some really good attacks, threatened on the counter-attack and in transitions we were very strong.

"For large parts, the last action wasn’t decisive enough. Unfortunately none of those attacks came to much.”

Meanwhile, Howe has explained the reason why Scotland international winger Ryan Fraser was not in the Newcastle squad for the game.

He said: "He had a slight back spasm on Thursday and Friday. He was close to making the game.”

Matt Targett, another absentee, is expected to be fit for next week's visit of Manchester City to St James' Park, having missed this one with a dead leg.


World Cup hospitality website lists Palestine, not Israel, as country

World Cup hospitality website lists Palestine, not Israel, as country
Updated 30 min 4 sec ago

World Cup hospitality website lists Palestine, not Israel, as country

World Cup hospitality website lists Palestine, not Israel, as country
  • Arab football fans hail ‘bold and rightful step’
  • “FIFA should do the same since Russia is perceived as an aggressor and occupier, then so is Israel,” fan tells Arab News

DUBAI: The official website for booking match tickets and hospitality packages at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 lists Palestine as a country instead of Israel, according to media reports.
Israelis wishing to make bookings to travel to Doha for matches have to choose Palestine as their territory instead of Israel.
Winterhill Hospitality is the exclusive sales agent of match hospitality in Asia and Oceania territories for official hospitality programs.
Palestinian news agency WAFA said the previous listing read “Palestinian Territory, Occupied” before being changed to “Palestine.”
Arab football fans took to social media to hail the move, which was described as a “bold and rightful step” for recognizing Palestine as a country on the list instead of Israel.
Israeli media first raised the issue on Wednesday as Israel was not listed in the section for Europe either.
“Thank you to Qatar for crossing out the name of Israel from the list of the countries of the World Cup. Salute to the Government of Qatar,” read one tweet.
Lebanese football fan Ali Halawi said he was thrilled to see an Arab country supporting Palestinians.
“Qatar has decided not to recognize that Israel exists and not to grant them the right to join an Arabic event, just like when there’s a foreign event happening and organizers decide not to allow whoever they want not to attend,” he told Arab News.
He said the myth of not involving politics in sports had fallen, especially since FIFA and UEFA were permitting teams, clubs, and fans to show solidarity with Ukraine in its war with Russia.
“The international football governing body should do the same since Russia is perceived as an aggressor and occupier, then so is Israel,” concluded Halawi.
But Iraqi Ali Ebrahim said there was no issue for him as a football fan as neither team had qualified for the tournament.
“It only matters (to) the fans of those countries who qualified to the big event,” he told Arab News, saying the step was “nothing more than a moral victory to Palestinians.”
A US-Palestinian lawyer who requested to be identified as Jamal said the listing was an “appreciated move” that indirectly recognized Palestinians’ rights and their ongoing fight for a free land.
“Not that this will change anything, but it’s an emotional and moral victory. I love football and hate politics, so I’d rather not say much and enjoy the game,” he added.
Samer Osman said he did not like to involve sport in any political issue and was unsure if the move would improve the quality of life for Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza.


NUFC could become Premier League’s 4th club to be featured on Amazon Primes’ All Or Nothing

NUFC could become Premier League’s 4th club to be featured on Amazon Primes’ All Or Nothing
Updated 44 min 20 sec ago

NUFC could become Premier League’s 4th club to be featured on Amazon Primes’ All Or Nothing

NUFC could become Premier League’s 4th club to be featured on Amazon Primes’ All Or Nothing
  • Arsenal are the current English club being shown in the third Premier League instalment of the series
  • Amazon would request access to the Magpies’ hierarchy, manager Eddie Howe and his first-team squad

LONDON: Newcastle United are reportedly being lined up to be the fourth Premier League club to be featured on Amazon Prime’s All Or Nothing documentary series.
Following Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, the Magpies, who were bought by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in 2021, are being targeted by Amazon to be the Premier League’s upcoming side to be depicted in All Or Nothing, according to British media.
All or Nothing is a brand of sports documentary series distributed on Amazon Prime Video platform.
The current English club being shown are The Gunners in the third season. The documentary goes behind the scenes of European and Premier League clubs.
Amazon Prime’s executives are expected to approach Newcastle United and hope to convince their top management to become the fourth EPL club inside where they want to have their cameras fixed, according to Daily Mail.
Following the season in which Tottenham Hotspur were featured, the documentary targeted Italy’s Serie A top tier Juventus under Andrea Pirlo.
Amazon Prime appear to be hopeful that the series will not take a break especially that the next instalment of the series is scheduled to be released within two years.
It is believed that Amazon would request access to the Magpies’ hierarchy, and manager Eddie Howe and his first-team squad.
The same happened in previous editions with Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, Daniel Levy, Edu Gaspar and Josh Kroneke who were all featured alongside the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourihno and Mikel Arteta.


Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton

Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton
Updated 13 August 2022

Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton

Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton
  • Pope racked up a second straight clean sheet since joining Newcastle
  • Newcastle struggled for clear openings despite high endeavor in searing heat

BRIGHTON: Two games, four points and zero goals conceded. When assessing Newcastle United’s opening fortnight of the Premier League campaign, it is hard to find fault.
However, the Magpies were in many ways very lucky to leave East Sussex with a share of the spoils and had Nick Pope and Dan Burn to thank for their help in keeping United’s unbeaten start to the season going.
It is not often that you will see Eddie Howe change a winning team, but this time injury forced the head coach’s hand, with a Matt Targett dead leg forcing a backline reshuffle.
Having stated that he would allow Sven Botman time to settle into English football, Howe was forced to throw the Dutchman in from the off at the Amex Stadium as Dan Burn shifted to the left of the back four.
In an evenly-matched first 45, both sides could easily make a case for walking in ahead at the break.
Fresh from his first strike of the season, Callum Wilson had the ball in the net after a smart turn and finish, but the whistle of Graham Scott prevented the goal from standing, as the United frontman was deemed to have raised a high boot in the run-up to his cool finish.
With Brighton winning the midfield battle, Adam Lallana and Moises Caicedo’s prominence began to switch the balance of play in favor of Graham Potter’s men.
Solly March’s influence on the right against Newcastle’s makeshift left flank also began to pay dividends, and it was the winger who came within an inch or two of breaking the deadlock.
Joelinton gifted the ball to the Seagulls in the middle and on the break a half-cleared ball dropped favorably to March, whose drilled drive looked set to squirm into the far corner only for Pope to first get a fingertip to it, then for Kieran Trippier to scoop up and clear off the line. On second look, only one-third of the ball was still on the line — Brighton could barely have gotten any closer to a goal.
At the other end, Robert Sanchez saved low from Wilson but the flag went up anyway, even if, again, on replay, the United number nine was, in fact, onside.
Brighton, who swept aside Manchester United for their historic first-ever win at Old Trafford last weekend, came out a team transformed in the second period and put United under the cosh.
Dominating possession and field position, the Seagulls still had to try and beat the towering frame of Pope, between the sticks for United. And it is fair to say that they found it tough.
England keeper Pope stretched his long, long left lever to deny a goal-bound Lallana header, in what was easily one of the best saves of the Premier League season to date. Pope then made sure March was not getting on the score sheet as he pulled off yet another potentially point-saving stop low down.
United were hanging on and fighting for their lives. Dan Burn was next to show some penalty box heroics as he flung his body in the way of a Joel Veltman strike. Fabian Schar tidied up the mess with Danny Welbeck lurking.
And in what proved to be the final act in a frenetic, very one-sided second period, substitute Kaoru Mitoma skinned a tired-looking Trippier and squared for the Seagulls’ two-goal hero from last week, Pascal Gross, but somehow the German diverted wide when just four yards out.
In truth, Newcastle deserved little from the encounter. And while they more than competed in the opening 45, the team was thoroughly outclassed and outpassed for much of the second.
However, not one to dwell on the negative, a point on the road in the Premier League, particularly so far from home on the south coast of England, is no mean feat and the result ensures that Howe and United’s unbeaten start to the top flight season goes on.
The point could prove crucial, especially given that Manchester City and Liverpool lie in wait in the Magpies’ next three Premier League games.