Messi stars as Argentina beat Italy in Finalissima

Messi stars as Argentina beat Italy in Finalissima
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Argentina's striker Lionel Messi lifts the trophy as Argentina's players celebrate on the pitch after their victory in the 'Finalissima' football match against Italy at Wembley Stadium in London on June 1, 2022. (AFP)
Messi stars as Argentina beat Italy in Finalissima
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Argentina's players celebrate on the pitch after their victory in the 'Finalissima' against Italy at Wembley Stadium in London on June 1, 2022. (AFP)
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Updated 02 June 2022

Messi stars as Argentina beat Italy in Finalissima

Messi stars as Argentina beat Italy in Finalissima

LONDON: Lionel Messi stole the show as Copa America holders Argentina powered to a 3-0 win against European champions Italy in the Finalissima at Wembley on Wednesday.
Inspired by the peerless Messi, Argentina raced into a two-goal lead in the first half of the prestigious friendly thanks to strikes from Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria.
Paulo Dybala capped Argentina’s rout, but after a disappointing season with Paris Saint-Germain by his sky-high standards, it was the sight of Messi back to his imperious best that took the spotlight.
The 34-year-old’s eye-catching display featured two assists and was worthy of his rare appearance at one of football’s great cathedrals.
It was another memorable moment for Argentina, who have qualified for this year’s World Cup as they extend the golden afterglow from the victory over Brazil that ended their 28-year wait to win the Copa America in 2021.
Argentina were already established as one of the leading contenders to win the World Cup and defeating Italy was another statement of intent from La Albiceleste, who are now unbeaten in 32 matches.
If Messi can play at this level in Qatar, Lionel Scaloni’s side will be a force to be reckoned with as they chase a first World Cup title since 1986.




Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after the awarding ceremony of the Finalissima soccer match against Italy at Wembley Stadium in London, Wednesday, June 1, 2022. (AP)


For Italy, it was a disappointing return to Wembley 11 months after they beat England on penalties in the Euro 2020 final.
Roberto Mancini’s team have gone into a steep decline since that memorable triumph.
They failed to qualify for the World Cup after suffering a humiliating loss to North Macedonia in their play-off semifinal.
Mancini admitted the Finalissima represented the “end of a cycle” for his European champions.
After the World Cup failure, Mancini is transitioning to a younger generation, with the forthcoming Nations League matches against Germany, England and Hungary his real focus.
Mancini’s overhaul effectively started at half-time when Italy said farewell to 117-cap skipper Giorgio Chiellini, who was substituted in his final game before international retirement.

This was only the third Finalissima contest between the respective champions of Europe and South America and the first since Diego Maradona’s Argentina beat Denmark in 1993.
Fittingly, Messi — the heir to the legendary Maradona — used the occasion to remind the world of his astonishing talents.
The 80,000 sell-out crowd created a colorful backdrop for Messi’s mastery, with Argentina’s raucous fans turning the north London suburb of Brent into Buenos Aires for one ear-splitting evening.
Every touch from Messi lifted the decibel levels and moments after his shot was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, the forward played a key role as Argentina took the lead in the 28th minute.
Messi worked his magic on the touchline, showing tremendous strength to hold off Giovanni Di Lorenzo before unfurling a precise low cross to Martinez, who applied the finishing touch from close-range.
Italy argued that the goal should have been disallowed for a foul in the build-up, but their protests were in vain.
With tempers still running high, Leonardo Bonucci was booked after leaving Messi writhing in pain with a flailing arm that caught him in the face.




Argentina’s Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring their second goal against Italy at Wembley Stadium in London on June 1, 2022. (Reuters)


Di Maria exacted revenge on Messi’s behalf in first half stoppage-time.
Martinez drove forward with bullish tenacity and slipped a perfectly weighted pass to Di Maria, with the PSG forward producing a finish to match the approach play as he clipped a cool finish over Donnarumma.
Di Maria almost struck again on the hour, but his curler was brilliantly tipped over by Donnarumma as it fizzed toward the far corner.
Messi robbed Jorginho and embarked on a mesmerising run that finished with a save from Donnarumma.
Messi’s name echoed around the stands as Argentina’s fans paid tribute to their idol’s latest masterpiece.
Dybala’s clinical strike in stoppage-time came via a deft Messi pass as the maestro provided one final flourish.


New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season

New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season
Updated 19 August 2022

New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season

New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season
  • The Belgian, 30, highlights importance of Saudi Arabian races this year as he claims his maiden world title in South Korea

RIYADH: Newly crowned ABB FIA Formula E World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne has credited the season-opening Diriyah E-Prix double-header races as a key factor in his “incredible” year as he paid tribute to his departing Mercedes-EQ team.

In the all-electric championship’s 100th race, the 30-year-old Belgian clinched his first Formula E title following a second-place finish in Round 16 of the Seoul E-Prix. The result meant he finished 33 points ahead of Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, who had triumphed in Round 15 to keep his hopes for the title alive.

It was the perfect end to Vandoorne’s season, who despite only claiming one race victory, showed consistency in picking up regular points throughout the 16 races which began in January this year at Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah E-Prix.

“I felt every race this year was very important, but to start the season at the Diriyah E-Prix with pole position and to then finish second in the first race was a very good feeling, especially as it came after a very long winter break,” he said.

“To start the season on a high is motivating for everybody, not just for myself but also for the team. It made me realize that we’re back and in good shape.

“We had won the championship the year before and it gave a lot of confidence to everyone within the team that we had the competitive tools to fight for the best results.”

The Seoul E-Prix marked the end of the Formula E chapter for Mercedes-EQ, and although Vandoorne hinted that he is likely to feature in the 2023 season, he expressed his disappointment that he will not be able to race for them again, especially after clinching their second consecutive teams’ world championship title in South Korea.

The ex-Formula One driver said: “It’s a shame, as I would’ve liked to have continued with Mercedes-EQ. When I first joined them, I was thinking of a long-term partnership, but all things have to come to an end, and we have to move on.

“Everyone knew about this decision for a long time, which gave them time to figure out their future plans. I obviously will miss racing for them, both as a team and as a brand. They are one of the biggest motorsport teams in the world and it doesn’t matter what series they enter, they are always winning. It will be a team that I’ll miss.”


Gamers8 hosts week-long Gameathon with $530,000 up for grabs

Gamers8 hosts week-long Gameathon with $530,000 up for grabs
Updated 19 August 2022

Gamers8 hosts week-long Gameathon with $530,000 up for grabs

Gamers8 hosts week-long Gameathon with $530,000 up for grabs
  • Contest to develop game prototypes from scratch
  • Runs at AlFaisal University in Riyadh until Aug. 24

RIYADH: Gamers8 on Thursday night launched the week-long Gameathon competition at AlFaisal University in Riyadh, with prize money of $530,000 up for grabs.

The university is a partner in the competition, which is similar to a hackathon, in which competitors try their hand at developing a game prototype from scratch.

Gameathon runs until Aug. 24 and provides a platform for individuals to showcase their creative skills by utilizing video games as a common language.

With more than 600 participants expected, Gameathon is open to people from all ages and backgrounds to explore new technology tools in 10 different educational zones.

Turki Alfawzan, chief executive officer at the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “We aim to develop an industry ecosystem in which different disciplines collaborate for the advancement of the gaming community, and in this case focusing on the educational aspect of esports.

“Gameathon is a bridge to greatly enhance gamers’ ability to professionalize their passion into the world of esports. Developers, designers, and artists will enjoy this experience where they can learn many new, and unexpected, skills while supporting their team by contributing ideas, and playtesting.”

Meanwhile Dr. Yousef Al-Yousef, vice president of Graduate School, Research and Innovation at AlFaisal University, commented: “One of the university’s goals is to partner with industries that positively impact the local economy and the society we live in. The gaming industry — bigger than the movie and music industries combined — is well known and acknowledged as a sector in Saudi Arabia that is immensely capable of achieving those impacts. Gameathon is a big part of that.

“One of the major ambitions of Gameathon is to bring the community together at the junction of art and technology, as well as to offer a space and platform for gaming studios to present their work.”


Bradley off to fast start in bid to make FedEx Cup finale

Bradley off to fast start in bid to make FedEx Cup finale
Updated 19 August 2022

Bradley off to fast start in bid to make FedEx Cup finale

Bradley off to fast start in bid to make FedEx Cup finale
  • Bradley is at No. 44 in the FedEx Cup and likely needs a top 10 to advance to the Tour Championship in Atlanta to chase the $18 million prize

WILMINGTON, Delaware: Keegan Bradley hasn’t been to the FedEx Cup finale in four years, and he started the BMW Championship on Thursday like he was in a hurry to get back.

Bradley matched a career low with a 29 on the front nine at Wilmington Country Club and finished with a 7-under 64 to take a one-shot lead over Adam Scott.

Bradley is at No. 44 in the FedEx Cup and likely needs a top 10 — he hasn’t had one since the US Open — to be among the 30 players who will advance to the Tour Championship in Atlanta to chase the $18 million prize.

He isn’t willing to consider the scenarios until it matters, which is Sunday. Until then, it’s all about try to do win a tournament, just like any week.

“My plan is I’m going to go home and see my kids no matter what on Sunday night,” Bradley said. “I’d love to go to Atlanta. That’s everyone’s goal to start the year.”

Scott started the postseason at No. 77 and tied for fifth in the playoff opener last week just to make it to the second stage. Now he’s at No. 45, giving him a chance. It also meant being paired with Bradley, and they put on quite a show. They combined for 15 birdies.

“He played beautifully today, and I was really just trying to follow his lead,” Scott said. “He kind of had everything going the way he wanted, and most of the time he was teeing off first and I was just trying to follow.”

PGA champion Justin Thomas put a different putter in the bag and responded with a 66 to leave him in the group with former British Open champion Shane Lowry and Harold Varner III.

Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa led the group at 67.

Rory McIlroy was the only player from the afternoon who looked to challenge Bradley, and he was doing just that at 6 under with four holes to play. But then he was between clubs on the par-3 15th, tried to hit a soft cut with a 5-iron and put his tee shot into he water. He took three putts from just short of the green, missing a 3-footer, and made triple bogey.

McIlroy was in the group at 68 that included Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay, who won the BMW Championship last year an hour down the road at Caves Valley on his way to capturing the FedEx Cup.

McIlroy was able to accept one bad swing that cost him three shots, especially having missed the cut last week in the FedEx St. Jude Championship.

“Overall the rest of it was pretty good,” he said. “I knew once I got here last weekend, I knew it was a golf course that was going to suit me better than last week. ... Pleased with my game. Disappointed with how I finished, but encouraged with the rest of it.”

The course is new to everyone — Delaware has never hosted a PGA Tour event — though Bradley has reason to feel right at home. He won the BMW Championship in 2018 some 20 miles away at Aronimink when he was No. 52 in the FedEx Cup, sending him to Atlanta.

The courses are nothing alike. If anything, Wilmington reminds several players of a “big brother” to Caves Valley, about the same length (7,534 yards) except playing to a par 71.

Find the fairway, fire at the flag. Miss the fairway, and it’s all about trying to get into position. It doesn’t always work out that way, and Schauffele is thankful for that.

He pulled his tee shot so far left on the par-5 14th that he was in shaggy round just in front of the on No. 3. He could see a portion of the green between a television tower, some video equipment and the trees. Schauffele got line-of-sight relief, and his drop happened to be on one of the forward tees. He belted a 3-wood onto the green for birdie.

Will Zalatoris won his first PGA Tour title last week at an ideal time, moving to the top of the FedEx Cup standings. Three holes into the BMW Championship, he went bunker to rough to bunker and then three-putted for a double bogey.

He rallied with four birdies on the back and escaped with a 70. Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world coming off a missed cut, still felt scrappy but holed enough putts for a 69.


Liverpool clash threatens more misery for Man United

Liverpool clash threatens more misery for Man United
Updated 19 August 2022

Liverpool clash threatens more misery for Man United

Liverpool clash threatens more misery for Man United
  • Always one of the biggest clashes in the English football calendar, Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford has taken on even more importance after a difficult few weeks for both clubs

MANCHESTER: Rooted to the bottom of the Premier League for the first time in 30 years, Manchester United’s disastrous start to the season on and off the field could still get worse when they face Liverpool on Monday.

Always one of the biggest clashes in the English football calendar, Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford has taken on even more importance after a difficult few weeks for both clubs.

Liverpool’s title hopes have already been hit by draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace to leave Jurgen Klopp’s men four points adrift of defending champions Manchester City.

However, Liverpool’s woes of an early season injury crisis and the absence of Darwin Nunez due to his ill-discipline that cost the Uruguayan a red card on his home debut, pale into insignificance compared to United’s troubles.

Erik ten Hag is off to the worst start of any United manager for over 100 years after a 4-0 humbling at the hands of Brentford followed Brighton’s first ever win at Old Trafford on the opening weekend of the season.

A large-scale protest by United fans is planned before kick-off aimed at the club’s owners, the Glazer family.

“A fish rots from the head,” said the Manchester United Supporters Trust this week with pressure rising on the Americans to consider selling the club.

Elon Musk joked he was buying the Red Devils this week, while Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe has signalled his interest.

The lack of a coordinated transfer strategy has left Ten Hag to work with largely the same squad that suffered 5-0 and 4-0 thrashings at the hands of Liverpool in their two meetings last season.

Ten Hag, though, also has questions to ask after pushing for the signing of Lisandro Martinez from his old club Ajax despite the Argentine centerback’s diminutive frame seemingly being unsuited to the rigors of the Premier League.

Martinez was hauled off at halftime against Brentford with United already trailing 4-0, but Ten Hag conceded afterwards all 11 of his starting line-up could have been replaced.

Brentford players covered 13.8 kilometers more in that match and Ten Hag reportedly responded by canceling a planned day off to make his squad run that distance the day after defeat last Saturday.

But it is on the pitch he needs a response with Liverpool also wounded for their trip to Manchester.

City’s transformation into the dominant club in English football over the past decade thanks to the flow of investment from Abu Dhabi appeared the blueprint for Newcastle to follow under the ownership of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

But Newcastle’s first summer transfer window under the new regime has been surprisingly quiet with Nick Pope and Sven Botman the only new faces at St. James’ Park.

They have still enjoyed a strong start to the season with four points from their first two games, but City’s visit will give an early indication as to how seriously the Magpies could challenge for a top-four finish.

Leicester are the only Premier League club yet to spend any money in the window and manager Brendan Rodgers is not expecting that to change due to the state of the club’s finances.

“I spent my summer holidays convincing players to come but when I come back the reality of the situation is there and we are unable to follow through with it,” said Rodgers on Thursday.

“I don’t run the finances of the club. I run the football department and if they say we can’t sign a player I trust the club that it’s the case.”

The Foxes long-serving captain Kasper Schmeichel joined Nice earlier this month and more key players could still leave with Wesley Fofana a target for Chelsea, while Newcastle have had bids rejected for James Maddison.

After just one point from their opening two games, Leicester badly need a win when Southampton visit on Saturday to lift the mood around the King Power ahead of a tough run of fixtures that includes trips to Chelsea and Tottenham in their next five games.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Saturday

Tottenham vs Wolves (1130), Leicester vs Southampton, Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa, Everton vs Nottingham Forest, Fulham vs Brentford (all 1400), Bournemouth vs Arsenal (1630)

Sunday

Leeds vs Chelsea, West Ham vs Brighton (both 1300), Newcastle vs Manchester City (1530)

Monday

Manchester United vs Liverpool (1900)


Medvedev advances to quarterfinals, Swiatek sinks in Cincy

Medvedev advances to quarterfinals, Swiatek sinks in Cincy
Updated 19 August 2022

Medvedev advances to quarterfinals, Swiatek sinks in Cincy

Medvedev advances to quarterfinals, Swiatek sinks in Cincy
  • Top seed Medvedvev kept Denis Shapovalov winless against world No. 1s with a 7-5, 7-5 victory
  • Unseeded Keys was thrilled with her defeat of Swiatek, against whom she had lost two prior matches

CINCINNATI, US: Top-ranked Daniil Medvedev advanced to the ATP and WTA Cincinnati Masters quarterfinals on Thursday while women’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek was upset by American Madison Keys.

Top seed Medvedvev kept Denis Shapovalov winless against world No. 1s with a 7-5, 7-5 victory while Poland’s Swiatek lost 6-3, 6-4 to 2019 Cincinnati champion Keys, who needed five match points to finish off the shock triumph.

Shapovalov, who lost in an hour and three-quarters, has dropped all eight career matches he has played against the elite echelon.

Medvedev moved into a quarterfinal against 11th seed Taylor Fritz after the American stopped No. 6 seed Andrey Rublev 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 7-5.

“It was a fight today, definitely not easy,” said Medvedev, who clinched the top US Open seeding when Rafael Nadal lost here in the second round.

“The match was pretty tight, played at a great level. My goal was to stay in every point possible and try to put pressure on him if I had the chance.”

Medvedev secured late breaks in both sets as he matched his volatile Canadian opponent.

Medvedev and Fritz have never played.

“We trained together at the start of the season before the ATP Cup,” Medvedev said. “He won Indian Wells, he’s a Masters champion. I need to be at my best to try and beat him.”

Unseeded Keys was thrilled with her defeat of Swiatek, against whom she had lost two prior matches.

“I had a couple of games with a couple of match points,” Keys said. “She beat me pretty badly last time so I’m happy to get the win.”

Swiatek never found an ace and was broken five times as she fought back in vain after standing one game from defeat.

It was the second week in a row that the Pole, who put together a 37-match win streak this season, lost in a Masters third round. She suffered the same fate in Toronto seven days earlier.

Keys plays on Friday against Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina, who advanced to the last eight 6-2, 6-4 over Alison Riske-Amritraj.

Also ousted was Estonian second seed Anett Kontaveit, who fell to China’s Zhang Shuai 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Top-ranked American Jessica Pegula ended the run of US Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4, sending the Briton onto the practice courts before the Aug. 29 start of her Grand Slam title defense.

Raducanu will head to New York with a 15-18 record since her 2021 title triumph and will drop from the top-10 after failing to reach the quarterfinals.

The teenager put a backhand into the net to give her opponent a match point, with Pegula sending over a service winner to wrap up the victory in an hour and three-quarters on her opponent’s 21st unforced error.

“I didn’t feel amazing out there,” Pegula said after reaching her seventh career quarter-final at a Masters 1000. “I’ve never hit with Emma, there was a lot to get used to.

“I’m happy with how I competed and stayed in it. I’m glad I handled things really well. I’ve been playing very consistently, no dramas, get out there and do what you’ve got to do. I try to do that every single week.”

Czech Petra Kvitova, twice a Wimbledon champion, defeated Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-0. Kvitova broke six times as her fifth-ranked Tunisian opponent committed six double-faults.

Borna Coric, who upset second seed Rafael Nadal, continued his injury comeback progress by beating Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-3.

No. 152 Coric is the lowest-ranked ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finalist since 239th-ranked Ivo Karlovic at 2011 Indian Wells.

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, semifinalist at the last two editions, defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3.

John Isner sent down 20 aces in a 7-6 (7/3), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4) defeat of US compatriot Sebastian Korda. At 37, Isner is the oldest Cincinnati men’s quarterfinalist in the post-1968 Open era.

Isner passed Roger Federer, who was a younger 37 when he reached his most recent Cincinnati quarterfinal in 2018.