Sergio Perez beats Max Verstappen to win Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in action during the race. (Reuters)
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in action during the race. (Reuters)
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Updated 30 April 2023
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Sergio Perez beats Max Verstappen to win Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Sergio Perez beats Max Verstappen to win Azerbaijan Grand Prix
  • Perez took the lead when he managed to save time pitting during a safety car
  • Verstappen started second behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc but swept past him

BAKU: Sergio Perez took advantage of a fortunately timed safety car to beat his teammate Max Verstappen to the victory in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, adding it to the sprint he secured the day before, as Red Bull kept up its winning start to 2023.
Perez took the lead when he managed to save time pitting during a safety car period after Verstappen had come in a lap earlier.
“Well done guys, we dominated this weekend,” Perez told his team over the radio. “We are in the fight, guys.”
Verstappen started second behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc but swept past him on the long start-finish straight at the end of lap 3, the first lap on which drivers were allowed to use the DRS overtake assist system on the rear wing.
It was a copy of the pass Perez made on Leclerc on his way to winning the sprint race Saturday. After Verstappen took the lead Sunday, Perez needed only two more laps for his own similar pass on Leclerc to seize second, as Red Bull underlined its status as F1’s dominant team.
Perez benefited when an accident by Nyck de Vries brought out the safety car after his AlphaTauri slid off the track with a broken suspension, just after Verstappen had pitted from the lead. The safety car meant Pérez and Leclerc lost less time on their stops and came out ahead of Verstappen.
After that, the two Red Bull drivers pulled away from the pack and cruised to a straightforward win. Red Bull has won all four Grand Prix races this season and the sprint in Baku on Saturday. Leclerc was third to continue his recovery after a poor start to the year and said the Red Bulls had been “in another league” for race pace.
With the win Perez cut Verstappen’s standings lead to six points. They each have two victories this season but Perez lost ground at the last race in Australia when he was fifth after sliding off the track in qualifying.
Perez is the only driver to win in Baku more than once and has four podium finishes in his last five races there. The Mexican driver joked he had won “two and a half” times in Azerbaijan including Saturday’s sprint.
“It is what it is,” Verstappen said of his result, describing the safety car timing as “unlucky.”
Fernando Alonso finished in fourth place, showing strong pace for Aston Martin after issues in qualifying on Friday, ahead of Carlos Sainz, Jr. for Ferrari and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who recovered after losing out in the safety car period like Verstappen.
The second Aston Martin of Lance Stroll took seventh ahead of Hamilton’s teammate George Russell, with McLaren’s Lando Norris and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda ninth and 10th, respectively.


Al-Hilal to play home games at Boulevard Hall in Riyadh 

Al-Hilal to play home games at Boulevard Hall in Riyadh 
Updated 29 September 2023
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Al-Hilal to play home games at Boulevard Hall in Riyadh 

Al-Hilal to play home games at Boulevard Hall in Riyadh 
  • The project has a capacity of 26,000 seats and is expected to be handed to the club in January

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal have found a new home for their matches this season with the under-construction Boulevard Hall in Riyadh.

Entertainment authority chief Turki Al-Sheikh said during a live on Instagram that they have reached a SAR40 million a year agreement with Al-Hilal president Fahd bin Nafel with a grace period of the first 6 months.

Al-Sheikh thanked Prince AlWaleed bin Talal, a long standing backer of Al-Hilal and founder of the Kingdom Holding Company, for contributing SAR25 million, thus renaming the stadium the Kingdom Arena.

The project has a capacity of 26,000 seats and is expected to be handed to the club in January.

Bin Nafel said the new filed will meet all requirements of the Saudi Pro League, FIFA and, AFC.

Al-Hilal will play the first match in the new stadium in January for the Riyadh Season Cup.

Per the agreement, Al-Sheikh said the Kingdom Arena will host entertainment events off season.

Bin Nafel said the club is working on packages for foreign tourist where they come and spend two days in Riyadh and visit entertainment hubs in addition to attending the games.

The new facility holds 20 VIP cabins and a sky lounge with a capacity of 360 persons.


Saudi U-23 football team reach quarterfinals at Asian Games

Saudi U-23 football team reach quarterfinals at Asian Games
Updated 28 September 2023
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Saudi U-23 football team reach quarterfinals at Asian Games

Saudi U-23 football team reach quarterfinals at Asian Games
  • Boxer Abdulaziz Al-Otaibi advances to the quarterfinals of the 51kg weight category after winning against Bangladeshi contender 4-1
  • Table tennis players Azzam Alaam and Khalid Al-Sharif defeat Yemeni opponents 3-2 and advance in the doubles competition

ARAB NEWS
HANGZHOU, China: Saudi Arabia’s U-23 football team has qualified for the quarterfinals at the 19th Asian Games, being held in Hangzhou, China, after defeating India 2-0 on Thursday.
In the presence of the Saudi Arabian Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s Vice President Prince Fahd bin Jalawi, Mohamed Maran scored a brace in the 51st and 58th minutes to secure the Green Falcons’ spot in the quarterfinals, said a media statement.

Boxing
Saudi boxer Abdulaziz Al-Otaibi has advanced to the quarterfinals of the 51kg weight category after winning against Bangladeshi contender Mohamed Abu Talha 4-1 in the 16th round.
Meanwhile teammate Hadeel Ashour lost in the same round against an Indian opponent in the 60kg weight category.

Table tennis
Azzam Alaam and Khalid Al-Sharif defeated their Yemeni opponents 3-2 to advance to the round of 16 in the doubles competition.
Teammates Ali Al-Khudrawi and Turki Al-Mutairi lost 0-3 against South Korea and left the competition.

e-sports
The Saudi Arabian electronic sports team qualified for the round of 16 in the Peace Elite game, finishing first in their group ahead of Sri Lanka, Macau and Uzbekistan.

Basketball
The Kingdom’s basketball team lost their second game against Iran 66-81 in the group stage. Iran led in the first half 38-28.

Shooting
Saudi Arabian shooter Atallah Al-Unezi finished in seventh place in the 10 meter air pistol event, scoring 134.4 points in the final.
His teammates Sefar Al-Dosari and Mohamed Al-Maliki were eliminated in the qualification stage on Thursday.

Fencing
Fencers Adel Al-Mutairi, Ahmed Al-Qadhi, Mohamed Al-Omari and Abdullah Al-Mansaf lost 36-45 against Japan and were eliminated in the round of 16 of the Saber event.

Taekwondo
The Kingdom’s taekwondo team concluded their participation in the Asian Games after Ali Al-Mabrook lost to his Chinese contender, Zhe Zhuang Song, in the last 16 of the men’s +80kg weight category.


Newcastle United find Carabao Cup heroes in win over Man City

Newcastle United find Carabao Cup heroes in win over Man City
Updated 28 September 2023
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Newcastle United find Carabao Cup heroes in win over Man City

Newcastle United find Carabao Cup heroes in win over Man City
  • Smiling Scouser Gordon sets tone of the tie as Isak’s solo St James’ Park strike sends Magpies through
  • In eight performances across three competitions, Gordon has gone from a low-key squad player to first name on the team sheet

NEWCASTLE: With one 40-yard sprint, Anthony Gordon epitomised everything it means to represent Newcastle United — and inspired his side, with the help of others, to cup glory.

The scene was St James’ Park in the Carabao Cup third round, the visitors treble-winning Manchester City. Both sides were weakened with 10 and eight changes apiece from the Premier League this weekend, but tensions were still high.

The atmosphere was electric, but dampened early on by City’s dominance. Toiling against their illustrious opponents, Eddie Howe’s men found a hero who riled up the crowd with effort and commitment.

On 49 minutes, as Manuel Akanji dropped the shoulder and swaggered away from a wrong-footed Gordon, there looked to be no danger for City. However, the rakish winger refused to give up the cause, chased Akanji’s ball across the pitch to Matteo Kovacic, and as the Croatian twisted to protect possession, the blonde-haired Scouser committed, slid in and threw ball and man high up into the Tyneside night.

The roar that greeted the challenge set the tone for the rest of the evening. For all City out-passed the Magpies, Gordon and his comrades showed they would not be out-fought on home turf.

Soon after, Swedish forward Alexander Isak turned in what proved to be the winner, sending United through and dumping out the winners of the competition in four of the last five campaigns.

Gordon did not have a direct hand in the goal, but it had his fingerprints all over it.

“I think he’s had an outstanding start to the season,” said Howe, whose side were rewarded for their City win with a trip to Manchester United in round four.

“What’s pleased me most is his fitness levels, his athleticism is really coming to the fore but he’s adding goals and end product. All attacking players will be judged by that. I always say when we sign players there needs to be patience.

“Players, as much as you want them to come in and be outstanding from minute one, that’s very rare. Sometimes there is a bedding in period, some players take longer than others,” Howe said.

“We had no doubt over Anthony’s quality but I think pre-season did him really good, but as did the six months he had with us before the break for the summer because he had a taste of what to expect and came back with a much greater understanding.”

It is fair to say Gordon had, up until the summer, been questioned. Many fans, pundits and journalists had wondered whether the former Everton man was the right fit for Howe’s Champions League qualifiers.

In eight performances across three competitions, Gordon has gone from a low-key squad player to first name on the team sheet.

The youngster with pace and talent has grown into a man with consistent quality in his locker. Four goal involvements this term — two goals and two assists — already prove his significant growth. But is there room for improvement? Howe thinks so.

“That’s the plan. For Anthony, he’s got such a high ability and so much potential where we really feel he can push on. There is so much more to work on and improve but the qualities are there for him to be an outstanding player at this level,” the head coach said.

Newcastle will hope to maintain their upturn in fortune Saturday, when the Magpies host Vincent Kompany’s Burnley, before the clash the Gulf region is waiting for in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain next week.


Saudi King’s Cup round-of-16 football matches drawn

Saudi King’s Cup round-of-16 football matches drawn
Updated 28 September 2023
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Saudi King’s Cup round-of-16 football matches drawn

Saudi King’s Cup round-of-16 football matches drawn
  • Last edition’s winners Al-Hilal will face Al-Hazem in Riyadh
  • Round will be played in a single match, with losing teams eliminated from the tournament

RIYADH: The matches for the Saudi King’s Cup round of 16 were drawn on Wednesday night and will be played on Oct. 30 and 31, 2023.
The last edition’s winners Al-Hilal will face Al-Hazem in Riyadh, while Al-Nassr will play Al-Ettifaq at Alawal Park in Riyadh.
Al-Ittihad will play Al-Fayha at Al-Majma’ah, while Al-Ahli will host Abha.
The 16th round will be played in a single match, with losing teams eliminated from the tournament.
In the other matches, Al-Khaleej will host Damac, and Al-Shabab will be a guest at Al-Fateh.
Clubs Al-Najma and Al-Faisaly from the “Yellow League” will face each other in the city of Unaizah, while Al-Taawon will host Al-Wehda.
Earlier this week, Riyadh rivals Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal booked their spots in the round of 16 with away victories over lower-tier opposition.


Dew factor to make World Cup interesting – India coach

Dew factor to make World Cup interesting – India coach
Updated 28 September 2023
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Dew factor to make World Cup interesting – India coach

Dew factor to make World Cup interesting – India coach
  • 50-over tournament kicks off in India next Thursday across 10 cities, all but six of 48 matches will be day-night contests
  • In India that usually means high moisture on the field after sunset, which makes the ball moist and difficult to grip

NEW DELHI: Excessive moisture on the field at the Cricket World Cup will make the top-flight ODI competition all the more interesting, India coach Rahul Dravid said.

The 50-over tournament kicks off next Thursday across 10 cities, and all but six of the 48 matches will be day-night contests.

In India that usually means high moisture on the field after sunset, which makes the ball moist and difficult to grip.

“India is a big country and there are many venues so it’s hard to say it (dew) is going to be the same everywhere,” Dravid said after India’s 66-run loss to Australia in their third and final ODI in Rajkot on Wednesday.

“Each venue and each day will be different. It’s one of the hardest things to predict with dew,” he said.

Dew mainly affects bowlers and fielders as day-night matches progress, with most captains opting to bowl first after winning the toss as a result.

But whether it will be a factor at all is in itself unpredictable.

Dravid, a former India captain, said he had played games on fields where the ground would be “soaked” the day before but bone-dry by match time.

“As the tournament goes on, at some venues it will be a factor and at some it may not. It’s going to make it more interesting,” the 50-year-old said.

India, the top-ranked team across all formats, begin their World Cup campaign against Australia on October 8 followed by their hotly anticipated clash against Pakistan.

They will also play two warm-up matches beginning with England in Guwahati on September 30.