Al-Ittihad’s Karim Benzema leads club into King Salman Cup quarterfinals

Update Al-Ittihad’s Karim Benzema leads club into King Salman Cup quarterfinals
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Al-Ittihad’s player Karim Benzema scored the goal during the second half of their match with the Tunisian team Sfaxien on Sunday. (SPA)
Update Al-Ittihad’s Karim Benzema leads club into King Salman Cup quarterfinals
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Qatar's Al-Sadd club defeated Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal Club with 3 goals against 2 in Abha on Sunday. (SPA)
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Updated 11 August 2023
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Al-Ittihad’s Karim Benzema leads club into King Salman Cup quarterfinals

Al-Ittihad’s Karim Benzema leads club into King Salman Cup quarterfinals
  • French striker scores only goal against Sfaxien
  • Final 2nd-round matches take place on Monday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad have qualified for the quarterfinals of the King Salman Cup after defeating Tunisia’s Sfaxien 1-0 in the second round of the group stage on Sunday.

Karim Benzema scored the game’s only goal during the second half. This follows a 2-1 victory in the first round over Tunisia’s Esperance.

In another match on Sunday, Morocco’s Wydad drew 1-1 with Libya’s Al-Ahly Tripoli. Ayoub El-Kaabi scored for Wydad, with Ahmed Krawa equalizing for Al-Ahly Tripoli.

In other games, Qatar’s Al-Sadd won 3-2 against Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal at the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Sports City stadium in Al-Mahalla, Abha, while the Esperance and Police contest ended in a goalless draw.

The second round of the group stage will be completed on Monday.

The UAE’s Al-Wahda face Algeria’s CR Belouizdad, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Shabab tackle Egypt’s Zamalek, Morocco’s Raja Club Athletic play Kuwait SC, and Tunisia’s Union Sportive Monastirienne take on Saudi’s Al-Nassr.


Heavyweight boxers Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk face off in Riyadh on Saturday

Heavyweight boxers Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk face off in Riyadh on Saturday
Updated 15 May 2024
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Heavyweight boxers Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk face off in Riyadh on Saturday

Heavyweight boxers Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk face off in Riyadh on Saturday
  • The winner will carry the four championship belts in a unification bout for most important global organizations in boxing
  • Fury and Usyk both seek to write their name in the history books alongside global icons

RIYADH: British heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury and Ukrainian contender Oleksandr Usyk are scheduled to face off for the undisputed heavyweight world title on Saturday at Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena.
The winner will carry the four championship belts in a unification bout for the most important global organizations in boxing — the World Boxing Association (WBA), the World Boxing Council (WBC), the International Boxing Federation (IBF), and the World Boxing Organization (WBO), according to a media statement released on Wednesday.
The four belts feature images of boxing legends such as Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
Fury and Usyk will both be seeking to write their name in the history books alongside these global icons, the statement added.
Saturday’s long-awaited-match will be the pinnacle of modern boxing as it is the first time that the four belts will be unified in a single fight. It evokes the prestigious legacy of the greats who have previously shaped the sport’s championship titles.
WBC was established in 1963, and Muhammad Ali was one of its most famous champions, holding the title three times during his career.
IBF was founded in 1983; Larry Holmes dominated the heavyweight division for seven years across different periods of his career.
WBO was established in 1988, and although it is the newest of the belts, it has been held by several prominent champions, including Chris Byrd and Herbie Hide, among others.
However, the oldest of the four belts that Fury and Usyk will compete for is the WBA title, which was established more than 100 years ago.
The title was held for 12 years by Joe Louis, the world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949, and who is considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.
Saudi Arabia has become a hub for premier world boxing contests over the past few years, with authorities investing heavily to bring the biggest bouts to local and international audiences.
Previous bouts in the country have garnered the attention of fans globally and marked the Kingdom as a new home of international boxing.


Saudia unites football, motorsport with displays in Newcastle, Berlin

Saudia unites football, motorsport with displays in Newcastle, Berlin
Updated 15 May 2024
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Saudia unites football, motorsport with displays in Newcastle, Berlin

Saudia unites football, motorsport with displays in Newcastle, Berlin
  • Kingdom’s flag carrier introduces fans to new Gen3 Formula E car at St. James’ Park
  • Immersive fan zone offers variety of interactive experiences during Berlin E-Prix

BERLIN/JEDDAH: Saudia, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, has flown the new Gen3 Formula E car to St. James’ Park in the UK to coincide with Newcastle United’s final home game of the season.

The carrier has a strategic partnership with the Premier League club and is also the official airline partner of the all-electric Formula E series.

The event coincided with the release of a short film bringing together the worlds of motorsport and football, with football fans being introduced to Formula E and the car.

“This event provides a fantastic platform for us to engage with our guests and the global audience, whether in person or through our innovative digital portals,” Khaled Tash, Saudia Group’s chief marketing officer, said in the statement.

“Integrating our partnerships with both Newcastle United and Formula E in such an engaging manner exemplifies our commitment to bringing fans closer to the sports they love. Each year, we strive to elevate the experience for racegoers and fans worldwide, as part of our commitment to creating unforgettable memories wherever our brand is present.”

Saudia also hosted an immersive fan zone experience during the Berlin E-Prix on May 11-12 in Berlin.

Fans were given access to an E-Village, with a dedicated Discover-E Zone featuring a variety of interactive experiences, as well as games, competitions, and giveaways featuring both Saudia and Formula E merchandise.


Saudi team ready for World Para Athletics Championships in Japan

Saudi team ready for World Para Athletics Championships in Japan
Updated 13 May 2024
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Saudi team ready for World Para Athletics Championships in Japan

Saudi team ready for World Para Athletics Championships in Japan

DUBAI: The Saudi Paralympic team has set off for Kobe, in Japan, where they are competing in the 2024 World Para Athletics Championships.

The team’s preparations included extensive training sessions in both local and international camps.

The first phase took place in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman from March to April, while phase two was in Dubai and included the team’s participation in the Gulf Games.

The 11th edition of the World Para Athletics Championships begins today and runs until May 27. It is being held at the Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium, where more than 1,000 athletes from 100 nations will compete in 168 events.

The 2024 championships are the first to be held in East Asia and the third one in Asia, following Doha in 2015 and Dubai in 2019. 


Jorge Jesus hails ‘spectacular season’ as Al-Hilal secure 19th league title

Jorge Jesus hails ‘spectacular season’ as Al-Hilal secure 19th league title
Updated 12 May 2024
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Jorge Jesus hails ‘spectacular season’ as Al-Hilal secure 19th league title

Jorge Jesus hails ‘spectacular season’ as Al-Hilal secure 19th league title
  • Roshn Saudi League set to ‘grow better and better,’ Portuguese coach says
  • Side will contest King’s Cup final against Riyadh rivals Al-Nassr at end of season

RIYADH: Al-Hilal manager Jorge Jesus declared 2023/24 “a spectacular season” after the club claimed their 19th Saudi Pro League championship with a 4-1 victory over Al-Hazem on Saturday night.

Twelve points ahead of Riyadh rivals and nearest Roshn Saudi League challengers Al-Nassr, the title was won with three games to spare. Unbeaten domestically this season, with 29 wins from 31 league matches, Al-Hilal also created world football history earlier in the campaign by winning 34 matches in succession across all competitions.

“The Al-Hilal team this season has made a spectacular season. What we have achieved is an example for all the others because if we see all the details then we are the best in goalscoring, best in fewest goals conceded, no losses in the league and obviously the most points,” Jesus said in a statement released by the club.

“We are the Super Cup winners, in the semifinal (sic) of the King’s Cup and have won the league. We only failed in the Asian Champions League, in the semifinal, but if we speak about the Saudi level then winning the King’s Cup will mean we have won everything available this season in Saudi.

“That’s my habit wherever I’ve been — with Flamengo in Brazil I did this, with Benfica in Portugal I did this and now at Al-Hilal this can be achieved. We prepared to do this from the beginning of the season — but we have had to do this missing key players — Neymar for most of the time, Mitrovic for some of the time. But I have the notion that the Saudi league will grow better and better every time.”

All of the goals in Al-Hilal win over Al-Hazem at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium came in the first half.

Mitrovic gave his side the lead from the penalty spot in the 15th minute, striking low into the bottom corner. Faiz Selemani equalized through a well-taken curling shot only for Aljuwayd to then loft into his own net from the edge of the box trying to pass back to the goalkeeper after being put under pressure by Milinkovic-Savic.

Al-Hilal’s Serbian duo completed the scoring in injury time. Firstly, Mitrovic tucked home his compatriot’s cut back and then Milinkovic-Savic curled into the bottom corner for 4-1.

Al-Hazem coach Saleh Al-Mohammadi, whose side remain bottom of the 18-team league, said: “Al-Hilal are a very strong team. Because of individual mistakes we lost the game. If you don’t play well against the champions of the league then that will happen.”

Ahead of Al-Hilal’s next game, Portuguese coach Jesus warned compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo’s team Al-Nassr not to expect a weakened side at Al-Awwal Park on Friday in the second Riyadh derby of the season. Al-Hilal won the first clash 3-0 in December.

The two teams will also contest the King’s Cup final at the end of the season and Jesus said his side were preparing hard for the clash.

“Preparing is not by giving rest,” he said. “We still have more titles and work for the players. Every match is important for us.”


Riyadh’s recyclable football fan zone a ‘world-first for sustainability’ 

Since the fan zone opened, the response from spectators has been positive. AN photo by Huda Bashatah
Since the fan zone opened, the response from spectators has been positive. AN photo by Huda Bashatah
Updated 10 May 2024
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Riyadh’s recyclable football fan zone a ‘world-first for sustainability’ 

Since the fan zone opened, the response from spectators has been positive. AN photo by Huda Bashatah
  • Each recycled plastic pallet used in the fan zone’s construction has been repurposed to create a seating layout that promotes interaction among football fans

Riyadh: A football fan zone in Riyadh constructed entirely from recycled plastic pallets is a “world-first for sustainability,” its backers have said.

Spearheaded by Saudi Arabian Logistics, the eco-friendly project in the capital’s Laysen Valley will provide football fans with a dynamic environment to watch Roshn Saudi League matches.

With a seating capacity of more than 250, the fan zone will deliver action-packed viewing of the final five matches of the league amid anticipation for the crowning of the champion.

Each recycled plastic pallet used in the fan zone’s construction has been repurposed to create a seating layout that promotes interaction among football fans.

SAL designed the project with an eye on Saudi Arabia’s ambitious sustainability goals, including combating plastic pollution and promoting a circular economy.

SAL Managing Director and CEO Faisal Albedah, told Arab News about the inspiration behind the fan zone.

“Our dedication at SAL to sustainability and creativity served as the impetus for constructing the first-ever fan zone made entirely of plastic pallets, which are used on a daily basis in our 18 stations around the Kingdom in partnership with the Oil Sustainability Program,” he said.

The company wanted to play a role in tackling environmental concerns and curbing deforestation by demonstrating the utility of repurposed materials, he added. As the logistical sponsor of the Saudi Pro League, SAL has also pledged to unite communities through a shared enjoyment of football.

Mohammed Al-Tayyar, program director at the OSP, highlighted the significance of plastic pallets in environmental sustainability and economic efficiency. “From an environmental perspective, the material is recyclable, and time and resource efficient, as they are both durable and eliminate the need to cut trees to manufacture wooden pallets,” he told Arab News.

Plastic pallets outlast their alternatives and can be reused more than 250 times, leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions, he added.

The launch of the fan zone marks a major milestone in Riyadh’s sporting landscape and signals a shift toward sustainable approaches in fan engagement. As spectators gather in Laysen Valley to witness the climax of the Roshn Saudi League, they will not only partake in the thrill of competitive football, but also champion the cause of environmental sustainability.

Since the fan zone opened, the response from spectators has been “overwhelmingly positive,” added Al-Bedah.

“The attendees for our first event exceeded 200 fans cheering for both teams, Al-Hilal and Al-Ahli. This encouraging response validates the efficacy of our strategy and motivates us to expand and follow the path of bringing more cutting-edge initiatives to the ground.”

Al-Tayyar said that the Oil Sustainability Program has plans to replicate the success of the fan zone in other industries. “We aim to find, replicate and alter sustainable solutions for transportation, materials and utilities to meet global needs,” he added.

As the final matches of the Roshn Saudi League kick off, spectators at the fan zone are hoping that history can be made not only on the pitch, but also in the realm of sustainable sports infrastructure.