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Four down, two to go for the Saudi teams in the 2022 AFC Champions League group stages. Reigning champions Al-Hilal are through to the knockout rounds, and Al-Shabab are nearly there. If the others are going to stake their claims, there is not much time left to do so. Here are five things we learned…
Four down, two to go for the Saudi teams in the 2022 AFC Champions League group stages. Reigning champions Al-Hilal are through to the knockout rounds, and Al-Shabab are nearly there. If the others are going to stake their claims, there is not much time left to do so. Here are five things we learned from the latest action. 1. Al-Hilal are first into the second round Two goals from Odion Ighalo in the first half helped Al-Hilal to a 3-0 win over Istiklol of Tajikistan. It is now four wins out of four in Group A, which maintains the five-point lead at the top of the group with two games remaining. More importantly, it guarantees the defending champions a place in the next stage, the first team to do so. It means that coach Ramon Diaz can start thinking about the resumption of the league campaign next month. It has been the perfect stage so far in more ways than one for a team that has now won 12 out of 12 under Diaz, equalling the club’s second-longest winning streak. The opener came after just eight minutes with a textbook goal. It was a textbook cross from Salman Al-Faraj and a textbook header from the Nigerian striker. He scored another fine strike later in the half, receiving the ball with his back to goal, turning to fire a low shot into the bottom corner. In short, Al-Hilal were just too good for their opponents, who have now lost all four games. 2. The Nawaf Al-Abed show virtually ensures Al-Shabab progression Al-Shabab have nine and a half toes in the knockout stages following a comfortable 3-0 win over Al Quwa Al Jawiya of Iraq. It puts the Riyadh team six points clear at the top of Group B with just two games remaining. A single point is all that is needed to secure first place in the group and a guaranteed place in the second round. After dropping two points against the same team last week, no mistake was made here. Former Al-Hilal midfielder Nawaf Al-Abed has battled with injuries since starring with the national team on the road to the Russia World Cup and has since joined Al-Shabab. This was one of the midfielder’s best performances since making that move across the capital. He scored a well-taken opener and then set up the other two for Carlos, though it should be said that the Brazilian did most of the work for his first, a glorious shot into the roof of the net from just inside the area. When you have Al-Abed along with the Brazilian striker and Ever Banega of Argentina firing on all cylinders, Al-Shabab are not only too good for the Iraqi opposition but too good for many teams in the tournament. Al-Shabab may not be the favorites but they have the talent to go all the way. 3. Al-Faisaly hang on for a valuable point On the face of it, a 0-0 draw against Nasaf Qarshi, a team that Al-Faisaly had beaten just days previously, may look disappointing. Doubly so since earlier in the day, Al-Wehdat of Jordan did the Saudi Arabians a massive favor by beating Al-Sadd 3-1. That left Al-Faisaly with a chance to go six points clear at the top with two games to go. Yet in a game where chances were at a premium, most of them went to the team from Uzbekistan, who were on top for much of the match. The hosts had few opportunities though Martin Boyle broke free late in the game and forced a great save from the goalkeeper. At the very least, Al-Faisaly did not lose the game, and stay in control of the group thanks to a fine performance from goalkeeper Mustafa Malayekah. The old adage of “if you can’t win then at least don’t lose” applies here. Next comes Jordan’s Al-Wehdat and a win for the Saudi team will send them team into the last 16 with a game to spare. It is still a great position to be in. 4. Al-Taawoun still enjoying Asian adventure The 1-1 draw with Sepahan of Iran was probably a fair result with both teams having chances to take the victory. It was a scoreline that suited the Saudi Arabians more than the visitors. It leaves Al-Taawoun second in the group with seven points from four games, two behind the leaders Al-Duhail of Qatar, their next opponents. The Buraidah club were a little open at the back at times with Sepahan hitting the woodwork twice before getting the equalizer. That is a concern that needs to be addressed going into the next clash. While Al-Taawoun defeated Al-Duhail in the opening game, it was a close-run thing and the Qataris usually create plenty of chances and have the firepower to put them away. A draw would not be a terrible result and would keep Al-Taawoun on course for, at the very least, a place in the last 16 as one of the best placed runners-up. 5. Good news from the east While the western zone has been fairly predictable, that has not been the case in the opposite half. As discussed previously, there is no Chinese challenge and Australian clubs don’t look like improving their AFC Champions League record so far. On Matchday 2, three South Korean teams — remember, the country is by far the most successful in terms of Asian titles won — lost to Southeast Asian teams. Representatives from Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia are unlikely to go all the way but they have shown that even the likes of 2020 champion Ulsan Horangi are vulnerable. Only one thing for certain is that there will be an eastern team taking on a western side in the final. At the moment, the western half is looking considerably stronger than its counterpart.
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NEW YORK: Triple Crown veteran Todd Pletcher had simple advice Saturday for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. before the Belmont Stakes. “Be patient,” Pletcher said. “I think you have the best last quarter of any horse in the race.” Sometimes, less is Mo. Mo Donegal pulled away down the home stretch and held off filly Nest…
NEW YORK: Triple Crown veteran Todd Pletcher had simple advice Saturday for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. before the Belmont Stakes. “Be patient,” Pletcher said. “I think you have the best last quarter of any horse in the race.” Sometimes, less is Mo. Mo Donegal pulled away down the home stretch and held off filly Nest to win the Belmont Stakes, giving Pletcher a 1-2 finish and his sixth Triple Crown victory, including four at this track on the outskirts of New York City. “To be honest with you, we were a little confident going into the race today,” Donegal Racing CEO and co-owner Jerry Crawford said. “When he turned for home, I was like, forget about it. I know Todd thought he could get a strong last quarter mile, and he surely did.” Rich Strike, a stunning Kentucky Derby winner at 80-to-1 odds, was sixth. Mo Donegal rounded the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2 minutes, 28.28 seconds, three lengths ahead of Nest — ridden by Ortiz’s brother, Jose. Pletcher, who lives on Long Island, adds another Belmont title following wins with Rags to Riches in 2007, Palace Malice in 2013 and Tapwrit in 2017. Mo Donegal beat an eight-horse field without a clear favorite. We the People, a monster in the mud, opened at 2 to 1 amid a rainy forecast but reached 7 to 2 by race time as showers held off. Mo Donegal entered the gate the betting favorite at 5 to 2. We the People led for much of the race, but Mo Donegal and Ortiz took charge coming out of the final turn. The 3-year-old colt paid $7.20, $3.80 and $3. Nest — who nearly became Pletcher’s second filly to win Belmont after Rags to Riches — paid $5.30 and $4.10. Skippylongstocking was third and returned $5.60 to show. We the People finished fourth. Rich Striker owner Rick Dawson and trainer Eric Reed held the Kentucky Derby winner out of the Preakness with an eye on Belmont, the first healthy horse to skip Pimlico after winning the Triple Crown’s first even since 1985. Reed said the team encouraged jockey Sonny Leon to try pushing Rich Strike from the outside, but the horse kept trying to get back inside — where he made a late charge past 19 horse to win at Churchill Downs. Rich Strike spent much of the race in last place and couldn’t recover. “I think we just made a tactical error,” Reed said. Just like Rich Strike, Mo Donegal was at the back of the pack at the Derby, but the colt didn’t have enough kick at Churchill Downs. He found it Saturday, winning the 154th running of the $1.5 million race. Mo Donegal made a winner out of co-owner Mike Repole, a local entrepreneur known around the track as “Mike from Queens.” Repole also co-owns Nest. “This is New York’s biggest race and to win it here, with my family and friends and 70 people here, this will be a big winner’s circle,” he said. It’s the fourth straight year the Triple Crown contests were won by three different horses, a first for the sport since 1926-29. The race marked a return to form for Belmont itself after the 2020 Stakes were closed to the public due to the pandemic and the 2021 event was limited to 11,238 spectators by virus restrictions. Capacity was capped again, this time at 50,000, because of congestion concerns stemming from the newly built arena next door for the NHL’s New York Islanders. Still, fans crammed into cars on the Long Island Rail Road and breathed life into the 117-year-old track with floral headwear, pastel suits and the unmistakable musk of booze and cigars. The reported attendance of 46,103 fell far short of the grounds record 120,139 set in 2004. Not much of a surprise, given the shaky weather forecast and the lack of a Triple Crown contender. The field was sparse, too. No horse ran all three Triple Crown legs this year, heightening concern that three races in five weeks may be too tight a schedule to keep the horses healthy. Preakness winner Early Voting was sidelined, likely to prepare for the $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 27. Epicenter, the runner-up at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, also skipped. In the $500,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies, Matareya romped to a 6 1/4-length victory. Favorite Echo Zulu scratched at the post on the advice of the track veterinarian. Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Flavien Prat, Matareya ($2.60) ran the mile in 1:35.77, winning for the fifth time in eight career starts. Heavily favored Flightline got off a step slow, overcame an early traffic issue and cruised to a six-length victory in the $1 million Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Mile. The victory kept the 4-year-old Tapit colt undefeated in four career starts. This was the first one he did not win by double-digit lengths. Flightline ($2.90) was also ridden by Prat and trained by John Sadler.
5 things we learned from Saudi Arabia’s 1-0 loss to Venezuela
Saudi Arabia continued their preparations for the World Cup. (@SaudiNT) Short Url https://arab.news/r8vnk Updated 10 sec ago John Duerden June 10, 2022 11:23 Topics: sports Saudi Arabia football Related Sport Saudi football squad in Spain for 1st training camp ahead of 2022 World Cup Sport Saudi football chief praises ‘intelligent leader’ Renard, promises Jeddah party…
Saudi Arabia continued their preparations for the World Cup. (@SaudiNT) Short Url https://arab.news/r8vnk Updated 10 sec ago John Duerden June 10, 2022 11:23 Topics: sports Saudi Arabia football Related Sport Saudi football squad in Spain for 1st training camp ahead of 2022 World Cup Sport Saudi football chief praises ‘intelligent leader’ Renard, promises Jeddah party after World Cup qualification Updated 10 June 2022 AP June 10, 2022 07:53 Topics: Boston Celtics Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors Related Sport Celtics pound Warriors 116-100, take 2-1 lead in NBA Finals World Co-owner of Golden State Warriors comes under fire for comments on Uyghur Muslims Updated 10 June 2022 AFP June 10, 2022 04:44 Topics: Criterium du Dauphine Wout Van Aert Jumbo-Visma cycling Related Sport ‘Top Ganna’ beats Van Aert in Dauphine time trial Sport Vuillermoz caps comeback with Dauphine stage and race lead Updated 10 June 2022 AFP June 10, 2022 04:46 Topics: Shericka Jackson Diamond League Related Sport Bromell, Thompson-Herah bag 100-meter wins at Prefontaine Classic Sport Djokovic, Jabeur progress in Rome but back injury stops Raducanu Updated 10 June 2022 AFP June 10, 2022 02:36 Topics: Afcon Egypt 2023 AFCON qualifying match Mohamed Salah Related Sport Senegal coach wants AFCON games delayed to boost World Cup buildup Sport Mane and Senegal break Burkina Faso hearts to reach AFCON final Updated 10 June 2022 AP June 10, 2022 01:44 Topics: Nations League Related Sport Portugal earn draw at Spain, Haaland scores for Norway in Nations League Sport Titleholder France held by Croatia to 1-1 in Nations League
Curry shrugs off injury ahead of Game 4: I’m going to play
Curry said he got plenty of sleep — 10 1/2 hours — and spent some time with his foot in an ice bucket Updated 10 June 2022 AP June 10, 2022 07:53 BOSTON: Even as he lay on the court, with 240-pound Celtics center Al Horford on top of his recently recovered left ankle, Stephen…
Curry said he got plenty of sleep — 10 1/2 hours — and spent some time with his foot in an ice bucket Updated 10 June 2022 AP June 10, 2022 07:53 BOSTON: Even as he lay on the court, with 240-pound Celtics center Al Horford on top of his recently recovered left ankle, Stephen Curry knew what was wrong. And as soon as he stood up and took a few steps, he knew he would be OK. “I’m going to play. That’s all I know right now,” the Warriors star said on Thursday, a day before Golden State will face Boston in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. “I know exactly what it is,” said Curry, who hurt the same ankle on a similar play in a late-season game against Boston. “I guess (there’s) comfort knowing I’ve been through it before, but also you would rather not have to deal with something like that at this point in the season.” Curry wound up at the bottom of a pile Wednesday night as players from both teams dove for a loose ball late in the fourth quarter. Teammate Draymond Green said he heard Curry scream in pain, but the Warriors star remained in the game until coach Steve Kerr sent in the bench trailing by 14 with two minutes left. The Celtics held on to win 116-100 and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Golden State need a win on Friday night to avoid falling behind 3-1 before the series shifts back to San Francisco. A key to them avoiding the brink of elimination: Curry not just remaining healthy, but playing like a two-time NBA MVP. The Warriors guard scored 31 points in Game 3, but just two of them came in the fourth quarter as the league-leading Celtics defense chased him around the court. Golden State held a film session Thursday, but the team’s regulars did not practice. Curry appeared to walk without a limp when he entered the media room to talk to reporters, and he took the steps to the podium three at a time. He had no bandage or brace on his leg. Curry said he got plenty of sleep — 10 1/2 hours — and spent some time with his foot in an ice bucket. But he said he did not need an MRI because the injury was the same as the one he sustained when Celtics guard Marcus Smart landed on his foot in a March 16 game in San Francisco. “This one just wasn’t as bad as that one,” said Curry, who missed the last 12 games of the regular season. “As soon as you started to take a couple of steps, you kind of know whether you can run normal, cut normal or not. Back then, I couldn’t. Yesterday, I could. That gave me a little bit of confidence knowing it wasn’t as bad.” Asked Thursday if he would be sitting out if it were a regular-season game, Curry said he couldn’t say for sure. But for Game 4 of the NBA Finals, there’s no question. “I know I’m going to play,” he said. The Celtics listed center Robert Williams III as questionable on Thursday with the left knee injury that required late-season surgery and kept him out for seven of the team’s first 14 playoff games. Boston coach Ime Udoka said forward Jayson Tatum is dealing with a right shoulder stinger. “That’s going to flare up whenever he gets hit the wrong way,” Udoka said. “(He) had to shoot some free throws after, might be a little numb there. He is shooting threes right after, so I’m not sure it hampers his ability to finish at all.” Golden State have outscored Boston in the third quarter of all three games so far, so a reporter asked Kerr why they can’t start the game the same way. “I ask myself that question very often,” he said, “and I don’t have an answer.” The Warriors have outscored the Celtics by a combined score of 106-63 in the finals. Golden State had a 33-25 edge on Wednesday night, eliminating a 12-point halftime deficit and briefly taking the lead. Kerr joked that he has a book of “incredibly inspiring quotes” he calls on. “I just try to pull out the right one,” he said. “And if I get them fired up and they’re excited, then they seem to play better.” The third quarter struggles are a recurring problem for the Celtics, who had similar lapses against Miami and Milwaukee. “It’s just one of those things where it’s a mystery,” Smart said. “We’re definitely trying to not keep that pattern going.”