Saudis on course: 5 things we learned from Matchday 5 of AFC Champions League group stages The penultimate round of matches in the group stage of the Asian Champions League was a thrilling one, with all Saudi teams still in with a chance to reach the knockout stages. Here are five things we learned from the latest action. 1. Al-Shabab have sent Asia a message Al-Shabab needed a win to secure a place in the second round and they got it in style with a 6-0 thrashing of the unfortunate Mumbai City. It means that after five games, the Whites have 13 points with 16 goals scored and just one conceded. Only Riyadh rivals Al-Hilal can match such a performance. The game wasn’t as one-sided as the scoreline suggests. Some credit should be given to goalkeeper Fawaz Al-Qarni who made a magnificent double save early in the game to keep the Indians from taking the lead. Such heroics laid the foundation for what happened next with the rest of the evening belonging to the excellent Hatten Bahebri who scored a fine hat-trick. He gave the Saudi Arabian team the lead after 19 minutes and when Mourtada Fall put into his own net before the break, there was no coming back for Mumbai. It meant that Al-Shabab have roared into the knockout stages. The one downside is that they won’t be able to play those games until early next year. This momentum will have long dissipated by then and it remains to be seen how similar the team is. That is for the future, however. For now, Al-Shabab will be delighted. 2. Al-Hilal streak ends, but they can still help domestic rivals A 2-2 draw with Sharjah ended the 12-match winning streak that was the second-longest in the club’s history and is the first time that coach Ramon Diaz has failed to achieve a victory since returning as head coach in February. It is not something to worry about as the defending champions had already secured a place in the second round. It was far from a classic performance against the Emirate team. Many thought that the stars would be rested, but most of the changes came in defense. That was perhaps why Sharjah were able to take a two-goal lead into the break as Al-Hilal fell asleep for the first strike and then struggled to clear their lines for the second. There was a rally after the break as a more cohesive team pushed forward, and once they got a goal back, a real poacher’s strike from defender Muteb Al-Mufarrij, an equalizer was always on the cards and so it proved thanks to a late penalty converted by Salem Al-Dawsari. Al-Hilal have a game left, and if they can defeat Al-Rayyan of Qatar, then they will be doing Al-Taawoun a big favor in the battle to be one of the three best second-place teams. If Al-Rayyan lose and Al-Taawoun win, then the Saudi club will be certain of a place in the last 16. 3. Boyle’s late show keeps Al-Faisaly on course A 1-1 draw with Al-Wehdat may look like two points dropped, but it could have been worse for Al-Faisaly. After 90 minutes of not that much happening, the Jordanian club took the lead with a fine header from Ahmed Sariweh, and the Saudi Arabian hopefuls were slipping off their perch. But then up popped Martin Boyle — the Australian having been Al-Faisaly’s biggest threat all evening — at the far post to volley home what could be a crucial goal. It means that the debutants stay on top of Group E, a point above Nasaf Qarshi. It also means that the Dammam club control their own destiny. If they beat Al-Sadd in the final game, then they win the group. That would have felt like a daunting task at the start of the tournament but the Qatari powerhouse, dominant at home, have been abject in Asia and are already out of the running. It could be a big night in the history of Al-Faisaly before they get back to the less glamorous business of avoiding relegation. 4. Al-Taawoun blow it but are still in with a chance It was a thrilling game for the neutral, but Al-Taawoun took a 3-1 lead against Al-Duhail and ended up losing 4-3, conceding two goals in the final minutes. What was impressive was the way the Saudi Arabian team recovered from conceding an early goal to score three times before the break, but three goals in the second half gave the Qataris three points and a place in the second round. The game was between two teams with defensive weaknesses but considerable firepower. The winning goal will not go down well in Buraidah, however, with Almoez Ali, left unmarked at the far post, to head home and deprive the hosts of a valuable point. All is not lost, however. The only way to the last 16 is as one of the three best runners-up of the five groups. A win in the final game against Pakhtakor Tashkent will probably be enough, though it will depend on other results. The Uzbekistan team won 1-0 earlier in the group, but that is the only victory to their name and now they are out of the running. 5. Resurgent Shabab Al-Ahli flying flag for UAE It hasn’t been a great tournament so far for clubs from the UAE. Al-Jazira and Sharjah are already out of the running. That seemed to be the situation with Shabab Al-Ahli as well. The Dubai club drew their first three games and came from behind in each to do so with two of those equalizers coming in injury time. After finding their feet, however, they have really moved up a gear, and the 8-2 thrashing of Al-Gharafa — the Qataris were top of the group at the time of the meeting — will live long in the memory. It was followed by a more functional victory over Ahal, which now means that a point in the final game against Foolad will almost certainly translate to a place in the second round where they would be the only team flying the flag for the UAE.
Prochazka takes 205-pound title from Teixeira at UFC 275
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.”