An additional 90,000 tickets for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 have been sold within the first 24 hours of a second batch being released on 19 November, 2023. Supporters from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and India once again bought the majority of tickets offered. In addition to the tournament opener between Qatar and Lebanon, scheduled for 12 January at the iconic Lusail Stadium, the match between Saudi Arabia and Oman led ticket sales. Ticket sales are still ongoing for the tournament. Fans can purchase tickets online through the tournament’s official ticketing website. Prices for group stage match tickets start at QR25. A total of 51 matches are set to be played across stadiums between 12 January and 10 February, 2024.Qatar’s compact nature means that the farthest distance between any two stadiums is 75kms. This will enable supporters and players alike to stay in one place accommodation throughout the tournament. Stadiums and key cultural and fan activity sites will be connected by a robust metro system and modern road network.All match tickets for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 are digital and can be downloaded and presented on any mobile device. Hayya will not be a mandatory prerequisite to enter stadiums. All stadiums will be equipped with accessible seating options to ensure that disabled fans can enjoy a barrier-free experience. This includes wheelchair accessible seating as well as seats for people with limited mobility.For more information about the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, one may visit http://asiancup2023.qa and follow @Qatar2023 on X, formerly known as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Italy’s Francesco Bagnaia enjoyed a dream day as he retained his MotoGP world title and crowned it with victory in the final race of the season in Valencia yesterday.The 26-year-old Ducati rider had been assured of the championship when his sole rival Jorge Martin crashed early in the race.Bagnaia had his own nightmare crash when he suffered a leg injury in the Catalunya MotoGP in early September.“It’s a dream!” said Bagnaia of his title.“I am super happy“It’s been a great season even if Barcelona and the leg injury made it really tough for the run in.“I’ve always dreamed of winning the title while also winning the race.“I would like to pay tribute to the team, who have done an extraordinary job this season.”Bagnaia was leading at the time on his Ducati unaware that Martin had come to grief after his Ducati-Pramac clipped Marc Marquez’s Honda resulting in both riders coming to grief.Martin walked off shaking his hands in frustration whilst six-time champion Marquez limped away in what was his final race for Honda.Martin returned to the pitlane where he burst into tears and was embraced by his team members after the crash that left the 93,000 spectators in shock.Once the tears had dried post the finish of the race he graciously hugged Bagnaia and conceded that although he had been king of the sprint races this season – the Spaniard won nine – his rival deserved the title.“I made too many mistakes, that is the simple truth,” said Martin, who had done well to make the title race competitive as Bagnaia held a 62 point lead at the halfway stage of the season.“These are things I will need to sort out for next season.”Bagnaia for his part was a bag of nerves he said during the race as he did not realise his rival had crashed out.“I did not see that Martin had crashed,” said Bagnaia, even though his team held out a board to announce he was out.“I thought he was still in the race and I was scared.“I said to myself the best thing to do was to ride to win the race and that would ensure I retained the title.”Martin, 25, had made an excellent start, the Spaniard surging from sixth on the grid to second and pressuring Bagnaia.However, on the second lap Martin clipped Bagnaia’s bike and although he averted total disaster he dropped down to eighth spot.A few laps later, though, he was unable to save himself a second time and the title was delivered into 26-year-old Bagnaia’s hands.Bagnaia – who started from pole after Maverick Vinales was demoted for aninfraction during the warm-up – rode a perfect race by contrast and regained the lead after Jack Miller crashed spectacularly.Although last week’s Qatar victor Fabio Di Giannantonio challenged him Bagnaia held his nerve and eased over the line, punching the air in delight as he recorded his seventh win of the campaign.Di Giannantonio held off Frenchman Johann Zarco to take second.“I am very happy,” said Di Giannantonio.“I was not feeling very good in the middle of the race.“I found some reserves and thought I could pass him on the final lap but on the final corner I lost it and my head dropped.”Bagnaia after climbing off his bike proceeded to slam dunk a basketball and then put three gold rings onto his fingers.It is the second successive year Bagnaia has won the title on the final day – Martin had reduced his lead to just 14 points on Saturday with victory in the sprint race.RESULTSValencia MotoGP1: Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) 40:58.53502Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) +0.360Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +2.347Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP) +3.176Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team) +4.636Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) +4.708Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) +4.736Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) +8.014Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) +9.486Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) 10.556
Former champions Al Sadd are looking forward to present a strong match against Sharjah today to make up for the points they dropped in the previous rounds of the AFC Champions League in order to cling on to their chance of qualifying for the next round.The Group ‘B’ match in Sharjah today is of great importance for Al Sadd, under new coach Wesam Rizik, who are keen on collecting full points.“It’s a crucial match against a good side. We will play for victory to maintain our chances until the last minute,” Al Sadd’s interim coach Wesam Rizik, who replaced Bruno Miguel last week, said yesterday.“We have four points and we will strive to maintain our chances to advance in the tournament. We will play to keep our hopes alive,” he said.Al Sadd will miss defender Paulo Otavio due to suspension and midfielder Guillerme Torres due to injury. Ali Asad may return to the team after recovering from an injury. It has been another troubled season for 2011 winners Al Sadd, who only have four points to show. The 2-0 defeat to Al Faisaly of Jordan all but ensured that the Qatar side will miss the knockout stage for the third consecutive season. Al Sadd and Sharjah FC had played out a goalless draw in the first leg (Round 1) at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.Uzbekistan’s Nasaf will host Jordan’s Al Faisaly in the other match of the day.However, Sharjah will strive for full points against Al Sadd. Should the United Arab Emirates side win and Nasaf fail to collect full points in their tie against Al Faisaly, Sharjah will confirm top spot with a match to spare.Sharjah will feel confident of their chances after the 1-1 draw with Nasaf on November 6 saw them maintain their one-point lead. The result meant the head-to-head ratio with Nasaf is in favour of Sharjah and they will be determined to not drop points against Al Sadd.Al Duhail host IstiklolAl Duhail will host Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol in the fifth round Group E AFC Champions League match at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha today.This is the last opportunity for both teams to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the next round, as the top side from each group will advance to the round of 16 along with the best three second-placed teams from among the five groups.Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr are leading Group E with 12 points, followed by Iranian club Persepolis (seven points), FC Istiklol (two points) and Al Duhail (one point).Al Duhail, under the tutelage of Frenchman Christophe Galtier, have their task cut out against FC Istiklol. It may be recalled that Al Duhail had reached the semi-finals in the last edition of AFC Champions League in 2022.Galtier will be counting mainly on Almoez Ali, who scored five goals against Afghanistan (four goals) and India (one goal) recently in the joint Asian qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup and 2027 Asian Cup, as well as Kenyan star Michael Olunga and Brazilian Philippe Coutinho.During the recent international break when the Expo Stars League had taken a break, Galtier was keen to take advantage of it to correct some mistakes as his wards geared up for the FC Istiklol game.SCHEDULESharjah FC (UAE) v Al Sadd SC (QAT)Venue: Sharjah Stadium (Sharjah)Kick-off: 5:00pmAl Duhail SC (QAT) v FC Istiklol (TJK)Venue: Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium (Doha)Kick-off: 7:00pm
Manchester United rubbed salt into Everton wounds as Alejandro Garnacho’s stunning overhead kick helped the Red Devils to a 3-0 win that left the Toffees still rooted in the Premier League relegation zone.Everton’s first match since receiving a 10-point deduction for breaches of financial rules was met with a furious response at Goodison Park as the home support held up thousands of placards labelling the Premier League “corrupt”.But the match was only three minutes old when Garnacho produced a sublime piece of skill that will go down as one of the great Premier League goals.The Argentine sprang to met Diogo Dalot’s hanging cross flush on the volley and fire it into Jordan Pickford’s top left-hand corner.That moment of magic was out of keep with another patchy United performance, but Marcus Rashford’s penalty and Anthony Martial’s strike ensured Erik ten Hag’s men have now won five of their last six league games. United climb up to sixth in the table and within six points of leaders Arsenal despite a troubled season. The visitors had to cope with a febrile atmosphere as the Everton support took out their frustrations on the authorities for being handed the most severe sporting sanction in Premier League history.After two seasons battling relegation, Sean Dyche’s men looked to have pulled clear of trouble thanks to a fine recent run of form.But they are now off the bottom of the table only on goal difference and five points adrift of safety.Everton were left to rue a series of missed chances after Garnacho stunned the raucous home support early on. Dominic Calvert-Lewin twice failed to make the most of excellent headed chances.Teenager Kobbie Mainoo shone on his first Premier League start for United and only a goalline clearance from the midfielder denied Dwight McNeil an equaliser after Andre Onana parried Calvert-Lewin’s initial effort. Abdoulaye Doucoure then slotted another glorious opportunity wide as Everton failed to press home their dominance before the break. And the feeling among the home support that the world is against them was not helped when VAR intervened early in the second period to award United a controversial penalty.Referee John Brooks had initially booked Martial for diving as he went down in the box under a challenge from Ashley Young.The contact appeared minimal for VAR to get involved, but Brooks overturned his decision after viewing a replay. Bruno Fernandes handed responsibility from the spot to Rashford and the England international took the chance to smash home first club goal since September 3.Earlier, Ollie Watkins fired Aston Villa into fourth place as they came from behind to win 2-1 at Tottenham on a day the hosts paid tribute to former boss Terry Venables.Unai Emery’s side trailed to Giovani Lo Celso’s first goal of the season in the first half in north London. But Pau Torres equalised just before the break and Watkins’ 12th goal this term wrapped up an impressive result for revitalised Villa.Villa moved above Tottenham into fourth, with Ange Postecoglou’s team falling two points behind them in fifth after a third successive defeat stalled their early-season momentum. Tottenham have squandered the lead in all three of their defeats, but Postecoglou could point to the injuries that have robbed him of several key players including James Maddison.“The outcome is disappointing but I thought the players did a fantastic job, playing the football we want,” Postecoglou said. “On any other day we win that game. It’s fine margins. If we keep playing like that when we get everyone back we will be a pretty good side.”Villa’s resilient third away win in their last 11 league games underlined the improvements made by Emery since he replaced the sacked Steven Gerrard last season.Sitting just two points behind leaders Arsenal, Villa have won four of their last five league games to spark genuine hopes of a top four challenge. “It was an amazing match. Both teams created chances. We were efficient and clinical in our attacking. I enjoyed it but I lost my energy!” Emery said.“Of course we can get confidence when we are winning matches like today. We are willing to fight. I tell the players ‘enjoy our position but we are not content’.”As a innovative former manager of England, Barcelona and Tottenham, where he won the FA Cup in 1991, Venables would have appreciated the attacking quality of both teams on the day he passed away aged 80. With both teams wearing black armbands, a picture of Venables was displayed on each of the big screens during a minute of applause in celebration of his life before kick-off.
Qatari driver Abdullah Jawad al-Abdullah put up an impressive performance throughout the second round of the Qatar Drift Championship to seal a double glory. He defeated the two-time champion Ahmed al-Amri in the final, becoming the champion in both overall and local categories.Al-Abdullah and al-Amri booked their place in the final showdown after defeating Mohamed al-Jundi and Riyadh al-Mabassali in their respective semis-finals. Al-Mabassali later made a comeback, defeating al-Jundi in the third-place match.Intense competition, exciting results, and new faces on the podiums, alongside a stellar performance by local racers —were the highlights of the second round of the championship, held under the auspices of Qatar Racing Club Chairman HE Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani.The competition began with qualifying trials held over two sessions on Thursday.The results crowned Ali al-Jabshah with another victory, securing the first position and repeating his success from the previous round.Newcomer to the championship, Omani racer al-Mabassali, claimed the second position, while al-Amri secured the third position - having been the runner-up in the previous round. Kuwaiti racer Salem al -Sarraf took the fourth position, the same position he held in the trials of the previous round. Other results showed Qatari racer Abdullah Jawad al-Abdullah in the fifth position, surpassing his compatriots Saud al-Attiyah and Abdullah al-Muhtasib, a driver for the “Brothers” team.The round also witnessed some surprises, notably the inability of the champion of the previous round, Haitham al-Hadidi, to participate in the qualifiers due to a mechanical issue.This was also the case for Alaa Al Din Zareef and Walid Salem, who missed the qualifying trials – al-Zareef due to a mechanical problem and Salem due to an accident before the start of the trials.In the first round of the tandem matchups, racer al-Jundi defeated his opponent Yazan al-Jabshah. Kuwaiti racer Salem al-Sarraf also advanced by defeating racer Yasser Mustafa, while al-Abdullah surpassed racer Khaled al-Shafei.The most notable surprise was the early exit of the top qualifier Ali al-Jabshah, who lost to Ahmed al-Ghanim. The second part of the tandem matchups witnessed the victory of the second-place qualifier al-Msbassali over Mazen Nasr. Additionally, Abdullah al-Muhtasib and Ahmed al-Amri continued their journey to the second round. The former defeated Mubarak al-Dosari, while the latter triumphed over Mohamed al-Jaber.Saud al-Attiyah, having no opponent due to the absence of his Kuwaiti competitor Mohamed Khurshid due to mechanical issues, also advanced to the second round.In the semi-finals, Al-Jundi defeated Al-Ghanim, Abdullah overcame al-Sarraf, al-Mabassali beat al-Muhtasib, and al-Amri outclassed al-Attiyah.Qatar Racing Club General Manager Sheikh Jabor bin Khalid al-Thani, Kuwait’s Basil Salem al-Sabah Club General Manager Saif Awad al-Mutairi, and the Kuwaiti club’s General Secretary Fahad al-Ilaj crowned the top three winners as the third round of the championship concluded on a high note. The third round is scheduled for the end of next month.
Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen wrapped up Formula One’s most dominant season with a record-extending 19th win in 22 races at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix yesterday.The pole-to-flag victory, for the fourth year in a row under the Yas Marina floodlights, left the 26-year-old alone in third place in Formula One’s all-time list of winners with a career 54.Only seven times champions Lewis Hamilton (103) and Michael Schumacher (91) have won more.Sergio Perez finished second on the road for Red Bull but a five second post-race penalty dropped the Mexican off the podium, behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Mercedes’ George Russell.Leclerc had let Perez through on the penultimate lap in a strategic calculation to help his team’s bid for second place that ultimately came to nothing when the Mexican was unable to pull out a big enough gap.Russell’s podium finish meant Mercedes ended their first winless season since 2011 as best of the rest behind Red Bull, who scored a whopping 860 points to Mercedes’ 409 and Ferrari’s 406.“It was an incredible season,” said Verstappen, who also became the first driver to lead 1,000 racing laps in a single championship, scored a record 575 points and ended the year with a record win rate of 86.4%.Along the way he racked up a record 10 wins in a row and 21 podium finishes, with Red Bull winning all but one of the races.“It was a bit emotional on the in-lap, it was the last time I was sitting in the car which has of course given me a lot,” he said after taking the chequered flag 17.9 seconds ahead of Leclerc.“It will be hard to do something similar again but we definitely enjoyed this year.”McLaren secured fourth overall, 22 points clear of Aston Martin, with Lando Norris fifth and Australian teammate Oscar Piastri sixth in the best season by a rookie driver since Hamilton in 2007.Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso finished seventh, winning a close battle with Leclerc, Norris and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for fourth overall in the championship, with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda eighth.Tsunoda led a race for the first time, for five laps after Verstappen and Leclerc pitted on 17 and 18 respectively, providing a nice farewell for retiring AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost.The points were still not quite enough to overtake Williams in seventh place overall.Hamilton finished ninth and Canadian Lance Stroll took the final point for Aston Martin in a race with no retirements.Verstappen was 6.2 seconds clear of Leclerc at half distance, with the television cameras mostly focused on the tight battle between Mercedes and Ferrari and the order changing through the evening.The champion, who wrapped up his third title in Qatar last month with six Grands Prix to spare, led cleanly into the first corner from pole position with Leclerc close behind and twice trying to get past on the opening lap.McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris followed in hot pursuit, with the latter passing Russell at the start, and traded positions as Leclerc’s challenge faded.Russell passed Piastri for fourth on lap 11 and then overtook Norris in the pits four laps later after a slow 5.1 second stop for the McLaren driver.Further back Hamilton and Gasly made contact on lap 15, the Mercedes running into the back of the Alpine, in a tussle for sixth place. Perez, who started in ninth place, was handed his time penalty for a collision with Norris while trying to pass the McLaren on lap 47. “That’s just dangerous driving. He had loads of space,” said Norris over the radio, with the Mexican later protesting that he had been ahead.
Terry Venables, the former manager of England’s national soccer team and Tottenham Hotspur, has died aged 80 after an illness, his family said yesterday.Venables guided England to the semi-finals of the 1996 European Championship on home soil before losing to eventual champions Germany on penalties.“We are totally devastated by the loss of a wonderful husband and father who passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness,” the family said in a statement.In addition to his spell in charge of Tottenham, during which he won the FA Cup in the 1990-91 season, he also took charge of Crystal Palace, Leeds United and Barcelona in a glittering managerial career.During his time at Barcelona, Venables earned the nickname El Tel, winning LaLiga and reaching the European Cup final in 1986. Venables was also responsible for bringing British strikers Gary Lineker and Mark Hughes to the Nou Camp.“The best, most innovative coach that I had the privilege and pleasure of playing for,” Lineker, who also played under Venables at Spurs and England, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.“He was much more, though, than just a great manager, he was vibrant, he was charming, he was witty, he was a friend.”Venables started his professional career as a player with Chelsea in 1960 and played for Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace before retiring to take over the manager’s role there.As a player, he made over 500 league appearances and won the League Cup with Chelsea in 1965 and the FA Cup with Spurs in 1967. He made two international appearances for England.Venables also had a two-year stint as chief executive of Spurs from 1991-93.“We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Terry Venables, our former player, manager and chief executive, who passed away on Saturday,” Spurs said in a statement.Current England manager Gareth Southgate, part of the Euro 1996 side and who missed a penalty in the shootout defeat by Germany, said Venables “made people feel special.”“Any player will have great affinity with the manager that gave them their opportunity, but it was quickly evident playing for Terry Venables that he was an outstanding coach and manager,” Southgate said.“Tactically excellent, he had a wonderful manner, capable of handling everyone from the youngest player to the biggest star.”Venables also brought the mercurial Paul Gascoigne to Tottenham from Newcastle in 1988, helping him become one of the most sought-after midfielders in the world.“Such a sad day, cheers boss,” Gascoigne said.
Italy won the Davis Cup for the first time since 1976 as Jannik Sinner crushed Alex de Minaur 6-3, 6-0 to seal a 2-0 win over Australia yesterday in Malaga.The world number four clinched victory in the second singles rubber after Matteo Arnaldi dug deep to beat Alexei Popyrin 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in the opening clash.Sinner, who remarkably beat top-ranked superstar Novak Djokovic twice in one day on Saturday as Italy eliminated Serbia, secured his country’s second title against Lleyton Hewitt’s 28-time winners in style.The Italian demoralised the scampering De Minaur with a relentless performance, overpowering him with vicious ground-strokes. Sinner had won each of the five prior meetings between the pair and the world number 12 came no closer this time, brutally dismantled in under 90 minutes.Australia’s wait for a Davis Cup trophy goes on, with their last coming in 2003, but Italy, who last reached a final in 1998, celebrated wildly when De Minaur went wide to end the tie.Sinner, laser-focused from the start, broke early in the first set for a 2-1 lead when De Minaur sent a lob long and then consolidated with a powerful forehand.The 22-year-old brought up three set points and clinched the first set with the second of them when De Minaur volleyed beyond the baseline.In the second set Sinner produced 19 winners to just five unforced errors to sweep to victory.Arnaldi had to cling on to beat Popyrin in the first match.“I think I won one of the most important matches in my life, I don’t know what to say right now,” said an emotional Arnaldi.Australia captain Hewitt opted to maintain Popyrin in the first singles rubber, while Italy’s Filippo Volandri returned to Arnaldi ahead of Lorenzo Musetti, despite his defeat in Italy’s 2-1 quarter-final win over the Netherlands.Popyrin, whose nerves were jangling in the semi-final singles first set against Finland, started his first service game with a double fault after Arnaldi held to love.Arnaldi brought up three break points the next time around with a fizzing forehand and took the third of them when Popyrin went long, for a 3-1 lead. However world number 40 Popyrin reacted immediately by breaking back and holding, both to love, showing he would not be overawed by the occasion.Arnaldi earned three set points but the Australian rescued them and completed a tough hold for 5-5 with two strong serves.Popyrin wasted two break points as Arnaldi held for 6-5 and then pushed a return into the net to hand the Italian a tense first set.The Australian was far stronger in the second set against Finland and it proved the case again, as he raced into a double break against Arnaldi, saving a break point as he held for 4-0. Arnaldi finally got on the board in the fifth game but Popyrin - who produced six aces in the second set to the Italian’s zero - served it out to force a decisive third set.The erratic Arnaldi saved break points in his first, second and fourth service games without putting pressure on Popyrin’s serve until earning a break point which the 24-year-old saved, holding for 4-4.Popyrin was on top but could not make it count to get the breakthrough, with Arnaldi saving yet another break point on his way to a 5-4 lead.Despite being outplayed for the best part of the third set Arnaldi converted his first set point to put Italy ahead in the tie with a powerful forehand, with Sinner completing the job without a fuss.
Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ishan Kishan led India’s batting charge to set up a convincing 44-run win over Australia in the second Twenty20 international yesterday.Jaiswal smashed a 25-ball 53 and fellow left-hander Kishan hit 52 off 32 deliveries to help India to 235-4 after being invited to bat first in Thiruvananthapuram.Spinner Ravi Bishnoi and fast bowler Prasidh Krishna took three wickets each as the hosts kept Australia down to 191-9 and extend their lead to 2-0 in the five-match series.Batsmen ruled as Jaiswal lay the foundations for India’s mammoth total with key contributions from fellow opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, who made 58, and Rinku Singh’s unbeaten nine-ball 31.“The boys are not putting too much pressure on me. They are taking onus,” India skipper Suryakumar Yadav, who won his second successive match as national captain, said. “I told them (players) before, be prepared to bat first. There was a lot of dew. We talked to defend it later.”Jaiswal was named man of the match and said: “It was really special for me. I was trying to play all my shots. Was trying to be fearless. I was sure of my decisions.”He added: “I have been told by Surya and VVS bhai to express myself. I always think of how I can improve myself around experienced players and nothing else. Still learning.”When asked about his his encounter with Ruturaj Gaekwad after the run out last game, Jaiswal said: “It was my mistake. I went to him and said sorry. Stoinis was between me, I was sure but then not sure. I made the wrong call. I accepted that it was a mistake and it happens. Rutu bhai was humble and said in the gym that the next time we are running, we will take secure singles. I really worked on my fitness and play shots. I feel the mental stuff is more important in this level. Try to get better each and every day”Jaiswal, who smashed nine fours and two sixes, raced to his fifty in 24 balls but soon fell to fast bowler Nathan Ellis, who got three wickets. Kishan, a wicketkeeper-batsman, raised his fifty with a six off leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha before he got out to Marcus Stoinis.But the left-handed Rinku finished off the innings with a flurry of boundaries and sixes.In reply, Australia fell to 58-4 including Steve Smith (19), previous-match centurion Josh Inglis (two) and Glenn Maxwell (12) back in the dug-out. Tim David, who smashed 37, and Stoinis, who hit 45 off 25 balls, attempted to hit back in their partnership of 81 as the two hit six fours and six sixes between them. Bishnoi broke the stand with his leg-spin to dismiss David who mistimed a hit to long-on.Stoinis was the next to go as the wheels came off the chase and Krishna got two more to nearly end the batting team’s hopes.Skipper Matthew Wade struck an unbeaten 42 off 23 balls to reduce the margin of loss for Australia, who last week lost the opener four days after being crowned champions of the ODI World Cup.“We’re making the right decisions but aren’t executing in the right moments,” Australia coach Andre Borovec said. The third T20 is tomorrow in Guwahati.BRIEF SCORESIndia 235-4 in 20 overs (R. Gaikwad 58, Y. Jaiswal 53, I. Kishan 52; N. Ellis 3-45) v Australia 191-9 in 20 overs (M. Stoinis 45, M. Wade 42 not out, T. David 37; P. Krishna 3-41, R. Bishnoi 3-32)Result: India won by 44 runsSeries: India lead series 2-0
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s late equaliser rescued Liverpool in their 1-1 draw at title rivals Manchester City, as Arsenal snatched top spot in the Premier League with a dramatic 1-0 win at Brentford yesterday.Alexander-Arnold struck 10 minutes from the end of a tense summit meeting at the Etihad Stadium after Haaland’s landmark strike looked like extending City’s record home winning run. City had won their previous 23 games on home turf in all competitions, but Liverpool’s escape act gave Arsenal the chance to leapfrog both of them into pole position.Haaland converted Nathan Ake’s pass with a fine finish from just inside the area in the 27th minute, reaching his half-century of Premier League goals in record time in his 48th appearance.Pep Guardiola’s men went flat after that and Alexander-Arnold made them pay, drilling his shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area before celebrating by putting a finger to his lips in front of the City fans.“It’s a tough place to come. If we’d played really well today, we could have won, but we didn’t. We played OK,” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said. “For the moment we’re in, we should take the point as a success. I have nothing to complain about.”Guardiola was involved in a heated exchange of words with Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez at the final whistle, with Klopp having to lead his player away from the confrontation. “That was an excellent performance. I’m really proud that after eight years we are still playing that way. We were really good in all departments and needed to be against an incredible team,” Guardiola said.Arsenal made the most of that result, taking first place thanks to Kai Havertz’s late goal in west London. Havertz was a Champions League final hero for Chelsea in 2021, but he has endured a torrid time since crossing London to join Arsenal in the close-season. The 24-year-old midfielder finally gave a glimpse of why Mikel Arteta splashed out £65mn ($80mn) to sign him when he met Bukayo Saka’s cross with a close-range header in the 89th minute.Havertz’s second goal for Arsenal was his first in his last 10 appearances, moving his team one point clear of second placed Manchester City. “You can see how much they love him (Havertz) and what he brings to the team. The goal was at the perfect time and it was perfect execution, as big players do,” Arteta said.“We are so happy. I think we fully deserve to win the game, the team competed extraordinarily well. Credit to them [Brentford] for what they do because they make it really hard for every team here but I think we showed a lot of resilience & belief,” he added.At St James’ Park, injury-hit Newcastle crushed Chelsea 4-1 as Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino labelled his side “soft”.Sixth placed Newcastle were stretched so thin that Eddie Howe had to name three goalkeepers among his substitutes. But they ignored their fitness issues to bounce back from successive defeats against Bournemouth and Borussia Dortmund. Newcastle striker Alexander Isak fired home from Lewis Miley’s pass to open the scoring in the 13th minute.Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling equalised with a superb free-kick 10 minutes later, but Jamaal Lascelles restored Newcastle’s advantage with a header on the hour.And less than 60 seconds later, Joelinton punished Thiago Silva after the Chelsea defender mis-controlled Cole Palmer’s pass. Chelsea right-back Reece James was sent off for a second booking in the 73rd minute and Newcastle rounded off their demolition 10 minutes later when Anthony Gordon slotted home.It was the heaviest defeat of Pochettino’s first season in charge and the second successive game that Chelsea conceded four goals. “We were so soft in every single challenge. We didn’t show that we were playing for something important. That’s what makes me angry and disappointed,” Pochettino said.Fourth bottom Luton secured their first home league win this season as Crystal Palace were beaten 2-1 at Kenilworth Road. West Ham staged a late fightback to steal a 2-1 win that added to rock bottom Burnley’s relegation fears.Brighton won for the first time in seven league games as Joao Pedro inspired a 3-2 victory at Nottingham Forest Marcus Tavernier scored twice as Bournemouth won 3-1 at third bottom Sheffield United.Results Brentford 0 Arsenal 1 (Havertz 89); Burnley 1 (Rodriguez 49-pen) West Ham 2 (O’Shea 86-og, Soucek 90+1); Luton 2 (Mengi 72, Brown 83) Crystal Palace 1 (Olise 74); Manchester City 1 (Haaland 27) Liverpool 1 (Alexander-Arnold 80); Newcastle 4 (Isak 13, Lascelles 60, Joelinton 61, Gordon 83) Chelsea 1 (Sterling 23); Nottingham Forest 2 (Elanga 3, Gibbs-White 76-pen) Brighton 3 (Ferguson 26, Pedro 45, 58-pen); Sheffield United 1 (McBurnie 90+7) Bournemouth 3 (Tavernier 12, 51, Kluivert 45)Playing today (times GMT): Tottenham v Aston Villa (1400), Everton v Manchester United (1630)Tomorrow: Fulham v Wolves (2000)
Al Arabi rallied to beat Al Wakrah 2-1 in a highly-absorbing Expo Stars League match at the Grand Hamad Stadium yesterday.Yousef Msakni (77th minute) and Jassim Jaber (89th minute) scored for The Dream Team after Al Wakrah had moved into the lead in the 24th minute with a goal from Khalid Munir. Al Wakrah were reduced to 10 men in the field in the 78th minute when Hamdi Fathi was shown the red card for a tackle against Marco Verrati. The three points from the win took Al Arabi’s tally to seventh placed, while Al Wakrah’s first loss of the season meant they stay at third.Al Gharafa defeated Umm Salal 2-1 at the Thani Bin Jassim Stadium, with Farid Boulaya (39th minute) and Ferjani Sassi (89th minute) on target. Umm Salal got their only goal through Kenji Gorre in the 57th minute.With the result, Al Gharafa go top of the table replacing Al Sadd, who have played two matches less due to AFC Champions League commitments.After several knocks on Umm Salal’s door, Al Gharafa finally got their opening goal against the run of play in the 39th minute, with Boulaya’s curling right-footed shot from outside the box hitting the top right corner of goal following a misplaced back pass by Oussama Tannane.Gorre restored parity for Umm Salal in the 57th minute with a right-footed shot from outside the box, after an overlapping run, to the bottom right corner of goalkeeper Khalifa Ababacar’s net.With the match seemingly heading for a stalemate, Ferjani restored Al Gharafa’s lead in the 88th minute with a well-placed low right-footed shot right from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 for the visiting team.Shortly after the goal, a mild drama ensued, with Umm Salal coach Patrice Cateron being given the marching orders for protesting against the referee’s decision following a yellow card shown to Adel al-Sulaimane for a tackle in injury time. Despite Umm Salal’s attempt at an equaliser, The Cheetahs stood their ground as they ran away with the victory.In the other match of the day, Al Rayyan were held to a frustrating goalless draw by Muaither. Rayyan are fifth in the table, while Muaither second from the bottom.
Jorge Martin ensured the MotoGP title will be decided on the final day of the season as he won yesterday’s Valencia MotoGP sprint race reducing defending champion Francesco Bagnaia’s lead to just 14 points.Bagnaia could have sealed the crown in the sprint but despite starting a row in front of Martin he failed to sparkle.Instead it was the Spaniard who fronted up taking the lead on his Ducati-Primac with just over half the 13 lap race completed to record a crucial win and re-energise his title hopes in Sunday’s MotoGP.Martin - winning his ninth sprint race of the campaign - will be crowned champion for sure if he wins and Bagnaia finishes outside the top five.“I took a big gamble in racing on a soft rear tyre,” said Martin. “It was not easy starting from sixth spot and trying to pass my rivals.“I was having problems on the left hand turns but I got into a rhythm.“I watched as Brad Binder moved away but I gave everything and went really hard.“This shows that tomorrow I can win on proper tyres!”However, Martin admitted his task was a tough one to deny Bagnaia the title, with the Italian like in the sprint race due to start a row in front.“Well it is better a 14 point deficit than the 21 it was this morning!” he said.“But for sure it is complicated and all I can do is win the race and then see where Bagnaia finishes.”Bagnaia may have won six MotoGPs to Martin’s four this season but the ‘Martinator’ has had the upper hand in the sprint races - and yesterday’s was no exception despite an indifferent performance in morning qualifying.Bagnaia had a wonderful start dropping to fifth from second with 12 of 13 laps remaining while Martin moved into third.The 25-year-old Spaniard had over a second lead on the Italian by the fourth lap.The 2021 champion Fabio Quartararo, who had soared from 15th to sixth, came to grief with nine laps remaining as he tried to pass Bagnaia - the Frenchman slapping his hands together in frustration.Binder passed pole sitter Maverick Vinales for the lead with just over half of the race run but if Bagnaia’s Ducati team were looking for a surge from the Italian they were to be disappointed.The 26-year-old could not make any impression on the front quartet.Binder’s lead did not last long as to the roars of the home crowd Martin passed both Vinales and the South African to hit the front and was never challenged from there on in.Binder finished second and was more than happy with his performance.“I pushed the boundaries to their limits out there,” he said. “My aim was to be aggressive and I just put my head down and went for it.”Meanwhile Bagnaia - who secured the title last year on the final day of the season - looked relaxed as he sat with his team and smiling gave a thumbs up sign.
Lebanon’s Mansour Chebli secured three podium spots while Qatar-based female driver Paige de Jager sealed two victories in the penultimate round of the Qatar National Sprint on Friday. The event organised by Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) took place at the open parking lot beside the Lusail Sports Arena.Having already secured the championship titles in both Open Class 1 and Production Class 1, Mansour was again in the spotlight.He managed to extend his lead in the Production class with another win, but it was his compatriot Charbel Chebly who won the Open Class 1 in the penultimate round of the popular event.Charbel, driving his Renault Clio, recorded the fastest lap time of 48.112 secs, while Mansour came second in 48.864. Jad Alawar made it an all-Lebanese podium after finishing third.Mansour registered a time of 51.565 secs in his only run in the Production Class 1 contest. Nadim Ziade of Qatar finished second in 52.224 while Charbel came third in 52.552.Mansour’s second win of the day came in Production Class 2. He clocked a time of 51.509, to finish ahead of Nadim Ziade and Maher Serre who came second and third, respectively.Francesco Fornaciari, in his Lotus Exige, won the Production Class 3, clocking 51.131, while Hassan al-Abbasi and Abdulla Ali al- Abbasi also booked podium spots.Alawar, in his Mitsubishi Evo 8, then went on to win the Open Class 2, clocking a time of 50.327 secs to finish ahead of Qatar drivers Amro Abdulla and Ziad Eddin who came second and third, respectively.De Jager, the only contestant in Open Class 3, clocked 59.053 secs and later secured her second win by coming on top in the Women’s event. Melina Jokic and Nasmee’a Christian finished second and third, respectively.The final round of the popular season will be held on December 2, 2023.
Al Ghazali Stud’s Seulomonde reigned supreme at the Al Uqda Racecourse landing the Al Rakayat Cup with a close victory under jockey Alberto Sanna yesterday.In what was the feature race of the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club’s (QREC) second meeting at the venue, the Gassim Ghazali-trained gelding captured the title after beating New Star, ridden by Szczepan Mazur, by three quarters of a length in the Thoroughbred Handicap.Also trained by Ghazali, Observing, with Marco Casamento in the saddle, secured third place in the 2300m race. Earlier Casamento rode Gold Lily to win in the 1400m Thoroughbred Handicap 60-80.Results Second Al Uqda meeting - Al Rakayat CupWINNERS: (Horse, Trainer, Jockey)1 - Al Rakayat Cup - Thoroughbred Handicap 70-90 (Class 3)Seulomonde, Gassim Ghazali, Alberto Sanna2 - Thoroughbred Handicap 60-80 (Class 4)Gold Lily, Mohamed Khaled Elahmed, Marco Casamento3 - Thoroughbred Handicap 50-70 (Class 5)Tareekh, Abdulaziz Ali al-Kathiri, Olivier d’Andigne4 - Thoroughbred Novice Plate (Class 5)Sarangani, Mohamed Ghazali, Abdul Aziz Fahad al-Balushi5 - Purebred Arabian Maiden Plate (Class 6)Bint Alarab, Jean de Mieulle, Chloe Mignonneau)6 - Purebred Arabian Maiden Plate (3yo Only) (Class 6)Mkaee’lat Al Shahania, Rudy Andre Nerbonne, Tomas Lukasek7 - Local Thoroughbred Handicap 25-45 (Class 6)Barq Al Atam, Mohamed Khaled Elahmed, Anas al-Seyabi
Spanish champions Barcelona slipped up in a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano yesterday in La Liga, continuing a worrying run of underwhelming performances. Surprise leaders Girona and rivals Real Madrid in second now have the chance to extend their lead on the third-place Catalans over the next two days.Unai Lopez drove Rayo ahead from long range in the first half but Barca levelled through Florian Lejeune’s own goal in the 82nd minute. The draw adds to the doubts around Barcelona, who have not been at their best for several weeks and face Porto on Tuesday seeking Champions League knock-out round qualification.“I think it was a game of two halves, in the first we dominated but we weren’t aggressive enough to cause damage,” Xavi said. “In the second we were, we scored a goal and could have had others ... we need to win these games if we want to win the league. We have to be self-critical, it’s costing us too much this season giving things away ... in modern football a lot changes when they score against you.”Inaki Pena started in goal for Barca with Marc-Andre ter Stegen out with a back problem, while Xavi turned to the fit-again Frenkie de Jong to replace the injured Gavi in midfield. The 19-year-old’s cruciate ligament tear will keep him out for the season, with Barcelona losing a player the coach has described as the “soul” of the team.Barcelona players wore shirts before kick off with his name on the back, and a message saying “we are with you, Gavi”. Pena spilled the ball the first time he was called into action but recovered quickly to clear up the danger. The goalkeeper then denied Oscar Valentin after De Jong lost the ball on the edge of his own box.Hosts Rayo started well, encouraged by having beaten Barca on three of their four previous clashes, including twice at their ramshackle Vallecas stadium. They took the lead after 39 minutes when Lopez hammered a superb effort into the bottom right corner from around 30 yards out after the ball was cleared into his path. Rayo came close to adding a second in stoppage time but Alejandro Balde was alert to cut Jorge de Frutos’ low cross out with two Rayo attackers ready to pounce.Xavi said Barca would miss Gavi’s “intensity, heart and courage” against Francisco Rodriguez’s side and he was proven right, although they improved a little after the break. Ferran Torres might have levelled early in the second half with a header but sent it too close to Rayo goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski.Xavi immediately replaced the winger, along with Oriol Romeu after another disappointing shift at the base of Barca’s midfield, sending Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Felix on. Pedri headed narrowly over from Robert Lewandowski’s cross and Inigo Martinez nodded a Gundogan free kick off target too as Barca sought the equaliser.Raphinha’s raking effort struck the post and Rayo hacked Lewandowski’s attempted finish from the rebound off the line. Eventually the Catalans levelled with eight minutes remaining when Lejeune diverted Balde’s cross into his own net, under pressure from Lewandowski. Raphinha appealed for a penalty in stoppage time when he fell after Pacha Espino challenged him, but the officials did not oblige.“We didn’t play well, we weren’t at the level that we can be,” De Jong said. “We have to work to improve – the plan is good, we are confident, everyone ran as much as they could. I think that we weren’t good in possession.”Barcelona now have failed to beat Rayo in five matches and could fall six points behind Girona if their neigbours beat Athletic Bilbao tomorrow. Real Madrid, two points clear of Barca, visit Cadiz today, while fourth place Atletico Madrid host Mallorca.
Paris St Germain put on a scintillating performance to earn a 5-2 win over AS Monaco with five different scorers on Friday night as the hosts strengthened their grip on Ligue 1’s top spot. Goals from Goncalo Ramos, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Vitinha and Randal Kolo Muani secured the points for PSG with Takumi Minamino and Folarin Balogun replying for Monaco.Luis Enrique’s capital side moved to 30 points, four clear of second-placed Nice, who host Toulouse today. Monaco are third with 24 points. “When two teams of this level play a match like today’s every fan enjoys a game with seven goals,” the Spaniard told a news conference. “The most important thing for me is the team’s attitude after an international break. It is difficult for coaches to prepare for a game like this but it was worth it and I am happy with the result.”PSG took the lead in the 18th minute when Ramos capitalised on a rebound from Monaco goalkeeper Philipp Kohn before the visitors’ Minamino seized on a mistake by home keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to equalise four minutes later. Donnarumma redeemed himself by denying the Japan midfielder another goal as Minamino spurned more chances before the break and early in the second half.“Football is a sport of mistakes, if they are made by a defender or goalkeeper, they are most visible,” Luis Enrique said. “Gigi has been great, his season has been exceptional and I am delighted with his performance.”Mbappe restored PSG’s lead with a 39th minute penalty to extend his tally as Ligue 1 top scorer this season to 14 goals. Dembele scored his first goal of the season to extend PSG’s lead 20 minutes from time before Vitinha scored with a superb shot from the edge of the box two minutes later.Balogun pulled one back for the visitors after a fine through ball from Minamino in the 75th but Kolo Muani completed the rout in stoppage time. PSG next host Champions League Group F opponents Newcastle United on Tuesday. “Monaco are a team at our level who compete for the title,” Luis Enrique added. “Winning is the best way to stay at the top and to arrive at a vital Champions League match.”Lens warm up forArsenal trip withcomfortable victoryLens extended their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to eight matches yesterday with a 3-0 victory at Clermont, before turning their attentions to Wednesday’s Champions League game at Arsenal. Elye Wahi’s early strike got Lens up and running before Adrien Thomasson and Wesley Said’s second-half strikes completed the job in a match in which both teams were reduced to 10 men.Lens beat Arsenal at home in October but might need another shock result next week to keep their first Champions League campaign since 2002 alive.The French club sit third in Group B, behind PSV Eindhoven on head-to-head record and four points adrift of leaders Arsenal.“The level that awaits us on Wednesday is that of a big mountain stage, a beyond category climb,” said Lens coach Franck Haise, using cycling as a comparison. “We will have to rise to that level. We have done it once. We will see if we are able to do it twice.”Yesterday’s win lifted sixth-placed Lens to within one point of the top four as last season’s runners-up continue to improve after a poor start this term.
The first leg of the inaugural Al Shaqab International League ended on a spectacular note as Mohamed Saeed Haidan won the Open Class yesterdayThe showjumping event – which is organised by Al Shaqab, a member of the Qatar Foundation, – saw a huge turnout from the young and female riders as well as established riders.The main attraction at the Indoor Arena of Al Shaqab yesterday was the Intro Classes, where many young riders put on a terrific display as they gained valuable experience for tougher competitions ahead. As many as 128 young riders competed in the Intro Classes with Alqaqaa Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Mohamed Faisal al-Marri and Alya Ahmad al-Khater emerging as winners in their respective categories.In the last event of the day, CSI1* Open Class, Haidan was last to begin his round with nine-year-old bay Obama. But the pair were quickly off the blocks as they registered a flawless round for a winning time of 41.58 seconds.Hamad Towaim Ali al-Marri finished runner-up for the second consecutive day with Baron Z H in a time of 45.82 secs. Mohamed Jabor al-Naimi took the last podium spot with Bonhomme D Orval in 39.52 secs.Meanwhile, Khalifa Abdulla al-Khaldi topped the Youth Champions category with his veteran gelding Graffiti De Lully CH.Faris Saad A H al-Qahtani on nine-year-old gelding Hero was second, with Saad Ahmed al-Saad taking third place with 10-year-old mare Irschi.The Al Shaqab International League has been launched to provide a platform for the upcoming riders of all ages and backgrounds to hone their skills and graduate to international level. The event has given a strong emphasis on promoting opportunities for female and junior riders.ResultsCSI1*Open ClassTable A,Competition over two rounds, Art. 273.4.3b130 cm1. Mohamed Saeed Haidan; Horse: Obama; Times: 75.45 & 41.58 secs2. Hamad Towaim Ali al-Marri; Baron Z H; 77.44 & 45.82 secs.3. Mohamed Jabor al-Naimi; Bonhomme D Orval; 73.03 & 39.52 secs.Youth Champions1. Khalifa Abdulla al-Khaldi; Horse: Graffiti De Lully CH2. Faris Saad A H al-Qahtani; Hero3. Saad Ahmed al-Saad; IrschiJunior Champions (FEI Group 7 Final Qualifier)1. Ibrahim Yousuf al-Mahmoud; Horse: Numero Uno - T2. Sultan Salem al-Naemi; Goliat3. Abdulla Khalid al-Julandani; Jalieny Diamant ZFuture Champions (FEI Group 7 Final Qualifier)1. Hadi Nasser al-Shahwani; Horse: Beyonce2. Ahmad Ali al-Jaber; Diamond Legacy3. Amer Hamad al-Mansoori; Levant Van De VeldhoekIntro Classes ResultsIntro 31. Mohamed Faisal al-Marri; Horse: Soul Rebel2. Jana Sas; Godette3. Abdulla Saleh al-Obaidly; Pablo Van De GagelIntro 21. Alqaqaa Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani; Horse: Grietje W.S2. Ibrahim Khalid al-Mesleh; Astro3. Ebrahim Khalil al-Ameen; AstroIntro 11. Alya Ahmad al-Khater; Horse: Pedro2. Kaltham Abdulaziz al-Ebrahim; Pedro3. Tamim Fahad al-Marri; Peter
Jannik Sinner twice beat world number one Novak Djokovic to help Italy set up a Davis Cup final clash with Australia, securing a 2-1 win over Serbia yesterday.The Italian edged Djokovic 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 after Miomir Kecmanovic dispatched Lorenzo Musetti 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, 6-1.Later Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego then triumphed 6-3, 6-4 in the decisive doubles over Djokovic and Kecmanovic.Italy were aiming to return to the final having last reached that stage a quarter of a century ago.Earlier Sinner saved matchpoints to upset Djokovic 6-2 2-6 7-5 and help his country to draw level with Serbia.Sinner was facing Djokovic for the third time in 11 days and the world number four, who beat the top-ranked Serbian early in the ATP Finals before losing to him in the title clash, made a quick start to ease through the opening set with two breaks of serve.The 22-year-old, who had sparked Italy’s comeback in their quarter-final against the Netherlands, took his foot off the gas in the next set to allow Djokovic back in but kept chipping away in the hope of sealing a second win over him in six meetings in the singles. He saved three matchpoints while down 4-5 in the decider and then pulled off one of the most remarkable wins of his career to spark wild celebrations in the stands.Defeat was a bitter blow for Djokovic, the winner of three of the four Grand Slams in a spectacular year, but the 36-year-old will be back for the decider later on Saturday to help Serbia try to reach a third final.Serbia, who outclassed Britain in the last eight, last won the premier men’s team competition in 2010.Kecmanovic had earlier rallied from a set down to power past Musetti and leave Serbia one win away from their third final in the elite men’s team competition and first since 2013.Musetti made a slow start against the high-flying Kecmanovic and narrowly avoided going down a double break, before the world number 27 found his range to level the first set at 5-5 and come from behind again in the tiebreak to clinch it.But Kecmanovic’s level barely dropped following the setback, as the world number 55 breezed through the second set and broke twice in the third for a 4-0 lead, which was enough for the 24-year-old to see off Musetti who was battling a thigh issue.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the final pole position of the Formula One season yesterday with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc joining the triple world champion on the front row at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit.McLaren’s Oscar Piastri qualified third for McLaren, although the Australian rookie faced a stewards hearing for allegedly impeding Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, with Mercedes’ George Russell fourth.McLaren’s Lando Norris dropped from a provisional second after the first flying laps to an eventual fifth when he clipped a kerb on his final effort.“The whole weekend so far has been a bit of a struggle so we definitely improved the car for qualifying,” said Verstappen, who can end the year with a record-extending 19th win in 22 races.“From lap one it all seemed a bit more together and we could definitely push more.”Red Bull have won 20 of the 21 races so far, another F1 record, and Verstappen has won in Abu Dhabi for the past three years. Both titles have already been clinched.The 26-year-old Dutch driver, whose teammate Sergio Perez qualified in ninth place, had complained in practice about his car jumping around ‘like a kangaroo’.Russell had been fastest in two of the practice sessions and Leclerc in the other, raising hopes elsewhere that Verstappen might not have it all his own way and some doubts even within Red Bull.“Well done mate. You’ve just won me 500 euros off (Red Bull motorsport consultant) Helmut (Marko) which is like getting blood out of a stone,” a jubilant team boss Christian Horner told Verstappen over the team radio.“Helmut lost a bet? What world are we living in?,” replied Verstappen.“The bet was for you to be on the front row, mate,” said Horner after the race.The pole was Verstappen’s 12th of the season and 32nd of his career, putting him level with 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell in the all-time lists.Lewis Hamilton 11thMcLaren looked a good bet to retain fourth place overall, with rivals Aston Martin having only Fernando Alonso qualify in the top 10, the Spaniard lining up seventh and behind AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton qualified only 11th, knocked out by Russell.The 38-year-old Briton had complained to race engineer Peter Bonnington over the radio that “there’s something not right with this car”.Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz went out at the first hurdle and will start 16th in a blow for the Italian team’s hopes of overtaking Mercedes for second overall in the constructors’ standings.The two teams are only four points apart in the main remaining battle of a championship dominated by Red Bull and Verstappen.Sainz was knocked out in the dying seconds of phase one by Perez, who went from the danger zone to second behind Verstappen, after being last out of the pit lane at the end and then hitting traffic.“Some of the guys that had finished the lap I don’t think they got out of the way very nicely but it’s our fault, we went out too late,” said Sainz.“We had a problem with the front wing that delayed us quite a bit so we just need to have a look at what we could have done better.”Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll qualified 13th.Williams’ Logan Sargeant will line up last of all after his best lap was deleted for exceeding track limits, the US rookie ending the season having been outqualified by teammate Alex Albon in every race.Albon will start 14th and with AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo 15th, with the two teams separated by seven points in a battle for seventh overall.
Al Ahli beat Al Markhiya 2-0 in the Expo Stars League at the Grand Hamad Stadium yesterday. Abdulrasheed Umaru (20th minute) and Yazan al-Naimat (33rd minute) produced two fabulous goals for Al Ahli and to which Al Markhiya, despite their trying efforts, could not find any answer. Al Ahli’s third victory in the league took them to eighth place, while Al Markhiya remain at the bottom. In the other match yesterday, a determined Al Shamal beat Qatar SC 2-0 at the Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium. Qatar SC, who suffered a big setback when Raoul Sanda was shown a red card in the 24th minute of the match, could not find a way to go up on the score sheet despite some very close chances. Faisal Mohamed Azadi (fourth minute) and Omid Ebrahimi (34th minute) struck the goals for Al Shamal. Their second win of the league saw Shamal move to seventh spot, while Qatar SC are ninth.