Al-Nassr's clash with Al-Tai postponed due to bad weather – Arab News

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RIYADH: Al-Nassr’s clash with Al-Tai at Mrsool Park has been delayed for 24 hours due to bad weather.
The announcement was made on Al-Nassr’s official Twitter account on Thursday afternoon, just hours before the scheduled kick-off.
In a statement, the club said: “Due to heavy rain and weather conditions impacting the stadium’s electricity, we have been officially informed that tonight’s match against Al-Tai is postponed for 24 hours.
“We apologize for any inconvenience caused to fans and wish everyone safe travels.”
Due to heavy rain and weather conditions impacting the stadium’s electricity, we have been officially informed that tonight’s match against Al Ta’i is postponed for 24 hours.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused to fans and wish everyone safe travels. https://t.co/TKIOQK8Oqo
— AlNassr FC (@AlNassrFC_EN) January 5, 2023
New signing Cristiano Ronaldo, awaiting his international clearance to play for the Riyadh club, was set to miss the match as he serves out outstanding ban from his time at Manchester United.
Al-Nassr lead the Roshn Saudi League with 26 points from 11 matches, while Al-Tai are in seventh place on 18 points from the same number of fixtures.
LOS ANGELES: The Milwaukee Bucks erased a 26-point deficit to beat Portland 108-102 on Sunday as Phoenix and Orlando stretched their NBA winning streaks to seven games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Bucks. Teammate Damian Lillard added 31 in his first game against his former team and Milwaukee authored the biggest comeback victory of the season so far.
Lillard, who played 11 seasons in Portland until he was traded to Milwaukee in September, admitted it was “a weird feeling” to take the court against former teammates.
“But once we started playing I kind of got over it quick,” added Lillard, who added five rebounds and four assists. “I’m just happy we were able to get the win.”
Portland, fueled by 22 points from Jerami Grant and 18 from Malcolm Brogdon, led 68-52 at halftime and pushed their advantage to 26 points early in the third period.
Lillard’s three-pointer tied it at 97-97 with less than three minutes remaining. It was tied at 102-102 when Antetokounmpo tipped in the go-ahead basket with 18.5 seconds left to play.
A big block from Antetokounmpo on Brogdon and four free-throws from Lillard sealed it.
“We’ve been in that situation a few times this season, where our character was tested, our togetherness was tested,” Lillard said. “We showed true again.”
Phoenix guard Devin Booker starred in New York, drilling a go-ahead three-pointer with 1.7 seconds remaining as the Suns kept their streak going with a 116-113 victory over the Knicks.
Booker scored 28 points and handed out 11 assists for the Suns, who were without superstar Kevin Durant for a second straight game because of a sore right foot.
Jalen Brunson scored 35 points with six rebounds and eight assists for the Knicks, but his three-point attempt as time expired rimmed out.
In Orlando, Franz Wagner and Cole Anthony scored 30 points apiece to fuel the Magic’s 130-117 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
Paolo Banchero added 23 points and eight assists for the Magic, who out-scored the Hornets 74-60 in the paint and parlayed 18 Charlotte turnovers into 28 points.
Up 61-57 at halftime, the Magic didn’t trail in the second half. Anthony scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to help Orlando extend their lead to as many as 16.
Miles Bridges led Charlotte with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but the Hornets ultimately had no answer for a Magic team on its longest winning streak since a nine-win run in the 2010-11 season.
In Boston, Jayson Tatum scored 34 points, Jaylen Brown added 21 to propel the Celtics to a 113-103 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Celtics were without injured Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, but after a lackluster loss to the Magic on Friday the short-handed hosts hustled for the victory.
Boston pulled down a season-high 58 rebounds, including 18 on the offensive glass.
Brown’s rebound of teammate Derrick White’s miss set Brown up for the highlight of the night — a thunderous dunk over Atlanta’s Clint Capela that brought the TD Garden fans to their feet.
Brown said holding the high-scoring Hawks to 103 points was key.
“If you play defense and hold a team to a reasonable amount (of points) it’s always going to give you a chance to win,” he said. “But also I think we won a lot of the hustle plays.”
The NBA champion Denver Nuggets bounced back from a disappointing loss to Houston with a 132-120 victory over rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs.
Nikola Jokic scored 39 points with 11 rebounds and nine assists. And he had plenty of support. Michael Porter Jr. scored 25 points and Reggie Jackson contributed 20 as five Denver players scored in double figures.
Wembanyama paced the Spurs with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but San Antonio slumped to a 12th straight defeat.
The Brooklyn Nets used 25 three-pointers — the most by any team so far this season — to overcome a sluggish start and beat the Chicago Bulls 118-109.
LONDON: Manchester United needed to produce something extraordinary to quieten a home crowd at Goodison Park seething with anger and resentment.
Alejandro Garnacho did just that by scoring one of the greatest goals ever seen in the Premier League.
Leaping high in the air with his back to goal, the Argentina winger produced a spectacular bicycle kick from 15 yards that sent the ball flying into the top corner and — if only briefly — muted tens of thousands of protesting Everton fans.
The third-minute strike set United on course for a 3-0 win over Everton but the score will not be the thing people remember from this fiery, volatile occasion.
The match was played to a backdrop of protests by Everton supporters furious at what they perceived to be an over-the-top sanction — a record 10-point points deduction — for financial mismanagement issued by a disciplinary commission last week.
This was the first game since that punishment and Everton fans marched in their thousands to the stadium, holding up pink cards featuring the word “corrupt” and the logo of the Premier League, and chanting “We shall not be moved.”
On one huge banner read the message: “Where there is power, greed and money … there is corruption.”
The protests continued inside the stadium and it was into this cauldron that United’s players walked, ahead of what would be a real test of character for Erik ten Hag’s team.
Garnacho’s goal was crucial in dampening the atmosphere somewhat, even if those pink cards stayed aloft for much of the game and there was a huge chant in the 10th minute — marking the 10 points docked — accusing the league of corruption.
Marcus Rashford — from the penalty spot — and Anthony Martial added more goals in the second half for United, who have won five of their last six Premier League games and is six points behind leader Arsenal after 13 games.
Everton, hit by the points deduction, is in next-to-last place and above Burnley only on goal difference. The team are now five points from safety and potentially destined for another season fighting relegation after only preserving its 69-year top-flight status on the final day of the 2022-23 campaign.
TOTTENHAM IMPLODING
Not so long ago, Tottenham were top of the league and playing such good soccer under Ange Postecoglou that there was talk of a potential challenge for the title.
Three straight losses later and injury-hit Spurs’ campaign is in danger of unraveling.
A 2-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa on Sunday saw Tottenham squander another 1-0 lead, suffer another injury to a key player and raise concerns about the squad’s depth and ability to sustain a bid for Champions League qualification this season.
Ollie Watkins’ seventh goal of the season won the game in the 61st minute for Villa, which climbed to fourth place and just two points off leader Arsenal in a bunched-up summit of the standings after 13 games.
Giovani Lo Celso lashed in a deflected shot from the edge of the area for the opening goal for Tottenham in the 22nd, only for Pau Torres to head in an equalizer from Douglas Luiz’s free kick.
Rodrigo Bentancur, making his first start for Tottenham after eight months out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, was forced off midway through the first half after a foul by Matty Cash. He returns to an injury list already containing Micky van de Ven, James Maddison and Richarlison while suspended center back Cristian Romero will still be missing when Tottenham travels to Man City next weekend.
The win lifted Villa above Tottenham, who dropped to fifth place having lost its previous matches to Wolverhampton and Chelsea.
VENABLES TRIBUTES
There was a minute’s applause ahead of the Tottenham-Villa game and both sets of players wore black armbands as a tribute to Terry Venables, the former England and Tottenham coach whose death was announced Sunday. He was 80.
MADRID: Rodrygo made the most of his last-minute addition to the Real Madrid lineup, scoring two beautiful goals and setting up another by Jude Bellingham in a 3-0 win against Cadiz that put Madrid at the top of the Spanish league on Sunday.
Rodrygo swiftly went past the Cadiz defenders before hitting the top corner with goals in the 14th and 64th minutes, and then provided the assist in Bellingham’s 74th-minute goal.
Madrid moved a point ahead of Girona, who hosts Athletic Bilbao on Monday. Madrid were four points ahead of third-place Atletico Madrid, who beat Mallorca 1-0 at home on Saturday with a goal from Antoine Griezmann. Atletico have a game in hand.
It was Bellingham’s 14th goal with Madrid in all competitions. The England international, who had been nursing a shoulder injury, leads the Spanish league with 11 goals.
Rodrygo was set to start the match on the bench but made the starting 11 at the last minute after Brahim Diaz fell ill with stomach problems.
“Rodrygo made the difference in the game today,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
It was Rodrygo’s first game since he said last week that he was the target of racist abuse on social media following Brazil’s 1-0 loss to Argentina in South American World Cup qualifying.
The Brazil forward has scored five goals in his last three games with Madrid. He calmly dealt with defenders while scoring his goals on Sunday, first inside the area and then in a breakaway.
Also out for Ancelotti’s team because of injuries were Vinicius Junior and Eduardo Camavinga, who got hurt during the international break.
It was the second straight league win for Madrid, who are unbeaten in eight matches in the competition.
Cadiz looked threatening at times but couldn’t avoid seeing its winless streak in the league extend to nine matches, with six losses and three draws. It stayed in 16th place, two points from the relegation zone.
Defending champions Barcelona remained fourth after a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
RAMOS SENT OFF
Sevilla’s winless streak in the league reached seven matches after a 2-1 loss at Real Sociedad, when veteran defenders Sergio Ramos and Jesus Navas were sent off late in the game.
Ramos was shown a straight red card after a dangerous sliding tackle, while Navas was sent off — also with a straight red — for complaining. Ramos was initially shown a yellow card but video review reversed the referee’s decision and he ended up being awarded the red.
Sociedad moved to fifth place with the home win. The Basque Country club took the lead with an own-goal by Sevilla goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic three minutes into the match and added to the lead with Umar Sadiq finding the net with a shot from outside the box in the 22nd.
Sevilla, who dropped to 15th, got on the board with a header by Youssef En-Nesyri in the 60th.
MORALES’ HAT TRICK
Villarreal ended a two-match losing streak in the league with a 3-1 win against Osasuna, with Jose Luis Morales scoring a second-half hat trick.
The win moved the team coached by Marcelino García Toral to 12th place. Osasuna, who scored late through Alejandro Catena, dropped to 14th. They have lost three of its last four matches.
Also Sunday, Real Betis beat Las Palmas 1-0 at home with a 19th-minute goal by striker Willian José. Betis stayed in seventh place, four spots ahead of Las Palmas.
Second-to-last Granada fired coach Paco Lopez on Sunday, two days after the team’s 3-1 loss at Alaves. The club from southern Spain is winless in 11 straight league games.
ABU DHABI: The Formula One season came to a close in Abu Dhabi with one last Max Verstappen win of the year — his 19th in 2023 — and Mercedes edging Ferrari to P2 in the Constructors’ Championship by just three points.
It has been a busy four days at Yas Marina Circuit with lots of takeaways from the conversations we have had with the drivers and team principals, as well as numerous celebrity sightings around the paddock all weekend.
Here’s what you may have missed from some of the action off the track.
Tennis players rock the paddock
The F1 paddock is always a popular destination for celebrities and Abu Dhabi this year has been no exception with the likes of Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra, Naomi Campbell, and Jason Statham among the A-listers making an appearance at Yas Marina Circuit.
From the football world, Sergio Aguero rocked a custom-made Manchester City race suit and presented the DHL Fastest Lap award to Verstappen on Saturday, while Patrice Evra was in an all-white linen suit when he turned up to the paddock on Sunday.
However, what stood out the most was the number of tennis stars in the house this weekend. Tunisian Ons Jabeur attended both qualifying and the race as a guest of title sponsors Etihad Airways.
The three-time Grand Slam finalist got to catch up with retired Russian ace Maria Sharapova, who walked into the paddock with the Hemsworths, Chopra and Statham before going up to the stands to watch the race.
 
Photo of the weekend courtesy of @Ons_Jabeur and @MariaSharapova #abudhabiGP #F1Finale pic.twitter.com/bPvRFgNylm
 
Poland’s world No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz is a big fan of the sport and came to the track from Friday to Sunday. A guest of F1, Hurkacz told me he has always loved cars and was thrilled to attend his first grand prix.
Danish world No. 8 Holger Rune was spotted at the Ferrari hospitality villa and had a quick catch-up with Charles Leclerc before the race, while tennis pair Denis Shapovalov and his fiancee Mirjam Bjorklund arrived just in time for the action as guests of Aston Martin.
“It’s that Canadian connection,” said Shapovalov with a laugh, referring to his compatriot Lance Stroll, who drives for Aston Martin.
Other tennis players in attendance included Hemsworth look-alike Karen Khachanov and Alexander Zverev.
 
Also in the house:

Denis Shapovalov and fiancee Mirjam Bjorklund#AbuDhabiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/E7tPcmMsJ2
 
Gasly not interested in entertainment and sport debate
The Las Vegas Grand Prix last weekend reopened the debate of how much of a spectacle a sport is allowed to be. Several drivers said the inaugural race in Vegas was more of a “show” than anything else, and many complained about the tough scheduling that made them see no sunlight for the whole weekend.
Sport, of course, is a business and is entertainment and it cannot survive without generating a great deal of interest from fans around the world.
Alpine driver Pierre Gasly was asked to weigh in on the debate and whether he felt F1 got the balance right between putting on a show and highlighting the sport.
“I love the sport and personally I’m quite fine with the entertainment side of things,” said Gasly.
“I think it’s very personal and it depends how you can cope with it. I know I’m not someone that is really disturbed with that side of the sport. Obviously the priority needs to always remain on the actual sport.
“What I’d like is to almost have more priority on the driver side of things, where I feel at the minute it’s too much driven by car performance. So that’s more something that I’ll be focusing on as a sport rather than entertainment, sport, blah, blah, blah. At the end of the day we survive and everyone is paid here because people are watching us, so it’s a balance you need to find.
“But what I care the most about is that all drivers will be given fair chances to fight for the best positions, where at the minute there’s clearly a sort of imbalance in the performance of all 10 teams. It’s always been the case in F1, I’m fine with it, but I do see a lot of talk of this entertainment versus sport balance kind of thing and I think it’s really personal how you deal with it.”
Toto Wolff: Sport is a meritocracy
Speaking of “fair chances,” Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff was asked about the massive gap between Red Bull and the rest of the field, and whether the Austrian team’s dominance is hurting F1.
“The numbers that we are seeing are strong. When we go on social we see races that are packed and sold out,” said Wolff on Sunday.
“But as a matter of fact it is all around the spectacle and if the spectacle is not good, fans are going to follow us less. What I always say is that the spectacle follows the sport. And the sport is a meritocracy; whoever is doing the best job wins and if somebody is doing a much better job than everybody else, then they’re winning 19 races.
“It is us and Ferrari and all the other teams that have to do a better job in order to compete with Red Bull Racing.”
Hamilton focused on growing his legacy
So much of Lewis Hamilton’s pre-race press conference was dominated by Christian Horner’s claims that the British driver had reached out to Red Bull to see if they had a seat for him.
As Hamilton clarified, it was in fact the Red Bull team principal who had contacted him and not the other way round, but something way more interesting caught my attention in what he said.
One of the journalists asked Hamilton — a seven-time world champion — if driving for Red Bull was an appealing prospect for him, given he would be racing in a winning car. The 38-year-old said building toward beating Red Bull with Mercedes would be much better for his legacy in the sport.
“Let’s be realistic. Every single driver that’s racing here dreams of being in a winning car. I think probably in my younger days when I hadn’t maybe had a lot of success, maybe in those McLaren days, it would have been a lot more attractive,” he explained.
“When I think about (it), just from a racing perspective and my viewpoint of things, when I moved to this team I enjoyed moving from a more successful team to a team that hadn’t had success, with the vision of growing and building on the team. Because when we did then win, it was such a better feeling.
“Whilst every driver here looks at the Red Bull and would love to drive that car, and I’m not saying I wouldn’t love to drive that car and experience how good that car (is), every driver would want to feel that. I feel that we’ve had two very difficult years and if we work towards beating that car that’s going to be a way better feeling than just stepping into the best car.
“It wouldn’t do much for me in the sense of just stepping into the car that’s been the most dominant car of all time. Working with my team to build, to be able to beat them, I think would be better for my legacy, for sure.”
It is fascinating to see how clear his perspective is on the matter.
Alonso welcomes added pressure in 2024
Fernando Alonso deemed his 2023 campaign a “dream season” for himself and his Aston Martin team after securing fourth in the Drivers’ Championship with an impressive eight podiums.
No one expected the 42-year-old could pull off a season like that at the start of the year, and the Spanish two-time world champion acknowledges the pressure will be much higher in 2024. It is something he is welcoming with open arms.
“It has been a historic season for Aston Martin and for myself. Eight podiums, 300 points nearly for the team. Twelve months ago this was unthinkable,” said Alonso on Sunday following his P7 finish in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“This is the best season ever for the team as well, with whatever name they had before. It’s an incredible year to remember. The expectations were low, so we exceeded the expectations this year. Maybe next year is the opposite, expectations will be very high, so we have some pressure on our shoulders.
“This is Formula One, this is not a charity event. We have to have the pressure, we have to deliver. Fifth in the constructors’ hurts a little bit because I think we were better than that. We were hoping for better than that at the beginning of the year.
“To finish fourth in the drivers’ is a little bit unreal. Fighting with the guys that we were fighting with, in fact, if we are fifth in the constructors’ you should be ninth or 10th.
“So, it’s a dream season for many people in Aston Martin, including myself.”
LONDON: Ollie Watkins fired Aston Villa into fourth place in the Premier League 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 equalized just before the break and Watkins’ 12th goal this term wrapped up an impressive result for revitalized 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. 
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. 
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. 
Tottenham were on top in the opening stages and Dejan Kulusevski blasted against the post after showing nimble footwork to prise open the Villa defense. 
Postecoglou’s men were back on the offensive as Bryan Gil was denied by a fine save from Emiliano Martinez. 
Their enterprising play reaped a deserved reward in the 22nd minute when Villa could only clear a corner to the edge of the area, where Lo Celso hammered a powerful strike that deflected in off Carlos. 
Villa thought they had mustered an immediate response as Watkins glanced his header past Guglielmo Vicario from Lucas Digne’s cross. 
But, after a VAR check of almost three minutes, the goal was disallowed for a tight offside against Watkins. 
Kulusevski was inches away from doubling Tottenham’s lead with a curler before Son Heung-min’s goal was chalked off for another offside. 
For all their dashing play in attack, Tottenham were vulnerable at the back and Villa took advantage in first half stoppage-time. 
Douglas Luiz’s free-kick found Torres unmarked 10 yards out and the Spanish defender thumped his header past Vicario, with the goal surviving another extended VAR check. 
Villa were nearly gifted the lead early in the second half when Vicario allowed Leon Bailey’s shot to squirm under him before gratefully grabbing the ball after it rebounded off the post. 
Emery’s men exposed the flaws in Tottenham’s defense again to take the lead in the 61st minute. 
A neat move climaxed with Watkins playing a one-two with Youri Tielemans to open up the creaky Tottenham rearguard before the England striker guided a clinical finish into the far corner from 12 yards.

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