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Messi, Mbappe on target, PSG pip Ronaldo’s Saudi All-Stars XI in 9-goal thriller | Football News

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There was no shortage of goals as the star-studded trio of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe each found the back of the nets but in the end, it was PSG who outscored Saudi All-Stars XI 5-4 in a classic friendly tie that will go down in history. Messi, Ronaldo and Mbappe each got an hour to enthral the Riyadh crowd, and they did not disappoint. Messi opened the scoring nailing one minutes after the first whistle before a brace from Ronaldo and Mbappe each gave the fans plenty to savour on an unforgettable night of football.

The first-half 45 minutes was a breathless one. It was Messi and Ronaldo register themselves on the scoring sheet, two penalties out of which one was saved and a red card. Three minutes into the match, Messi silenced Ronaldo’s home crowd. After a brilliant interplay between Mbappe and Neymar, Messi caught the chip and slotted it into the net. 29 minutes later, Keylor Navas inadvertently caught Ronaldo in the air with a forearm, resulting into a penalty, which the star forward successfully converted – slashed into the top corner – to equalise. Out came the SIUUUUU.

If Navas getting booked wasn’t enough, Salem Al Dawsari was shown the red card, leaving PSG down to 10 men. But being a player down hardly mattered for PSG, who restored the lead with Marquinhos delightfully chipping from a corner cross. PSG could have then put the game to bed but Mbappe missed his first real chance to deny his team a third. Then came the biggest shocker of the match – when Neymar unbelievably took a shocking penalty and missed. With a host of additional time added, Ronaldo sprung into action again and pouched on a rebound after his header hit the bar to make it a thrilling 2-2 scoreline at half-time.

Seven minutes into the second half, Sergio Ramos read an exceptional pass from Mbappe for PSG to nose ahead, but minutes later Jang Hyun-Soo shot one past Navas to once again bring the game to an even keel. Goals continued to galore with Mbappe converting a penalty with ease before the fabled trio of the Frenchman, Messi and Ronaldo were substituted between the 60th and 61st minute. At 4-3, PSG were ahead but given the number of goals that had been scored and with half an hour left on the clock, who knew how many more were to come?

The answer though was one. Substitute Hugo Ekitike ran clear and finished with aplomb in the 78th minute to give PSG a precautionary goal and in all likelihood, the last of the game. Or so it seemed. With four additional minutes signalled, a snapshot from Andre Carillo went sailing over the bar but Anderson Talisca had other plans and reduced the deficit with a last-minute goal before the final whistle went off.


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A ₹724 crore boost in union sports budget

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In the year of the Asian Games and qualifications for the 2024 Paris Olympics, the union sports budget saw a significant jump in allocation on Wednesday. The sports ministry has been allocated 3397.32 crore for 2023-24 – an increase of 723.97 crore from the previous fiscal. The budget for the previous financial year was 3062.60 crore (revised: 2673.35cr).

The Asian Games, postponed last year due to Covid, are due to be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23-October 8. India’s elite athletes have also started preparing for various Olympic qualification events.

Also Read | Sai Praneeth, Kiran George in men’s singles second round in Thailand Open

The allocation for National Sports Federations (NSFs) and Sports Authority of India (SAI) have gone up. Assistance to NSFs has been increased to 325 crore from 280 crore in 2022-23.

SAI has been allocated 785.5 crore, an increase from last year’s revised budget of 749.43 crore. It was originally allocated 653 crore in the last financial year. SAI oversees the preparation of national teams, manages national camps, provides infrastructure and other facilities to athletes besides appointing coaches, including foreign experts.

A big chunk of the sports budget will go for government’s flagship programme, Khelo India. It gets 1,000 crore, an increase of 400 crore from the revised allocation of 600 crore set aside for it in the previous budget. Under the scheme, Khelo India Youth Games and Khelo India University Games are organised. It has become the platform for talent identification and nurturing through its various schemes. The budget for Khelo India has steadily risen since its inception in 2018.

A major allocation of 107.84 crore has been made for the National Sports University in Imphal. Set up in 2018, NSU is a first-of-its-kind institution which imparts studies in sports science and medicine, coaching, sports management and technology.

The National Centre of Sports Science and Research, under which financial assistance is given to medical colleges and Universities to develop centres of sports science and research, has been allocated 13 crore.

There has been a 10 crore dip in incentives to athletes, from 55 crore last year. To fight the doping menace, the National Anti Doping Agency has been allocated 21.73 crore. The National Dope Testing Laboratory in Delhi, whose accreditation was restored by the World Anti-Doping Agency in December, 2021, gets 19.50 crore. A National Anti-Doping Bill was passed last year to create a statutory body for regulating anti-doping activities in sports.

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Sai Praneeth, Kiran George in men’s singles second round in Thailand Open

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Indian shuttlers B Sai Praneeth and Kiran George advanced to the second round of the Thailand Open Super 300 badminton tournament with contrasting wins over their respective opponents on Wednesday.

Praneeth beat Mads Christophersen of Denmark 21-13 21-14 in a battle lasting 31 minutes. He faces Hyeok Jin Jeon of South Korea in second round.

George, on the other hand, staved off a tough challenge from Lee Chia Hao of Chinese Taipei before emerging 21-17 19-21 23-21 victorious. He is up against third seed Cheuk Yiu Lee of Hong Kong in the second round.

However, Sameer Verma, Priyanshu Rajawat and Mithun Manjunath lost their first round matches. While Verma suffered 14-21 16-21 defeat against sixth seeded Chinese Shi Feng Li, Rajawat lost to Kwang Hee Heo of South Korea 21-14 19-21 25-27 and Manjunath was beaten 18-21 12-21 by fifth seeded Kenta Nishimoto of Japan.

In women’s singles, Ashmita Chaliha beat compatriot Anupama Upadhyaya 21-16 21-19 to reach the second round where she will face sixth seed Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt of Denmark.

The pair of Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker lost to sixth seeded Sheng Shu and Shu Xian Zhang of China 8-21 10-21 in the women’s doubles.

In mixed doubles, Rohan Kapoor and Sikki Reddy beat Canadian pair of Ty Alexander Lindeman and Josephine Wu 21-11 21-16 to enter the second round. But the pair of B Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa lost to fourth seeded Indonesian pair of Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto and Lisa Ayu Kusumawati 11-21 17-21.

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Djokovic played Australian Open with 3cm tear in hamstring, says Tiley | Tennis News

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Novak Djokovic played with a three-centimetre (1.2 inches) tear in his hamstring during his run to a record-extending 10th Australian Open title, tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday.

The Serbian, who suffered the hamstring injury en route to winning the warm-up title in Adelaide, won the season-opening major after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final for a men’s record 22nd Grand Slam title, matching Rafa Nadal’s haul.

“This guy I did see, he had a three-centimetre tear in his hammy,” Tiley told SEN Sportsday. “Absolutely (I saw the scans), the doctors are going to tell you the truth.

“There was a lot of speculation about whether it was true or not, it’s hard to believe that they can do what they do with those kinds of injuries.

“He’s remarkable, to deal with it extremely professionally.”

Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic said after the final that the world number one battled the injury, which would have forced most players to quit.

“He’s so focused on everything he does, with every single minute of the day,” Tiley added. “That’s what he eats, what he drinks, when he does it, how he does it.

“There’s no breakdown or mental breakdown in anything that he does. He’s been through a lot and to win 10 Australian Opens, I don’t think that’s ever going to be repeated… He’ll hold a significant place in the history of the Australian Open.”

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