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SAND DESIGNS- Saudi Arabia to build £400bn ‘western’ city as they look to host more sporting events after Anthony Joshua vs Ruiz Jr 2




SAUDI ARABIA plan to build a £400billion cross-border city state to become one of the planet’s leading destinations for sporting events.

And it will be governed by “western law” – instead of Islamic – to help attract hordes of fans to the Middle East in the future.

The Daily Mail claim the new city will near the Red Sea in the north west will be called Neam and will form part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030.

And its creation will help them to land a host of future sporting events after this weekend’s £76m boxing heavyweight showdown between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua.

The project was first launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman two years ago and the government are believed to have recruited public affairs experts to advise on it.

Neom will operate with different laws for workers and women’s rights and give visitors freedom to drink alcohol, something denied to those at the boxing on Saturday.

Saudi has come under heavy criticism for allegedly attempting to “sports-wash” their reputation from human rights organisations such as Amnesty International.

RTVE in Spain is refusing to broadcast the inaugural edition of the rebooted Spanish Super Cup next month, which has been switched to Jeddah.

Amnesty say Joshua versus Ruiz Jr is taking place despite increased oppression of locals in a country that has executed 146 people this year.

Despite that, the Saudi government is refusing to relent in their ambitious programme for staging sporting events.

And it is part of a plan to reduce the nation’s dependency on oil and increase tourism by ten per cent within the next decade.

There will be a £15m Saudi Cup horse race next year while Tour de France organisers ASO are taking a five-stage cycling tour there.

And the owners of Formula One, Liberty Media, have been holding discussions about taking a race there.

Neom’s first stage is scheduled to be completed by 2025.

source: thesun


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REDS MARCH ON- Liverpool 5 Everton 2: Reds make it club-record 32 unbeaten in league as Marco Silva facing sack this week




THERE was no need for Jurgen Klopp to sprint across the Anfield turf on this occasion.

In fact, he barely broke a sweat as his rampant Liverpool side continued their emphatic march to expectant Premier League glory.

And on this occasion, in their quest for a first title in 30 years, it proved a hugely significant result.

This time last year, Liverpool were nicking a late win against Everton after Jordan Pickford’s howler handed Divock Origi the easiest of winners.

It was a result that clawed them back to within two points of champions-to-be Manchester City – one which saw Klopp surge onto the pitch in typical Klopp-fashion.

Fast forward 12 months and Origi was the Merseyside hero once more with a sublime first-half double worthy of winning titles all on their own.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Sadio Mane also scored before half-time before Gini Wijnaldum bagged as the clock hit 90 to see off their struggling neighbours.

And this time, it was a victory that saw the Reds maintain an 11-point gap on Pep Guardiola’s City.

The hunters are now the hunted. The chasers are now the chased – setting standards that not even Guardiola can match right now.

Forty points from 14 games. Fifteen consecutive home league wins. A club-record 32 league games unbeaten.

If they were to be caught after bridging such an impressive gap, it would surpass any Premier League meltdown since its inception in 1992.

Of course, Klopp’s record-breaking 100th league win in 159 games was not as comfortable as he would have liked, as goals from Michael Keane and Richarlison before the break gave the Toffees hope.

It’s now 13 games in all competitions without a clean sheet for Liverpool, something that will concern Klopp as they head into their global fixture pile-up.

It’s a pile-up that saw Klopp make a surprising five changes to his starting line-up, with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson dropped to the bench.

But he need not have worried, heading into the 234th Merseyside derby with the biggest points gap between the two sides in 125 years of the fixture.

Everton even began the night in the bottom three.

And it showed – an under-pressure and axe-fearing Marco Silva could do nothing but admire as his struggling Everton side bowed once more to their superior Merseyside rivals.

Liverpool’s attacking threat – spearheaded by a man in Mane who looks to have wrestled the Anfield crown from Salah and Firmino in recent months – was unstoppable from the opening seconds.

And six minutes in, Mane and Origi combined to leave Everton’s defenders helpless and stunned.

With what looked like no angle to pass, Mane created one of his own with an inch-perfect ball that wiped out two defenders, allowing Origi to round Pickford and find an empty net.

And ten minutes later, the contest looked to be over with a quick-fire second, Everton without a win against Liverpool after going behind home or away since the Second World War.

Trent Alexander-Arnold produced a magnificent diagonal ball to unleash Mane, who then cut inside before giving a no-look reverse pass for Shaqiri to finish after beating the offside trap.

For all their dominance up front, there remains an openness to Liverpool currently, one which Everton took advantage of to get back into the game.

A neat corner routine saw Alex Iwobi find Keane at the near post, who manoeuvred several bobbles to fire his effort into the roof of Adrian’s net.

This sparked Everton’s best spell of the game, one which could have seen them awarded a 25th minute penalty had VAR deemed Virgil Van Dijk’s shove on Richarlison a foul.

Alexander-Arnold was then lucky to avoid red after leaving studs on the ankle of Lucas Digne.

But in a flash, Liverpool responded in the only way they know how.

With 31 minutes on the clock, Dejan Lovren went long from the back as Origi evaded Everton’s centre backs before the deftest of touches teed up a delightful lob over the oncoming Pickford.

And 14 minutes later Mane deservedly got on the scoresheet after a supersonic counter attack by Alexander-Arnold gave him the space and time to curl his effort from the edge of the box into the bottom corner.

That’s now 13 goals for the Senegalese sensation – the same amount as Salah and Firmino combined.


For their consistency in attack there remained some worrying consistency at the back – Richarlison finding space in the box on the brink of half-time to head past Adrian.

Thankfully for Klopp, the second half was a more controlled affair after a six-goal thriller of a first half.

Mane had chances to make it even more comfortable but could not find the net.

Eventually, Liverpool saw out and passed yet another test of their title credentials when Wijnaldum found the back of the net following good work from sub Firmino down the left.

But unlike last season, Klopp did not need to end this Merseyside derby with a pitch invasion.

He will save that for May, with what should be a Premier League medal around his neck.


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JOHN YOU GO- Chelsea 2 Aston Villa 1: John Terry’s homecoming ruined as Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount goals seal win for Blues




THEY rolled out the red carpet for John Terry but there was no old pals’ act for the Chelsea legend’s first return to Stamford Bridge.

The last time the most successful captain in the club’s history was here, he was carried off shoulder high by his team-mates.

This time he had to settle for a place in the visitors’ dug-out as part of Villa’s coaching team.

But the Chelsea faithful still regard him very much as one of their own and gave him the kind of welcome reserved for Blues royalty.

First they rolled out a massive ‘Terry 26’ banner depicting all his trophies across the Matthew Harding End then serenaded their former defender with the old ‘John Terry has won the double’ song.

What a pity his former team-mates were not quite so accommodating.

And how unfortunate that Tammy Abraham was not quite so generous to his former club.

Chelsea’s young England striker scored 26 goals for Aston Villa on loan with Dean Smith’s team last season to help win promotion to the Premier League.

Yet when his chance came to bury the club who helped to set him on the road to stardom, he did not hesitate to stick the knife in.

He might not have celebrated his 23rd minute goal which set Chelsea on their way to their first win in four games, but he did just about everything else to make Smith’s life a misery.

Back after missing Saturday’s shock defeat by West Ham with a hip injury, Abraham was clearly keen to show the travelling Villa fans just what they are missing.

No wonder he was applauded off by both sets of supporters when he limped out of the action ten minutes from the end.

Villa, beaten in their last eight Premier League visits to London, arrived at the Bridge just three points away from the relegation zone.

And they were on the back foot straight away when they were opened up on the counter by Christian Pulisic before Willian’s ferocious shot was beaten away by Tom Heaton.

Mason Mount sent a tame header straight at the Villa keeper and then blazed yards over the bar when he was presented with another scoring opportunity just seconds later.

And when Pulisic was just beaten to the punch by Ahmed El Mohamady as they competed for Willian’s inviting cross, you could sense the tension starting to kick in among the home supporters.

They need not have worried. Villa’s defence were starting to creak under the pressure and after 23 minutes they were blown wide apart.

Reece James’ chip in from the right picked out Abraham drifting in behind the dozing Ezri Konsa and Chelsea’s leading scorer made no mistake with his unchallenged header.

He did not celebrate his 12th goal of the season out of respect for the Villa fans behind the goal but he was clearly relishing his battle of the giants with international pal Tyrone Mings.

Ten minutes after opening the scoring, he was clearing a Villa corner at one end and then leading the counter attack which required a last-ditch intervention by Mings.

But just when it seemed that Chelsea were ready to turn the screw, they were undone once again by their defensive shortcomings.

El Mohamady was given far too much time out wide to deliver a 42nd minute cross which was missed by both Wesley and Andreas Christensen but bundled in by Trezeguet.

Chelsea were desperately hoping that VAR might back up their appeals for handball by Villa’s Egyptian international.

But the TV replays merely confirmed that Trezeguet had inadvertently nudged the ball over the line after somehow heading straight down onto his own boot.

It means Chelsea have now managed just four clean sheets in 23 games in all competitions this season.

No team with serious title ambitions can afford to be so generous at the back but at least they have the firepower at the other end of the pitch to give them a fighting chance.

That much was evident three minutes into the second-half when they regained the lead which they had so carelessly surrendered just before the break.

Not for the first time Villa’s defence stood off Willian to allow the opportunity to cross from the right for Abraham to lay off to Mount with his chest.

The young midfielder’s finishing might have been unconvincing earlier in the game, but there was nothing wrong with his connection this time as he sent a superb right-foot volley into the top corner.

Abraham could have made life more comfortable for Frank Lamaprd but flicked a 73rd minute shot just the wrong side of the far post.

Willian’s late free-kick was brilliantly tipped against the post by the flying Heaton and Villa sub Douglas Luiz almost snatched a last-gasp equaliser with a firm header which Kepa did well to shovel around for a corner.

But there were to be no late heroics for Terry who departed with one last hug for Lampard and a wave to the fans who will never forget his contribution to their glory years.



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MADE HIS MARC- Man Utd 2 Tottenham 1: Rashford double gives Jose Mourinho unhappy Old Trafford return despite Alli wondergoal




THIS WAS NOT the Manchester United Jose Mourinho remembered.

To be fair it wasn’t the one Ole Solskjaer remembered either. Not from this season anyway. Maybe from his own playing days.

No, this was a performance totally at odds with what had been going on of late.

United were exciting, vibrant, dominant and in Marcus Rashford they had the outstanding player on the pitch.

He scored both United’s goals and ran the Spurs back four ragged all night.

Mourinho could only stand and watch from the technical area unable to plot a way through his former charges.

Unable to summon up another performance from his opening three games.

This was how Ole Solskjaer wants his United team to play week in week out.

Not just on a big occasion like tonight and that now is the aim – for 90 minutes, week in week out.

The United boss could barely believe his side were only on level terms at the break having dominated the first half.

They were ahead after seven minutes through Rashford who was the star of that opening 45 minutes.

His close pal Jesse Lingard was looking more like his old self as well.

It was he who won a tussle for the ball on the left wing with Davison Sanchez with a quick turn and fed Rashford.

He was shooting on sight and from the corner of the box let fly with a low dipping effort and while Paolo Gazzinga got a hand to it he could only deflect it onto the post and in.

Rashford wanted more and sent a free kick from outside the area curling just wide.

Mason Greenwood in for the injured Anthony Marial had a close range shot from an angle superbly saved by Gazzaniga’s outstretched right leg.

If the Spurs goalkeeper had been at fault for the first goal he was certainly making up for it.

His finger tips were the only thing between Rashford and a wonder goal when the young United forward let fly from 20 yards as he stretched to touch it onto the bar.

It was as well as United had played all season and Rashford forced another full length save out of Gazzaniga in the 27th minute.

And yet they would still go in at the break level.

Dele Alli, who has been reborn of late under Jose Mourinho, had hardly been seen all half but it was another piece of magic from him that drew Spurs level.

It was the 38th minute when a cross from Jan Vertonghan found Serge Aurier at the far post.

His shot from a tight angle was saved by David De Gea and the ball ballooned up in the air.

Alli with his back to goal quickly worked out a spell to conjur up a goal as he flicked the ball back over his shoulder, between Fred and Ashley Young, before guiding a shot across De Gea and in.

Such set backs would normally see doubts creep into the United side as the impetus was allowed to swing to their opponents.

Not this time.

They ran out for the second half determined and moments later they were back in the lead with Rashford the man at the centre of it all again.

Charging into the Spurs box he was felled by a clumsy challenge by Moussa Sissoko.

Referee Paul Tierney pointed straight to the spot and the VAR was not going to meddle with his decision.

The responsibility fell to Rashford who calmly slotted the spot-kick away, rolling the ball into the bottom right hand corner while Gazzaniga dived the other way.

United’s tails were up.

The quick tempo that had defined their first half performance was still there.

Spurs were still struggling to keep pace with them.

When even Fred is playing well you know something special is happening.

We will not mention his first half shot that flew sideways and backwards. Definitely not.

Still, while defensively Spurs were having nightmares, not least in the full-back areas, there are still plenty of goals in this side at the other end.

They had hit ten in Mourinho’s first three games in charge.

But they were not threatening though. Harry Kane was not getting a sniff of goal.

United meanwhile continued to bring the best out of Gazzaniga at the other end with Daniel James the latest to sting his fingers with a shot from the edge of the area.

Solskjaer’s side had surrendered 12 points this season from winning positions but they were not prepared to give up anymore.

They were winning the battles in midfield. Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof were staying strong at the back.

It just needed the whistle to bring it all to an end.

When it did Mourinho congratulated Solskjaer and went onto the pitch to console his players.

Not just that but he shook hands with each of his former players who he did not have the chance to say farewell to after his exit last December.

The reaction he got from each of them was warm. His one positive from the night.

For Solskjaer, the chants of ‘Ole Ole Ole’ rang round the ground.

Source: thesun


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