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Liverpool see off Fulham in controversial win at Anfield

Liverpool (Agencies): Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League with a controversial 2-0 win over Fulham at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah’s opener 12 seconds after Aleksandar Mitrovic had a goal ruled for offside put Liverpool ahead, before Xherdan Shaqiri ensured the points stayed at Anfield in the second half.

The home side move above Chelsea and Manchester City into first place ahead of their games later on Sunday.

Salah should have put Liverpool ahead earlier than he did, but was unable to control the ball when one-on-one with Sergio Rico in Liverpool’s best chance in the opening 15 minutes.

Ryan Sessegnon was proving suspect defensively for Fulham, but he nearly gave them the lead after racing onto Mitrovic’s flick on, only to put the ball wide of Alisson’s goal from close range after 24 minutes.

Fulham continued to threaten in the following minutes, with Alisson parrying a speculative effort from Andre Schurrle back into the box, but Mitrovic and Sessegnon were both just unable to reach the ball before it was cleared.

The game sprang into life five minutes before half time as Mitrovic’s header was ruled out for offside. Alisson took the free kick with the ball rolling and it eventually found Salah, who swept home to make it 1-0.

Sadio Mane nearly doubled the lead after 53 minutes with a shot from 25 yards parried behind by Rico, but Shaqiri was able to score after the resulting corner with a controlled finish from Andrew Robertson’s cross.

Fulham have now conceded two or more goals for the 10th time in 12 matches this season, and nearly had to pick the ball out of the back of the net again when Roberto Firmino found Robertson on the counter, but Rico was on hand to keep the score at 2-0.

Liverpool were not troubled in seeing out the game with Fulham offering little threat in the second half. Slavisa Jokanovic’s men remain bottom of the table going into the international break.

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Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal ruled out of England series

Pallekele (Agencies): Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has been ruled out of the rest of the Test series against England with injury, while spinner Akila Dananjaya has been reported for a suspect bowling action. Chandimal suffered a groin injury in the 211-run defeat in the first Test.

Uncapped all-rounder Charith Asalanka has been called-up, while Suranga Lakmal will take over as captain. Dananjaya, who took two wickets in the first Test, will be allowed to continue to play while testing is carried out. Meanwhile, England batsman Ollie Pope will leave the tour of Sri Lanka and join the Lions for their tour against Pakistan A in the United Arab Emirates, once the second Test in Kandy starts on Wednesday. “It is important that Ollie is playing and the selection panel felt that to aid his development the best course of action is for him to go and play for the Lions in a competitive series against Pakistan A,” said England head coach Trevor

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Iran women attend Asian football final in rare ‘victory’

TEHRAN (Agencies): Hundreds of Iranian women attended a crunch football match in Tehran, in a rare step seen Sunday as a “victory” by local newspapers and hailed by FIFA as an “historic and festive day” for the sport.

About a thousand women were allowed into Azadi Stadium late Saturday to watch Iranian giant Persepolis FC battle it out in the Asian Champions League with Japan’s Kashima Antlers, an AFP reporter said.

The Japanese side triumphed 2-0 on aggregate, after a goalless draw in Tehran, but for the reformist Etemad newspaper the clear winners were Iranian women.

“Women were the winners of Azadi (“Freedom” in Farsi) match,” it said in a bold headline on its front page. A picture on the front page of another reformist daily, Sazandegi, showed women cheering at the stadium with a headline reading: “Iranian women’s victory in Asian finals.”

Haft-e Sobh newspaper, which has no marked political affiliation, carried a banner headline on its front page that said: “A thousand real women.” The Asian Football Confederation and FIFA presidents praised the attendance of women at the match, in a joint statement.

“I thank the authorities in Iran for making it possible for a diverse and socially representative crowd to witness an extraordinary occasion,” said AFC president Salman al-Khalifa. “Tonight, was historic in so many ways,” he said.

Gianni Infantino, head of world football’s governing body FIFA who attended the match, said he was “delighted to personally” see Iranian female football fans inside the 100,000-capacity stadium. “Today is a historic and festive day for football, a real breakthrough,” Infantino said.

– ‘Handpicked’ female fans –

Women were barred from attending matches after the 1979 Islamic revolution, with clerics arguing they must be protected from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men. They have also worried about the crush of men and women when leaving stadiums.

The ban on women in stadiums has been frequently criticised from across the political spectrum. On Sunday, state-run IRNA reported that authorities had allowed a select group of 850 women fans to attend the Persepolis-Kashima Antlers match.

Sazandegi newspaper said most were “handpicked” and included female relatives of the local side as well as women football and futsal players. Reformist newspaper Shargh reported that about 500 female fans were kept outside the stadium gates. The AFP reporter said the women who entered were seated in a separate stand inside the stadium and allowed inside two hours before the game started to avoid a crush.

After the revolution almost 40 years ago, women were allowed to attend a football match in Iran for the first time in November 2001 when around 20 Irish women were among the crowd for an Iran-Ireland World Cup qualifier Iranian women had to wait four more years, until June 8, 2005 when a few dozens were allowed to watch an Iran-Bahrain match, also a World Cup qualifier.

After that match, women were rarely allowed to watch men’s football in stadiums and in very limited numbers. On October 16, however, for the first time, as many as 100 Iranian women entered Azadi stadium for a friendly between Iran and Bolivia.

The following day, Iran’s prosecutor general warned there would be no repeat of women watching football inside stadiums, saying it would “lead to sin”. But Iran’s first vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri, urged sports authorities “not to allow politics to affect football”, quoted by IRNA.

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New Zealand’s Corey Anderson joins PSL’s Platinum roster

KARACHI (Monitoring Desk): New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson has become the latest foreign player to join the platinum roster of Pakistan Super League for the 2019 edition.

Anderson, 27, has been inducted in the platinum category of the PSL draft, which is scheduled to take place on November 20th.

He has played 13 Tests, 49 ODIs and 31 T20Is for New Zealand. Anderson broke Shahid Afridi’s record for the fastest ODI century when he cracked the milestone off just 36 balls, on New Year’s Day in 2014 against West Indies.

AB de Villiers broke Anderson’s record a year later, reaching the ton off 31 balls against West Indies. AB de Villiers and Australia’s Steve Smith are some of the other high-profile players headlining the PSL roster.

Windies trio of Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine are also part of the platinum players list.

Australian star Chris Lynn, who was ruled out of last year’s tournament for Lahore Qalandars due to an injury, has also signed for the upcoming season of PSL.

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Liverpool see off Fulham in controversial win at Anfield

LIVERPOOL (Agencies): Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League with a controversial 2-0 win over Fulham at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah’s opener 12 seconds after Aleksandar Mitrovic had a goal ruled for offside put Liverpool ahead, before Xherdan Shaqiri ensured the points stayed at Anfield in the second half. The home side move above Chelsea and Manchester City into first place ahead of their games later on Sunday.

Salah should have put Liverpool ahead earlier than he did, but was unable to control the ball when one-on-one with Sergio Rico in Liverpool’s best chance in the opening 15 minutes.

Ryan Sessegnon was proving suspect defensively for Fulham, but he nearly gave them the lead after racing onto Mitrovic’s flick on, only to put the ball wide of Alisson’s goal from close range after 24 minutes.

Fulham continued to threaten in the following minutes, with Alisson parrying a speculative effort from Andre Schurrle back into the box, but Mitrovic and Sessegnon were both just unable to reach the ball before it was cleared.

The game sprang into life five minutes before half time as Mitrovic’s header was ruled out for offside. Alisson took the free kick with the ball rolling and it eventually found Salah, who swept home to make it 1-0.

Sadio Mane nearly doubled the lead after 53 minutes with a shot from 25 yards parried behind by Rico, but Shaqiri was able to score after the resulting corner with a controlled finish from Andrew Robertson’s cross.

Fulham have now conceded two or more goals for the 10th time in 12 matches this season, and nearly had to pick the ball out of the back of the net again when Roberto Firmino found Robertson on the counter, but Rico was on hand to keep the score at 2-0.

Liverpool were not troubled in seeing out the game with Fulham offering little threat in the second half. Slavisa Jokanovic’s men remain bottom of the table going into the international break.

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PHF announces date for first-ever domestic hockey league

KARACHI (Monitoring Desk): The planning for Pakistan’s first hockey League has been completed and the inaugural edition will be held in February next year, announced Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Sunday.

The PHF has also opened the applications and bids for the broadcasting rights of the league along with the title sponsor. The first edition of Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) will feature six teams named on the cities of Pakistan including Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Kashmir, Karachi and Lahore.

The League will be held in the format similar to Pakistan Super League (PSL). Around 30 international players will also become part of the league. The rights of franchise structure, ticketing revenue and sponsor rights will be sold in light of the PSL format. Companies that are interested in buying the rights will be able to submit applications from November 12. The franchises will also have to deposit $1,000 which will be non-refundable.

The inaugural edition of PHL is expected to be held in four different cities of Pakistan. Faisalabad, Gojra, Karachi and Lahore will host the event, but it all depends on the agreement of international federations to send their players to Pakistan.

The announcement came after Haier signed an MoU to become the title sponsor in all the domestic and international events till 2020. The agreement was signed on November 10 in Lahore.

On this occasion the secretary of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) told media that, “The sponsorship will help the players in getting their dues clear and will also solve the financial issue in participating in the international events.” He added that the team and the PHF has been facing financial crisis for a longer time of period now.

“Haier, which has been an active sponsor of cricket, has stepped up to help the national game. This will help us in executing the plan that has been pending due to financial issues and the first of them is PHL, which will now be held in February 2019,” he said.

The chairman of Peshawar Zalmi and the CEO of Haier, Javed Afridi, on this occasion said that, “Hockey is our national sport and we are recognised throughout the world because of it. In the past, Pakistan has won four World Cups, three Champions Trophy and are three-time Olympic Gold medallists. This is a wondrous feast for all of us as a nation.”

He added that Pakistan has enormous hockey talent and soon will climb the ranks again. “Haier Pakistan will sponsor the team and the PHF till 2020 and will remain the title sponsor for both of these entities. During this tenure, we will support them for their international events, home series and domestic events as well.”

The president of PHF, Khalid Sajjad Khokhar said, “Haier Pakistan has forwarded its support for the PHF and the national hockey team when they were in dire need. This is a step in the right direction and this will motivate youngsters to proudly participate in hockey as they will see a bright future ahead.”

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Kenyans win 40th Istanbul Marathon

ISTANBUL (AA): Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich won the 40th intercontinental Istanbul Marathon women’s title and Kenyan Felix Kimutai won the men’s race by breaking the 42 km Istanbul Marathon’s records on Sunday.

Last year’s winner Chepngetich finished 42-km (26-mile) run in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds while Kimutai finished the same distance in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 57 seconds. Both Kenyans broke the 42km Istanbul Marathon’s records in men’s and women’s races.

A record number of runners are competing in the world’s only intercontinental marathon on Sunday. The Vodafone 40th Istanbul Marathon started on the Asian side of Istanbul’s July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, formerly known as the Bosphorus Bridge.

The finish line is located in the historic Sultanahmet Square on the city’s European side. This year’s theme is: “Run Istanbul for a healthy future.” Around 30,000 professional runners, from more than 100 countries, took part in the marathon. In addition to that, about 100,000 people were expected to run in the 8-kilometer (5-mile) transcontinental Istanbul Marathon Fun Run. The event featured a 42-kilometer (26-mile) marathon, and three other races on courses of 15 km (9.3 mi.), 10 km (6.2 mi.), and 8 km (4.9 mi.). It also included a race for wheelchair-bound participants.

10 km and 15 km races

Turkey’s Yasemin Can won 15 km women’s race in 47 minutes and 43 seconds while Kenyan Shadrack Korir won 15 km men’s race in 43 minutes and 4 seconds. Turkey’s Suzan Tunca won 10 km women’s race in 37 minutes and 11 seconds while Turkey’s Fatih Korkunc won 10 km men’s race in 33 minutes and 23 seconds.

About 5,000 runners — more than half of them foreigners — have competed in the 42-km marathon. The top five countries sending runners are Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Britain, and France. Fifty-five elite runners from Turkey, Kenya, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, France, Bahrain and Morocco participated in the marathon.

Compared to recent years, the number of foreign runners in the marathon has doubled. The Istanbul Marathon is among 17 marathons in Europe and 38 marathons in the world. Vodafone is the main sponsor of the race organized by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Spor Istanbul subsidiary.

After the transcontinental marathon started, Turkey’s Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu told Anadolu Agency “Istanbul became a brand for a marathon like New York, Boston and Tokyo.” “By connecting the continents, we will prove the unifying power of sports,” Kasapoglu said. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Mevlut Uysal also said “We can turn this marathon into the best marathon in the world by making this organization better. Now, it is among the top 15 marathons in the world.”

Noting that about 100,000 people ran in the marathon last year, Uysal said the number of participants increased this year. Last year, French runner Abraham Kiprotich won the men’s category and Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich the women’s category.

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Miller and Du Plessis hit tons as South Africa seal series

SYDNEY (Agencies): David Miller and Faf du Plessis scored sparkling centuries in a partnership of 252 runs as South Africa beat Australia by 40 runs in a one-day international in Hobart on Sunday to win the three-match series 2-1.

The Proteas skipper contributed 125 to South Africa’s 320 for five but it was Miller’s 139 that really caught the eye, a 108-ball assault on the Australian bowlers that featured 13 fours and four brutal sixes.

Dale Steyn kept up the momentum by dismissing Chris Lynn with the first ball of the Australia innings, and his fellow pacemen Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi soon sent Aaron Finch and Travis Head on their way to reduce their hosts to 39-3.

Shaun Marsh (106) steadied the innings in a fourth-wicket stand of 107 with Marcus Stoinis (63) but once he departed four balls after recording his sixth ODI century, home hopes of only a third win in 14 one-dayers this year faded.

Steyn (3-45) returned to remove Alex Carey for 42, leaving Glenn Maxwell (35) as the last recognised batsman, but he was unable to score quickly enough to challenge the South African tally and Australia finished on 280-9.

“From the batting point of view we were good today but I thought from a ‘death bowling’ point of view we were excellent,” Du Plessis said at the presentation. “It was a great game.”

Australia, who bounced back from losing the series opener in Perth by six wickets to beat the Proteas by seven runs in Adelaide on Friday, won the toss and sent the tourists in to bat at Bellerive Oval.

Mitchell Starc and Stoinis combined to remove the first three batsmen for 55 runs but that only served to bring Du Plessis and Miller together for their record stand — the highest for the fourth wicket by a pair of South Africans.

Miller benefited from a DRS call that overturned an lbw decision when he was on 41 and made the most of what looked like a fortuitous reprieve as he and his captain plundered 130 runs off the last 10 overs, 75 in the last five alone.

Du Plessis’s 114-ball innings included 15 fours and two sixes and was his 10th in international one-dayers, while Miller’s vindicated his elevation up the batting order.

The same could not be said of Lynn’s promotion to opener and Australia still have plenty of question marks over their batting ahead of their defence of the World Cup in England next year.

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PCB terminates franchise rights of PSL team Multan Sultans

F.P. Report

KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has terminated the franchise agreement with Schon Properties which granted franchise rights of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) team Multan Sultans after the franchise failed to meet is financial obligations.

Following the termination of contract all rights in respect of the team have now been reverted back to the PCB.

The PCB, in a statement, stated that the termination was brought about due to the former franchisee’s inability to meet its financial obligations under the agreement.

However, PCB has reaffirmed that the fourth edition of the PSL will go ahead as planned with six teams and the same number of matches.

“The Board shall take complete responsibility of all player and coach contracts,” said the joint statement by the PCB and Schon Properties.

It said that pending further updates, the team shall be referred to as “The Sixth Team” of the PSL.

“The team selection for the sixth team at the player draft scheduled to be held on 20th November 2018 will be done by PCB itself,” it announced.

The PCB will now enter into a public tender process to grant repackaged rights of the sixth team.

“The rights holder would have the option of choosing the sixth franchise city and name,” a PCB spokesman said.

Chairman PCB Ehsan Mani, following the development, said that it is to ensure strict adherence to contractual obligations for the well-being of Pakistan Super League.

“I want to reassure our partners – franchisees, sponsors, players, coaches and fans – that the Pakistan Super League will take place as planned. Our preparations are in full swing starting with the PSL Draft in Islamabad,” Mani said in a statement issued by the PCB.

“The 2019 edition of the PSL will be a memorable one with as many as eight matches including the play-offs and the final scheduled to take place in Pakistan.”

PSL-4 will kick off in the UAE with a glittering opening ceremony followed by the opening game on February 14, 2019.

PCB appreciates that Schon Group was the only bidder to meet the Reserve Price ($5.2 million per annum) PCB had set for the sale of the Multan Franchise. This was double the amount for which PCB had in 2015 sold the most valuable PSL Franchise Team. Asher Schon in particular has worked hard in building the Multan Sultans brand.

Asher Schon stated, “It has been a privilege being a PSL team owner over the past year. I am proud of the support Schon has always extended to Pakistan cricket and current affairs notwithstanding, will continue to passionately support it.”

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Pakistan announce 15-man squad for two Test matches against New Zealand

LAHORE (Monitoring Desk): The Pakistan Cricket Board’s selection committee on Saturday announced a 15-member squad for upcoming Test matches against New Zealand, choosing to rest spinner Shadab Khan and Fakhar Zaman while including young fast-bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi.

The committee headed by Inzamam ul Haq said it announced the squad after consultation with Captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Head Coach Mickey Arthur. The squad will play two of the three Test matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) scheduled to begin from next week.

“The team has been selected keeping in mind the conditions of the UAE, where Shahdab Khan and Fakhar Zaman have been rested from the Test matches and have also been advised to undergo training at the NCA,” said the press release.

Shaheen Shah Afridi has been included in the squad keeping his current form, said Inzaman.

Newcomer Saad Ali is also likely to make his Test debut for Pakistan in the upcoming series.

“Saad Ali [has been] included in the side after performing in domestic cricket and recent Pakistan ‘A’ series in the UAE,” said Chief Selector Inzamam.

The three match Test series will commence from November 16 in Abu Dhabi. The second Test match is scheduled to be played in Dubai from November 24, while the last match of the series will be played in Abu Dhabi from December 3.

The selected players are:

1) Muhammad Hafeez

2) Imam Ul Haq

3) Azhar Ali

4) Haris Sohail

5) Asad shafiq

6) Baber Azam

7) Saad Ali

8) Sarfaraz Ahmad (captain)

9) Yasir Shah

10) Bilal Asif

11) Muhammad Abbas

12) Hassan Ali

13) Shaheen Shah Afridi

14) Faheem Ashraf

15) Mir Hamza.