Injury-depleted Juventus continue Turin derby domination

first_imgJuventus have 65 points from 25 games, two points ahead of Napoli who host struggling SPAL later in the day.Massimiliano Allegri’s side — held 2-2 by Tottenham in their Champions League home tie in Turin this week — were without injured Mario Mandzukic, Blaise Matuidi and Juan Cuadrado, with Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi starting on the bench.Dybala made his comeback from a hamstring injury in the second half.“Today was not a great answer to 2-2 in the first leg but we will go to London convinced we can do it,” said Allegri.“Juve are a strong side with extraordinary players that for years has been challenging in all fronts and I don’t consider the 2-2 with Tottenham to be a tragedy.“I am proud of the lads and today we saw a good reaction, we enjoyed ourselves even during difficult moments.”With tensions already running high in the traditional “Derby Della Mole” the visitors were reeling after three minutes when Higuain landed awkwardly on his ankle as he rushed to pick up a Miralem Pjanic cross. The Argentine played on from another 12 minutes before being replaced by Bernardeschi.Torino had an early chance with Joel Obi and Andrea Belotti two on one against Juventus centre-back Daniele Rugani but Belotti failed to control the ball.Douglas Costa then burst down the right, his cross found Kwadwo Asamoah for a low volley that was cleared off the line by Nicolas N’Koulou of Torino.A Belotti volley from a Iago Falque cross went into the side-netting with Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, replacing rested Gianluigi Buffon, stopping a Lorenzo De Silvestri header mid air.Miralem Pjanic also threatened with a free kick before Juventus broke through when Bernardeschi raced down the right and crossed low for Sandro to tap in.Dybala came on in place of Douglas Costa after 66 minutes and the Argentine almost doubled Juventus’ advantage immediately, picking up a perfect assist from Bernardeschi, but failing to finish off.“Paulo did well for 30 minutes,” said Allegri. “He played very well technically and managing the ball well, even if it’s natural that he’s still lack match fitness.”Juventus held on for their ninth consecutive Serie A win as Torino coach Walter Mazzarri suffered his first defeat in six games since taking over from Sinisa Mihajlovic. The win was an 18th for Juventus in the last 24 Turin derbies, with Torino taking just one point in eight meetings since a 2-1 victory in April 2015.Torino sit ninth, five points off the European places.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Juventus’ players enjoyed the Turin derby victory that took them back to the top of Serie A © AFP / MARCO BERTORELLOMilan, Italy, Feb 18 – Alex Sandro put Juventus top of Serie A with a 1-0 derby win at Torino but rivals Napoli could reclaim the summit when they play SPAL later on Sunday.Brazilian Sandro scored after 33 minutes for the six-time defending champions who dominated despite being weakened by injuries and losing top scorer Gonzalo Higuain to an early knock.last_img read more

Saudi Women to Enter Stadiums for First Time to Watch Soccer

first_imgRIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi women will for the first time be allowed to enter a sports stadium on Friday to watch a soccer match between two local teams — though they will be segregated from the male-only crowd with designated seating in the so-called “family section.”The move is Saudi Arabia’s first social reform planned for this year granting women greater rights. The kingdom has also announced that starting in June, women will be allowed to drive, lifting the world’s only ban on female drivers.To prepare for the change, the kingdom has designated “family sections” in the stands for women, separated by barriers from the male-only crowd. The stadiums have also been fitted with female prayer areas, restrooms and smoking areas, as well as separate entrances and parking lots for female spectators.While many have welcomed the decision, others have spoken out against it. An Arabic hashtag on Twitter about women entering stadiums had more than 50,000 tweets by mid-day.Many used the hashtag to write that women’s place should be in the home, focusing on their children and preserving their faith, and not out at a stadium where male crowds frequently curse and chant raucously.Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is King Salman’s son and heir, is seen as the driving force behind these changes. He is set to inherit a country where more than half the population is under 25 years-old and hungry for change.Rather than grant citizens greater political rights, the crown prince has instead looked to boost his popularity by curbing the influence of ultraconservatives. His reforms are also aimed in part at raising local spending on entertainment as the country faces years of budget deficit amid continued lower oil prices.The first stadium to open its doors to women will be in the Red Sea city of Jiddah for a match between Saudi soccer teams Al-Ahli and Al-Batin later on Friday evening. The national stadium in the capital, Riyadh, will open to women a day later, on Saturday, followed by the western city of Dammam next Thursday.These stadiums were built with hundreds of millions of dollars when oil prices were nearly double what they are now. The government spent lavishly on the stadiums in an effort to appease young Saudis and provide spaces for fans eager to cheer on local clubs, as well as hold national parades and ceremonies.In a one-off, the main stadium in Riyadh allowed families to enter and watch National Day festivities in September — marking the first time women had set foot inside the stadium.A Saudi woman who tried to attend a soccer game in Jiddah in 2015 was arrested. Police were quoted in local media at the time as saying that security spotted her at the stadium “deliberately disguised” in pants, a long-sleeve top, a hat and sunglasses to avoid detection.Over the years, though, there have been some exceptions for foreign women.In 2015, an Australian female supporter of Western Sydney Wanderers soccer club was permitted to attend a match at Riyadh’s main stadium and a group of American women traveling with members of U.S. Congress watched a local club match, also in Riyadh.___ABDULLAH AL-SHIHRI, Associated PressAYA BATRAWY, Associated PressBatrawy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

A really good feeling Paralyzed Humboldt Broncos players back on the ice

first_imgDENVER — It was just a pickup hockey game between family and friends but the significance was not lost on former Humboldt Broncos teammates Ryan Straschnitzki and Jacob Wassermann.The two young men tested out sledge hockey sleds at an arena in Denver in anticipation of a short exhibition game during an extended first period of a National Collegiate Athletic Association game between the University of Denver Pioneers and the Providence Friars on Friday night.It soon turned into a game of shinny marking the first time both Straschnitzki and Wassermann were on the ice together since the junior hockey players were seriously injured in a fatal bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., last spring.“Some of those guys out there are really … good and being out with Straz was amazing,” said 18-year-old Wassermann, who was set up  by Straschnitzki for a goal. “I haven’t been out on the ice with him for some time so that was a really good feeling.”Wassermann was playing as a forward, instead of his former position as a goaltender, so he could get used to using the sled.“I’ve been a goalie my whole life, so I’m not really a scorer or anything. All that playing out there is pretty much new to me, being a goalie when I was very young, but it’s fun though.”Straschnitzki, 19, has had a lot more time playing sledge hockey and was impressed with Wassermann’s goal.“I set him up for a nice one. I think it was pretty cool. We got to see each other on the ice and it was fun. This was just a little warm-up for tonight,” he said.The two players were presented with autographed Hanson Brothers jerseys from the original movie “Slapshot.” There was a lot of laughter and on-ice banter.“That was fantastic to see them. That was the first time they’ve been on the ice together since April 5 and the smiles those two had and the chit-chats,” said Ryan Straschnitzki’s father, Tom Straschnitzki.“I think they were trying to hit each other too.”The junior hockey careers for the two players ended April 6 when the Humboldt Broncos team bus and a semi-trailer collided. Sixteen people were killed and 13 injured. Straschnitzki was paralyzed from the chest down and Wassermann from below the navel.Wassermann’s father, Kirby Wassermann, had mixed feelings as he watched the two former teammates play.“It’s really nice to see them out there again together. It’s been since April and I know Jacob’s been really excited for the trip,” he said.“But at the same time it brings a lot of things back and … it’s hard too.”— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Presslast_img read more