MENA Sports activities Wrap: A snooker participant from the MENA area has received the hearts of the gang on the UK Championship, whereas there was extra drama in Saudi and Qatari soccer.
The primary Iranian skilled snooker participant made it to the UK Championship’s final 4 [Getty]
The world’s first skilled Iranian snooker participant, Hossein Vafaei, made it to the semi-finals of the UK Championship final weekend, the place he confronted most likely the sport’s greatest identify – Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The Riyadh Derby noticed a vastly controversial aim by Cristiano Ronaldo disallowed, whereas over in Qatar, the nationwide staff coach has been changed.
Iranian snooker ace reaches UK Championship semi-finals
He won’t have received the UK Championships, however Iranian snooker ace Hossein Vafaei on the hearts of the York crowd final week the place the match happened.
The ‘Prince of Persia’ entered the match ranked 18th, stunning many by cruising by to the semi-finals the place he confronted the world primary – and doubtless the best snooker participant of all time – Ronnie O’Sullivan on Saturday.
Final 12 months, when the 2 gamers met, Vafaei confronted criticism after saying it was time for O’Sullivan – who has dominated snooker for over twenty years – to retire.
Whereas the remark was taken gracefully by Rocket Ronnie, it did contribute to creating one thing of a rivalry between the rising begin and O’Sullivan.
Coming into the semi-final this time, the 29-year-old Vafaei hailed Ronnie as his “hero” however evidently was not at his finest, pulling out of a snooker match this week with an sickness.
Iranian sports activities might see historical past being made in snooker participant Hossein Vafaei, whose stellar run within the UK Championships has impressed fanshttps://t.co/wVNu4Mgcuw
— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) December 2, 2023
He briefly got here again from being two frames down within the semi-finals on Saturday to stage the rating 2-2, earlier than O’Sullivan obtained into gear and received the match 6-2.
In the long run, Vafaei admitted he did not play his finest snooker and admitted he wasn’t feeling 100%.
“At this time was my worst day. I don’t have the guts to play in opposition to my hero. I simply do not know, there was one thing incorrect with me in the present day,” Vafaei instructed Eurosport after the match.
“I misplaced to my hero. There was just one man who might cease me on this match, I feel, and it was solely Ronnie O’Sullivan.”
After Vafaei misplaced the sport, the 47-year-old star embraced the younger Iranian to indicate all was forgiven.
However O’Sullivan additionally cheekily quipped that he was “simply hanging round so individuals don’t get pretty much as good as a profession as me”. He went to win the match, the fortieth in his profession.
Heated Riyadh derby sees disappointment for Ronaldo
Al Hilal thumped Riyadh rivals Al-Nassr 3-0 as the 2 giants of Saudi soccer locked horns in a bitter conflict on the King Fahad stadium earlier this week.
A roaring dwelling crowd for Al Hilal set the tone for the sport, with pink smoke from flares engulfing components of the stadium.
The hosts drew the primary blood within the second half with a header from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The deal was later sealed with a brace from Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Al-Nassr didn’t go down with out a battle, however squandered quite a few adjustments in entrance of aim whereas a strike by Cristiano Ronaldo was controversially dominated offside.
Gamers and training employees lobbied the referee and his assistants for the choice to be reversed, with safety later escorting gamers again to the dressing room.
Talking after the sport, Al-Nassr supervisor Luis Castro lambasted some choices through the sport.
“There have been two penalty kicks that weren’t awarded for Al-Nassr, and Al-Hilal’s second aim was incorrect,” Castro stated.
“The identical aim for Al Hilal in opposition to Al Ittihad within the Arab Championship was additionally counted in the present day for them. Is it regular for the striker to push our participant and rating a aim and the referee doesn’t see it once more?”
With the 3-0 win, Al-Hilal lengthen their lead over Al-Nassr on the high of the Saudi Professional League by seven factors.
Regardless of the bitter loss, Castro has not given up.
“The league shouldn’t be over but,” Castro was quoted by The Nassr Zone as saying.
Queiroz Qatar stint lower brief
Qatar coach Carlos Queiroz was given the boot earlier this week, only a month earlier than the nation is because of host the Asia Cup.
The rationale for the 70-year-old’s sacking stays unclear, although the Qatar Soccer Affiliation (QFA) stated that the contract was terminated “mutually between the 2 events”.
Some specialists, nonetheless, stated that Queiroz’s type of play, relations with the staff, and his lack of use of younger gamers from the Aspire Academy in Doha could have contributed to his departure.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the federation stated: “The Qatar Soccer Affiliation has introduced that Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz’s tenure as head coach of the Qatar nationwide staff has ended amicably by mutual settlement between the 2 events.
All thanks and appreciation to Coach Carlos Queiroz for the interval he supervised the coaching of our nationwide staff. We want you success in your future profession. pic.twitter.com/jUls8Ytr2k
— Qatar Soccer Affiliation (@QFA_EN) December 6, 2023
Queiroz was appointed in February this 12 months, and had initially signed a four-year contract, and was charged with qualifying the Qataris for the 2026 World Cup.
Twelve matches have been performed below the Portuguese veteran’s administration, with 4 wins, three attracts and 4 losses.
Queiroz took over the Gulf staff scorching off the heels of the Qatar-hosted 2022 FIFA World Cup, which noticed the Gulf staff make their first look within the high soccer match.
Spaniard Marquez Lopez has been introduced as Queiroz’s successor, because the nation prepares to host the AFC Asian Cup in January, coming into as defending champions.
Queiroz, whose managerial profession started over 30 years, has headed quite a few Center Japanese and North African groups all through his profession.
The Portuguese was answerable for the UAE, Iran and Egypt all through the years, and is the Iranian staff’s longest serving supervisor, having coached between 2011-2019 earlier than a quick stint in 2022.
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