Morocco captain Mehdi Benatia donates TV screen for small village to watch South Africa clash

Morocco's Mehdi Amine El Mouttaqui celebrates end of the African Cup of Nations group D soccer match between Morocco and Ivory Coast in Al Salam Stadium in Cairo. (AP)
Updated 01 July 2019
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Morocco captain Mehdi Benatia donates TV screen for small village to watch South Africa clash

  • Gesture came following viral image of group of young Atlas Lions fans crowding around a small smartphone screen
  • Former Juventus and Bayern Munich defender Benatia saw the photo

LONDON: Morocco go into battle with South Africa on Monday for a place in the Africa Cup of Nations round of 16, and a group of supporters in a small Moroccan village got to see it in all its glory thanks to captain Mehdi Benatia.

Following a viral image of a group of young Atlas Lions fans crowding around a small smartphone screen to watch their team’s 1-0 win over Ivory Coast last week, Moroccan football website Soccer212 started a campaign to help them have a “better viewing experience.”

Former Juventus and Bayern Munich defender Benatia saw the photo and offered to pay for a large TV set, satellite connection and all the necessary equipment to get to the boys in time for Monday’s match.

Benatia took to social media to explain his gesture, saying: “When you see something like this, one can only wish to give back, give away everything. This is for you my boys — we will do everything to make you happy.”

Achraf Hakimi rattled the crossbar with a terrific 25-yard attempt early in the second half, but Morocco won it right at the death as Mbark Boussoufa stabbed home from close range after a free-kick fell into his path.

Having been on course to seal one of four best third-place spots, South Africa will now be counting on Senegal to beat Kenya later Monday while keeping a close eye on Tuesday's results in Group E and F.


Sri Lanka 244 all out in 1st innings of 2nd test vs New Zealand

Updated 24 August 2019
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Sri Lanka 244 all out in 1st innings of 2nd test vs New Zealand

  • New Zealand batted for two overs and went to lunch on the third day at one run without loss
  • Sri Lanka won the first test by six wickets in Galle and looks to sweep the two-test series

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Dhananjaya de Silva scored his fifth test century to rally Sri Lanka from trouble and reach a competitive 244 runs in the first innings of the second test against New Zealand on Saturday.
New Zealand batted for two overs and went to lunch on the third day at one run without loss.
De Silva walked in to bat when Sri Lanka was 93 for four and saw quick wickets fall at the other end pushing Sri Lanka to 131 for six. He survived at nine when fast bowler Trent Boult dropped an easy high catch off his own bowling; but he made good his luck and held the Sri Lanka innings together facing 148 deliveries hitting 16 boundaries and a six.
He shared 41 runs with No. 8 batsman Dilruwan Perera (13) and 43 runs with Suranga Lakmal (10) at No.9.
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne made 65 while opening the batting.
Sri Lanka resumed day three at 144 for six and left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel trapped Perera lbw for New Zealand’s first breakthrough for the day.
Fast bowler Tim Southee continued his good run from the second day, taking two more wickets to finish with four for 63. Boult had three for 75.
Sri Lanka won the first test by six wickets in Galle and looks to sweep the two-test series.