Barcelona seek redemption with Copa del Rey title

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde
Updated 24 May 2019

Barcelona seek redemption with Copa del Rey title

BARCELONA: Although Barcelona is still smarting from its collapse at Liverpool two weeks ago, the team has another cup final to play in this weekend.

The Spanish champions can complete a second straight domestic double when it faces Valencia on Saturday in the Copa del Rey final.

“It’s the last game of the season and we need to win so we can go on vacation with a better feeling than the one we had after the match against Liverpool,” Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet said. “That’s why we want to win this final.”

Barcelona has won a record 30 Copa del Rey titles, including the last four, but it was eliminated from the Champions League by Liverpool after blowing a 3-0 lead from the first leg.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde could have a lot riding on the outcome of the game against Valencia, which will be played on neutral turf in Seville.

We cannot knock this Copa. After the Copa we will be able to draw conclusions on how to improve and aspire to win it all in the coming seasons.

Josep Bartomeu, Barcelona president

While Valverde has had an almost impeccable record in the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey since taking charge two years ago, many Barcelona fans now doubt he can win it all in Europe. So while another cup is almost expected by Barcelona’s supporters, a loss to Valencia would increase the pressure on the club to consider a coaching change.

Knowing his coach is under scrutiny, Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu said Thursday that the club “completely backs Valverde.”

“We cannot knock this Copa,” Bartomeu said. “After the Copa we will be able to draw conclusions on how to improve and aspire to win it all in the coming seasons.”

Barcelona will play without striker Luis Suárez, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus injury in his right knee following the loss to Liverpool. Suarez scored 25 goals for Barcelona this season, second only to Lionel Messi and his 50 goals.

Forward Ousmane Dembele is also out with a muscle injury, while goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen will most certainly keep his starting job after the club said Marc-Andre ter Stegen has pain in his right knee and will not be available.

Valencia has had a very strong second half of the season. It surged up the league standings to finish fourth and earn a Champions League berth, and it reached the Europa League semifinals before losing to Arsenal.

It will be seeking its eighth Copa del Rey title and first since 2008.

“(Valencia) is a very compact, solid team, with a strong defense, a talented goalkeeper, which transitions very quickly to attack with players who take advantage of open spaces,” Lenglet said. “We have to be very careful with Valencia because it is very dangerous.”


Saudi electric car racer tastes victory in Mexico City E-Prix

Updated 18 February 2020

Saudi electric car racer tastes victory in Mexico City E-Prix

  • The first and second rounds of the championship were held on Nov. 22 and 23 at Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah venue

RIYADH: Saudi driver Fahad Algosaibi has secured a major victory in the Mexico City E-Prix.

The electric car racer won the Pro-Am class of the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy and finished fourth overall in the third race of the 2019/20 season which took place on Feb. 15 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

The participation of Algosaibi and Capt. Mashour bin Hojaila, both of Team Saudi Racing, was sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA) and the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF).

Starting the race in pole position, Algosaibi recorded the fastest lap in his class, earning him extra points on top of those for pole position, to rank second in the championship on 36 points, just six behind Chinese driver Zhang Yaqi. Algosaibi also picked up points for not taking risks.

However, his teammate Hojaila ended up in hospital after his car was hit from behind by Chinese driver David Chang sending it crashing into a wall.

The organizing committee of the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Championship was forced to cancel qualifying trials due to the poor condition of the circuit in some newly paved sections and used the results of free trials to determine the starting lineup. This meant Algosaibi started first and Hojaila second in the Pro-AM class.

The first and second rounds of the championship were held on Nov. 22 and 23 at Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah venue.