Perez double as Barcelona beat Iniesta’s Kobe 2-0

Vissel Kobe’s Andres Iniesta and FC Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets compete for the ball during Saturday’s match. (AFP)
Updated 28 July 2019

Perez double as Barcelona beat Iniesta’s Kobe 2-0

  • Belgian Thomas Vermaelen becomes latest high-profile player to move to Japanese club

KOBE: Carles Perez scored his first two goals for Barcelona as the Spanish giants won 2-0 against a Vissel Kobe side featuring Andres Iniesta, a legend of the Catalan club.

As Kobe’s Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper were all reunited with their former team, it was Perez who stole the limelight with a top-class double.

The 21-year-old, a product of Barcelona’s academy, played a one-two inside the box and nutmegged the goalkeeper for his first goal, and fired a stunning left-footer for his second in the dying minutes.

Iniesta had his chances and 28,000 fans sighed their frustration as he put a fierce shot just wide.

“It was my first goal for Barcelona and I’m glad to score even two,” Perez said.

“It’s been my dream to score goals for this great team since my childhood,” he added.

The win wrapped up Barcelona’s pre-season friendlies in Japan following their 2-1 loss to Chelsea earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Belgian international defender Thomas Vermaelen has become the latest high-profile player to move to Vissel Kobe.

The 33-year-old, whose contract with Barcelona has now expired, will team up with David Silva, Lucas Podolski and his former Barca captain Andres Iniesta.

Vermaelen, who is reported to have turned down an offer to join Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht, passed his medical and visited the club’s training complex.

“I’m very excited to be here to help the team, to improve the team,” he told a news conference in Kobe, western Japan, ahead of the match between Bercelona and Vissel Kobe.

“I will do all my best to make this team better and I will show you that I will give my everything for this club,” he said.

Vermaelen said he planned to share his experience at Barcelona with the Japanese club, saying: “I try to bring the complete package into this team.”

Vermaelen began his career at Ajax before moving on to Arsenal and Barcelona with a loan spell at Roma.

He has played 74 times for Belgium, most recently in the 3-0 Euro qualifier win against Scotland in June.

Vissel Kobe are currently 15th in the 18-team J-league.


Saudi helpers step up to the tee at first women’s golf tournament

Updated 7 min 49 sec ago

Saudi helpers step up to the tee at first women’s golf tournament

  • Volunteers will have the chance to step inside the ropes and get up close with the sport’s leading players

JEDDAH: Saudi volunteers will be able to write their names into the history books by helping at the first-ever Saudi Ladies International professional golf tournament.

Competition organizers are looking to recruit hundreds of people to help with the smooth running of the four-day event from March 19-22 at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

Volunteers will have the chance to step inside the ropes and get up close with the sport’s leading players, including Order of Merit winner Beth Allen, three-time Ladies European Tour (LET) winner Carly Booth and Solheim Cup hero Azahara Munoz, as they compete for $1 million in prize money. 

The LET tournament in Saudi Arabia will mark the first time that professional female golfers have played competitively in the country, and comes hot on the heels of last month’s triumphant men’s equivalent, the Saudi International, won by Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.

Online registration is now open for the debut event’s volunteers’ program.

Volunteers will be briefed before the event and receive a tournament uniform to wear while they work.

Marshals, including traveling, static, crossing and transitional positions, will be required for the tournament. Mobile scoreboard operators and walking scorers are among other roles that will offer volunteers a unique insight into the world-class event.

Mike Oliver, event director at Golf Saudi, said: “For the first year of this event, we are offering volunteers a chance to be part of history, working at the first professional women’s golf event to be held in the country.

“Volunteers, from both Saudi Arabia and abroad, will play a key role in helping us deliver a successful inaugural tournament,” he said.

A certificate of service will be presented to volunteers at the completion of the tournament.

As a bonus, volunteers will have their photo taken with the 2020 ladies winner during the prize presentation — a moment that will be seen by a worldwide audience via live broadcasts.