Liverpool beats Chelsea on penalties to lift Super Cup

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Liverpool's Adrian lifts the trophy as he and his teammates celebrate winning the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea at the Vodafone Arena in Istanbul, Turkey on August 14, 2019. (Reuters/John Sibley)
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Liverpool's Adrian saves the decisive penalty in the penalty shootout taken by Chelsea's Tammy Abraham.(Reuters/John Sibley)
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Chelsea's English striker Tammy Abraham (C) vies for the ball with Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (L) and Liverpool's Spanish goalkeeper Adrian during the UEFA Super Cup 2019 football match between FC Liverpool and FC Chelsea at Besiktas Park Stadium in Istanbul on August 14, 2019. (AFP / Bulent Kilic)
Updated 15 August 2019

Liverpool beats Chelsea on penalties to lift Super Cup

  • Backup goalkeeper Adrian saves final kick of shootout to help Liverpool win Super Cup

ISTANBUL: Adrian may never play more than a smattering of games for Liverpool, but he’ll be remembered for his “crazy week.”
The backup goalkeeper turned penalty hero with a save on the final kick of the shootout as Liverpool beat Chelsea to win the Super Cup and kick off a new European season.
After Champions League holder Liverpool and Europa League winner Chelsea finished extra time at 2-2, Adrian made the crucial save with his leg to deny Tammy Abraham and give his team a 5-4 win on penalties in a game which finished after midnight Turkish time on Thursday.
Adrian was signed just nine days before as backup for Alisson, but when the Brazilian injured himself last Friday in the English Premier League opener, he was thrust into the spotlight first as a substitute, then as a Super Cup starter.
“Welcome to Liverpool,” Adrian said. “It’s been a crazy week. I’m really happy for the team, I’m happy to play for Liverpool and happy for the fans.”
The 32-year-old Spanish goalkeeper was a free agent after leaving West Ham, where he didn’t play a single Premier League game last season and last appeared in an FA Cup loss to lowly AFC Wimbledon.
Even before the shootout, Adrian kept Liverpool in the game with a 113th-minute save from Mason Mount to stop Chelsea winning in extra time. Still, he’s expected to relinquish his Liverpool starting spot to Alisson when the Brazilian returns from his calf injury in a few weeks.
Chelsea took the lead in the 36th minute when Christian Pulisic exposed poor positioning by Liverpool right back Joe Gomez to pass for Olivier Giroud to shoot low past Adrian.
Liverpool stormed back after the break, Fabinho’s 48th-minute pass opening up the Chelsea defense and leaving Sadio Mane with an easy finish off Mohamed Salah’s flick.
In extra time, Mane put Liverpool ahead off a Roberto Firmino cross, but Chelsea quickly responded with a penalty from Jorginho.
Stéphanie Frappart became the first female referee to oversee a major men’s European final.
After just six minutes, she denied Liverpool a penalty when Sadio Mane’s overhead kick hit Andreas Christensen’s arm, which seemed to be out of a strictly “natural” position. There was no full review by the video assistant referee system.
Twice Chelsea put the ball into the net through Pulisic and substitute Mount, but Frappart and her assistants ruled both efforts out for clear offsides.
Just as in its 4-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday, Chelsea played a strong first half before slumping after halftime, but this time its mistakes weren’t nearly as harshly punished.
Frank Lampard’s team tormented Gomez in the opening 45 minutes, drawing him out of position and exploiting the space created. After an early chance for Salah, it was all Chelsea as Pedro hit the bar and Giroud shot at Adrian. Soon after, Pulisic and Giroud combined for the opening goal.
Chelsea emerged after halftime looking disjointed and almost immediately conceded.
After Mane scored, Liverpool nearly followed up with a second as Fabinho fired just wide, then Jordan Henderson forced a save from Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Chelsea goalkeeper made a spectacular double save to keep Liverpool at bay in the 75th, diverting Virgil van Dijk’s shot onto the bar after substitute Abraham cleared Fabinho’s shot off the line with his first touch of the game.
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Amaala lift champion trophy in Saudi Arabia’s first-ever desert polo tournament

Updated 19 January 2020

Amaala lift champion trophy in Saudi Arabia’s first-ever desert polo tournament

  • Amaala earned the bragging rights as the 2020, and inaugural, AlUla Desert Polo champions

JEDDAH: Renowned Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras scored all his side’s goals as Amaala hammered out an emphatic 7-3 victory over host team AlUla to win the Kingdom’s first-ever desert polo tournament on Saturday at AlUla UNESCO heritage site.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki bin Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority, presented the trophy to Amaala after the final.

The event forms part of Winter at Tantora festival, featuring international polo players, who had the experience of playing on compacted desert sand instead of grass amid the stunning surroundings at AlUla.

The Royal Commission of AlUla organized the three-day tournament in cooperation with the newly formed Saudi Polo Federation.

In winning the tournament, Amaala earned the bragging rights as the 2020, and inaugural, AlUla Desert Polo champions.

Players from all over the world took part, including team members from the world famous La Dolfina polo outfit from Argentina, including Adolfo Cambiaso, Pelon Stirling and Pablo Mac Donough.

In the match for third place, Al Nahla Bentley defeated Team Richard Mille 4-2 with Sheikha Alya Maktoum scoring a hat trick of goals.

Figueras said: “It’s an amazing place with an amazing history, an amazing heritage and an amazing first tournament for the Saudi Polo Federation. I’m very honored to be here and I’m delighted that we were able to win.

“This country is going through a transformation and there are amazing years to come.”

Mac Donough added: “For us it was a completely new place; polo-wise Saudi Arabia wasn’t something we were doing before. Having the chance to come to such an amazing country and having the chance to play a tournament and promote the sport, all this makes us feel very proud and we hope we can continue it.”

Saudi Polo Federation chairman, Amr F. Zedan, who played for Team Richard Mille during the tournament, said: “I see this event as a launching pad for the future. We have big plans for polo in Saudi Arabia that include the establishment of development programs and the construction of facilities to assist in building a polo infrastructure in The Kingdom.”

Amr Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission of AlUla, said: “Our tourism strategy for AlUla has been built around certain anchors — heritage, culture, nature and arts. Equestrianism has always been a key industry for us, and the surroundings here make AlUla one of the best locations to ride horses.”