Real Madrid move ahead of Barcelona

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane
Updated 30 November 2019

Real Madrid move ahead of Barcelona

  • Madrid has a three-point lead over Barcelona

MADRID: Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal scored second-half goals as Real Madrid beat Alavés 2-1 to take the Spanish league lead on Saturday.

Madrid has a three-point lead over Barcelona, which visits fourth-place Atlético Madrid on Sunday.

Real Madrid and Barcelona have a game in hand because their “clásico” match from October was postponed until Dec. 18 because of a separatist rally in the Catalan capital. It was the third straight league win for Madrid, which is unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions.

Ramos scored with a header off a set piece taken by Toni Kroos in the 52nd minute, then committed the foul leading to a penalty kick for Alaves, which was converted by Lucas Pérez in the 65th. Carvajal netted the winner from close range five minutes later off the rebound of a header by Francisco “Isco” Alarcón that hit the post.

Alavés was coming off two straight league wins — against Valladolid and Eibar — and stayed 13th. It has only won three of its 29 league matches against Madrid.

Madrid has lost only one of its last seven away league matches, at Mallorca last month in the team’s last defeat in all competitions.

It was coming off a 2-2 draw at Paris Saint-Germain in the group stage of the Champions League.

Coach Zinedine Zidane opted to start against Alavés without Thibaut Courtois, who made a mistake in the first PSG goal on Tuesday. 

He was replaced by Alphonse Areola, whose key second-half saves secured three points for Madrid under heavy rain at the Mendizorroza Stadium.

Madrid was also without Eden Hazard, who picked up a bruise in the match against PSG.

 Isco started in his place, alongside Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema up front.

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Saudi Cup ‘double or nothing’ with two horses in $20m race for leading agent Ted Voute

Updated 45 min 16 sec ago

Saudi Cup ‘double or nothing’ with two horses in $20m race for leading agent Ted Voute

  • Voute has been responsible for the purchase of six horses featuring in this weekend’s Saudi Cup meet
  • Since 1986 Voute has produced horses for the world’s premier sales on behalf of the some of the best-known breeders

LONDON: Securing a win in Saturday's $20 million Saudi Cup would be one of British bloodstock agent Ted Voute’s “greatest” achievements, the leading consignor said in the build-up to the world’s richest race.

Voute has been responsible for the purchase of six horses featuring in this weekend’s Saudi Cup meet, including two in the headline race.

Mjjack, a recent winner of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup, as well as Great Scot, were bought from the UK for owner Prince Faisal bin Khaled bin Abdul Aziz.

“Great Scot gets in (to the Saudi Cup) by virtue of being the highest-rated horse in Saudi Arabia,” he said. “I bought him late last year from Tom Dascombe in England. He hasn’t started there yet, but he’s a lovely horse,” Voute told Arab News.

“The other horse, Mjjack, I bought a couple of years ago. He won the King’s Cup (on Feb. 8), which gave him a free place, so I’m particularly proud of those two runners.

“It would be right up there if I bought the first Saudi Cup winner, it would be one of the greatest things I had ever done,” he added.

Since 1986 Voute has produced horses for the world’s premier sales on behalf of the some of the best-known breeders. In the past three decades, his consistent results in the sales ring and on the track have confirmed him as one of Europe’s leading consignors.

Voute has also bought several horses for another Saudi owner, Prince A.A. Faisal, including Mishriff, which runs in the Saudi Derby, one of the races going off before the Saudi Cup.

“From the prince’s point of view, Mishriff is named after a good friend of his who died and it would mean an immense amount to him (if the horse won),” he said. “It would be a wonderful story if, in his first race back as a three-year-old, he wins the Saudi derby as a preparation race to a Classic run.”

With several clients in Saudi Arabia, Voute is well placed to comment on the achievement by Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, in setting up a top-class racing meet in such a short time.

“It’s amazing, really, I don’t think there has been a day with that much prize money in history. It has definitely grabbed people’s attention,” he said. “I was in a taxi from the airport with the trainer of Maximum Security, and (he said) he got a passport for the first time to travel outside the US to be in Saudi Arabia, which I thought was fantastic.

“To think this was only an idea not even a year ago. I saw Prince Bandar at Royal Ascot, and I think that’s where (Saudi Arabia) made the decision — and it’s just unbelievable what they’ve done from June to now. A lot of wealthy owners will venture out to Saudi Arabia and see what a wonderful country it is.

“It will show people they can travel in winter and pick up these sorts of races and prize money; it will really put Saudi Arabia on the calendar as a stepping stone to one of the European Classics,” he said.