AC Milan's Pato, right, challenges Juventus's Paolo De Ceglie during the two teams' meeting in October. Antonio Calanni / AP Photo
AC Milan's Pato, right, challenges Juventus's Paolo De Ceglie during the two teams' meeting in October. Antonio Calanni / AP Photo

AC Milan, Juventus looking to repeat past glories



There are two distinct versions of AC Milan competing for prizes this season. There is the one that watchers across the globe recognise instantly, with the weather-beaten faces who have belonged to the club seemingly forever, or at least since Milan famously beat Juventus in Manchester to win the European Cup almost eight years ago.

They are the Milan who three times in five years made it to the Champions League final, and won it twice, the Milan of Clarence Seedorf covering ground between midfield and attack, his hair now as close-cropped as once it hung long in luxuriant braids; the Milan of Gennaro Gattuso, bearded and belligerent, cheerleading at San Siro, and volunteering as pantomime villain at away grounds.

It is the Milan of Andrea Pirlo, unruffled on the ball, precise in distributing it; the Milan of Alessandro Nesta, authoritative and cool in defence; the Milan of Massimo Ambrosini, industrious and unsung, except among his coaches; of Felippo Inzaghi, immensely effective in front of goal but strangely derided simply because the goalmouth is his oxygen tank; outside it he seems to wither into the background.

That Milan, the club of the ageing warriors, men who were being called veterans almost at the dawn of the new millennium, let alone the new decade, regard meetings with Juve with a slightly different eye to the newer Rossoneri.

But their cast-list is fresher and will probably dominate the line-up for the Serie A meeting between the top-placed and the seventh-ranked team in the table.

Inzaghi, Pirlo, Ambrosini and Gianluca Zambrotta - for many years a Juventus full-back and winger - are obliged to watch from the grandstand of the Stadio Olimpico, injured, and remember how it was when Juventus versus Milan was consistently the most meaningful Italian dispute on the calendar.

Inzaghi and Zambrotta can recall, first-hand, how Juventus swept the initiative in the domestic hierarchy from the Milan of the early 1990s and then began to assume some of Milan's earlier dominance in the Champions League.

In the Noughties, Pirlo, Inzaghi, Ambrosini and Seedorf were part of wrenching that authority back, at least in Europe. They were all part of the squad, with Nesta, who also brought Milan their last scudetto, way back in 2004.

Naturally, the old guard at Milan want a taste of that again. All the more because their chances of reliving European supremacy this term look slender as they carry a 1-0 deficit against them when they go to White Hart Lane in the second leg of their last-16 tie against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.

Gattuso will miss that match, as well, via suspension for butting Joe Jordan, the Spurs assistant coach, in the first match.

But the new-look AC Milan may need some convincing that Juve-Milan is a calendar highlight, and not a rite-of-passage fixture. Juventus trail Milan by 17 points at present.

And the younger players might struggle to recall very vividly the formidable Juventus sides.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic - who twice finished top of Serie A while a Juventus player, only to see the two titles officially rescinded because of scandal - told Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of tonight's game that the Juve-Milan match still matters.

"They've had bad luck this season, but they are still a club with a winning outlook, and Milan against Juve, with all the history, is still about more than just three points," he said.

The veterans will know that, but the new, younger Milanese might take some persuading.

SPAIN: Godin calls for goals

The Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin believes their strikers Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan need to rediscover their scoring touch if the team are to qualify for the Champions League.

Aguero and Forlan scored almost 50 goals between them last season but have not been so prolific this season. In Atletico’s last eight games they have scored only once, which is a big reason Atletico trail today’s opponents, fourth-place Villarreal, by 15 points.

“They’re the ones who make the difference and the ones who move the team forward,” Godin said of the pair.

Godin, who moved to Atletico from Villarreal last year, said his former team are tough to beat. “I know them well, but you don’t need to know them. We’ve all seen Villarreal and we know how they play. It’s going to be a very tough match.”

GERMANY: Kurz is not worried

Marco Kurz, the Kaiserslautern coach said he is not feeling any extra pressure as his side continue to fight to avoid relegation.

The Red Devils travel today to Eintracht Frankfurt needing points to move out of the bottom three. “We started our battle against the drop on match day one,” he said. “With just 10 games left until the end of the season, we need points to stay up, but there is no particular pressure.”

Frankfurt lie 12th in the table but are only four points ahead of Kaiserslautern. “This is a big chance for us to drag a rival down with us into the relegation battle,” Kurz said. “But of course our priority is to get a positive result.”

Frankfurt’s priority is to find the back of the net after 633 minutes without a goal. Their last goal was scored by Theofanis Gekas in the 1-0 win over league leaders Borussia Dortmund before Christmas.

FRANCE: Pressure is on Lille

Lille have seen their five-point lead wiped out over the last two matches, just as defending champions Marseille’s title bid is gathering momentum. The teams meet tomorrow at Marseille. “We’ll need to be very strong because we’re going to suffer a lot over there,” Florent Balmont, the Lille midfielder, said. “If we get a point there we’ll be happy because we’ll still be in the [title] race.”

A series of scrappy wins has left Marseille fans groaning about the team’s style of play. Marseille have won their last four league games, all by a single goal. They have not scored more than twice in a game since thrashing Montpellier 4-0 in November.

If they beat Lille tomorrow and second-place Rennes fails to beat Montpellier away today, Marseille would be back atop the table for the first time since early December.

HOLLAND: Been stays cautious

Feyenoord have a four-game unbeaten streak, but Mario Been, their manager, said he is more concerned about falling back into the relegation zone than climbing into a European play-off spot.

The Rotterdammers have endured a difficult season, including a 10-0 battering at PSV Eindhoven in October. But recent form has shown a marked improvement as they head into tomorrow’s game at Heerenveen. “I will be looking further down [the table],” Been said. “But with a gap of six points between us and the relegation spots we do have some breathing space.”

Five of Feyenoord’s nine remaining matches are at home. “I will look at it from match to match,” Been said. “I have often said that we have a team that can beat anybody.”

Today, leaders PSV Eindhoven try to hold onto the top spot when they face Excelsior.

SPECS

Engine: Supercharged 3.5-litre V6
Power: 400hp
Torque: 430Nm
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh450,000

Match info:

Portugal 1
Ronaldo (4')

Morocco 0

Key findings
  • Over a period of seven years, a team of scientists analysed dietary data from 50,000 North American adults.
  • Eating one or two meals a day was associated with a relative decrease in BMI, compared with three meals. Snacks count as a meal. Likewise, participants who ate more than three meals a day experienced an increase in BMI: the more meals a day, the greater the increase.
  • People who ate breakfast experienced a relative decrease in their BMI compared with “breakfast-skippers”.
  • Those who turned the eating day on its head to make breakfast the biggest meal of the day, did even better.
  • But scrapping dinner altogether gave the best results. The study found that the BMI of subjects who had a long overnight fast (of 18 hours or more) decreased when compared even with those who had a medium overnight fast, of between 12 and 17 hours.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Director: Francis Lawrence

Stars: Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Viola Davis, Tom Blyth

Rating: 3/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

'Cheb Khaled'

Artist: Khaled
Label: Believe
Rating: 4/5

World Food Day

Celebrated on October 16, to coincide with the founding date of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Food Day aims to tackle issues such as hunger, food security, food waste and the environmental impact of food production.

The bio

Favourite book: Peter Rabbit. I used to read it to my three children and still read it myself. If I am feeling down it brings back good memories.

Best thing about your job: Getting to help people. My mum always told me never to pass up an opportunity to do a good deed.

Best part of life in the UAE: The weather. The constant sunshine is amazing and there is always something to do, you have so many options when it comes to how to spend your day.

Favourite holiday destination: Malaysia. I went there for my honeymoon and ended up volunteering to teach local children for a few hours each day. It is such a special place and I plan to retire there one day.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

FIXTURES

Thu Mar 15 – West Indies v Afghanistan, UAE v Scotland
Fri Mar 16 – Ireland v Zimbabwe
Sun Mar 18 – Ireland v Scotland
Mon Mar 19 – West Indies v Zimbabwe
Tue Mar 20 – UAE v Afghanistan
Wed Mar 21 – West Indies v Scotland
Thu Mar 22 – UAE v Zimbabwe
Fri Mar 23 – Ireland v Afghanistan

The top two teams qualify for the World Cup

Classification matches
The top-placed side out of Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong or Nepal will be granted one-day international status. UAE and Scotland have already won ODI status, having qualified for the Super Six.

Thu Mar 15 – Netherlands v Hong Kong, PNG v Nepal
Sat Mar 17 – 7th-8th place playoff, 9th-10th place playoff

Results

2pm Handicap (PA) Dh85,000 1,800m

Winner AF Al Baher, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer).

2.30pm Maiden (TB) Dh75,000 1,400m

Winner Alla Mahlak, Fabrice Veron, Rashed Bouresly.

3pm Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 1,400m

Winner Davy Lamp, Adrie de Vries, Rashed Bouresly.

3.30pm Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 1,400m

Winner Ode To Autumn, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

4pm Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 1,950m

Winner Arch Gold, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

4.30pm Maiden (TB) Dh75,000 1,800m

Winner Meqdam, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

5pm Handicap (TB) Dh90,000 1,800m

Winner Native Appeal, Sam Hitchcott, Doug Watson.

5.30pm Maiden (TB) Dh75,000 1,400m

Winner Amani Pico, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Long Shot

Director: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogan

Four stars

ENGLAND SQUAD

For first two Test in India Joe Root (captain), Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson , Dom Bess, Stuart Broad , Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes. Reserves James Bracey, Mason Crane, Saqib Mahmood, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Robinson, Amar Virdi.

Founders: Ines Mena, Claudia Ribas, Simona Agolini, Nourhan Hassan and Therese Hundt

Date started: January 2017, app launched November 2017

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Private/Retail/Leisure

Number of Employees: 18 employees, including full-time and flexible workers

Funding stage and size: Seed round completed Q4 2019 - $1m raised

Funders: Oman Technology Fund, 500 Startups, Vision Ventures, Seedstars, Mindshift Capital, Delta Partners Ventures, with support from the OQAL Angel Investor Network and UAE Business Angels

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

The specs

Engine: 4-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: now

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Company profile

Date started: December 24, 2018

Founders: Omer Gurel, chief executive and co-founder and Edebali Sener, co-founder and chief technology officer

Based: Dubai Media City

Number of employees: 42 (34 in Dubai and a tech team of eight in Ankara, Turkey)

Sector: ConsumerTech and FinTech

Cashflow: Almost $1 million a year

Funding: Series A funding of $2.5m with Series B plans for May 2020

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Results

5pm: Wadi Nagab – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,200m; Winner: Al Falaq, Antonio Fresu (jockey), Ahmed Al Shemaili (trainer)

5.30pm: Wadi Sidr – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m; Winner: AF Majalis, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

6pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 2,200m; Winner: AF Fakhama, Fernando Jara, Mohamed Daggash

6.30pm: Wadi Shees – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m; Winner: Mutaqadim, Antonio Fresu, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

7pm: Arabian Triple Crown Round-1 – Listed (PA) Dh230,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Bahar Muscat, Antonio Fresu, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

7.30pm: Wadi Tayyibah – Maiden (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Poster Paint, Patrick Cosgrave, Bhupat Seemar

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)


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