Barcelona's Lionel Messi is preparing to face Eibar at the Camp Nou on Saturday needing just two goals to equal Telmo Zarra’s all-time Spanish top-flight record of 251, set in the 1950s. AFP PHOTO / DANI POZO
Barcelona's Lionel Messi is preparing to face Eibar at the Camp Nou on Saturday needing just two goals to equal Telmo Zarra’s all-time Spanish top-flight record of 251, set in the 1950s. AFP PHOTO / D

Lionel Messi eyes record on anniversary as Barcelona seek Clasico boost



MADRID // In the week that he marked the 10th anniversary of his competitive debut for Barcelona, Lionel Messi could become the all-time top scorer in the history of Primera Liga.

The Argentine made his bow as a 17-year-old in a 1-0 win at city rivals Espanyol on October 16, 2004. Now he is preparing to face Eibar at the Camp Nou on Saturday needing just two goals to equal Telmo Zarra’s all-time Spanish top-flight record of 251, set in the 1950s.

Messi, who told fans he was “constantly trying to improve and win more titles,” has been back at his best in the early weeks of this season to help the Catalans to the top of La Liga with six wins and a draw in their opening seven games.

They are two points clear of Valencia and have yet to concede a goal so far, and they will want to keep that form going against Eibar before they go to Real Madrid for the first Clasico of the campaign next weekend.

“To go into the Clasico in the best possible condition we need to win on Saturday,” said left-back Jordi Alba.

“If we don’t win this one we we will suffer when we play in Madrid. Eibar have had good results away from home and if we don’t play at a high level they will make it difficult for us.”

Eibar will hope that Luis Enrique’s side are distracted by thoughts of Madrid and their Champions League meeting with Ajax in midweek, although the Basque side have had an impressive start to the season themselves.

The entire population of the town could fit into the Camp Nou three times and still leave empty spaces, but Gaizka Garitano’s side, in their debut top-flight season, currently have as many points as their far more illustrious neighbours Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad combined.

“This is football and it’s clear that if we defend well, don’t make mistakes and get a bit of luck, we can come away with at least a point,” said optimistic midfielder Dani Nieto, formerly of Barcelona B.

Real Madrid are fourth, four points behind Barcelona, but the capital club are looking to extend their own fine run of form when they visit struggling Levante.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side have won six games in a row in all competitions since losing at home to Atletico Madrid last month, and they have scored 27 goals in that time.

They have a huge week ahead of them, with a trip to Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday before they face Barca, but Ancelotti has confidence in his improving team.

“Since the defeat to Atletico things have gone well,” remarked the Italian. “We have had balance to the team and scored a lot of goals. We have conceded more, especially from dead balls, but that is something we are tidying up little by little.”

Iker Casillas is expected to remain the club’s first-choice goalkeeper for now, meaning Keylor Navas will be on the bench against the club he left in the summer.

Meanwhile, champions Atletico host Espanyol on Sunday looking to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat at Valencia before they face Malmo in the Champions League.

Valencia are flying high in second after an unbeaten start, although new Spanish international striker Rodrigo has played down their prospects of competing for the title ahead of their trip to Deportivo.

“Football is passion, but people need to be aware of what our aim is and be clear that we are not going to compete for the title this year,” he said, targeting Champions League qualification instead.

Sevilla in third go to Elche while Athletic Bilbao are looking to end a run of seven games without a win when they host Celta Vigo.

Primera Liga fixtures (in UAE time)

Friday

Granada v Rayo Vallecano, 11pm

Saturday

Levante v Real Madrid, 6pm

Athletic Bilbao v Celta Vigo, 8pm

Barcelona v Eibar, 10pm

Cordoba v Malaga, midnight

Sunday

Atletico Madrid v Espanyol, 2pm

Deportivo v Valencia, 7pm

Elche v Sevilla, 9pm

Villarreal v Almeria, 11pm

Monday

Real Sociedad v Getafe, 10.45pm

Follow our sports coverage on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

SPECS

Engine: 2-litre direct injection turbo
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Power: 261hp
Torque: 400Nm
Price: From Dh134,999

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

Results

5.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,400m; Winner: Mcmanaman, Sam Hitchcock (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer)

6.05pm: Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Bawaasil, Sam Hitchcott, Doug Watson

6.40pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (Dirt) 1,400m; Winner: Bochart, Fabrice Veron, Satish Seemar

7.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (T) 1,200m; Winner: Mutaraffa, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

7.50pm: Longines Stakes – Conditions (TB) Dh120,00 (D) 1,900m; Winner: Rare Ninja, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

8.25pm: Zabeel Trophy – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh120,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Alfareeq, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

9pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (T) 2,410m; Winner: Good Tidings, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

9.35pm: Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (T) 2,000m; Winner: Zorion, Abdul Aziz Al Balushi, Helal Al Alawi

 

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 240hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 390Nm at 3,000rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh122,745

On sale: now

MATCH INFO

What: 2006 World Cup quarter-final
When: July 1
Where: Gelsenkirchen Stadium, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Result:
England 0 Portugal 0
(Portugal win 3-1 on penalties)

MATCH INFO

Bangla Tigers 108-5 (10 ovs)

Ingram 37, Rossouw 26, Pretorius 2-10

Deccan Gladiators 109-4 (9.5 ovs)

Watson 41, Devcich 27, Wiese 2-15

Gladiators win by six wickets

Key figures in the life of the fort

Sheikh Dhiyab bin Isa (ruled 1761-1793) Built Qasr Al Hosn as a watchtower to guard over the only freshwater well on Abu Dhabi island.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab (ruled 1793-1816) Expanded the tower into a small fort and transferred his ruling place of residence from Liwa Oasis to the fort on the island.

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Shakhbut (ruled 1818-1833) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further as Abu Dhabi grew from a small village of palm huts to a town of more than 5,000 inhabitants.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhbut (ruled 1833-1845) Repaired and fortified the fort.

Sheikh Saeed bin Tahnoon (ruled 1845-1855) Turned Qasr Al Hosn into a strong two-storied structure.

Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa (ruled 1855-1909) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further to reflect the emirate's increasing prominence.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan (ruled 1928-1966) Renovated and enlarged Qasr Al Hosn, adding a decorative arch and two new villas.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan (ruled 1966-2004) Moved the royal residence to Al Manhal palace and kept his diwan at Qasr Al Hosn.

Sources: Jayanti Maitra, www.adach.ae


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