The 2014 Europa League final will be played at Juventus Stadium in Turin on May 14. Di Marco / EPA
The 2014 Europa League final will be played at Juventus Stadium in Turin on May 14. Di Marco / EPA

Juventus aiming for home bow at Europa League final



Juventus are theoretically only four matches away from a Europa League final date in their own Turin stadium.

But the runaway Italian league leaders are unlikely to go into Thursday’s quarter-final first leg away against French club Lyon taking anything for granted.

That is especially the case after they suffered only their second league defeat in 31 matches at the hands of Napoli at the weekend. So Juve will be keen to make sure that 2-0 reverse does not signal the start of a slump.

Coach Antonio Conte sounded a warning after the visit to Napoli when he said: “There are tired legs in my squad, that’s inevitable when you’ve been playing every three days and are unable to rotate due to injuries.”

Having struggled to see off Italian rivals Fiorentina in the previous round, with the indefatigable Andrea Pirlo scoring the only goal in the second leg for a 2-1 aggregate victory, Juve will nonetheless start as favourites to book their berth in the last four.

“It’s a difficult draw against Lyon, even if many people are already talking about Juventus in the final,” said Pavel Nedved, the former Czech playmaker who is now on Juve’s board.

“We need to take it very seriously. No rival should be underestimated. We really are not thinking about playing in the final at home. We must focus on the quarter-finals.”

Lyon, one of three sides in the quarter-finals yet to win a major Uefa club trophy along with AZ Alkmaar of the Netherlands and Swiss club Basel, have never faced Juventus, their neighbours from across the Alps, before.

They go into the game on the back of a defeat, a 2-1 reverse at home to local rivals Saint-Etienne that effectively ended their chances of a top-three finish in Ligue 1 that brings with it qualification for next season’s Champions League.

They are also struggling with injuries just now, with fragile playmaker Yoann Gourcuff hurting an ankle at the weekend and fellow creative lynchpin Clement Grenier one of a host of others in the treatment room.

Swiss champions Basel will have to play their first-leg clash against 2004 Uefa Cup winners Valencia behind closed doors after being punished for the violent behaviour of their fans.

Uefa also fined FC Basel 107,000 euros (Dh541,767) after objects, including cigarette lighters, were thrown on to the pitch in their last-16 clash against Salzburg, with the referee halting the game for 10 minutes.

AZ take on Benfica, last season’s beaten finalists who saw off Tottenham Hotspur in the last round.

The last Spanish representatives, Sevilla, travel to face 2011 winners Porto, who ended Napoli’s interest in the competition with a 3-2 win on aggregate in the last round.

The return legs are scheduled for a week on Thursday, April 10.

Fixture:

FC Porto (POR) v Sevilla (ESP)

AZ Alkmaar (NED) v Benfica (POR)

Lyon (FRA) v Juventus (ITA)

FC Basel (SUI) v Valencia (ESP)

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Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

A Long Way Home by Peter Carey
Faber & Faber

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)

PROFILE BOX:

Company/date started: 2015

Founder/CEO: Rami Salman, Rishav Jalan, Ayush Chordia

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Technology, Sales, Voice, Artificial Intelligence

Size: (employees/revenue) 10/ 100,000 downloads

Stage: 1 ($800,000)

Investors: Eight first-round investors including, Beco Capital, 500 Startups, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Hala Fadel, Odin Financial Services, Dubai Angel Investors, Womena, Arzan VC

 

THE BIO

Family: I have three siblings, one older brother (age 25) and two younger sisters, 20 and 13 

Favourite book: Asking for my favourite book has to be one of the hardest questions. However a current favourite would be Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier

Favourite place to travel to: Any walkable city. I also love nature and wildlife 

What do you love eating or cooking: I’m constantly in the kitchen. Ever since I changed the way I eat I enjoy choosing and creating what goes into my body. However, nothing can top home cooked food from my parents. 

Favorite place to go in the UAE: A quiet beach.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Leaderboard

63 - Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA)

64 - Rory McIlroy (NIR)

66 - Jon Rahm (ESP)

67 - Tom Lewis (ENG), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG)

68 - Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP), Marcus Kinhult (SWE)

69 - Justin Rose (ENG), Thomas Detry (BEL), Francesco Molinari (ITA), Danny Willett (ENG), Li Haotong (CHN), Matthias Schwab (AUT)

Paris Can Wait
Dir: Eleanor Coppola
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard
Two stars

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

World Cup 2023 ticket sales

August 25 – Non-India warm-up matches and all non-India event matches
August 30 – India matches at Guwahati and Trivandrum
August 31 – India matches at Chennai, Delhi and Pune
September 1 – India matches at Dharamsala, Lucknow and Mumbai
September 2 – India matches at Bengaluru and Kolkata
September 3 – India matches at Ahmedabad
September 15 – Semi-finals and Final


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