New arrivals Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo on Saturday struck their first goals for Barcelona in an impressive 5-0 rout of Real Betis Balompie in La Liga.
Earlier, Atletico Madrid were hammered 3-0 by Valencia at Mestalla with coach Diego Simeone labeling it the “weakest” performance during his time at the club.
Barcelona’s five-star display was inspired by Felix, who netted the opener, with further goals from Robert Lewandowski, Ferran Torres and Raphinha and Cancelo.
The emphatic victory places the Catalans provisionally at the top of the table, a point clear of rivals Real Madrid who were to host Real Sociedad yesterday.
Barcelona played with a vibrancy they lacked at times last season, even as they lifted La Liga, warming up for their UEFA Champions League opener on Tuesday against Royal Antwerp.
Barca manager Xavi handed Felix and compatriot Cancelo their first starts for the club, and they quickly impressed home fans and their coach.
“We’re talking about two players there are absolutely no doubts about in terms of individual quality,” Xavi told reporters. “The two bring something different that improves the team. Individual quality is what makes the difference.”
There is a reverential hush from the respectful crowd as Pakistan’s Sadia Iqbal opens the bowling to Bangladesh’s Shathi Rani in the Asian Games women’s bronze medal match in Hangzhou, China. The sound of leather on willow echoes around the purpose-built cricket ground, which until recently was full of sunflowers. The atmosphere is more village green than the fever pitch of, say, Pakistan’s Gaddafi Stadium, but the few hundred spectators are fully engaged — even if many admit to never seeing the game before. Almost entirely Chinese, the crowd “oohs and aahs” and clap when a wicket falls, cheer every boundary and
With some players in their 70s and opponents young enough to be their grandchildren, age is just a number for bridge competitors engaged in a battle of wits at the Asian Games. Masood Mazhar was born in the final months of World War II and before the partition of India and Pakistan, while Taiwan’s Chen Kuan-hsuan is just 23. “My father used to play so I’ve been playing all my life,” said the 78-year-old Mazhar, competing for Pakistan. People have enjoyed variations of bridge for centuries, but the tactical card game is a relatively new discipline at the Asian Games, only becoming a
A rampant Nepal yesterday rewrote the T20 international cricket record books at the Asian Games, while China’s Zhang Yufei laid down another marker for the Paris Olympics in the swimming pool. Hosts China were leading the medals table with 74 golds as of press time last night, far ahead of South Korea (18) and Japan (14), after adding titles in artistic gymnastics, chess, sailing, shooting, wushu and beach volleyball. Taiwan has two golds, three silvers and three bronzes. In some of the first action on day four in Hangzhou, Nepal smashed a series of records to open the men’s cricket competition in a
Hangzhou stepped up security ahead of yesterday’s opening of the Asian Games in China, as organizers sought to get the sporting extravaganza off to a smooth start, with Chinese President Xi Jinping among the dignitaries in attendance. Roads in a sizeable “traffic control area” around the city’s Olympic stadium were blocked off, at least one metro station was shut and other Games centers were closed ahead of a ceremony organizers described as “mesmerizing.” Some of those making the trek toward the main stadium were left frustrated by the size of the sealed-off area. “I think it shows they’re too nervous, right?” said 45-year-old