Jumeirah too good for Markaz in NAST futsal playoff

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Saving face: Fohood Jumeirah were favourites for the competition but had to settle for third place.

Last year’s champions Al Markaz got thumped 7-2 at the hands of Fo­hood Jumeirah in the fight for third place in the futsal competition at the Nad Al Sheba 2014 Sports Tour­nament late on Saturday.

Stung by their shock exit at the hands of fellow stablemates Fohood Zabeel, the star-studded line-up never looked back after be­ing set up by Badr Ibrahim’s open­ing goal in the very first minute.

Karim Badi scored a quick brace to bring Al Markaz back into the game as the two teams trooped off at half-time with a 2-1 advantage.

But what followed in the second half was a glorious display of futsal with stars Matheus and Tiago ex­celling for Fohood Jumeirah.

Matheus and Tiago swung the score in favour of Fohood Jumei­rah within a minute of the re-start.

Mid-way through the half Matheus made it 4-2 with a deft placement and then in the 36th minute Bard Ibrahim got his second of the match to take the match away 5-2.

A minute later Matheus complet­ed his hat-trick and Tiago rounded off the scoring on the night with a minute remaining.

Meanwhile, the fight for third place in the volleyball competition ended in favour of Al Fursan when their opponents could not field the mandatory six players as their Ku­waiti star Abdul Rehman Otaibi was carried off with an injury.

Bin Subaiah 10 had won the opening set 25-21 and were tied 4-4 in the second set when Otaibi got injured.

With a few other players also on the injury list, Bin Subaiah 10 could not field the six players and the officials had no choice but hand the match to Al Fursan.

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Stupackzuk and de Nenno clinch NAS Padel titles

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Padel power: Martin de Nenno & Franco Stupackzuk pose with their trophies.

Argentine duo Martin de Nenno and Franco Stupackzuk have vowed to return to defend their title next year at the Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Sports Complex after they won the international paddle tennis competition in Dubai.

The teenage pairing of de Nenno, who is yet to complete his high school, and Stupackzuk overwhelmed the Brazilian duo of Julio Julianoti and Gervasio Del Bono in the final 6-4, 6-2 to capture the NAS 2014 Sports Tournament trophy.

The finalists were rewarded with trophies and cash prizes by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council in the presence of Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, President of the newly-formed UAE Paddle Tennis Association (UAE PTA).

De Nenno was overjoyed after winning the title. “This is our first visit to this part of the world and it has been such an amazing experience. For sure we will return and defend our title next year,” said the 17-year-old Argentinean.

In the team competition, it was the Sheikh Saeed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum-led Hala Madrid team all the way as they beat NAS team 2-1.

Meanwhile, Ricardinho from Portugal and Brazilian star Falcao will come face to face in the futsal final as Fohood Zabeel takes on Al Jokar today. Fohood Zabeel thrashed Fohood Jumeirah 5-3, while Al Jokar beat Al Markaz 3-1.

The NAS 2014 Sports Tournament is sponsored by Emirates, Dubai Duty Free, Meydan, Al Tayer Motors, Al Naboodah and Arabian Automobiles Al Rostamani.

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Squash star James Willstrop wowed by UAE facilities

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Impressed: James Willstrop.

English world No6 James Willstrop was highly impressed by the facilities at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex and hopes the exhibition he played there on Wednesday night with Egyptian world No4 Ramy Ashour can help boost the sport across the UAE.

The clash that took place between the two former world No1’s as part of the ongoing Nad Al Sheba Sports Festival which has brought together hundreds of athletes to compete in cycling, running, futsal, volleyball, squash and padel tennis.

The padel tennis event features a host of the world’s best players from Spain, Argentina and seven other countries and coincides with the founding of a new UAE Padel Tennis Association and the launch of the new 800-seat padel arena at the complex.

Ashour and Willstrop also played a short exhibition with the finalists of the residents’ squash tournament Aamir Khan and Mubarak Mohsin and Willstrop hopes the sport can experience a surge in the UAE, similar to that of padel tennis at the moment.

“It’s an amazing sport facility. Incredible… out of this world really. You don’t see a lot of things like this back in England,” Willstrop told Sport360 at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex.

“We’re trying to get some interest going here and hopefully what’s happening with padel will happen with squash.”

Ashour and Willstrop represent squash’s most riveting rivalry which has developed between Egyptian and British players at the very top of the sport and the 30-year-old Englishman says the contrast in style between players from both nations is what makes it particularly exciting.

“Egypt and England are having probably their strongest periods ever in the game at the same time, so there’s just a really nice contrast,” said Willstrop.

“If you’re putting into a stereotype you’re thinking England is more sort of reserved conservative game. I don’t really like it when we do that. The Egyptian players obviously have a lot of flair. But the English players have moved with the game, they’re very attacking players and are very good to watch as well.

“It is a good contrast and we’re having a great time with it, both nations at the moment. The team events recently have been close and shared. The world titles are getting shared out. So it’s good, so hopefully it will help expand the squash audience.”

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