EFG Bank Monaco cling to narrow lead after first 24 hours of Doha to Khasab leg

Sport360 staff 18:51 23/02/2016
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Defending champions EFG Bank Monaco held onto a narrow lead.

The defending champions of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour clung on to the narrowest of leads after 24 hours at sea in the longest and toughest stage of the event.

The crew sailing aboard EFG Bank Monaco on Tuesday had a slim half-a-mile advantage on second position at the halfway stage of the 280nm sprint from Doha, Qatar, to Khasab, Oman, neared.

The nine international crews set sail from Doha’s The Pearl-Qatar on Monday in fresh 10-15 knot winds on the third leg of five that make up the sailing adventure around the Arabian Gulf.

EFG Bank Monaco went into the leg as the in-form team having won the second offshore stage from Abu Dhabi to Doha and the Doha In-Port Race series to see them top the overall rankings.

The fleet has so far encountered steady breeze but the wind is forecast to become lighter and more fickle, which will make holding onto any lead trickier for EFG Monaco’s French skipper Sidney Gavignet and his men in the second half of the leg.

Gavignet has led his team to tour victories in 2014 and 2015 – and if he is successful in defending his crown this year he will become the first skipper ever to win three editions of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour.

Behind EFG Bank Monaco an epic tussle was on Tuesday ensuing between Omani crews Al Mouj, Muscat and Renaissance Services, and Kuwaiti-backed Team Zain.

Al Mouj, Muscat, led by Frenchman Nico Lunven, had a half-mile advantage over their rivals, while Renaissance Services and Team Zain were neck and neck. All three teams were within a mile of EFG Bank Monaco.

Leg 3 of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour is the longest and toughest of the event, comprising three days and two nights at sea in little comfort on 30ft racing yachts.

Gilles Chiorri, race director of Sailing Arabia – The Tour, said the first 24 hours of leg 3 had been intense for the crews. “There was no let-up overnight for the teams as they engaged in tactical manoeuvres to cover their closest rivals.”

“As well as playing the wind shifts, the teams also had to navigate around numerous forbidden zones and the constant commercial traffic in the Gulf. With such a demanding game being played there is little chance for rest onboard. “Even though the wind has dropped to 10 knots from the south east, all crewmembers are on the rail to generate the maximum power possible from their Farr 30 yachts. Sleeping sitting on the rail is not feasible, so crew are sharing their stories of previous editions of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, and the “fast and furious” downwind legs we have sailed in years past.”

The ETA for the leading boats into Khasab is Wednesday afternoon. The crews will then have just a few hours to overcome their exhaustion before they take to the water once more for leg 4, a 140nm sprint to Sohar.

The final leg of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour starts from Sohar on February 28 bound for Muscat.

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On this day: February 21, 2006 – Thierry Henry scores winner as Arsenal beat Real Madrid

Sport360 staff 13:32 21/02/2016
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Thierry Henry netted the winner against the Spanish giants.

Ten years ago today, Arsenal became the first English club to win against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu after Thierry Henry’s stunning strike in the Champions League.

The French magician collected the ball from Cesc Fabregas just inside the opposition half before going on a mazy run, beating several defenders, and then slotting the ball home from a narrow angle past Iker Casillas in the Los Blancos goal.

It was a moment of sheer brilliance which gave Arsene Wenger’s men a crucial away goal and a 1-0 win before the North London giants held the Whites to a goalless draw in the second leg at Highbury to advance through to the quarter-final stage.

The Gunners reached the final of the competition that year but eventually lost to Barcelona, 2-1, in the final in Paris.

Here’s what other sporting stories happened on this day:

1958: Duncan Edwards, one of the best-known members of the famous ‘Busby Babes’ Manchester United team, died in hospital at the age of 21 following the Munich air crash on February 6.

1988: Geet Sethi, playing in the Indian national snooker championship, became the first amateur to register an official maximum 147 break in a tournament.

2000: Mark Hughes announced his retirement from playing international football for Wales after 72 caps and 16 goals.

2004: Wales, Leeds and Juventus great John Charles died, aged 72.

2007: The All England Club announced men and women were to receive equal prize money at Wimbledon for the first time.

2010: Ian Poulter won the WGC-Accenture Match Play title with a 42 victory over Paul Casey in Tucson.

2011: AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso was banned for four matches for assaulting Tottenham assistant coach Joe Jordan following the previous week’s Champions League fixture.

2012: Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez apologised ”sincerely and unreservedly” for his conduct after a long dispute with the club, and accepted a club fine of six weeks’ wages for gross misconduct. The move allowed him to revive his City career.

2014: Wayne Rooney signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract at Manchester United.

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Happy Birthday - February 21 - Jack Ramsay, Leroy Burrell, Riyad Mahrez

Sport360 staff 07:00 21/02/2016
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[L-R] Burrell. Ramsay, Mahrez.

Widely considered one of the greatest NBA coaches of all-time, Ramsay, known as ‘Dr Jack’, was a true teacher of the game.

Born on this day in 1925, Ramsay earned his nickname for receiving a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania. On the hardwood, he was best known for his time at the helm of the Portland Trail Blazers, who he led to a championship in 1977 in his first season.

Before he arrived to the team, Portland had not made the playoffs or had a winning campaign in their brief six-year history. Ramsay also coached the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana, compiling an overall record of 864-783 during his career.

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Blazers retired No77 in his honour in 1993 for the 1977 title team. Ramsay died at the age of 89 in 2014.

1967: Leroy Burrell, American former track and field athlete who twice broke the 100m world record (49).

1977: Steve Francis, American retired guard in the NBA and three-time All-Star (39).

1991: Riyad Mahrez, winger for Premier League contenders Leicester City and Algerian international (25).

1992: Phil Jones, English footballer for Manchester United and the England national team (24).

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