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Dortmund stuns Atletico in dramatic Champions League quarters

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BERLIN, April 16 (Xinhua) — Borussia Dortmund turned around a 2-1 first-leg defeat by clinching a hard-earned 4-2 victory over resilient Atletico Madrid in the second leg on home soil on Tuesday.

Dortmund advanced 5-4 on aggregate into the Champions League semifinals.

The BVB immediately went in search of the goal and came close with just three minutes gone when Marcel Sabitzer’s shot from inside the box was blocked by defender Cesar Azpilicueta in the last nick of time.

Two minutes later, Atletico had the golden chance to extend the aggregate lead, but Alvaro Morata pulled wide with only Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel to beat.

Dortmund controlled possession though and got rewarded for their efforts at the half-hour mark when Mats Hummel’s defence-splitting through the ball allowed Julian Brandt to fire past Madrid custodian Jan Oblak from a tight angle.

The hosts gained momentum and doubled the lead in the 39th minute as Sabizter teed up for Ian Maatsen, who slotted home from a sharp angle into the far post bottom corner.

After the restart, Los Colchoneros came out with their guns blazing and restored parity on aggregate with the great assistance of Dortmund veteran Mats Hummels, who accidentally cleared Mario Hermoso’s dangerous header into the wrong goal.

Things went from bad to worse for Dortmund as Atletico increased the pressure before retaking the aggregate lead with 69 minutes gone as Dortmund’s defense couldn’t clear the ball from the area, allowing Angel Correa to hammer the ball into the roof of the net, making it 2-2 on the scoreboards.

Dortmund was flabbergasted but bounced back with two goals in quick succession. First, Niclas Fullkrug made it 3-2 on the scoreboards in the 71st minute after heading home Sabitzer’s pinpoint cross before the Austrian international got his name on the scoreboards as well after unleashing a hammer past Oblak two minutes later.

Atletico opened up and pressed frenetically for a goal, but Dortmund’s defense stood firm to claim the team’s first semi-final since 2013. The BVB will encounter Paris Saint-Germain in the next round.

“I am really happy and proud of the boys. We were the better and more active team today. That is why we deserved to advance into the next round,” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic.

“We had the chance to draw the game and go ahead in the tie but, when you don’t take advantage of your chances, this happens, even more so in the Champions League,” commented Atletico captain Koke.

Source(s): Xinhua

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The table tennis star Dheema, first Maldivian athlete to qualify for Olympics

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The table tennis star, Fathimath Dheema Ali, who will be partaking in the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, has received a warm welcome upon returning to Male’ City. Dheema showcased her exemplary skills amidst stiff competition from the finest table tennis players in South Asia and emerged victorious in the South Asia Regional Olympic Qualifications. Her triumph signifies a momentous milestone for the Maldives in the realm of international sports.

Upon arrival back to the Maldives, the Minister of Sports, Fitness and Recreation Abdulla Rafiu and senior officials of the ministry along with the President of Maldives Olympic Committee (MOC) Mohamed Abdul Sattar and key figures from the Table Tennis Association of the Maldives extended their heartfelt and warm welcomes to Dheema. The minister organised a special ceremony held in the Youth Centre, commemorating the groundbreaking achievement of Dheema.

Speaking at the ceremony, President of the table Tennis Association Ali Rasheed rejoiced, stating that Dheema’s historic performance marked a significant milestone in the history of the Maldives. Highlighting that this remarkable victory was a result of 10 years of her unwavering commitment and dedication, Ali affirmed that the administration and countries in which she received training played a pivotal role for her success. On this stance, he expressed heartfelt gratitude towards all who were engaged in assisting to ensure this significant opportunity was secured.

While Dheema successfully qualified for the Olympic Games, previously Maldivian athletes competed in the games in invitational (tripartite) opportunities provided. As such, Maldivian athletes have been actively participating and competing in athletics, badminton and swimming since 1988.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Minister announces survey for 20-year sports development plan

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Minister of Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Abdulla Rafiu has announced a special survey for the Maldives’ 20-year sports development plan.

The draft plan was developed in February and focuses on cultivating top athletes by training coaches in schools, hosting major tournaments in the Maldives, and expanding sports associations’ activities in the atolls.

At a press conference, Minister Rafiu highlighted ongoing collaboration with sports associations. He said that detailed work on the long-term policy is available on the ministry’s website. He also said that the survey is a critical part of the process and spans 22 pages and requires time for completion by each association.

Additionally, Minister Rafiu mentioned agreements with Malaysia for training athletes and administrators. He also said that discussions about the plan have taken place with France, and talks are ongoing with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Source(s): PsmNews

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Mbappe announces PSG departure at end of season

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MARSEILLE, May 10 (Xinhua) — Kylian Mbappe confirmed on Friday that he will leave French Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, without revealing his next destination.

But according to multiple media reports, he will join the La Liga powerhouses Real Madrid after the season ends.

“I wanted to announce to you all that it’s my last year at Paris Saint-Germain. I will not extend and the adventure will come to an end in a few weeks,” Mbappe said in a video posted on social media.

“I will play my last game at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.”

The French international joined PSG on loan from Monaco in 2017 and officially signed with the capital-based side after the season ended for a transfer fee of 180 million euros.

During his seven years with the team, Mbappe helped the club claim six league titles and three French Cup victories, making 306 appearances and scoring 255 goals, becoming the top scorer in the team’s history.

“It’s a lot of emotions, many years where I had the chance and the great honor to be a member of the biggest French club, one of the best in the world,” said the 26-year-old.

“It allowed me to arrive here, to have my first experience in a club with a lot of pressure, to grow as a player of course, by being alongside some of the best in history, some of the greatest champions,” he added.

“It’s hard and I never thought it would be this difficult to announce that… but I think I needed this, a new challenge, after seven years.”

PSG have already secured the Ligue 1 title of this season and reached the French Cup final, where they will compete for the championship against Lyon on May 25th.

However, in the Champions League where the team most aspired to make a mark, they suffered another disappointing exit as they were eliminated in the semifinals after being defeated in both legs by Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.

Source(s): Xinhua

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