An initiative has been launched in Istria to subsidize interest rates on loans for hosts in family accommodation

first_imgAt the beginning of December, a plenary session of the Family Tourism Association Section for the Istria County was held at the Pula County Chamber of Commerce, at which the current President of the Section Miroslav Pretula from Degra doo was confirmed for the next four years, while Astrid Glavičić, the owner of the accommodation units in Labin and Rabac. It is on this topic that we spoke with Miroslav Pretul, President of the Family Tourism Association for the County of Istria at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. The goal of the Family Tourism Association for the Istrian County at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce through the Initiative would be to raise the quality of accommodation, Pretula points out, adding that they have now taken the first step towards the county to investigate whether they are interested in investing in this tourism industry. Photo: Istria Tourist Board Cover photo: Nirvana Apartments and Rooms, Motovun / Source: The topics of the session were this year’s tourist season, preparations for the next and preparations for the Regional Forum of Family Accommodation for the Istrian County, which will be held in 2019, and a proposal was sent to the Istrian County for interest subsidy program on loans for household accommodation providers. By the way, last year the County of Istria focused more on the grant program intended for private renters for the Eco Domus program, ie Eco Friendly accommodation as well as for Istra Bike & Bed. ISTRIA BED & BIKE BOARDS AWARDED TO HOSTS IN FAMILY ACCOMMODATION That this measure proved to be a complete success is shown by the fact that in 2018 the trend of demand for higher category accommodation in Kvarner will continue. The increase in family accommodation is 4%, but family accommodation with 5 * achieved as much as 26% more overnight stays. We sent an inquiry to the County of Istria as well as the Tourist Board of the County of Istria to the reaction regarding the Initiative for loan subsidies for hosts in family accommodation, but we did not receive an answer to the inquiry until the publication of the article. When we receive the answers, we will pass on the news about this important topic for Istrian hosts in family accommodation. By the way, in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, a couple of years ago, they were the first to start with a subsidy for loans to renters, which is related to the Kvarner family quality label. Thus, the hosts in family accommodation with an interest rate of 1 to 2% had the opportunity to raise the quality of family accommodation, in which 40% of overnight stays were realized in Kvarner last year, ie 7,6 million overnight stays.center_img “As the current topic of recategorization is, I believe that many will want to raise their capacities to that higher level. This does not mean that this incentive would be given only to those who recategorize their facilities, but would serve in general to raise the quality of accommodation of renters. This form of incentive works in cooperation with commercial banks, and of course depends significantly on them and their basic interest rate for renters as well as the limits that the county would have. ” Pretula points out. RELATED NEWS: Asked whether, according to the proposal of the initiative, the subsidy for loans for hosts in family accommodation would be tied to the Domus Bonus quality label, as in Kvarner, Pretula pointed out that for now the basis of this subsidy would not be tied to Domus Bonus renters. “This would limit us to only a small fraction of our hosts. Domus Bonus as a brand has been around for quite some time, but the truth is that it has been noticed that there has been less talk about it in public lately and it is not among the main topics for us renters. Kvarner family as a counterpart to the quality of the Domus bonus branches in several directions (Pet friendly, Hiking friendly, Bike friendly) which is easy for foreign guests to understand and recognize, and foreign guests make up the vast majority of the total number of nights. I believe that at this moment he is achieving much better results. In my opinion, the orientation of the Istria Tourist Board in the last few years is more towards Istra Bike and I believe that it is now a stronger brand than Domus Bonus and many renters are turning to it as much as I personally. I can’t say that the Domus Bonus doesn’t carry a certain level of value for renters. Each of our specializations and demonstrations of quality level raises the value of our personal brand to a higher level. The only question is whether and to what level the end users in this case will recognize our foreign guests – tourists. ” concludes Pretula. According to the latest information, there are currently a total of 92 Bike & Bed facilities in Istria, of which 67 are small private Bike & Bed facilities, 13 Bike hotels and 12 Butique Bike hotels, which are classified into four categories: Bike & Bed, Bike hotels, Bike camps and Boutique bike hotels. as well as 11 private renters bearing the Eco Domus label. On the other hand, they were the first in Istria to start branding family accommodation through the Domus Bonus quality label, but in the last few years the impression is that the Domus Bonus quality label has not justified its market status and has declined in development and growth. The conclusion is clear. The better the accommodation, the better the occupancy, and thus the earnings from tourism. And that is why the visionary project of investing in raising the quality of family accommodation through subsidized loans proved to be a complete success. ISTRIA COUNTY AWARDS FIRST 11 CERTIFICATES FOR MARKING ECO-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION ON KVARNER, TREND DEMAND FOR MORE ACCOMMODATION. THE HIGHER NUMBER OF STARS, THE HIGHER EMPLOYMENTlast_img read more

Parental notification – what are Labour really saying?

first_imgLabour doesn’t want parents to know if their teen daughter is wanting an abortionNow they don’t want parents to know if their under-age teen has attended a camp with alcohol availableThey also don’t want parents to know if a sexual assault has happened and may have affected their childParents need to understand the real agenda here. It’s about undermining the role of and respect for parents.And children ultimately suffer under this approach. Ironically.#parentsmatter Sources: Report: Ardern reacts to Young Labour sex assault claims  (note comments at 6’00” mark)last_img

Lukaku tips Man Utd to build on  Solskjaer success next season

first_imgRomelu Lukaku has praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for doing a “good job” in his first full season at Manchester United and believes they are in good shape for next season. The Belgian was once again in devastating form for Inter Milan – netting twice in a 5-0 win – as Antonio Conte’s side crushed Shakhtar Donetsk to reach the Europa League final. The 26-year-old has been impressive since joining the Nerazzurri, increasing his tally to 32 goals for the season on Monday night, leading many to suggest United made a mistake in letting him leave. Lukaku, who left United to join Inter in August 2019, might have been hoping to face his former club in the final only for them to lose 2-1 to Sevilla in the other semi-final. It means that United will finish the season without silverware after three semi-final defeats in cup competitions, although they secured third place in the Premier League to seal their spot in next season’s Champions League.Advertisement read also:Lukaku closing in on Eto’o’s Inter Milan record But Lukaku was keen to highlight the job Solskjaer has done at the helm of the Red Devils and believes there is “no doubt” they will have another good season in 2020-21. “United tried their hardest [against Sevilla]. I think they had a really good season,” Lukaku told BT Sport. “I think Ole did a good job… [Mason] Greenwood coming through, [Anthony] Martial and [Marcus] Rashford – I expected all of that, so I’m really happy for them. “They look really good for next season, I have no doubt.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Loading… center_img Promoted ContentA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic Bombs5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks7 Netflix Shows Cancelled Because They Don’t Get The Ratings6 Best 90’s Action Movies From Your Childhood5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksThe Funniest Prankster Grandma And Her Grandson6 Extreme Facts About HurricanesPortuguese Street Artist Creates Hyper-Realistic 3D GraffitiWhat Is The Fastest Way To Get 1 Million Followers On Instagram?Plus-Size Girls Who Set The Catwalk On Fire7 Mind-Boggling Facts About Black Holes7 Reasons It’s Better To Be A Veganlast_img read more

Syracuse offense powers Orange past No. 4 Virginia, 3-1, to stay undefeated

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 25, 2015 at 8:31 pm Contact Liam: Alma Fenne stood outside the circle, eyeing the action in front of Virginia’s goal. The ball rested up against her stick and after pausing for a few seconds to let her teammates set up what looked like it was going to be a set piece, Fenne attacked.The midfielder burst quickly to her right and then back to her left — the explosive move leaving the Virginia defender behind her. A couple moves later and her backhand shot found the top right corner of the goal.It was Fenne’s fourth goal of the season which gave Syracuse a 2-1 lead with two minutes left in the first half.“If it was 1-1 it would have been a way different game,” Fenne said. “It would have been a game that we don’t know what would’ve happened.”No. 2 Syracuse (8-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) wouldn’t look back from Fenne’s score as it defeated No. 4 Virginia (8-1, 2-1), 3-1, Friday afternoon at J.S. Coyne Stadium. Serra Degnan and Liz Sack tacked on unassisted goals of their own as the offensive attack strengthened as the game progressed.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMost of SU’s 14 shots were high-percentage looks despite only earning two penalty corners — one in each half.Though two goals were scored in the first half, the offense coughed away a few opportunities within the circle with poor passing. Emma Russell, the team’s leading scorer with six goals, appeared open near the cage a few times, but passes from Emma Lamison and Laura Hurff were off.Russell only had one shot, but Degnan and Sack both scored their first goals of the season to pick up the slack.“We really work hard to play team hockey, that there is no star within our system,” said SU head coach Ange Bradley. “… I think that’s repeatedly demonstrated in how we score, how we move the ball and how we played today.”Degnan’s goal came off a rebound when she scooped up what had been a kick save from Virginia’s Rebecca Holden and put it home.SU dominated possession in the second half, with Virginia registering only one shot in the second. SU also game planned for a switch of Virginia’s goalkeeper.The Cavaliers have been using a two-goalkeeper rotation this season where Holden and Carrera Lucas both play a half of the game. Sack said that through film preparation during the week, SU knew Lucas was very aggressive on coming out of the cage to stop shots and was prepared to take advantage.Not even five minutes after halftime, Lamison had already had two goal-scoring opportunities thwarted by Lucas charging from the net. Two other saves followed, all turned away by Virginia’s ranging goalkeeper.In the 17th minute of second-half play, Sack collected the ball at the top of the offensive circle. Lucas stormed all the way out to meet her — leaving the goal unattended. Sack swung the ball to her left and sent it sweeping around the charging Lucas and on a clear path to the cage.“Both (goalies were) really active and taking advantage of them when they’re off balance is really crucial,” Sack said. “… I knew she was stepping (toward me) … so I lifted the ball and committed to shooting anyway.”In its last two games against ranked opponents — then-No. 2 North Carolina and No. 11 Boston College — Syracuse trailed at halftime. On Friday, the offense got started early and Sack’s goal in the second half provided needed insurance to shut the door.Said Fenne: “The second half is our thing, but today we got some goals in the first half too, which is good.” Commentslast_img read more

UW volleyball finishes runner-up at InnTowner tournament

first_img[Jen Small/ The Badger Herald] Junior outside hitters Ellen Chapman (above) and Deme Morales were both named to the InnTowner Invitational All-Tournament team after strong showings this weekend.The Wisconsin volleyball team proved Saturday it wouldn’t let a little bad luck from their home-opener Friday stop them from finishing out the Inntowner Invitational with a couple of wins. After stomaching a heart-wrenching defeat to Kansas, the Badgers stormed back to win over UW-Milwaukee and Bowling Green, respectively, to conclude their tournament 2-1, finishing second behind Kansas (3-0).Friday’s loss had to be in the rear-view mirror for the Badgers to show up to win Saturday. Despite quickly taking the first two sets against Kansas, No. 25 Wisconsin lost the next three to the Jayhawks, with the fifth set ending in dramatic fashion on a double match point. However, the team demonstrated how dwelling on the loss Friday would be for the weak and weary and wouldn’t allow it to affect their game plan Saturday.“It’s hard not to be proud of [the team],” first-year head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “That’s tough to lose 17-15, and then have to come back [Saturday] morning and play. I thought we really showed up to play [Saturday] morning and evening.”The biggest question going into Saturday was whether Sheffield would have a healthy roster to start the day. Senior Annemarie Hickey was out for the tournament after suffering an ankle injury in practice Wednesday and starters Courtney Thomas and Dominique Thompson battled through injuries of their own as well.“I’m not someone to talk about injuries a lot because those things happen in sports, but we’ve been hit awfully hard,” Sheffield said. “I thought we showed up to play this morning and this evening we weren’t sure that Courtney and Dom [Thompson] were going to be able to play. They were in a lot of pain [but] they’re begging the training staff to let them play. They’re warriors. It’s hard not to respect a team that’s going to compete like that.”The Badgers (8-1) topped UW-Milwaukee in the morning game three sets to one and later that night swept Bowling Green in straight sets. The last game against the Falcons though was easily the most impressive for Wisconsin as they dominated throughout. With the score close at 19-17 towards the end of the first set, all-tournament selection setter Ellen Chapman rallied to score the last three points for Wisconsin.And she wasn’t done after that. Finishing the night with 13 kills, Chapman served seven straight in the second set to give the team a convincing lead at 21-12. In the third set, with the Badgers up one point, the 6-foot 4-inch junior again proved why she was deserving of the tournament honors with a kill and a block to end the match and get the sweep. But she was also quick to give her teammates credit as well.“I think we did a really good job this weekend terminating the ball,” Chapman said. “Deme [Morales] did a great job passing, stepping in with Anne’s injury. Courtney, Taylor Morey and Deme did a fantastic job getting the ball to the target, which made it much easier for the hitters. Lauren [Carlini] did a good job running the system. Everything just meshed well this weekend.”Along with Chapman, junior outside hitter Morales, replacing the injured Hickey, also received an all-tournament selection and finished Saturday with eight kills and eight digs. It was her performance Friday, however, that earned her the much-deserved recognition, ending the night with career highs in kills (17) and digs (13). Believing they showed true resiliency, Sheffield was proud of the way his team played this weekend, and that their efforts didn’t go unnoticed.“These guys want it so bad and you see the performances of some players, like Ellen growing in front of our eyes and you’re seeing Deme Morales having such a monster weekend and filling a role she hasn’t even practiced,” Sheffield said. “You want to win. You do everything you can to win. I think what you take out more from this weekend is how we played rather than what our record is.”The Big Ten powerhouse was also very happy playing in front of their home crowd for the first time this season and was pleased with the high attendance for all three games.“It was an awesome feeling,” Chapman said. “It’s a new year and we want all the fans to come back and support us because we have the greatest fans in the country in my opinion.”Wisconsin looks to face NC State, Virginia Commonwealth and Colgate next weekend Sept. 20-21 in the upcoming NC State Invitational Tournament.last_img read more

Poland 2019: F/Eagles Arrive Lodz for Senegal

first_imgThe seven-time African champions are yet to truly impress in Poland since their opening day 4-0 lashing of Qatar.A 2-0 loss to USA and 1-1 draw with Ukraine, meant the Flying Eagles had to sneak into the knockout rounds, but the spirit in camp is high following qualification, and the prospect of squaring up to another African team appears to be engendering determination.Nicknamed ‘The Promised Land’, Lodz however does not hold much promise for the African army, as this early knockout round confrontation between Nigeria and Senegal, and the fact that South Africa’s Amajita are already back in Johannesburg following group stage elimination, means depleted African presence going forward.The other African team, Mali, will have to battle Argentina at the same stage on Tuesday evening.Half of the Round of 16 fixtures are all-Confederation clashes. Apart from Nigeria/Senegal, South American representatives Uruguay and Ecuador are up against each other, as Asians Japan and South Korea, and European teams Italy and Poland.The 18,000 –capacity Stadion Widzewa, where the Flying Eagles tackle Senegal from 7.30pm, will also host the final match on June 15.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The delegation of Nigeria’s U20 team arrived in Lodz Saturday afternoon, ahead of tomorrow’s FIFA U20 World Cup Round of 16 clash with fellow African flagbearers Senegal.Players and officials left their Qubus Hotel in Bielsko-Biala after breakfast and arrived in Poland’s third largest city just in time for lunch at the Hotel Ambasador Premium.Nigeria finished third in Group D and only qualified as one of the best fourth third –place finishers in the six groups, while Senegal, Africa’s vice champions, finished at the top of Group A after two wins and a draw.last_img read more

XLMedia addresses Google ranking concerns with strategic changes

first_img Related Articles Submit Share Share Affiliate marketing specialist XLMedia has confirmed that it will address concerns over Google’s changes to its search algorithm by increasing the speed at which it implements a range of its strategic initiatives.Last month, XLMedia issued a warning regarding the recent updates to algorithms on Google, stating that the changes could hinder the group’s revenue.In a statement on its website, XLMedia confirmed that it is ‘continuing to work with Google’ to outline the reasons why the changes have resulted in the demotion of certain websites, wit the affiliate publisher planning to ‘restore the rankings of these online assets as quickly as possible.’Stuart Simms, Group Chief Executive Officer commented: “There is no question that we currently face operational headwinds, but fundamentally, I firmly believe in the underlying quality and sustainability of our business.“However, I believe it is now time to accelerate a number of strategic measures that will create a short-term drag on revenue growth, but will ultimately strengthen our business by creating a much stronger and more transparent platform from which to grow.“By proactively consolidating – and where necessary culling – our considerable tail of legacy websites and focusing a greater proportion of our efforts on monetising both tier 1 and tier 2 websites in addition to incubating new sites, we will significantly improve the medium-term prospects of the Group.“I feel it’s important to reiterate that we continue to operate a global portfolio of content rich websites that deliver significant value for our users. This expertise remains a core competence for our business which I fully intend to capitalise on as management seeks to both enhance and expand our business over the coming years.”As a result of the changes, 107 of XLMedia’s websites have been impacted by the changes, of which 84 are tier 3 or tier 4 sites.XLMedia stated that it is ‘therefore taking steps to remove or de-index such sites, which are seen as most likely to have been regarded by Google as having insufficient content, with the expectation that it will assist in the re-ranking of the premium sites.’The company added that ‘until these actions are completed and some of the premium sites are successfully resubmitted, it will not be possible to be certain that the issue will have been resolved. Amit Ben Yehuda steps down from XLMedia August 13, 2020 XLMedia feels strain of Google deranking July 23, 2020 StumbleUpon XLMedia completes takeover of July 17, 2020last_img read more

The high and low points of Avram Grant’s one year in charge

first_imgGhana coach Avram Grant celebrates a year in charge of the Black Stars- A year which has seen the team move from public enemy back to being the pride of many Ghanaians.Avram replaced James Akwasi Appiah after the Ghanaian had seemingly lost control of his dressing room. The Israeli has been in charge of 17 games; winning 10, drawing four and losing three. These statistics is a carbon copy of Kwasi Appiah’s first 17 games as he also led the team to 10 victories, three defeats and four draws.What have been the high points of Avram’s reign?1.    Mean defenceIn Avram’s 17 games for the Black Stars,  the team has conceded a meagre 12 goals which represents 0.7 goals conceded per match as compared to the 21 goals Ghana conceded in the last 17 games prior to Grant’s appointment representing 1.23 goals conceded per match. To further buttress on the defensive stability, Grant’s team have kept a total of nine clean sheets in these 17 games whereas the combination of Kwesi Appiah and Maxwell Konadu only managed three clean sheets in their last 17 games prior to Grant’s arrival.The three clean sheets were kept against Sudan, Lesotho and Korea. It is worthy to note that in Konadu’s four games in charge of Ghana, the team failed to keep a clean sheet.What makes Grant’s record more impressive is the fact that the team have kept majority of these clean sheets in competitive matches.In 10 competitive matches all year, the team has kept seven clean sheets and conceded only four; two to Senegal, one against South Africa and Mauritius. To put things into perspective, the Stars are yet to concede a competitive goal since June and with the international break set to happen in 2016, this spell is set to extend for quite a few more months.2.    Gyan dependency is gradually diminishingAvram Grant’s team have scored 30 goals in his 17 matches and guess what? Asamoah Gyan has scored only three out of these 30 games.The captain has been plagued with injuries along the line but this statistic comes as music to the ears of many who had been wondering how and who will be finding the net for Ghana should Gyan decide to hang his boots.Avram’s high pressing attacking team has ensured more midfielders go up in support of the traditional front two and thus, the goal scoring burden has been shared evenly amongst the team. It comes as no surprise wingers Dede Ayew and Christian Atsu have shipped in a fair amount of goals this year as well Mubarak Wakaso albeit from dead ball situations.Others like David Accam, Jeffrey Schlupp, Albert Adomah and Emmanuel Agyeman Badu have also found the net as Avram Grant’s Ghana have found goal scoring the least of their problems.The player to benefit the most has been Jordan Ayew who ends 2015 as Ghana’s top scorer for the Black Stars with 5 goals.3.    Settled midfield- Rediscovery of Wakaso Prior to Grant’s arrival, the midfield duo for the Black Stars had never been settled. Since the dynamic partnership of Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah in 2006 who dictated matches, Ghana has always been found wanting in that department.Several combinations have been used by different coaches without having the desired effect Claude Le Roy started off with Essien and Muntari in midfield before introducing Anthony Annan at the latter part of the AFCON in 2008, Milovan Rajevac started off with Agyemang Badu and Anthony Annan in midfield at the AFCON in 2010 before pairing Annan and Kevin Prince Boateng at the World Cup.Fellow Serb Goran Stevanovic shuffled between Derek Boateng and Anthony Annan alongside Emmanuel Agyeman Badu. Kwasi Appiah tried the Kwadwo Asamoah and Rabiu Mohammed combination, Rabiu, Badu combination, Derek Boateng and Agyeman Badu combination Essien, Muntari combination against Egypt and finally settled on Rabiu Mohammed and Sulley Muntari for the World Cup.For all these combinations, there were either issues of one not complimenting the other or injuries or disciplinary issues or self-imposed exiles. This has not been the case under Grant. The team has arguably a settled midfield with the introduction of Mubarak Wakaso being a masterstroke.The Las Palmas man had by and large been used as a winger ever since he was introduced to the Black Stars. His introduction against Algeria at this year’s AFCON coupled with his magnificent assist for Asamoah Gyan has been the turning point for Ghana’s midfield.Wakaso, alongside fellow workaholic Afriyie Acquah have dominated games for Ghana in the heart of midfield with their speed, power and energy. Credit to Grant for forming this partnership which has a lot of legs in them and more footballing years ahead.It has not been smooth sailing for Grant. What have been his low points so far? 1.    Perceived phobia for GhanaMany Ghanaians when given the task can easily calculate the number of days and hours Grant has stayed in the country. Despite having success on the field, Grant has failed to stay in the country for a considerable period of time.His employers, the GFA, may not openly admit it but this is a cause of worry to them. One of Grant’s mandates was to offer technical advice to the local coaches in the country.How will he do it when he clearly does not stay in the country? It is clearly obvious most of these coaches in the country are not accustomed to using skype or any of these social media platforms so no virtual meetings can occur.This points to the fact that these meetings can only be held face to face and with Grant rumored to be mostly monitoring players in Europe, our local coaches are obviously the losers.Grant however held his first meeting with the coaches in the country at the Alisa Hotel yesterday, but with the next international break in March next year, one can imagine when next Grant will be seen on the shores of the country when he leaves in a few days most likely.2.    Abandoning of the Local Black Stars and leagueIs it a coincidence the last set of players to play the Local Black Stars (Harrison Afful, Samuel Inkoom and Agyeman Badu) and make the step up to the Black Stars proper all played under Milovan Rajevac who was in charge of both teams?Is it a coincidence all three players had parts to play during Ghana’s wonderful display at the AFCON in 2010?Is it a coincidence that the last the team to emulate Rajevac’s record at the CHAN tournament (second place) still have no players knocking at the doors of the Black Stars proper?Is it the 2 minute cameo of Samuel Tetteh that delights many? In all honesty, had Christian Atsu been fit, the chances of Tetteh being called up would have been slim.Grant has paid little or no attention to the local Black Stars and it comes as no surprise the team performed woefully. The last time the team had this awful showing was under Herbert Addo when they were treated differently from the Black Stars proper. In the last edition, despite not being in charge, Kwasi Appiah flew to South Africa to offer his support to the team.This team was left solely in the hands of Maxwell Konadu with Avram perceived to be ‘monitoring’ Europe whereas his compatriots such as Michel Dussuyer and Sunday Oliseh took charge of their local teams.From all indications and from the comments of his agent, Saif Rubie, the league in Ghana is not one that could attract much of  Grant’s interest.The Ghana League is far from its death, as is being perceived. At the 2014 World Cup, the Black Stars team that held World Champions to a draw started with 8 players who at one time or the other plied their trade in the local league. (Fatau Dauda, Harrison Afful, Kwadwo Asamoah, Jona Mensah, John Boye,Rabiu Mohammed,Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan).Add Baba Rahman, Razak Braimah and Mubarak Wakaso in the current Black Stars set up and mostly all our starters played in the league.Most of these players had the exposure on the national stage with the youth sides which fetched them contracts abroad to expose them. Why not give the current players a chance under your guidance with the local Black Stars?This league has produced quality and will still produce quality players because talents abound in this country. The exodus is inevitable but sustaining the competiveness and attractiveness is our collective duty with which Avram Grant should spearhead.–Follow Kweku on Twitter: @nana_odum. Get more updates on Facebook/Twitter with the #JoySports hashtaglast_img read more

Messi caps Barcelona win over Mallorca on La Liga return

first_imgLionel Messi set another LaLiga record on Saturday as Barcelona made a winning return in LaLiga.Madrid, Spain | AFP |  Lionel Messi returned without a beard and with a goal and two assists as Barcelona resumed their La Liga title challenge on Saturday with a thumping 4-0 victory over Real Mallorca.After three months away because of the coronavirus pandemic, Barca exploded into the lead with just 64 seconds played when Arturo Vidal headed in and Martin Braithwaite struck a second from a Messi headed assist.Jordi Alba latched onto a Messi pass to add a third but not before play was briefly stopped by a pitch invader, who was able to run on, despite the match being closed to fans.Messi then scored a fourth in injury time for his 25th goal of the season.“I’m happy because starting like this is an enormous boost for what’s to come,” said Barcelona coach Quique Setien.Victory extends Barca’s advantage at the top of La Liga to five points over Real Madrid, who can reduce the gap back to two when they restart at home to Eibar on Sunday.La Liga’s first match back came on Thursday between Sevilla and Real Betis, with teams scheduled to each play their remaining 11 matches of the season in less than six weeks.Messi will be crucial to Barcelona’s hopes of holding off Madrid but their captain, who turns 33 this month, may have to pace himself, especially after an injury-interrupted season.Clean shaven, and without any sign of the thigh problem that prevented him from training earlier this month, Messi played 90 minutes and looked like he had never been away.– Suarez back –His goal was set up by Luis Suarez and the sight of the Uruguayan coming off the bench would have been welcome for coach Setien too.Suarez has not played since undergoing knee surgery in January and was able to recover during the suspension. He could play an important part in the run-in.Asked what pleased him most, Setien said: “The satisfaction of seeing Luis again on the field. You have to admire the performance he gave in those 35 minutes that he played. Starting like this is very important for him and for the team as well.” Mallorca, who sit 18th in La Liga, were never going to offer the sternest of tests but this was a useful outing for both Barcelona’s fitness and morale.Before matches were suspended in Spain because of coronavirus on March 12, Barca had regained top spot but only after being convincingly beaten by Madrid the week before.This performance suggests time away might have done them good and it remains to be seen now how Madrid respond. Madrid’s next four matches all come after their title rivals have played first.Barcelona were in front after just over a minute as Frenkie de Jong did well to recover the ball from a loose touch before Alba sent a deep cross to the arriving Vidal, who headed in.Mallorca were under relentless pressure as Braithwaite and Messi both went close to adding a second. Mallorca’s Takefusa Kubo, on loan from Real Madrid, forced a good save out of Marc-Andre ter Stegen on the break.But Barca scored a second before half-time as an Alba cross span up and both De Jong and then Messi feathered headers across for Braithwaite to bang in on the half-volley, his first goal for the club.Both teams eased off in the second period and there were smiles on the Barcelona players’ faces when a pitch invader ran on in the 52nd minute wearing an Argentina shirt. He posed for a picture with Alba before being escorted away.Alba added a third after finishing off Messi’s clipped ball over the top and then Messi grabbed a goal himself. Suarez fooled his marker by letting the ball run across his body and Messi weaved inside where he could unleash with his right foot.Mallorca’s defeat, combined with losses for Leganes and Celta Vigo, made it the perfect day for Espanyol, who made up ground on their relegation rivals by beating Alaves.Chinese striker Wu Lei, who tested positive for coronavirus in March, scored on his first game back to seal a 2-0 victory and put Espanyol within three points of safety.They are now level on points with Leganes, who lost 2-1 at home to Real Valladolid, and three behind Celta, who conceded in the 91st minute for a 1-0 defeat by Villarreal. Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more