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Ligue 1 game abandoned after firecracker thrown at goalkeeper




Paris Saint-Germain bounced back from their heavy Champions League loss at Newcastle United to beat Rennes 3-1 in Ligue 1 on Sunday, while the earlier game between Montpellier and Clermont was abandoned after a firecracker was thrown at visiting goalkeeper Mory Diaw.

PSG were thrashed 4-1 in Newcastle on Wednesday, a result and a performance which raised serious doubts about their prospects in Europe this season.


But they returned to form against Rennes at a ground where they have regularly struggled in recent years, recording a win which lifts them up to third in the table, two points behind leaders Monaco.

“We are always happy when we win, but I was also happy after the defeat at Newcastle,” claimed coach Luis Enrique.

He abandoned his experiment with playing four forwards, and the returning midfielder Vitinha opened the scoring with a brilliant arcing strike into the top corner from an Ousmane Dembele pass just after the half-hour mark.

It was 2-0 four minutes later when Warren Zaire-Emery crossed for Achraf Hakimi, arriving unmarked in the box, to head in.

Amine Gouiri headed home from close range to get Rennes back into the match in the 56th minute, but PSG scored again two minutes later as Hakimi’s low delivery was converted at the near post by Randal Kolo Muani, who had been dropped from the starting line-up.


Kolo Muani had another goal disallowed for offside, while Kylian Mbappe somehow shot over late on after a brilliant burst forward that had taken him around the goalkeeper.

“He might not have scored today, but he has been performing at a really high level since the start of the season,” Luis Enrique said of Mbappe.

“It is a bit bizarre when Kylian doesn’t score but it is just a side note.”

In Montpellier, television pictures showed a firecracker landing next to the feet of Clermont goalkeeper Diaw and exploding with a loud bang, just as the match was entering stoppage time.

A clearly stunned Diaw went down and needed treatment before being stretchered off, and the game was halted before being abandoned following a crisis meeting.


“The doctor who examined the Clermont goalkeeper certified that he was not in a condition to return to the field. The match is therefore halted definitively,” referee Florent Batta told media at the Stade de la Mosson.

Montpellier were leading 4-2 and on course for their first home win of the season until the incident, and now risk serious punishment with the prospect of having to replay the game without their fans at the very least.

A police spokesman told AFP that the suspected perpetrator had been arrested.

Diaw was able to return to Clermont with his teammates after the game and was due to undergo further tests on Monday, the club said.

“We are disgusted, disappointed and sad,” admitted Montpellier president Laurent Nicollin, as he complained that the actions of one individual “could penalise the whole team”.


Marseille claimed their first win under new coach Gennaro Gattuso, beating Le Havre 3-0 courtesy of an own goal as well as strikes by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ismaila Sarr.

Le Havre had been reduced to 10 men before half-time when Rassoul Ndiaye was sent off for a second yellow card.

Lens followed their midweek Champions League win over Arsenal by coming from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Lille in the northern derby.

Benjamin Andre gave Lille the lead but Deiver Machado equalised for Lens, who are unbeaten in five games.

Struggling Lyon are still without a win this season after squandering a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Lorient.


Eli Junior Kroupi gave Lorient the lead, but Ernest Nuamah equalised in the 21st minute and Alexandre Lacazette put Lyon ahead 60 seconds later.

A Lacazette penalty made it 3-1 for Lyon before half-time, but Lorient fought back in the second half with Kroupi scoring again before Darlin Yongwa equalised.

Monaco are a point clear of Nice at the top following a 3-1 victory at Reims on Saturday, while their Cote d’Azur neighbours won 1-0 at Metz to maintain their unbeaten record this season.

Like PSG, Brest are two points off top spot after a 1-1 draw with Toulouse.


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Iftikhar Ahmed reveals reason for choosing National T20 over T10 league




Pakistan middle-order batsman Iftikhar Ahmed has explained his decision to prioritize participation in the country’s premier domestic tournament, the National T20, over the Abu Dhabi T10 League. 

Despite being signed by Bangla Tigers for the T10 League starting on December 28, the 33-year-old chose to play domestic cricket for the Peshawar region.

In a statement on the sidelines of the National T20, Iftikhar highlighted his commitment to paying respect to domestic cricketers and Pakistan by opting for the national competition. He emphasized that playing for Pakistan had earned him respect, and as a professional player, he felt it was important to honor the domestic cricket platform.


“I had a contract in the T10 league but I cancelled it to play here in domestic cricket. I have played for Pakistan after playing domestic cricket, and playing for Pakistan is what has earned me respect, so as a player and a professional, I should also pay respect to domestic cricketers and Pakistan (by playing here),” Iftikhar said.

The National T20 is currently ongoing at four venues in Karachi, featuring eighteen teams. The group stage games will conclude on November 28, followed by the Super Eight stage starting from December 1.

On the other hand, the Abu Dhabi T10 League 2023 will involve eight teams, including New York Strikers, Deccan Gladiators, Northern Warriors, Morrisville Samp Army, Delhi Bulls, Team Abu Dhabi, Chennai Braves, and Bangla Tigers. 

The tournament, which will take place at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, will follow a round-robin format in the group stage, leading to the Qualifier 1, Eliminator, Qualifier 2, and the Final.