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Thousands say final goodbye to Muhammad Ali in his hometown

FAREWELL: The coffin of Muhammad Ali arrives for a jenazah, an Islamic funeral prayer, in Louisville, Kentucky.
FAREWELL: His remains will travel past Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
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TCM physician suspended and fined

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Top IAAF official Davies suspended

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Nadal out of WImbledon due to 
wrist injury

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Late win takes S.League leaders Albirex 10 points clear

White Swans open up 10-point gap at the top after beating Warriors

OPENER: Albirex's Tatsuro Inui (in orange) scoring their first goal despite the attention of Warriors' Syaqir Sulaiman.

ALBIREX NIIGATA 3

(Tatsuro Inui 24, 26, Daichi Ishiyama 89)

WARRIORS FC 2

(Nikola Rak 37, Jonathan Behe 65)

Albirex Niigata's excellent form continued after Daichi Ishiyama scored a dramatic winner one minute from time to kill off a determined Warriors FC side.

The White Swans had gotten off to a good start at the Jurong East Stadium last night, going 2-0 up within 26 minutes.

The Warriors then fought back gallantly to draw level, with goals from Nikola Rak and Jonathan Behe.

But it was Albirex who had the final say, as Ishiyama sealed a 3-2 win to clinch their eighth successive Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League victory.

Albirex coach Naruki Naruo was understandably relieved after the match.

He told The New Paper: "We scored two quick goals and were in a comfortable position, but credit to them, they capitalised on our mistakes.

"They managed to get back into the game and made it difficult for us but we were able to score a late goal.

"I am pleased with the result."

The win saw them open up a 10-point gap over second-placed Tampines Rovers, but Naruo, 41, refused to get carried away.

He said: "Today was a difficult game and every game from here on will be difficult.

"What is important is not to focus on how many points we are ahead at the top but focus on getting the three points every time we play."

Albirex began the game impressively.

Inui's goals in the 24th and 26th minutes gave them a commanding 2-0 lead, with the Japanese's second strike particularly impressive.

Midfielder Kento Nagasaki released overlapping wingback Naofumi Tanaka, whose drilled cross was then swept home expertly by Inui.

SURPRISE

But those who were expecting a routine Albirex win were in for a shock.

The Warriors refused to give up, and were thrown a lifeline 11 minutes later when Nikola Rak was given space to cut onto his left foot before drilling his shot past Albirex custodian, Yosuke Nozawa, who conceded his first goal in eight matches.

The Warriors' resurgence continued in the second half and they were rewarded in the 65th minute, when Frenchman Jonathan Behe curled in an exquisite shot from the edge of the box after being set up by Rak.

Just when it looked like the Warriors had done enough to earn a point, Ishiyama landed a killer blow in the 89th minute.

The second-half substitute beat Warriors centre half Kento Fukuda to fire home.

The Warriors' woes were compounded when skipper Zulfadli Zainal and substitute Ismail Yunos were sent off in stoppage time.

However, Warriors coach Razif Onn, who is still winless after taking over from Jorg Steinebrunner, praised his charges and thought a draw would have been a fair result.

He said: "I thought we deserved a point today. Of all the matches that we have played, today's performance was one of the best.

"There were moments when we produced some good combination play but we were unable to get the end product.

"But I am happy with the team's performance today and we have to work on maintaining it for the full 90 minutes for future games."


LAST NIGHT’S OTHER RESULT

Balestier Khalsa 2 Hougang United 2

TONIGHT’S GAMES

Tampines Rovers v Brunei DPMM (8pm, Jurong West Stadium) l Garena Young Lions v Home United (8pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)


ALBIREX: Yosuke Nozawa, Mikiya Yamada, Atsushi Shirota, Kento Fujihara, Tomoki Menda, Shuto Inaba, Kento Nagasaki, Naofumi Tanaka, Tatsuro Inui (Masaya Jitozono 68), Hiroyoshi Kamata (Daichi Ishiyama 77), Atsushi Kawata (Kazuki Mine 83)

WARRIORS: Yazid Yasin, Zulfadli Zainal, Kento Fukuda, Madhu Mohana, Shaiful Esah, Poh Yi Feng (Ismail Yunos 86), Emmeric Ong, Syaqir Sulaiman (Hafiz Sulaiman 72), Ridhuan Muhamad (Hafiz Nor 79), Nikola Rak, Jonathan Behe

TNP MAN OF THE MATCH: Tatsuro Inui (Albirex Niigata)

Suarez rages as Uruguay crumble

ANGER: Uruguay star Luis Suarez punches the dugout wall in frustration during his side's Copa America defeat by Venezuela.
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Oh brothers! Xhaka siblings pepare to face off

Tense occasion for the Xhaka family 
as siblings Granit and Taulant face off

OH NO: Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka (above) said a match against his brother Taulant, who plays for Albania, was the last thing both wanted.
OH NO: Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka said a match against his brother Taulant (above), who plays for Albania, was the last thing both wanted.

GROUP A

ALBANIA v SWITZERLAND

(Tonight, 9pm, Singtel TV Ch 142 & 
StarHub TV Ch 220)

European Championship history is set to be made tonight, when Granit Xhaka plays for Switzerland against his brother Taulant Xhaka in Albania's colours.

The close siblings have been dreading facing off since the draw for Euro 2016 was made.

"It's a crappy feeling. That was the last thing we wanted," said Arsenal's new signing Granit, 23, who is 18 months younger than the brother he will face at Lens' Stade Bollaert-Delelis in their opening Group A match.

Granit has even joked the brothers have a pact to "leg it off the pitch after two minutes".

Taulant, 25, has a reputation as a midfield hardman and plies his trade with FC Basel. But he said he will not "put him through the mill" when asked about facing his high-profile brother.

"Envy has never been a question with us."

It promises to be a tense occasion for the Xhaka family who will be in a quandary over who to support.

Three other pairs of brothers will play at Euro 2016 (see above, right), but the Xhaka siblings are set to become the first brothers to play against each other at the European Championship tournament proper.

"Anyone in a similar situation, who says it's not a special game, is a liar," said Granit.

PROFESSIONALS

"For the 90 minutes, we'll blend out the fact we're brothers as professionals. May the best man win."

Granit's rise to English Premier League stardom has been fast: Two years with Basel, then four at Borussia Moenchengladbach before he signed for the Gunners in a deal worth 
45 million euros ($69m).

In contrast, Taulant has spent his entire career at Basel, apart from a loan spell at Swiss league side Grasshopper.

Granit made his debut for Switzerland as an 18-year-old at Wembley in a 2-2 draw against England in 2011.

Taulant first appeared for Albania two years ago in a 1-0 win over Portugal, who did not have superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

The brothers could only have dreamed of facing each other in international football when they played as boys for local club FC Concordia in Basel.

Their parents Ragip and Eli fled Kosovo, in 1990 just before war ravished their homeland and they found a new home in the working-class neighbourhood of Basel's St Johann.

Ragip found work as a gardener, Eli as a cleaner.

Both their sons were soon chasing footballs on the local playing fields.

Although Taulant is older, it was Granit who was entrusted with the house key when they went off to play, because he was deemed more reliable by their mother.

The brothers soon developed different playing styles.

Granit is a creator, using technique and skill to unlock defences, but was known for being a loud mouth off the pitch.

Taulant prefered to draw less attention to his work, but gets stuck into the midfield dirty work.

"I'm not one to play to the gallery, not one for the spectacular," he said. "I get the dirty work done."

So, who will their parents support tonight?

"That's very easy: one hand claps for Switzerland, the other for Albania," said Granit, diplomatically.

As their father Ragip put it, they would have been very unhappy if both teams hadn't made it.

He said: "One son for Switzerland and one for Albania - it's the perfect reflection of our family."

- Wire Services.


OTHER BROTHERS AT EURO 2016


BY THE NUMBERS: 9

Nine members of Albania's 23-man squad had the right to play for Switzerland, while six members of the Swiss squad could have opted for Albania.

Switzerland accepted tens of thousands of Kosovar Albanians who fled the Balkan wars in the 1990s following the break-up of 
the former Yugoslavia.

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