Madrid, Mar 17 (AP/UNB) — It was like old times at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Zinedine Zidane was back on the bench, and Real Madrid was winning again.
The demanding Madrid crowd could finally rejoice on Saturday as Zidane brought the old guard back and began his second stint as coach with a 2-0 win against relegation-threatened Celta Vigo in the Spanish league.
Francisco "Isco" Alarcon, who had been sidelined by former coach Santiago Solari, and Gareth Bale, a reserve before Zidane's return, scored to help Madrid end its four-game losing streak at home and recover some pride.
Marco Asensio, another player who had few chances under Solari, set up Isco's goal while goalkeeper Keylor Navas, back in the starting lineup, made key saves for Madrid.
Zidane's revamped starting lineup also included Marcelo, another player who had succeeded under the French coach but did not play often with Solari.
"Nobody can erase what these players have done for this club in the past," Zidane said. "I'll count on the entire squad, but we know how good Keylor is. I don't even have to talk about Marcelo, and it's the same when it comes to Isco. They are all very good players. They have shown it in the past and I will keep counting on them."
The win moved Madrid within two points of second-place Atletico Madrid, which saw its title chances take a hit after a 2-0 loss at Athletic Bilbao.
Barcelona can open a 10-point lead over Diego Simeone's team if it wins at Real Betis on Sunday.
Zidane received an ovation from the crowd when his name was announced before the match, and there was an upbeat atmosphere again following demoralizing home losses.
Madrid lost to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey and the Spanish league, and to Ajax in the round of 16 in the Champions League — results that virtually ended the team's hopes of winning a trophy this season. It had also lost at home to Girona in the league.
"It's a new beginning," right back Alvaro Odriozola said. "We are all motivated again."
Isco netted from close range in the 62nd minute after Asensio fed Karim Benzema inside the area and the French striker set up the scorer in front of goal. Isco was cheered by the crowd when he was substituted a few moments after the goal, his first of the year.
Bale sealed victory with a shot from inside the area in the 77th.
Zidane led Madrid to nine titles in his first stint, including three straight in the Champions League, but quit at the end of last season, saying the club needed a change.He was rehired on Monday to replace Solari, who wasn't able to keep the team on track in its first season without Cristiano Ronaldo.
"I always feel at home here," Zidane said. "There's a great atmosphere and all I'm thinking about is finishing the season on a high."
Celta, which needed points to have a chance of escaping the relegation zone, has lost 10 of its last 12 matches in all competitions. It is 18th in the 20-team standings with 25 points from 28 matches.
Benzema had a goal disallowed just before halftime because of a foul by Bale, while Luka Modric's goal in the second half was disallowed on video review because Madrid defender Raphael Varane was offside.
Atletico Madrid followed its midweek elimination by Juventus in the Champions League by losing 2-0 at Athletic Bilbao.
Inaki Williams put the hosts ahead in the 73rd and Kenan Kodro netted in the 85th to move Athletic up to ninth.
Atletico's loss came despite a lineup that included the attacking trio of Antoine Griezmann, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata. It had won five in a row before losing 3-0 to Juventus on Tuesday to squander its 2-0 advantage from the first leg in the round of 16.
"We missed a chance to move closer to Barcelona, but it was going to be hard after our poor performance in Turin," Simeone said.
Alaves keeps fighting
Alaves moved closer to the final Champions League spot with a 3-1 win at last-place Huesca, moving within a point of fourth-place Getafe, which visits Valencia on Sunday.
Argentine striker Jonathan Calleri scored twice and Swedish forward John Guidetti added another for Alaves, which is unbeaten in six games.
Also Saturday, forward Portu scored two first-half goals to lead Girona to a 2-0 win at Leganes.
Miami, Mar 17 (AP/UNB) — FIFA has agreed to make public its vote on the host for the 2023 Women's World Cup.
The organization's decision-making body is becoming more transparent after concerns were raised last month that the women's tournament wouldn't fully follow the new voting process for the men's World Cup.
The United States, Canada and Mexico were chosen last year to host the 2026 World Cup. The votes by the FIFA Congress of all member associations were published. Previously, the decisions were taken in private by the scandal-discredited FIFA executive committee, which was renamed the FIFA Council in 2016.
But FIFA announced last month that its 37-person council would still decide on the destination of the 2023 Women's World Cup, with no mention of votes being publicly declared.
Now, FIFA has said following a meeting in Miami that after the council makes its decision in March 2020, the "result of each ballot and related votes of each member" will be "open and made public."
It could be the most hotly contested bidding process for the tournament, which was first staged in 1991. Australia, Colombia, Japan and South Africa have been exploring bids. South Korea submitted a proposal to North Korea to jointly bid.
FIFA asked countries interested in bidding to do so by Friday, but it has yet to disclose who made submissions. Bidders have until April 16 to complete their bidding registrations, and bid books must be submitted by Oct. 4.
Dhaka, Mar 16 (UNB) - After the frightening terror attack at mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand, Bangladesh national cricket team returned home on Saturday night.
The Singapore Airlines flight (SIA 446) carrying the team landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
Bangladesh were supposed to play the third and final Test of the series at Christchurch from March 16, but due to the terror attack both cricketing boards team decided to call off the last one.
Bangladesh team narrowly escaped the attack as they were on the way to a mosque to attend in the Jummah prayers. But according to the national team manager Khaled Mashud they were prevented from entering the mosque by an unknown woman who warned them on the shooting.
Bangladesh cricket fraternity was anxious throughout Friday about the safety of the national cricketers and team staffs.
Mashud told the media that they were just about five minutes away from entering the mosque. He said, “Had we enter the mosque five minutes earlier, we would have been harmed by the attack.”
Some of the national cricketers, including the former captain Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal, have expressed their horror in the social media as well.
In the meantime, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) called an urgent press conference where its president Nazmul Hassan briefed the media about the incident.
Nazmul confirmed that they were in touch with New Zealand cricket board and government officials to bring the national team back home in the earliest possible time.
He also said that Bangladesh will ask for ensuring a standard level of security before touring anywhere in the world in future.
“From now, we’ll ask for a standard level of security before tours. It won’t be possible for us to go on tours if we’re not provided with that level of security we’ll ask for. In future, we’ll consider sending security specialists with the team. It was not required in the past. Actually, we didn’t feel the necessity. But from now, things will be different,” Nazmul said to the media on Friday.
Dhaka, Mar 16 (UNB) - The 2nd round of the 39th National Cricket Championship (NCC) begins on Monday (March 18) at Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium (SKICS) in Cox’s Bazar.
Narayanganj District will play Dinajpur District on Monday (March 18) while Sylhet District will face Barishal District on the following day (Tuesday), both at the Academy ground of SKICS.
Sixty-four district teams split into two tiers are taking part in the first round of the limited over competition.
The top finishers of each of the eight groups in Tier 1 have qualified for the second round.
Dhaka, Mar 16 (UNB) - The BCB Academy Cup Cricket begins on Monday (March 18) with the participation of 32 private cricket coaching academies from all over the country.
The opening ceremony of the meet will be held on Monday at the City Cub ground in Mirpur at 08:30 am with Gulshan Youth Club Cricket Academy taking on golden Boys Cricket Academy in one of the three opening day’s matches.
Barishal Talent Hunt Cricket Academy will play Khelaghar Cricket Academy at Jagannath Hall ground while Friends Social Welfare Cricket Academy will encounter Shisu Kishore Academy in Fatullah in the remaining two matches on Monday.
Thirty-two teams, split into eight groups, are initially taking part in the group phase till April 3. Later, the group champions will play in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, BCB Director-cum-Chairman of the Game Development Committee and former Bangladesh Captain Khaled Mahmud along with Bangladesh Test Captain Shakib Al Hasan unveiled the trophy of the BCB Academy Cup 2019 in presence of the participating teams’ captains at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur on Saturday.