As­tra Gi­urgiu claim first Ro­ma­nian league ti­tle

Pakistan Observer - - ECON­OMY WATCH - U C H A R E S T

B — A s t r a Gi­urgiu’s maiden Ro­ma­nian league ti­tle was con­firmed on Sun­day as near­est ri­vals Steaua Bucharest were held 11 by Pan­durii.

Steaua had won the ti­tle for the last three sea­sons but As­tra, who were in the third tier as re­cently as 2007- 08, have gone one bet­ter than when they fin­ished sec­ond two sea­sons ago.

As­tra now lead the cap­i­tal city side by five points at the top of the cham­pi­onship group and have two matches left, while Steaua have just one re­main­ing.

“We made his­tory,” re­joiced Black Dev­ils coach Mar­ius Su­mu­dica.

“It’s ex­tra­or­di­nary, it is what the play­ers de­serve. It was a tough year, dur­ing which we have be­come a very strong team.”

The club from the south of the coun­try will play in the Cham­pi­ons League for the first time next sea­son, en­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion at the third qual­i­fy­ing round.— AFP SH­EFFIELD— Ding Jun­hui’s bid to be­come the first Asian to win the world ti­tle was on a knife- edge yes­ter­day when he trailed for­mer cham­pion Mark Selby 10- 7 in the best- of- 35 frame cham­pi­onship match.

The open­ing day of the two- day fi­nal at Sh­effield’s Cru­cible Theatre saw 29- year- old Ding slip 6- 0 down at one stage be­fore he pulled back to 8- 7 cour­tesy of a marathon 66- minute 15th frame.

But that gru­elling duel only served to inspire 2014 cham­pion Selby who won the next two frames to re­store the Le­ices­ter player’s dom­i­nance and put him­self in a po­si­tion to lift the world ti­tle to­day, the same day that his home­town foot­ball team could be crowned Premier League cham­pi­ons.

“There were two war­riors out there to­day, when you re­quire one or two snook­ers you’ve got to go for them, such is the stan­dard of safety play, it’s as­ton­ish­ing. Ding looked as fresh as any­thing,” for­mer six- time world cham­pion Steve Davis told the BBC.

Ding had fallen 6- 2 down in the first ses­sion but never gave up hope, no doubt in­spired by mem­o­ries of Den­nis Tay­lor fa­mously win­ning the world ti­tle in 1985 from 8- 0 be­hind against Steve Davis, while Ron­nie O’Sul­li­van trailed Graeme Dott 5- 0 in 2004 be­fore win­ning 18- 8.

For Ding’s many mil­lions of sup­port­ers watch­ing at home late at night in China, there must have been a feel­ing of let­down as their idol strug­gled so badly at the start.

Selby swept 4- 0 in front at the mid- ses­sion interval with breaks of 91, 76 and 120.

In the one frame where he did not make a ma­jor score he ar­guably in­flicted a greater blow on Ding, tak­ing it from a po­si­tion where he needed a snooker and a clear­ance.

A baf­fling at­tempt to cut in the green by Ding, when it looked an im­pos­si­ble shot, was the Chi­nese player’s down­fall.

Ding showed no im­me­di­ate re­sponse af­ter an interval pep talk from 1979 world cham­pion Terry Grif­fiths.

Grif­fiths has worked with Ding on his men­tal ap­proach and the Chi­nese for­mer world num­ber one, who had to qual­ify for the tour­na­ment af­ter fall­ing out of the top 16, had been play­ing with a calmer de­meanour over the past fort­night.— AFP

Ding Jun­hui of China com­petes dur­ing the best- of- 35 frame World Snooker Cham­pi­onship 2016 fi­nal match with for­mer cham­pion Mark Selby at the Cru­cible Theatre in Sh­effield, Eng­land.

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