Jardim: We believe in Falcao

MONACO — Manager Leonardo Jardim hailed Monaco’s goalscoring hero Radamel Falcao after his double on Wednesday moved them closer to the last 16 of the Champions League.

The 30-year-old’s first half strikes helped Monaco brush aside CSKA Moscow 3-0 at Stade Louis II and extend their lead at the top of Group E to two points.

They were Falcao’s first goals in the competition since February 2010, having since endured long injury absences and unsuccessful moves to Manchester United and Chelsea.

Jardim urged Falcao to stay fit and keep finding the back of the net.

“The important thing is the club, me and the team believe in Radamel,” he told L’Equipe.

“He had a very good game for 60 minutes. That’s Radamel, with lots of good combinations in the game.

“Now he has to get consistency and string together matches.”

Monaco host Tottenham in three weeks, where a point would be enough to confirm their spot in the last-16.

Jardim praised his side’s first half display as they scored three times to end the game as a contest by halftime.

“In the first half there was the show, three goals,” he said.

“We were very strong in the first period. This gave us an advantage in the game.

“Leading 3-0 at the break, it was necessary the team maintained a state of concentration so I had to talk a lot in the second period.” — Agencies

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KLTA: Bigger Goodwill Games on the cards

KUALA LUMPUR — Kuala Lumpur Tourism Association (KLTA) expect their 21st Goodwill Games to be bigger than ever.

The Goodwill Games which will feature table tennis, tug-of-war, football, badminton, netball, volleyball, relays, caroms and tennis, will be held on from Nov 12 to 13 at University Putra Malaysia, Serdang.

It will be the first time the Games will be held there.

Organising chairman Selvanathan Sivadass said he hopes to see 30 or more contingents participating.

“That would make this year’s event one of the best and if we reach a thousand participants that would be ideal,” he said.

“We have about 10 teams and we have new participating teams such as KPJ Healthcare.

“We also want to add to the variety of sports to gain more participation. The Games has received great support from the Tourism Ministry, perhaps in the future we may even have treasure hunts and our own version of Amazing Race,” said Selvanathan.

KLTA president Azlan Hussain said: “This is an effort to bring people together, and over the years it has worked well.”

Prasarana are the reigning champions. Winners in the Games will be awarded medals and receive trophies to commemorate their win.

There will also be medals for the best dressed contingents.

Lucky draws, talent shows and children’s entertainment are on the cards for the Games.

Registration closes at 12pm next Wednesday.

Participation fees range from RM30 for individual sign-ups to RM200 for team registration.

The Games is also open to non-members of the KLTA.

Adrian Ramos

Mum on Aubameyang

DORTMUND — Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel refused to divulge the reasons behind his decision to suspend striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for their match against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday. Dortmund won 1-0.

Tuchel’s side did not miss top scorer Aubameyang at Signal Iduna Park, as his replacement — Adrian Ramos — secured them a place in the last-16 with a header in the 12th minute.

Aubameyang’s suspension, which ended yesterday, sparked rumours the Gabon international could be set for a move away from the club in January should he fall out of favour with Tuchel, who claimed he had “no choice” but to drop the star man.

“It was very difficult without him,” Tuchel told reporters, before confirming Aubameyang will return to the squad for tomorrow’s Bundesliga match
against Hamburg.

“I had no choice. He will be back for the next game.

“Internal reasons means internal. I do not account for speculation.”

Though Dortmund impressed for large spells, Sporting could have snatched a point late on had Bryan Ruiz directed his close-range header on target.

Tuchel was quick to praise Jorge Jesus’ side, acknowledging Dortmund found it difficult to adapt after he elected to change systems at the interval.

“We wanted four midfielders to control the game. Either the idea was not so good or the execution. Sporting were braver,” he said.

“It felt incredibly difficult for us. In no phase of the match did we play naturally.

“Defensively we made many mistakes. But we’re through after four matchdays.”
— Agencies

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Something for everyone

WITH its picturesque beaches, idyllic islands, delicious cuisine and people so friendly that senyum sokmo (smile always) was adopted as the state’s unofficial tagline, there is no shortage of reasons to visit Terengganu.

I must confess I have always been partial to the east coast. Family ties notwithstanding, I grew up on keropok lekor and nasi dagang, and spent many school holidays in or around the South China Sea.

Incidentally, one of our favourite spots was Resorts World Kijal, formerly known as Awana. Only four hours’ drive from Kuala Lumpur, it offers a perfect setting for a weekend jaunt to recharge with sun, sea and sand.

The opportunity for a revisit recently was too good to pass up.

Departing from Kuala Lumpur in the morning, we were at Resorts World Kijal by lunch — just in time to sample the sumptuous buffet spread at the hotel’s Restoran Kampong Meraga Beris, which included authentic East Coast fare such as nasi ulam, singgang, ikan celup tepung and more.

For those with a sweet tooth, the range of treats from western cakes and sweets to local delights should be enough to satisfy the most demanding dessert connoisseur.

A quick tour around the hotel revealed not too much has changed over the years, but the staff offer warm hospitality to make guests feel at home.

The sprawling property, offering 340 rooms — including majestic Anjung and Putra suites, Premier and Deluxe units — is the only five-star resort in the area, with a private beach that stretches as far as the eye can see.

Even with a huge resort full of guests to your back, it is easy to feel like the 7km of pristine coastline is yours alone to traverse, accompanied only by the sounds of crashing waves.

A surprising fact: There are seven turtle landing spots along the beach.

The resort’s fun and adventure manager K. Ragunathan said: “When turtles mature at around 20 years old, they come back to the same beach they were hatched to lay eggs.

“A few years ago we noticed turtles coming back to this beach.”

The resort capitalises on this by offering “turtle packages” — a three-day, two-night stay which includes a turtle watching experience.

“We would keep a lookout all night for turtle landings. When one comes to shore and she’s ready to lay her eggs, we’d call the guests to come see,” said Ragunathan.

“It takes around three hours for a turtle to lay 80 to 120 eggs per batch.”

The best time to witness this is during turtle season, which is from May to September, according to the resort’s general manager Julia Ter Abdullah.

“We’ve had around 500 turtle landings this year.But of course, we cannot predict when a turtle might come up,” she said.

In the event there are no turtle landings, guests can still have an enjoyable and educational experience. At the hotel’s hatchery, guests can ‘plant’ turtle eggs, mimicking their natural incubation state in an environment safe from predators and poachers.

If there are hatchlings ready for the sea, guests are invited to be part of the release, which was what happened during our trip.

After a hearty dinner at Oasis Beach Restaurant, we headed to the waterfront where dozens of little baskets were waiting. The turtle hatchlings inside climbed over each other, eager for their first taste of the ocean.

Ragunathan warned against using flash photography, which may blind the hatchlings. Guided by flashlights and excited cheers (as if the hatchlings understood us saying “Go that way, baby turtle! Towards the sea!”) the hatchlings made their way to their natural habitat.

Baby turtles are surprisingly fast. We waited with bated breath until all the hatchlings were out of sight.

It was a magical experience tinged with bittersweet sadness at the knowledge that their chances of survival are tiny at best.

“Out of the dozens of hatchlings released, perhaps one will make it back. We’ll see in 20 years or so,” said Ragunathan.

The spacious and comfortable room might keep you in bed the next day, but early risers will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the sun rising over the South China Sea.

To explore what the city can offer, day trips to Kuala Terengganu can be arranged by the resort.

A must-visit attraction is the Crystal Mosque at the Islamic Heritage Park. Its architecture and reflective exterior of glass, crystal and steel is truly magnificent.

For souvenirs and local delicacies, head to Pasar Payang. The sheer range of keropok, serunding, and kuih on offer will make you want to sample everything — and the vendors are more than happy to offer a taste and explain the differences between the different treats.

Noor Arfa Craft Complex offers a fascinating look at how batik is made. Established in 1980, the company has been a pioneer brand in crafts for decades.

Visitors will get an insight on traditional songket is weaved and how the two different types of batik — batik terap and batik canting — are designed and produced.

You can even try your hands at painting your own batik on pre-designed cloth, which makes for a great keepsake.

Back at the hotel, it was time for some rest and relaxation.

There is something for everyone at the resort.

Golfers will appreciate the driving range and 18-hole championship course, with equipment available for hire if you forget your clubs.

Guests can also get pampered at the Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa, which offers holistic spa and massage packages.

Meanwhile, young ones can keep themselves occupied at the Children’s Smarty Club and huge playground of the children’s pool.

There are also quad bikes and bicycles for hire to explore the grounds, as well as jet skis and banana boats for adrenaline-fuelled fun at sea.

And all too soon, it was time to say goodbye.

Julia and the rest of the hotel staff waved us off with warm smiles and calls for us to “come back soon!”

Leaving felt much like the turtles that always find their way back to the same beach — I knew it wouldn’t be too long before my next visit.

Darren Loke

Darren’s 
raring to go

KUALA LUMPUR — Naturalised striker Darren Lok Yee Deng reckons Malaysia can win the AFF Cup.

The Johor Darul Ta’zim II hitman is new to the national squad after obtaining his Malaysian citizenship in September.

He was fast-tracked into the national squad but has to fight for a place in the first team against seasoned campaigners Amri Yahyah, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Mohd Safee Sali.

“There are some great strikers here,” said Darren.

“They play at a good level so it will be difficult for me to get a starting spot.

“However, I’m learning a lot from them, especially from Safee and Amri. They have been good to me and very welcoming so that’s been great,” he said.

Darren was born in Hailsham, a town in East Sussex, about 77km south of London. His father is from Malacca and his mother is English.

Darren turned out for Eastbourne Borough, a semi-pro club in the National League South, the sixth tier of English football, and grew up supporting Manchester United.

“I don’t know whether I will be a part of the team but just being here is great. If I get the chance to play I will be very proud. It is up to the coach to decide,” said Darren, when asked about his chances of making the team in the AFF Cup.

Darren arrived in Malaysia last May and signed for JDT II during the July transfer window.

“I’m slowly settling in. My command of the language is not there yet but I’m beginning to understand a little bit and am able to get by,” said the 25-year-old, about his struggles communicating.

“It does help when you have someone like Matthew Davies around who you can relate to. But it’s important to mix around with everyone.

“Improving my command of Bahasa Malaysia is a must,” said Darren.

Malaysia play Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia in Group B of the biennial AFF Cup, which begins on Nov 19.

Darren feels Malaysia can go all the way in the tournament.

“I don’t see why we can’t go all the way,” said Darren.

“All we need is two good games in the group stages and if we can make it to the semifinals, it’s anyone’s game.”

Malaysia play their first game against Cambodia on Nov 20 at Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon.

Old Lady doing OK, claims Allegri

TURIN — Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri tried to “see the positive side” of a 1-1 draw with Lyon at Juventus Stadium on Wednesday and insisted they “are not playing badly” in the Champions League.

Gonzalo Higuain’s penalty had opened the scoring for the “Old Lady”, but late on Corentino Tolisso was allowed a free header on a set play for Lyon’s equaliser.

Meanwhile, Sevilla thrashed Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 at home in another match and are two points clear at the top of Group H.

“We are still in the running for first place in the group. We needed to allow fewer counter-attacks and control the ball better, but in Europe it is always difficult,” Allegri told Mediaset Premium.

“We weren’t going to win the Champions League in this nor in the next game, as this competition are won from March onwards. It is a journey, just like in Serie A.

“At 1-1 we shouldn’t have run any more risks at the back, and yet that’s what happened. At the end of the day, we have to see the positive side.”

Once again, the partnership of Mario Mandzukic and Higuain upfront did not seem to work, while Miralem Pjanic was used in a new attacking midfielder role.

“Mario worked very hard, Gonzalo goes between the lines, as those are his characteristics. At the moment they are my only options and they are giving their best. The result was not down to them.

“At the start of the match we did well. In the second half we were controlling it, then ran too many risks.

“At this moment I am purely interested in the results, even if it’s not true to say we are playing badly.” — Agencies

chef mat cook at work

Experience 
Kiwi flavours

BELIEVED to be one of the last lands inhabited by humans, New Zealand is known as the “youngest country on Earth”.

Divided into two main islands with several smaller islands, the country’s 4.7 million population is largely made up of European descent, with indigenous Māori being the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders.

In celebration of the country’s diverse ethnicity, New Zealand Unlimited group of companies wish to introduce Malaysians to their country’s fusion delicacies and elaborate wine collection, at the first New Zealand Week.

New Zealand Unlimited managing director Richard Tankersley said this inaugural affair was in partnership with Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur and hoped it would become an annual event.

“We want people to embark on a culinary journey to taste the best Kiwi meats, seafood and wines we have to offer, without leaving the city,” said Tankersley, who also owns a vineyard or two in New Zealand.

Thanks to the county’s isolation for millions of years, 80 per cent of its trees, ferns, flowering plants and several animals, remain endemic.

As the now extinct people of Hawaiki are believed to be the island’s first inhibitors, there are strong similarities between Maori culture and others from Polynesia such as Hawaii, Tahiti and the Cook Islands.

This blend of ethnicity can be savoured in dishes specially prepared by New Zealand Unlimited resident chef Mat Cook.

On selecting some of the dishes, Cook, who is current working at the group’s soon-to-be opened high-end restaurant in Puteri Harbour, Johor, said: “Being a relatively new country, New Zealand is a melting pot of cuisines. We tend to experiment with a lot of different flavours.”

“Venison reminded me of my childhood as my dad would hunt deer and it became a staple on our table.

“Lamb dishes are something everybody has in New Zealand and our salmon is top notch,” said Cook, who is married to a Malaysian.

Some of the wines available include the award-winning Ohau Wines, Wooing Tree, Tankersley Estate and notably one of the best Gewurztraminer wines made in the new world — the Vinoptima Ormond Reserve.

The promotion runs from Monday till Nov 12. Set lunch and dinner menus, as well as a la carte dishes are available for curious palates at Traders.

There is a six-course New Zealand wine dinner on Thursday and Cook will host a cooking demonstration followed by lunch on Nov 12.

For details and reservations, call
03-2332 9910.

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Tottenham Coldspur!

LONDON — Tottenham captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris admits they go into their huge north London derby Premier League clash against in-form Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday at rock bottom.

Lloris said his stuttering side are almost unrecognisable to the one that started the season so well — after their 1-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at Wembley in Champions League on Wednesday extended their winless run to six matches.

“We can’t be in a worse situation. After a bad game like that we need to question ourselves, recover and be ready for Sunday,” he told reporters.

“It is difficult to accept that kind of performance from us.

“It was difficult to recognise the team usually very aggressive and very calm under pressure as today (Wednesday) was completely the opposite.

“But it is important to look forward because there is an important game against Arsenal,’ said Lloris, who is also the France captain. — Agencies

SEE ALSO PAGE 46

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BOTH SIDES OF A COIN

LAW & ORDER (premiere)

Hits HD (CH720) 11pm

Filmed entirely on location in New York City, this realistic, award-winning series looks at crime and justice from a dual perspective. Often inspired by the latest headlines, the investigations are challenging, prosecutions are complicated, and decisions about legal procedures and plea-bargaining are vexing. In the grueling and complex process of determining guilt and innocence, lives often hang in the balance. Starring (from left) Chris Noth, George Dzundza, Michael Moriart and Richard Brooks.

CALL ME HANDSOME (premiere)

Astro AEC (CH301) 9.30pm

Jack Lim, Danny Boy and Michiyo host this locally-produced variety show featuring celebrity guests on a quest to find attractive, intelligent men.

SNOW WHITE (premiere)

Disney Junior (CH613) 3pm

Once the wicked Queen consults her Magic Mirror to learn her stepdaughter’s beauty surpasses her own, the lovely Snow White must flee into the forest. There she meets dwarfs Dopey, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Doc and the rough edged, Grumpy, who try to save Snow White from the Queen’s evil spell that can only be broken by love’s first kiss.

MOTHER’S TREE

A-List (CH456) 10pm

Based on children’s literature published in primary school textbooks, this film is about a mother who talks to the trees she planted whenever one of her seven sons leaves for the battlefield.

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Melting hearts with cup cakes

Leah Choy, seven, bakes cupcakes to help pay for her younger sister’s treatment for cerebral palsy. She recently realised her dream of meeting her idol, Buddy Valastro, the star of the popular reality tv series, Cake Boss.

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