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Phuket Gazette Sports: Champions League and FA Cup results; EPL look ahead

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Phuket Gazette Sports: Champions League and FA Cup results; EPL look ahead | The Thaiger
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Nervy Bayern, slick Malaga reach Champions League quarters
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Last season’s beaten finalists Bayern Munich survived a severe case of stage fright to edge into the Champions League quarter-finals on away goals and were joined in the last eight by debutants Malaga last night.

Nervy Bayern were beaten 2-0 at home by Arsenal but progressed thanks to their 3-1 success in London in the first leg.

Arsenal’s task seemed an improbable one but they made a great start when striker Olivier Giroud struck from close range after three minutes. Bayern could never find their stride and Laurent Koscielny’s header from a corner four minutes from time set up a tense finale but the German side held on.

It is the first time since the 1995-96 season, when Blackburn Rovers finished bottom of their group, that there is no English team in the last eight.

Malaga’s fairytale first season among Europe’s elite continued after the Qatari-backed Spaniards overturned a 1-0 first-leg defeat by Porto to win the home leg 2-0 at their Rosaleda stadium.

Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz, on-loan from Manchester City, headed home from a corner on 77 minutes soon after coming on a substitute to secure Malaga’s passage.

Playmaker Isco, who won the ‘Golden Boy’ trophy as the best Under-21 player in Europe last season, had levelled the tie with a fine strike two minutes before halftime.

Porto were up against it when Belgian midfielder Steven Defour was sent off for a second yellow four minutes into the second half.

Bayern and Malaga joined Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Paris St Germain, Juventus, Galatasaray and Barcelona in the last eight.

Barca are favourites to win the trophy for the fourth time in eight seasons after World Player of the Year Lionel Messi’s double helped the Catalans overhaul AC Milan’s two-goal first-leg lead with a 4-0 demolition of the Italians in the return on Tuesday.

The draw for the quarter-finals takes place in Nyon on Friday. The final is at Wembley stadium on May 25.

Millwall set up Wigan Cup semi with Blackburn win
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Danny Shittu’s powerful first-half header helped Millwall beat fellow second-tier club Blackburn Rovers 1-0 in an FA Cup quarter-final replay yesterday to set up a last-four clash at Wembley with Premier League team, Wigan Athletic.

Captain Shittu, who opted to miss Nigeria’s African Nations Cup triumph last month so he could stay with Millwall, headed in a corner after 42 minutes to put the 2004 FA Cup finalists in front.

Hosts Blackburn applied pressure in the second half but London side Millwall, who were grateful to a goalline clearance by Shane Lowry after the hour mark, held firm to advance after the championship teams had drawn 0-0 on Sunday.

“We’re through to Wembley. We’re just buzzing for the club and the fans,” Lowry told BBC Radio.

“I cleared one off the line that was going in, but that’s why I’m there. But it was a great all-round performance and to get through to Wembley, I’m just ecstatic.”

Millwall will meet surprise semi-finalists Wigan on the weekend of April 13/14 after the top-flight strugglers stunned seventh-placed Everton 3-0 on Saturday.

“Either side can win when we play Wigan,” defender Shittu told ESPN.

Millwall or Wigan will face either holders Chelsea, 2011 winners, Premier League champions Manchester City or top-flight leaders Manchester United in the final on May 11.

United and Chelsea’s quarter-final replay will be contested on April 1 after the teams drew 2-2 on Sunday.

United look for return to form against Reading
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Eliminated from the Champions League and almost knocked out of the FA Cup, Manchester United return to the relatively calmer waters of the Premier League when they host relegation-threatened and managerless Reading on Saturday.

United, who have won 14 of their last 16 league games, are 12 points clear of second-placed champions Manchester City and can take another step towards an unprecedented 20th title while pushing Reading closer to the drop.

The visitors, who sacked manager Brian McDermott on Monday and are set to be in the hands of youth academy coach Eamonn Dolan on Saturday, have never won at Old Trafford and have only ever beaten Manchester United once – in an FA Cup match in 1927.

Reading have lost twice to United this season, 4-3 at home in the league and 2-1 away in the FA Cup and whoever takes over from McDermott, with ex-Swindon Town boss Paolo Di Canio the favourite, has a huge task on his hands to keep them up.

McDermott, who took Reading up last season and was named manager of the month for January, was sacked after his side lost a fourth successive league game to Aston Villa last weekend.

Di Canio, who was at the match, told British media this week: “I believe I am at a stage now where I am a Premier League or Championship (second tier) manager and want to go to an ambitious club with a winning mentality.”

Reading will certainly need that to stay up as they are four points adrift of safety in 19th place with nine matches to play, level on 23 points with bottom side Queens Park Rangers who have improved their chances of late.

QPR will be looking for a third win in a row when they visit 17th-placed strugglers Villa also on Saturday.

Wigan Athletic, who surprisingly reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time when they won 3-0 at Everton on Saturday, are the other side in the drop zone and need a win at home to Newcastle United on Sunday.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Crime

2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night

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2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night | The Thaiger
PHoTO: Nashaplaneta.net

Police say 2 men were gunned down at the Phuket Bus Terminal by a colleague at the terminal along the stretch of Thepkasattri road heading into Phuket Town last night. The incident happened at about 10:15pm with the local police chief arriving along with medical staff from Vachira Hospital shortly after the incident.

60 year old Wian Iadchuthong, the alleged gunman, was waiting to surrender at the scene when police arrived. Police say Wian appeared to be drunk and told them he had a serious argument with the 2 men and decided to take their lives with the gun. Police say they found 50 year old Yod Sae Lee lying on the ground in front of a taxi service stand, badly wounded. He was given CPR before being rushed to Vachira Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

54 year old Prakob Chuthong was also found lying dead by the counter of a 24 hour car park service kiosk. Police say he had been shot 2 times, once in the left side of his head and once in his left rib cage, according to Bangkok Post.

Witnesses say before the shooting, Wian was quietly drinking alone. But after getting drunk, he walked to the counter of the car park service kiosk and allegedly fired 2 shots from a 9mm gun at point-blank range, killing Prakob instantly. Wian then ran towards Yod, who was sitting in front of the taxi service stand. Yod saw Wian coming at him with the gun and he ran away to 1 side of the terminal building, only to be intercepted by Wian who allegedly fired 5 shots. Yod was hit 1 time in the head, 2 times in the torso and 2 times in the legs. Yod was also rushed to Vachira Hospital where he later died.

An initial police investigation found that the 3 were close colleagues at the workplace, but often engaged in heated fights over motorcycle taxi and taxi services at the bus terminal.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied?

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Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied? | The Thaiger

Culminating 2 weeks of mass confusion over the apparent mandatory self-quarantine for arrivals to Phuket from Bangkok and other high risk provinces, Phuket’s provincial communicable disease committee has agreed to lift the mandatory 14 day quarantine “to help boost the local economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But for the vast majority of arrivals from Bangkok (DMK and BKK) to Phuket there wasn’t even any mention of quarantine. Over the past 2 weeks, since Phuket’s Governor released a 3 page announcement about new restrictions for the island, people have mostly been coming and going as usual. The only additional impediments were all arrivees having to download and fill in the Mor Chana app and registering with gophuget.com.

In 2 weeks not a single person has reported to The Thaiger that they had been forced to self-quarantine. Last night, when checking in at Suvarnabhumi airport for a Thai VietJet flight to Phuket, the person at the Check-In counter told the passenger (we’ll call them Mic to protect their identity) they would have to serve 14 days in state quarantine upon arrival in Phuket. Mic, surprised, asked for some sort of confirmation of this from airline management or information from the Phuket Provisional officials. None was forthcoming. Nothing more was said or communicated to the passengers.

When the plane landed in Phuket officials checked that passengers had completed the Mor Chana app and scanned their phones after they’d completed the gophuget.com registration. And that was it. No mention of quarantine.

The situation has been repeated by other Thaiger staff over the past 2 weeks as well, but without any mention of quarantine during the check-in or boarding procedures with various airlines. In all cases they flew from Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports.

Phuket’s Governor Narong Woonciew says the decision to ease the Covid-19 restrictions for visitors followed calls from the business community seeking to lure visitors to Phuket. (The Thaiger wonders if any of these officials had actually travelled over the past 2 weeks)

Local businesses met with provincial authorities on Friday proposing an end to the mandatory quarantine period “for people travelling from certain high-risk areas” in the hope of “stimulating the tourism industry”. The proposal was less about stimulating and more about raising the industry from its current flatline.

But whatever mandatory quarantine they were asking to be lifted appears to be have been, at best, loosely applied anyway.

Phuket has has a triple hit. The first when the borders were closed in April and the international airport closed. The second was when December arrived, the start of the busy tourist high-season. The third was the new restrictions added 2 weeks ago in response to the 2nd wave of clusters that started on December 20, tripling the total number of Covid infections in the country in just over a month.

According to Bangkok Post, Sarayuth Mallum, president of the Phuket travel industry council, says… “strict disease control measures remain necessary to protect local people and tourists from contracting the virus”.

Somehow, the mandatory quarantine requirement instructions never reached the airport officials. But, for now anyway, the “restrictions” have been lifted anyway. What was you experience arriving in Phuket over the past week? Were you asked to conduct a mandatory 14 day self-quarantine?

In the meantime the struggling domestic airlines have been forced to massively cancel or reschedule flights. Over the past 2 days most airlines only had 1 or 2 flights to and from Phuket and Bangkok, down from the 4 – 10 daily flights some airlines were offering.

More about the Mor Chana App here…

More about the direct effects on the island of Phuket…

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident

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Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident | The Thaiger

A national park officer has been fired after being accused of spying on a woman in the public toilet on January 17 at Phuket’s Sirinath National Park. 28 year old Abdulrama Mahaderi, was accused by a woman named Sopita and her boyfriend Panupong Rungrueng of climbing a wall that separates the men’s and women’s sections of the toilet at Nai Yang beach in order to look at Sopita. Abdulrama allegedly also had his mobile phone in his hand.

Sirinath National Park Chief Pramote Kaewnam confirmed that an investigative committee had spoken to witnesses and determined that Abdulrama was guilty of “misbehaviour and improper actions.”

Pramote confirmed that Abdulrama’s employment contract was then terminated, effective last Wednesday, 3 days after the incident allegedly took place. On its Facebook page, the Sirinath National Park made a post about the incident.

“It has caused disgrace to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and affected the image of the overall department.”

Sura Lertthaisong of Sakhu Police confirmed that Abdulrama would be facing charges and that he was currently investigating whether a charge of “bullying in public” under Section 397 of the Criminal Code would be appropriate.

Abdulrama had previously posted on the official Sirinath National Park Facebook page that his understanding was that no charges would be pursued by Sopita and Panupong.

“The tourists told me that they did not want to press charges. They just told me that they did not want me to do anything like this again.”

But after Panupong posted a photo of Abdulrama, detailing his alleged indiscretion on social media, others came forward with similar accusations.

“One group of women said that they were also spied on by this man on the toilet wall 2 months ago, but they did not report it and did not press charges – and the truth faded away as if nothing ever happened.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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