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Phuket Gazette Sports: Messi nets record, United and Bayern march on

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gazette Sports: Messi nets record, United and Bayern march on | The Thaiger
Sio shines as Sochaux sink Lyon
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Lionel Messi scored in a 19th successive league match as Barcelona maintained a 13-point lead in La Liga despite being held to a draw by Celta Vigo, while a deflected goal kept Manchester United 15 points clear in England.

Claudio Pizarro scored four times as Bayern Munich hammered Hamburg SV 9-2 to stand two points away from the Bundesliga title with seven games left and Juventus moved closer to retaining their Serie A crown with a 2-1 win at Inter Milan.

Spain

There was no change at the top of La Liga as the top four were all held to draws this weekend, leaving leaders Barcelona 13 points clear of Real Madrid at the top, with nine games left to play.

Lowly Celta Vigo snatched a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at home with Barca, spoiling Lionel Messi’s celebrations after he scored in a record 19th successive league match, completing a run of netting against every side in La Liga consecutively.

Like Barca, Real rested players with a view to next week’s Champions League quarter-final first legs and were also forced to come from behind to draw 1-1 at Real Zaragoza, thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo strike.

Third-placed Atletico Madrid missed out on the chance to leapfrog Real when they were held 1-1 at home by Valencia, Radamel Falcao netting the equaliser in only the sixth minute.

Barca have 75 points, Real 62, Atletico 61 and Real Sociedad 48 in fourth after a 2-2 draw at Espanyol.

England

Manchester United remained 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a gritty 1-0 win at struggling Sunderland.

Robin van Persie’s shot deflected into the net off Sunderland defender Titus Bramble to secure United’s 25th victory in 30 games this season and keep them firmly on course for a 20th league title with eight games left.

Champions Manchester City crushed Newcastle United 4-0 to stay second, five points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who won 2-1 at Swansea City, and seven clear of Chelsea who slumped to a 2-1 loss at Southampton.

Arsenal, two points further back in fifth, kept up their challenge for a Champions League place with a 4-1 demolition of bottom club Reading.

Sunderland, just a point clear of the relegation zone, reacted to their defeat by sacking manager Martin O’Neill and appointing Paolo Di Canio as head coach, while Wigan Athletic boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win over Norwich City.

Manchester United travel to Chelsea for an FA Cup quarter-final replay tonight.

Italy

Juventus took another step towards retaining their Serie A title when they won 2-1 at bitter rivals Inter Milan, keeping them nine points clear of Napoli.

Fabio Quagliarella gave Juve a third-minute lead and Alessandro Matri scored the winner on the hour after Rodrigo Palacio had briefly pulled Inter level.

Napoli bravely kept up their challenge by coming from behind to win 5-3 at Torino having trailed 3-2 with 10 minutes left.

Swiss midfielder Blerim Dzemaili levelled in the 80th minute with his third goal of the game and Serie A top scorer Edinson Cavani then added two more. AC Milan’s 1-0 win at Chievo kept them two points behind in third.

Germany

Leaders Bayern Munich steamrollered Hamburg SV 9-2, helped by four goals from Peru striker Claudio Pizarro and two from Arjen Robben, to stay a remarkable 20 points clear at the top.

They were on the brink of clinching the title until Robert Lewandowski gave second-placed Borussia Dortmund a late 2-1 win at VfB Stuttgart to extend the title race for at least another week.

However, Bayern only need another two points from their last seven games to clinch their 23rd German league title.

At the bottom, hapless Greuther Fuerth remained without a home win in their debut Bundesliga season after losing 3-2 to Eintract Frankfurt.

France

Paris St Germain warmed up for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona with a convincing 1-0 victory at home to champions Montpellier.

PSG are now seven points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table after Olympique Lyon, who have not won in their last four games, slumped to a shock 2-1 home defeat by lowly Sochaux.

Andre-Pierre Gignac’s 10th league goal of the season was enough for Olympique Marseille to win 1-0 at fellow European hopefuls Nice and leapfrog Lyon into second spot with 54 points.

Lyon have 53 in the third and final Champions League qualifying berth, three more than St Etienne who drew 2-2 at bottom club Troyes.

Holland

A double from Viktor Fischer helped Ajax Amsterdam cruise to a 4-1 win at home to NEC Nijmegen as they went three points clear at the top of the Dutch league with six matches remaining.

Ajax have 60 points with PSV second on 57 after they dropped points in a 2-2 draw with Roda JC Kerkrade. Third-placed Vitesse Arnhem, who beat PEC Zwolle 2-1, are level on points with PSV.

Feyenoord dropped to fourth with 56 points following their 2-0 defeat by Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen.

Portugal

High-flying Benfica drilled six past Rio Ave in a comfortable 6-1 home win that kept them four points clear of Porto at the top of the Portuguese Premier League with six rounds to go.

Brazilian striker Lima grabbed a hat-trick as Benfica strolled to a morale-boosting victory ahead of their Europa League quarter-final first leg at home to Newcastle United on Thursday.

Defending champions Porto kept up the chase by overcoming Academica 3-0 away thanks to goals from French centre back Eliaquim Mangala, Brazil right back Danilo and midfielder Castro. Benfica have 64 points from 24 matches with Porto on 60.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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Events

The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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