Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Montenegro and Millwall Goalkeeper Sarkic Dies Aged 26

Matija Sarkic playing for Montenegro in a World Cup qualifier in Norway in 2021. Hakon Mosvold Larsen / NTB/AFP
Matija Sarkic playing for Montenegro in a World Cup qualifier in Norway in 2021. Hakon Mosvold Larsen / NTB/AFP
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Montenegro and Millwall Goalkeeper Sarkic Dies Aged 26

Matija Sarkic playing for Montenegro in a World Cup qualifier in Norway in 2021. Hakon Mosvold Larsen / NTB/AFP
Matija Sarkic playing for Montenegro in a World Cup qualifier in Norway in 2021. Hakon Mosvold Larsen / NTB/AFP

Montenegro and Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has died at the age of 26, his club and national football association announced on Saturday.
The Montenegro Football Association said he "died suddenly early this morning", calling him a "beloved member of the 'Brave Falcons', an eternally smiling guy."
Grimsby-born Sarkic played nine times for Montenegro. He made his debut against Belarus in 2019 and started in goal in a friendly against Belgium on June 5, AFP said.
His twin brother Oliver is a midfielder with Montenegrin champions Decic Tuzi.
He started his club career in the youth academy at Anderlecht before moving to Aston Villa in 2015.
He had loan spells at Wigan, Stratford and Havant & Waterlooville in England, and Livingston in Scotland, before joining Wolves in 2020. After further loan spells at Shrewsbury, Birmingham and Stoke, he moved to Millwall.
"Millwall Football Club is completely devastated to announce that Matija Sarkic has passed away at the age of 26," his English Championship club said in a statement.
"Sarkic, The Lions' number one goalkeeper, made 33 appearances for the club since joining from Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 2023."
"Everyone at the club sends their love and condolences to Matija's family and friends at this immensely sad time."
The Montenegro football federation echoed the sentiment.
"In the jersey of that iconic London club, he left a mark, which was yet to become part of a bigger and more beautiful story. Premature death stopped that and caused great pain to the Sarkic family."



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : US Men's Basketball Team Builds Gig Lead then Holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics Tuneup

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
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US Men's Basketball Team Builds Gig Lead then Holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics Tuneup

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP

There was a lot for the US Olympic team to like on Monday. And a lot not to like.

Anthony Davis scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Tyrese Haliburton came up with a pair of late 3-pointers that helped stop a freefall by the Americans, and the US beat Australia 98-92 on Monday to improve to 2-0 in its five-game slate of exhibitions leading into the Paris Olympics.

Devin Booker scored 16 for the US, Anthony Edwards scored 14 and three players — LeBron James, Bam Adebayo and Joel Embiid — finished with 10 for the Americans, who are playing host to a pair of exhibitions at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this week. They'll play Serbia there on Wednesday.

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported.

The US led by 24 midway through the third quarter, yet saw that lead cut to six with 5:05 left after Australia went on a 39-21 run. But Haliburton had the next six points on his 3s, pushing the lead back to 92-80.

Australia cut it to four on two separate occasions, but Booker went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 8 seconds to ensure the US would escape.

“Third quarter, we started turning the ball over," US coach Steve Kerr said. "We gave up a ton of points at the basket. Back cuts, offensive boards and so, the game shifted. It's a good lesson for us. Better to learn that lesson now than later. And this will be a good tape for us to watch. But I give Australia a ton of credit. They were great. They fought. They were really physical. Took it to us in the last quarter and a half and really made it a game.”

Second unit, again Just like in the Canada game, the so-called second unit — Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, Adebayo, Davis and Booker — changed the game.

That was the group on the floor when the Americans took a game that was tied at 19-19 with 3:15 left in the first and turned it into a 39-23 lead — a 20-4 run in a span of just over 5 minutes.

Kerr used that group as his starting five to open the second half. But it’s become a clear trend already: when the US goes to its bench and can replace All-Stars with other All-Stars, it’s just going to be a massive problem for opponents who don’t have anywhere near that same level of depth.

“The strength of our team is our depth and we have to utilize our depth,” Kerr said.

It’s been something the Americans have used to their advantage in the past. Dwyane Wade led the gold-medalist 2008 US Olympic team in points, even though he was sixth in minutes on that team and came off the bench in all eight games.

Turnovers Here’s the big trouble sign right now for the US: turnovers.

FIBA games are shorter than NBA games, 40 minutes instead of 48 minutes. That means there are fewer possessions and makes it even more imperative to not give the ball away.

Which the Americans did. A lot.

After committing 15 turnovers in last week's exhibition win over Canada, the US had 18 giveaways on Monday and Australia used them to fuel the comeback effort — getting 25 points off turnovers in the second half alone.

“Our turnovers, it's all about focus and execution,” Davis said.

Injury watch Kevin Durant missed his second consecutive game because of a calf strain, and with only one practice between games it wouldn’t seem likely that he plays Wednesday against Serbia either.

Derrick White, who arrived in Abu Dhabi over the weekend and got into his first practice with the team on Sunday, also didn’t play. White replaced Kawhi Leonard — who deals with knee issues — on the US roster after the Americans determined last week that it wasn’t in Leonard’s best interest to play this summer.