TURIN, Italy (AP):Former world champions Italy and Spain played to 1-1 yesterday, giving a chance for unheralded Albania to take the lead in their Europe qualifying group.Elsewhere, Mario Mandzukic bagged a hat-trick as Croatia beat up Kosovo 6-0, while Wales conceded the lead twice away in Austria in a draw.GROUP GSpain lost to Italy in the round of 16 at the European Championship, and were set for a measure of revenge in Turin yesterday.Spain’s Vitolo scored in the 55th minute following a rare mistake from veteran Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.But Daniele De Rossi converted a penalty with eight minutes remaining after Eder was tripped by Sergio Ramos, and preserved his team’s formidable home record. Italy has won 43 World Cup qualifiers, drawing the other seven.Spain and Italy are level on points in Group G after winning their opening qualifiers. Only the top team qualifies for the 2018 World Cup in Russia automatically.Albania moved to the top after winning in Lichtenstein 2-0 to maintain its perfect start to its qualifying campaign.GROUP IMandzukic proved unstoppable, ruthlessly exploiting Kosovo’s inexperience and scoring his three in the first 35 minutes.After Kosovo earned a credible draw at Finland last month, this was its first competitive home game but played in Albania’s northern city of Shkodra, as Kosovo has no stadium certified by UEFA.Croatia were without star midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric but had another star available: Mandzukic needed just six minutes to open the scoring off a pass from Andrej Kramaric.Mandzukic met Ivan Perisic’s cross to head home and double the lead, and completed his hat trick with another header 10 minutes before the interval, this time using a cross from Sime Vrsaljko, for his 27th goal in 71 internationals.Iceland rallied in the final minutes to earn their first victory in qualifying, 3-2 over Finland.GROUP DMarko Arnautovic twice came to Austria’s rescue to draw 2-2 with Wales in the group where Wales, Serbia, Austria, and Ireland are separated only on goal difference at the top.Wales took the lead with a slick goal in the 22nd minute, with Joe Allen volleying into the net. It was cancelled out inside six minutes by Stoke teammate Arnautovic’s downward header.
As part of its observance of International Women’s Day – which was observed on March 8 – the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will be hosting a roundtable under the theme ‘Women Speak: The Status of Women in Guyana 2018’.The event is scheduled for March 20, in the auditorium at Freedom House, Robb Street, Georgetown. Several women in various fields from the Private and Public Sectors, professional women in the health and education sectors and those in the agriculture sector are slated to speak at the event. Additionally, women representing a wide cross-section of Guyanese, including women elected at the Local Government level, are expected to attend.The PPP anticipates that the event will not only highlight the status of women in Guyana in 2018, but act as a clarion call for action to be taken to address several areas of concern for Guyanese women.The need for such an event was necessitated by the lack of substantial Government initiatives to address the plight of women in Guyana, over the past three years and Government actions that have negatively impacted Guyanese women.Much success has been made over the last two decades in advancing the rights and status of Guyanese women and substantive measures to support women in various fields were implemented. However, Guyana is fast losing its momentum which it can ill afford – least our society be further ruinously disadvantaged by the demise in women’s rights and participation.