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AFCON 2019: Diouf tips Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal for title

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AFCON 2019: Diouf tips Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal for title

…says EPL best league in the world

 

Former Senegal striker, El Hadji Diouf, has mentioned the Super Eagles of Nigeria as one of the teams that could emerge champions at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

The African showpiece will take place from 21 June to 20 July in four Egyptian cities with 24 countries vying for honours.

Speaking with the media in Lagos at the weekend, the former Liverpool striker said he expected the competition to be tough with only physically and mentally ready teams coming tops.

He said Egypt will be hard to beat, especially playing at home in front of their fans, while also tipping his country, Senegal as one of the favourites.

Diouf was in Lagos to represent the Africa Legends team against the Nigeria Legends during an exhibition game played at the Agege Stadium on Saturday in honour of the outgoing governor of Lagos State, Akinwumi Ambode.

“It is going to be tough for every team and I think Egypt will be very hard to beat at home,” he said.

“Egypt will be under a lot of pressure playing in front of their fans; Nigeria has a very good team also, and all these teams have what it takes to win.

“Also with countries like Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire, you can never tell. A lot of good teams are going to Egypt, and with 24 teams, the country to emerge champions will be the one that is ready mentally and physically.”

Meanwhile, Diouf has described the English Premier League as the best in the world after four clubs from the league emerged finalists in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will be fighting for the Champions League trophy, while Arsenal and Chelsea contest the Europa League final.

Diouf played in the UK between 2002 and 2014, starring for clubs like Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers, Doncasters Rovers and Leeds United with a stint on loan at Rangers in between.

He added: “If you have not played in England before, then you are missing. The EPL for me is arguably the best in the world and with four of their teams getting to the finals of the European competitions, they have shown class.”

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Big Three ‘almost impossible’ to beat at US Open

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Big Three ‘almost impossible’ to beat at US Open

Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic have enjoyed a years-long stranglehold on Grand Slam titles and that dominance is unlikely to end at the U.S. Open where a cast of hopefuls will try to end their reign.

The ‘Big Three’ have combined to win each of the last 11 Grand Slams, with Serb Djokovic having triumphed in four of the last five blue riband events and a popular pick to successfully defend his New York title despite being dealt a tough draw.

ESPN tennis analyst and former world number one John McEnroe fully expects one member of the threesome to triumph in New York and suggested that the task of toppling them in a best-of-five sets is currently too tall an order.

 “You have to beat potentially at least two of them, in some cases three of them. That’s seemingly almost impossible to do,” McEnroe said on a conference call.

“Perhaps with a little bit of luck something happens where a draw opens up. They’re human. At some stage they’re going to start losing more.”

Top seed Djokovic will begin his title defence against Roberto Carballes Baena, and before a projected semi-final clash with five-times winner Federer could meet former champion Stan Wawrinka or 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson in the fourth round.

One player who is widely considered a possible threat is Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev, who has proven to be the most in-form player in the lead-up to the U.S. Open and is Djokovic’s projected quarter-final opponent.

Medvedev has never made it past the third round in New York but is more confident than ever after reaching the final in tune-up events in Washington and Montreal before securing the biggest title of his career in Cincinnati.

 “The three weeks really pushed my confidence a lot,” said Medvedev, who has beaten Djokovic twice this season. “Now I know that when I play my best tennis I can beat basically everybody, and that’s what I need to keep doing here.”

Federer, owner of a record 20 Grand Slam titles, considers himself in fine form despite a forgettable U.S. Open tune-up that consisted of a swift third-round upset in Cincinnati.

The 38-year-old Swiss third seed has played just two matches since last month’s Wimbledon final, where he failed to convert two championship points on his own serve in the fifth set against Djokovic, but is raring to go, reports Reuters.

“This is probably the best I’ve felt in years coming into the U.S. Open again, which is encouraging,” said Federer.

“It’s going to be a tough tournament to win, no doubt about it. I feel like I’m part of that group who can do it.”

Three-time champion Nadal, whose title defence at last year’s U.S. Open ended with him retiring from the semi-finals with a knee injury, has also declared himself ready for battle.

The Spanish second seed has been drawn in the opposite half of rivals Djokovic and Federer and his biggest hurdle to the final could be fourth seed Austrian Dominic Thiem, who is his projected semi-final opponent.

Nadal, who will strive for efficiency in a bid to limit the punishment the hardcourts can inflict on his troublesome knees, may appear to have the easier path of ‘Big Three’ to the final but was not about to acknowledge as much.

“I have to win my matches to have an advantage because I only can meet them in the semi-finals,” said Nadal. “I have plenty of work before that to know if I have an advantage or not. So let’s see if I am able to do my work for my side.”

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Cherries dare to believe against Citizens at Dean Court

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Cherries dare to believe against Citizens at Dean Court

On paper not many believe Bournemouth can get the better of Manchester City today, but for Eddy Howe and his Cherries they have absolutely nothing to lose going all-out against the champions, notes Tunde Sulaiman 

 

 

B

efore the new season kicked off, most football pundits and bookies had made champions, Manchester City their runaway favourites to retain their Premier League title and thus become the first team after their city rivals, United, to make it a hat trick of titles since 1999.

And this prediction appeared spot on when City opened the new campaign in stunning fashion – putting five past West Ham United, who is now coached by the man who secured the Citizens second Premier League title, Manuel Pellegrini in 2014.

However, while many had expected a City win in their opening match, while many acknowledge that their second game would be a much sterner test; not many would have still bet against another win for the champions against Tottenham Hotspur.

Although it was the London-based side that had ended Pep Guardiola’s UEFA Champions League dreams in the quarter-finals last season, most still expected that this would serve as an additional incentive for City to get their pound of flesh over Spurs.

This appeared to be the case when the Citizens flew out of the blocks in the early stages of the game totally overwhelming the visiting team.

In fact in the opening 15 minutes, City had 68.6% of possession, strangling Tottenham and refusing to let them get into the game at all.

And when they took an early lead, courtesy of a Raheem Sterling header in the 20’ minute it appeared that the home side would be cruising to another routine victory, while Tottenham’s players trudged back to the centre circle, looking at each other and wondering how they were going to stop the relentless onslaught of attack after attack.

But somehow Erik Lamela was able to fashion an equaliser against the run of play with a strike from distance three minutes after Sterling’s goal to paint a false picture of how the game had been panning out.

Only two more shots came in the second half. One was from Harry Kane from the halfway line and was well wide, and just one was on target – Lucas Moura’s header just 19 seconds after he replaced Harry Winks.

Tottenham only managed three crosses from open play too and didn’t win a single corner in the first half, which was almost completely dominated by the home side.

The arrival of midfielder Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon for a club record £54m sparked understandable excitement among Tottenham fans.

He impressed during pre-season, grabbing an assist against Juventus with his first touch as a second-half substitute, and scored a fine goal on his Premier League debut against Aston Villa last week.

But despite working hard and winning more tackles than anyone else (five), he couldn’t provide the creative spark that Tottenham needed at the Etihad, while Christian Eriksen put in a performance that suggested he wasn’t settled amid transfer speculation, which continues to link him with a move away.

The second half almost mirrored what transpired in the first and when Sergio Aguero flicked home Kevin de Bruyne’s cross it appeared that City’s greater domination of the game would be rewarded with all three points.

But substitute Lucas Moura nodded in seconds after coming on as a substitute to pull Spurs level again.

City may look at a shot count of 30-3 in their favour and wonder how they didn’t win. But in the end, Tottenham took their chances – as few as they were – and came away from the Etihad with a highly creditable 2-2 draw against the defending champions.

It is the first time City had dropped points at home since losing to Crystal Palace on December 22 last year.

While dropping two points in just the second game of the season is not potentially damaging to a club’s title aspirations, the closeness of the race last season in which City only edged Liverpool by a lone point, shows the fine margins which exist in today’s game.

But perhaps more importantly the manner of Spurs’ draw is now a lifeline to visiting teams on how to play the champions – ride your luck and take whatever chances come your way.

One manager who would have digested all he can from the match is Eddie Howe whose side, Bournemouth was on the receiving end of two defeats against today’s foes last season.

Bournemouth lost 3-1 at the Etihad in the first leg and although they put up a sterner test in the reverse fixture, it stll ended in a respectable 1-0 defeat at Dean Court.

Last campaign, the club had a strong start, sitting in sixth place after the first 12 rounds. However, their form regressed for the remainder of the season and Bournemouth finished in 14th place – securing a fifth season in the Premier League.

Eddie Howe could truthfully point to injures he battled in the second stanza as one of the reasons for the club’s drop in form, with Lewis Cook, Simon Francis shelved amongst others. In the end, Bournemouth finished in 14th place, securing a fifth season in the Premier League, which would have delighted their fans in no small measure.

But for Howe this season showing signs of improvement by finishing better than 14th will no doubt be weighing heavily on his mind.

Although taking points off the champions will definitely be a very tall order considering the gulf in class between the two sets of players – not to talk about the two managers; one a serial winner and the other yet to win any major trophy.

While not getting heavily beat will be Howe’s pre-occupation, for Pep it is more likely coming to grips with Video Assistant Referee (VAR) decisions after he was denied victory last weekend because of it to ensure his side dropped points at home for the first time since losing to Crystal Palace on December 22 last year.

“We have to accept it,” said Guardiola after the game ended 2-2.

“It’s tough because we scored a goal late on. But ask VAR people, not me,” he added.

Clearly frustrated with the outcome of the match, the Argentine, who had scored the second goal for city, was seen exchanging angry words with Guardiola when he was substituted for Jesus, but the City boss dismissed that as a misunderstanding.

“He thought I was annoyed with him for the goal we conceded,” said Guardiola. “But it is emotions, and that is part of the game. We talked afterwards. I love him a lot because we know his feelings.”

How the two get along today will be one of the talking points, especially should the unthinkable happen and Howe’s side is able to take all three points off the champions.

Tottenham Hotspur still basking in the euphoria of their draw with Manchester City last weekend will be favouring their chances against Newcastle United in the 4.30pm kick-off.

It is already looking bleak for Steve Bruce, who has seen his side slump to two straight defeats.

The setbacks would not have done anything to enhance his reputation with the Magpies fans who still have an axe to grind with club owner (Mike Ashley) for allowing their popular manager, Rafa Benitez leave over the summer.

The fans’ fury is no doubt fuelled by the fact that the same Ashley who seemed never to have money to back their now departed favourite, suddenly found some to give the former Sheffield Wednesday manager.

And Bruce, who won 12 trophies including three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup as a player with Manchester United, did spend Ashley’s clash in bringing in six players, notably securing Joelinton from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim for £40 million, breaking the club’s transfer fee record previously set by the purchase of Miguel Almirón for £21 million six months earlier.

But in spite of spending heavily over the summer, the Magpies are still floundering and are already some bookies’ favourites to drop out of the Premier League at the end of the campaign even though only two games have so far been played.

Before Match Day Three games kicked off on Friday, Newcastle was only one of four teams yet to secure a point and was only 18th on the log because it had conceded fewer goals than the two sides below them – Southampton and Watford.

Sadly for the 58-year-old former United skipper, his poor managerial winning percentage which currently stands at just 38.4% does not seem likely to improve against a side riding high in sixth spot on the table.

Maurico Pochettino, who will be welcoming in Bruce to his side’s new impressive stadium, is one of the most respected coaches in the business especially as he has been able to keep Spurs challenging for trophies despite not spending a kobo in two previous transfer windows until this summer.

The 47-year-old Argentine-born tactician was able to take his Spurs to the final of last season’s UEFA Champions League where they eventually lost 2-0 to Liverpool, while they will again compete in the world’s top club competition this season after finishing fourth last campaign.

Pochettino was finally rewarded for all the hard work he had done with the London outfit by being allowed to finally end his transfer wilderness this summer with the signing of five new players including one, Giovani Lo Celso, a midfielder from Real Betis.

In total, Spurs’ Chairman, Daniel Levy authorised the sending of £90,000,000 this summer with the bulk of this going on just three players – midfielder, Tanguy Ndombele a £55,000,000 purchase from Lyon in France, left wingback, Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham for £25,000,000 and right wingback, Jack Clarke from Leeds United for £10,000,000.       

However, even without these new arrivals Spurs twice beat the visiting side when they met in the league last season and from all indications should make it a hatrick of wins today.

In the final game of the round, 13th placed Wolves host Burnley, which is three places above them, hoping to get their first win under their belt.

In their last game, played Monday night, they were able to secure a creditable 1-1 draw against Manchester United, which lost a second half penalty, to make it two draws from their first two games.

However, it is not known how much Thursday’s Europa League play-off tie with Italian side Torino in Turin, would have taken out of Nuno Espirito Santo’s side even though they won 3-2.

Incidentally, today’s foe Burnley was adversely affected by their foray in Europe so much so that for much of the start of the season they were flirting with relegation before they picked up after they were knocked out of the Europa League.

All said and done though, the three fixtures should serve up another afternoon of highs and lows for the lovers of English football.

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I will ‘end’ Joshua’s career in Saudi Arabia –Ruiz Jr

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I will ‘end’ Joshua’s career in Saudi Arabia –Ruiz Jr

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nified world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr says he wants to finish Anthony Joshua’s career after confirming he will contest a rematch in Saudi Arabia.

United States-born Mexican Ruiz, 29, shocked Britain’s Joshua in New York in June to win the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO world titles.

They are set to meet again in the Middle East on December 7.

“I took it to AJ in the Big Apple and I’m looking forward to ending his career in the desert,” said Ruiz.

The fight was announced by 29-year-old Joshua’s camp earlier in August, but Ruiz had not confirmed his participation.

But on Saturday he posted on social media: “I’m excited to announce my rematch with Anthony Joshua.

“In the first fight I made history and became the first ever Mexican/American heavyweight champion of the world.

“I am grateful to Saudi Arabia for inviting me.”

Human rights campaigners have questioned the choice of venue, citing Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, reports the BBC.

Amnesty International has said the move provides “opportunity for the Saudi authorities to try to ‘sportswash’ their severely tarnished image”.

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EPL: Liverpool maintain perfect start, Palace stun Man United

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EPL: Liverpool maintain perfect start, Palace stun Man United

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iverpool have maintained their 100% start to the new season with a swashbuckling 3-1 victory over Arsenal at Anfield this evening.

The hosts took the lead through Joel Matip towards the end of a first half in which Arsenal had chances despite ceding the lion’s share of possession and territory, and then took the game away from their visitors during a dominant second half.

Mohamed Salah doubled the advantage from the penalty spot four minutes after the interval and then sealed the points in style with a fine individual effort to ensure Jurgen Klopp’s side are the only team with a perfect record after three league games this season.

A first clean sheet of the campaign did elude the European champions as Lucas Torreira came off the bench to score a consolation, but Liverpool were worthy of a club-record-equalling 12th successive league victory to move out on their own at the top of the table.

Meanwhile, Patrick Van Aanholt scored a 93rd-minute winner as Crystal Palace recorded a 2-1 victory over Manchester United in Saturday afternoon’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

Daniel James had cancelled out a first-half Jordan Ayew effort to leave the two teams level in the 89th minute, before Van Aanholt squeezed his strike under David de Gea in the final exchanges as Palace recorded their first ever Premier League win over the Red Devils.

Also, Tammy Abraham scored his first two goals for Chelsea on Saturday to hand Frank Lampard a maiden win in charge of the club at the expense of newly-promoted Norwich City.

The Canaries equalised twice during a thrilling first half at Carrow Road, with Todd Cantwell cancelling out Abraham’s first before Pukki continued his fine start to the campaign by responding to Mason Mount’s goal.

However, Abraham’s second goal with 22 minutes remaining proved to be too much for Norwich to recover from as Chelsea held on for a 3-2 victory which gives them their first win of the campaign at the fourth attempt.

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‘I don’t bet on Man United on sentiments’

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Emeka Cephas made headlines during last week when he scooped N50million from Betway with a stake of just N13, 000 in 10 games. Speaking with our correspondent, the Estate Agent, who is a Manchester United fan, said he stakes bets only what he can afford to lose and is not sentimental about the club he supports while betting. Excerpts…

 

 

How do you feel winning such huge amount of money?

I feel so happy and excited; words can’t explain how I feel right now.

Before winning this huge amount, what was your biggest win in the past?

I have won some decent money but nothing close to this. I have won between N18 to 25million, now I have won N50million.  Unfortunately, another company did not pay me. I’m happy that Betway have paid me to the last kobo. They do not owe me a kobo.

How did you end up forecasting the games that won the bet?

Well it has been hard work and grace. I keep late vigil to make forecasts to avoid distractions. But I don’t consult with any powers to play my games. Betting is a passion for me and not a profession. I’m not addicted to betting.

What made you pick Betway?

Betway’s limit is N50million while others limit theirs to N10million; some even peg it at N4million. Betway is the highest and their odds and bonus are also good.

Are you advising other punters to move to Betway?

My belief is that Betway is real, honest and keep their promise; so they should keep betting with Betway.

Do you take sport betting as a profession?

I don’t take it as a profession I’m into real estate, I see betting as an activity. That’s why they always say bet responsibly, so I bet once in a while.

So what prompts your betting decisions?

I look out for something different, unique I don’t play what most people play like 2.5 I look for something different and I play games like handicaps seven goals and the likes.

How do you plan to invest the money?

I am going to use the money to re-invest in my business by buying properties. I used my past win to acquire landed properties in Port Harcourt. I plan to do more with this.

How often do you bet?

I bet once in a while after shuffling my games I place my bet and also I don’t buy games.

Which club do you support internationally and within the country and do you bet on your club?

I support Manchester United globally but no club in Nigeria. I bet on my club whenever they are doing well but when they are not; I just look for something else.

Is this win going to change your lifestyle?

No, this win will not change my lifestyle. The only thing it has done is that it has exposed me to the public. People have seen my pictures trending, stories in the papers, television, radio, Facebook and so many other platforms. The reception and publicity has been incredible from Betway and the press. This has rather made me humble. I am so grateful to Betway.

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Elaho hails NLO, as Emmydinho FC pummel Fehinty 5-1

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ormer Super Eagles midfielder, Friday Elaho, has rated the quality of play from teams in the Nationwide League One (NLO) Division 2 very high.

Elaho, who is the coach of Lagos-based Emmydinho FC, was on the side-lines as his side pummelled Fehinty FC of Osun 5-1 with captain, Omere Kingsley, bagging a hat-trick while Emmanuel Anagor scored a brace.

It was a second victory for Emmydinho FC who on Saturday piped Metropolitan FC 1-0.

“In the matches I have watched here in Ijebu-Ode, I have seen teams play good football and fantastic goals scored by young and raw talents,” Elaho said in his post-match comments.

“The NLO is future of our football and kudos to its managers. A big applause to my team, because we deserved the victory. We watched Fehinty after our game against Metropolitan, spotted their strength and weakness, at the end draw up a game plan which paid off as my players executed the plan well scoring five goals despite conceding one early in the game.”

“For Fehinty FC, they are a good side; they started very well in the opening 10 minutes but lacked the cutting edge.

“Our fans should expect a good game against Knight FC of Osun as the tie is between two good attacking and goal scoring teams who needs the three points most.”

Both Emmydinho FC and Knight FC, who beat Metropolitan FC 4-3, are on six points from two games.

“For Fehinty FC, they are a good side, they started very well in the opening  10 minutes but lacked the cutting edge.

“Our fans should expect a good game against Knight FC of Osun as the tie is between two good attacking and goal scoring teams who needs the three points most.”

Both Emmydinho FC and Knight FC who beat Metropolitan FC 4-3 are on 6pts from two games.

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EPL: Solskjaer unhappy after Palace defeat

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bemoaned Manchester United’s second penalty miss of the week as his side fell to a shock 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.

But the United boss was also unhappy the hosts weren’t awarded another spot-kick before Patrick van Aanholt’s late winner.

Having been held to a draw at Wolves on Monday when Paul Pogba failed to convert, Marcus Rashford’s second-half spot-kick hit the inside of the post before Palace claimed their first Premier League win over United.

“Two games, two missed penalties,” rued Solskjaer. “If you score them, it’s a different scenario.”

It was later revealed that Rashford had been subjected to racist abuse in the wake of his penalty miss.

To add to Solskjaer’s irritation, he also believed United were unfortunate not to be awarded another penalty in the second half when Rashford was seemingly felled in the box.

On a day of frustration at Old Trafford, Palace scored with two of their three shots on target.

“We just weren’t clinical enough. They scored two very easy goals. We created enough to win the game. But we didn’t defend well enough,” said Solskjaer.

“We dominated the game but we didn’t control it. We should have dealt better with the last five minutes.

While Victor Lindelof was at fault for Palace’s opener, scored by Jordan Ayew in a rare breakaway attack, goalkeeper David de Gea was to blame deep into injury time when he couldn’t repel Patrick van Aanholt’s near-post shot, reports Sky Sports.

“He’s disappointed,” said the United boss. “But he’s disappointed every time he concedes a goal.”

Speaking to United’s official website, Solskjaer added: “The last two results were disappointments because at Wolverhampton you feel we deserved to win, and today we deserved to win, but you don’t always get what you deserve in football. We have to make sure we go to Southampton with the bit between our teeth and play better, score goals and win the game.

“The first half was poor. In the first half-an-hour you’re feeling you’re controlling it and maybe it seems too easy. We didn’t really have that zip and urgency about us and they scored with the first chance. Just a long kick, it should never happen, that’s poor defending. But in the second half, I thought we were excellent. We were pressing, pushing, creating chances, just not scoring.”

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EPL: Liverpool maintain perfect start, Palace stun Man United

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EPL: Liverpool maintain perfect start, Palace stun Man United

Liverpool have maintained their 100% start to the new season with a swashbuckling 3-1 victory over Arsenal at Anfield this evening.

The hosts took the lead through Joel Matip towards the end of a first half in which Arsenal had chances despite ceding the lion’s share of possession and territory, and then took the game away from their visitors during a dominant second half.

Mohamed Salah doubled the advantage from the penalty spot four minutes after the interval and then sealed the points in style with a fine individual effort to ensure Jurgen Klopp’s side are the only team with a perfect record after three league games this season.

A first clean sheet of the campaign did elude the European champions as Lucas Torreira came off the bench to score a consolation, but Liverpool were worthy of a club-record-equalling 12th successive league victory to move out on their own at the top of the table.

Meanwhile, Patrick Van Aanholt scored a 93rd-minute winner as Crystal Palace recorded a 2-1 victory over Manchester United in Saturday afternoon’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

Daniel James had cancelled out a first-half Jordan Ayew effort to leave the two teams level in the 89th minute, before Van Aanholt squeezed his strike under David de Gea in the final exchanges as Palace recorded their first ever Premier League win over the Red Devils.

Also, Tammy Abraham scored his first two goals for Chelsea on Saturday to hand Frank Lampard a maiden win in charge of the club at the expense of newly-promoted Norwich City.

The Canaries equalised twice during a thrilling first half at Carrow Road, with Todd Cantwell cancelling out Abraham’s first before Pukki continued his fine start to the campaign by responding to Mason Mount’s goal.

However, Abraham’s second goal with 22 minutes remaining proved to be too much for Norwich to recover from as Chelsea held on for a 3-2 victory which gives them their first win of the campaign at the fourth attempt, reports the BBC.

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EPL: Palace stun Man United, Lampard secures first win

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EPL: Palace stun Man United, Lampard secures first win

Crystal Palace stunned Manchester United with an injury-time winner to record their first victory at Old Trafford since 1989.

Full-back Patrick van Aanholt scored in the 93rd minute, smashing in as the ball broke loose following Wilfried Zaha’s burst forward.

Daniel James thought he had rescued a point for United when he curled in a delightful equaliser in the 89th minute following neat build-up from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

But Rashford will rue striking the post from the penalty spot – the second spot-kick the Red Devils have missed this week.

Jordan Ayew had scored the opener in the first half against the run of play, latching on to Jeffrey Schlupp’s flick-on and coolly converting Palace’s first goal of the campaign, before the late drama.

And in the early kick off, Tammy Abraham repaid manager Frank Lampard’s faith in youth as his two goals against Norwich helped Chelsea to their first win of the season.

In a frantic start, Abraham opened the scoring inside three minutes for the Blues, whose starting line-up had an average age of 24 years and 208 days – their youngest in the Premier League since February 1994.

But Norwich equalised just 156 seconds later, Todd Cantwell finishing from close range from a Teemu Pukki cross.

Mason Mount restored the Blues’ lead midway through the first half with his second goal of the season, but the Canaries soon pulled level once more as Pukki slotted in from a tight angle for his fifth of the campaign, reports the BBC.

Chelsea dominated the start of the second half and were rewarded through Abraham’s second – an unstoppable drive past Tim Krul – before Kurt Zouma had a goal ruled out by the video assistant referee after substitute Olivier Giroud was judged to have fouled the Norwich keeper.

The result means Chelsea are unbeaten against Norwich in 16 meetings.

RESULTS

Norwich 2-3 Chelsea

Brighton 0-2 Southampton

Man Utd 1-2 Crystal Palace

Sheff Utd 1-2 Leicester

Watford 1-3 West Ham

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AAG 2019: Egypt’s Saleh delighted with beating Nigeria in t’tennis

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AAG 2019: Egypt’s Saleh delighted with beating Nigeria in t’tennis

An excited Ahmed Saleh of Egypt says defeating Nigeria in the male and female categories of table tennis events at the ongoing 12th African Games was important to them and a revenge against the country.

“I am so happy that we were able to achieve our dream of avenging the 2015 loss in 2019, and I think this is the most important match for us because we had prepared very well for it in the last five months,’’ Saleh said after the defeat late on Friday in Rabat.

“We expected that we will meet Nigeria in the final and we were really surprised with the doubles’ line-up of Nigeria when they paired Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola because they have been playing with the pair of Toriola and Olajide Omotayo since the start of the tournament.

“This is very important for us picking the gold medals and securing our place in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

“I am personally so excited and for the team we are so excited winning the gold medals and, most especially qualifying for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

“We really prepared for this match and we knew it was going to be tough even when we were leading 2-0. We had thought we could win the match at 3-0, but we had to fight till the end.

“Nigeria team is not a pushover and we prepared very well for the match because we had expected it to be though. I am so happy that we have now secured our place in Tokyo.’’

Meanwhile, team Nigeria have booked semi-final slots in the male and female football events of the 12th African Games, as the Flying Eagles stopped the host Morocco in the last group match.

The Nigerian team needed a draw to stop Morocco who need to win to advance to semi-finals stage.

Emeka Chinonso in jersey 11 made the difference with the second goal late in late in the second half to break the heart of the Moroccans.

The England Brooke House Football Academy striker’s 85th minute goal was all Nigeria need to book a place in the semi-finals.

The Moroccans took the lead after a defensive error the first half.

The Flying Eagles fought hard to get the equaliser through a penalty scored by the captain, Abubakar Ibrahim to end the first half.

The Moroccans got their own share of penalty when the referee ruled that Samuel Zaruma handled the ball in the box and the resultant penalty was scored by Ismail Moutarajji.

But the fighting spirit of Nigeria came to fore when the Flying Eagles came back through the goal scored by Chinonso to end the game 2-2.

The female team had earlier qualified for the semi-finals from Group B.

 

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