Paris St-Germain forward Neymar’s three-game European ban for insulting match officials has been cut to two by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The 27-year-old was charged by UEFA after PSG’s Champions League exit at home to Manchester United on March 6.
Neymar called the award of a decisive 94th-minute United penalty in the last-16 second leg-tie “a disgrace”.
He will miss the games against Real Madrid and Galatasaray but can return to face Club Bruges on October 22.
PSG took the case to CAS after UEFA rejected their appeal against the ban.
CAS says it will publish the reasons behind their ruling in a few weeks.
Neymar was injured with a broken metatarsal and missed both legs of the tie against United, reports the BBC.
Referee Damir Skomina reviewed footage of a Diogo Dalot shot striking the hand of PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe before awarding the visitors the injury-time spot kick having initially given a corner.
Marcus Rashford’s penalty ensured a 3-1 win in Paris for United, who went through to the Champions League quarter-finals on away goals after the tie ended 3-3 on aggregate.
Neymar wrote on social media: “It’s a disgrace. Four guys who know nothing about football watch a slow-motion replay in front of the television.
“What can he do with his hand while his back is turned?”
Messi receives his 6th European Golden boot
Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi, on Wednesday received his sixth European Golden boot at the Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm in Spain.
Messi received the 2019 Golden boot for the highest goal scorer in the Europe top five league competitions after his nearest challenger, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe fell short.
The Argentine emerged winner with 36 league goals, three ahead of Mbappe.
He claimed the award for the third time in a row, since the prize was recreated back in 1968.
The 32-year-old now has two Golden Shoes ahead of his closest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.
European Golden Shoe winners:
Two: Eusébio, Gerd Müller, Dudu Georgescu, Fernando Gomes, Ally McCoist, Mário Jardel, Thierry Henry, Diego Forlán and Luis Suárez.
Man City’s Aguero involved in car crash
Sergio Aguero was involved in a car crash on his way to Manchester City training on Wednesday morning.
The Argentine was making his way to City’s Etihad Campus earlier today when he was involved in a ‘minor incident’ which cause significant damage to his Range Rover. SkySports report that Aguero was not hurt in the accident and was able to fully participate in City’s training session on Wednesday afternoon without the need of medical attention.
The striker was not involved in Argentina’s set-up over the international break and remained in the north-west instead.
It’s not the first time that Aguero has been involved in such an incident with the former Atletico Madrid striker suffering a fractured rib following a trip to Amsterdam in 2017.
City will be relieved that Aguero, their top scorer this term, was unhurt in the accident.
Sky Sports presenter David Gorrido said: “We understand he is unhurt after being involved in a small car collision, we’ve been told that he’s had a bump this morning.
“It’s been described as a minor plan, but has reported to the CFA – City Football Academy as well as the rest of the ancestor City squad and we understand he didn’t need to be checked the by medical team.”
* Courtesy: metro.co.uk
CHAN 2020: Eagles B intensifies preparations for Togo
The Home –based Senior Men National Team, Super Eagles B, has intensified preparations for Saturday’s 2020 African Nations Championship qualifying battle with the Sparrow Hawks of Togo in Lagos.
Imama Amapakabo and have been training at the FIFA Goal Project, National Stadium, Abuja since returning from their expedition at the WAFU/FOX Cup of Nations in Senegal last week.
The former international goalkeeper realizes that they have a mountain to climb, having lost the first leg in Lome 4-1 and then overwhelmed by the same team at the WAFU/FOX Cup of Nations in Senegal.
“We have a big job at hand, and I have been drumming it into the ears of the players that we cannot afford to fail. The Togolese won 4-1 on their home ground; nothing says we cannot do better on our own home ground.
“We have to be focused and determined. We must create chances and put them away, because we cannot afford not to be at the African Nations Championship,” said Amapakabo.
Nigeria finished as runner-up at the last edition of the African Nations Championship staged by Morocco early last year.
The winner over two legs between Nigeria and Togo will book a slot at the 6th African Nations Championship finals scheduled for Cameroon in June 2020.
Barcelona to sign Chukwueze if Neymar deal fails again
Barcelona may revive their interest in Nigeria’s winger Samuel Chukwueze if they fail in their pursuit for Neymar next summer.
The Blaugrana spent the whole last summer transfer window chasing Neymar who departed Camp Nou two years ago but PSG refused to sanction a move for the Brazilian.
Reports have suggested that Barcelona will not give up on the chase of Neymar especially with Ousmane Dembelé struggling with injuries since his move to the Camp Nou from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017.
However, according to a respected Spanish football website Gol Digital, the chiefs at Barca are ready to go for alternatives should Neymar deal fail to scale through next summer.
The former Golden Eaglets star has been an outstanding performer since he broke into Villarreal senior team last season and has now scored 10 goals in 45 appearances for the Yellow Submarines.
Although Villarreal have inserted a release clause of 63 million euros into the Nigerian’s latest contract, he is seen as a cheaper alternative to Neymar.
Meanwhile, reports also suggested that Barca rivals Atletico are also still interested the dazzling Nigerian winger and may also make a move for his next July.
Chukwueze has also been linked with English Premier League giants including Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester City.
Ezenwa returns to home-based Eagles, ready for Togo
uper Eagles goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa has re-joined the home based team preparing for the return leg against their Togolese counterparts billed for Agege Stadium, Lagos on Saturday.
Nigeria’s U-23 coach, Imama Amapakabo has invited the Heartland of Owerri goalkeeper for the return leg having suffered a 4-1 defeat in the first leg in Lome in his bid to overturn the deficit in the 2020 Championship of African Nations qualifiers.
Aside from Ezenwa, Katsina United youngster, Destiny Ashadi, and Kano Pillars striker, Nyima Nwagua, are also new additions to the roster to battle Togo in Lagos.
Ashadi, who has been the creative force behind Katsina’s success since they gained promotion to the Nigeria elite league four years ago, is expected to join the rest of the squad in Abuja along with Ifeanyi Aneamena (Enyimba), Anthony Shimaga (Rangers) and Ifeanyi Nweke (Kano Pillars).
The team now have a huge mountain to climb as they must score at least three unreplied goals past Togo to qualify for the championship slated for Cameroon next June.
It will be a fresh opportunity for Ezenwa to play himself back into main national team reckoning, as Eagles Manager, Gernot Rohr, said one of the reasons why the former FC Ifeanyiubah shot-stopper was not used in Sunday’s friendly against Brazil is because he lacks competitive game time in recent months.
Ezenwa, who is number two in the pecking order of Nigeria’s goalkeepers, has not tasted action since the conclusion of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Eaglets wasteful in front of goal – Brazilian coach
olden Eaglets have been advised to work on their scoring abilities if they are to go far in the upcoming FIFA World U-17 Championships to be hosted by Brazil.
The advice came from Sao Paulo’s Coach Marcos Vizolli who charged the Nigerians to be better prepared for the World Cup.
Sao Paulo youth team on Monday evening defeated the Nigerians 2-1 despite dominating possession and creating several chances.
Manu Garba’s team were the better side for most part of the game but had only a penalty converted by Olakunle Olusegun in the 70th minute to show for their display.
“It was a really good game, Nigeria tried to dominate the midfield, they tried to score but they couldn’t, they missed four times in the first half,” Marcos Vizolli said.
“In the second half, Nigerians were also better, they dominated the game and tried to work a lot with the wingers but they couldn’t score another goal.
“They conceded in the second half because the midfield lost the ball. The result is not so important, the importance is the level and the intensity of the game which will prepare them for the World Cup.”
The Golden Eaglets and South Korea will meet in another friendly on Wednesday, October 16.
NFF Reforms Committee set to provide stable football in Nigeria
The Nigeria Football Federation Reforms Committee on Tuesday evening ended a two-day meeting in Abuja with focus on how to best re-position Nigerian Football through tinkering with governance structure, women’s football and youth/grassroots development and the various leagues.
While thanking all the members, the Chairman of the committee, Seyi Akinwunmi, who is also NFF’s 1st Vice President, revealed that the committee’s final recommendations would be implemented by the NFF.
Some of the decision agreed on was to provide the most stable and sustainable foundations for football in Nigeria.
To ensure a commitment to the principles of good governance, inclusion and transparency in all areas of its operations which also requires its member associations, officials and employees to meet the high standards set in this regard.
Also, to adapt to the latest development in the world of football so as to ensure that its operations and values adhere to the best governance standards possible.
To progressively adopt a wide range of reforms that reflect the views of the Nigerian and International Football Community in order to meet the evolving needs of the modern game.
And finally to ensure that the principles enunciated by the Committee and its recommendations which are accepted by the Executive Committee are incorporated into an amended version of the NFF Statutes and pave the way for further significant and much-needed changes to NFF’s governance structure, electoral procedures and dispute resolution mechanism.
Finally, NPFL season kicks off Nov 3
he 2019/2020 season of the Nigeria Professional Football League will finally commence on November 3 after the League Management Company and Club Owners Association agreed on the date at a meeting held in Abuja in Monday.
The draws for the first and second round of league matches were also held for the 20 participating teams with the league reverting to a regular round robin 38 game format as against last season’s abridged arrangement of 24 teams split into two groups.
Match Day One will see former MFM coach Fidelis Illechukwu welcome his old side to Owerri where he has since taken charge of Heartland FC while defending champions Enyimba have been drawn at home to Nasarawa United although that fixture is likely to played at a later date with the league champions on continental assignment in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Enugu Rangers who are also on the continent will welcome Sunshine Stars to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on a yet to be decided date while Kano Pillars tackle Rivers United at the Sani Abacha Stadium in the most glamorous tie of the opening round of matches.
Delta Force and Akwa Starlets go head-to-head in a battle of newly-promoted teams, newbies Warri Wolves host Akwa United while Wikki Tourists host Jigawa Golden Stars in a Northern derby.
Aribo makes Eagles stronger – Rohr
uper Eagles Manager Gernot Rohr has said he has a better team than the squad he paraded at the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt with the inclusion of Glasgow Rangers midfielder Joseph Aribo.
Aribo has been sensational for the national team after he scored two goals in his only two matches for the Eagles.
He scored the team’s only goal in their 1-1 draw with Brazil on Sunday to attract plaudits from football fans including his national team coach who has described him as an excellent player.
The German tactician is impressed with Aribo’s speed and physical presence, believing that the team will benefit immesenly from his talent
“We have a very young team, younger than what we had at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. Aribo is one of the players bringing his fitness and speed into the team. His left foot is technically interesting for us in the midfield,” Rohr said.
However, the coach has said the 1-1 draw with the Selecao will serve as a morale-booster for his side as they prepare for the start of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers.
Nigeria host Benin Republic on November 14 in the opening day of the 2021 AFCON qualifying campaign, before flying to Lesotho for a Day Two match on November 19.
Rohr said the players would be in the right frame of mind to prosecute the games giving their showing against the Samba Boys in Singapore.
“This result is a good confidence booster for the team. We now have to prepare for the more competitive games next month.
“I am happy we stayed organized even when the Brazilians mounted a lot of pressure on us in the second half. The only negative thing is the injury to (Francis) Uzoho,” the Franco-German said minutes after the final whistle at the Singapore National Stadium in Kallang.
Lagos Open Tennis 2nd Leg: Four Nigerians make main draws
our Nigerian players have made their ways to play in the Main Draws of the second leg of 2019 Lagos Open Tennis Championship.
The second leg of the ITF World Tour, sponsored by Heineken and other co-sponsors, served off Tuesday after the conclusion of matches of the first leg on Monday at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
In the qualifying matches decided on Tuesday, Nigerian Godgift Timibra defeated Ghanaian Andrew Adu Appiah in straight sets of 6-1,6-3 in the men’s event, while Paul Emmanuel beat compatriot Tochukwu Emmanuel Ezeh in another straight sets of 6-4,7-5. Gabriel Friday could not complete his match against Sylvester Emmanuel, as he retired when the result was 6-1. In the women qualifying games, Ronke Akingbade picked a Main Draws ticket at the expense of Ozi-Oiza Josephine Yakubu in a game that ended 7-6(1),6-1.
However, local players such as Patience Onebamhoni, Aanu Aiyegbusi, Sabath Ibrahim, Sarah Adegoke, Omolade Aderemi, Amala Nwokolo, Rachel Olamide Adunoye, Albert Bisong Bikom and Wilson Oswalele Igbinovia all lost their qualifying matches on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Main Draws of the second leg will begin on Wednesday with matches of the first round starting from 9:30am.
France’s Camry Hemery and Sada Nahimana from Burundi who won the first legs men and women’s singles respectively will have their hands full as other players will be out to stop their ambition of winning the Lagos Open Tennis back-to-back their year when the hostilities start on Wednesday.
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