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EPL: Watford comeback to deny Arsenal three points

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EPL: Watford comeback to deny Arsenal three points

Watford fought back from two goals down at half-time to draw at home to Arsenal in Quique Sanchez Flores’ first match since being reappointed Hornets manager.

They levelled the scores when Roberto Pereyra rolled in a late penalty after Tom Cleverley had reduced the deficit when Gunners defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos gave away possession inside his own area, to take only their second point of the season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had put the visitors in front when he collected Sead Kolasinac’s pass on the turn before firing past Ben Foster.

Arsenal doubled their lead as Aubemeyang finished a sweeping team move but the hosts improved after the break as the Gunners unravelled in front of the vociferous home support.

The Hornets had their chances to complete a stunning comeback with a decisive third, but the otherwise impressive Gerard Deulofeu dragged his effort narrowly wide.

The result sees Arsenal move into seventh in the table, while the Hornets remain rooted to the foot of the table.

 

Aubameyang papers over defensive frailties

The Arsenal striker is one of the most clinical forwards in the English top flight, having scored with seven of his last nine shots on target, and the Gunners are quite capable of blowing teams away going forward thanks to the potency of Aubameyang and the technical ability of Mesut Ozil and Dani Ceballos.

 

They demonstrated their attacking flair as they went through 20 passes for their second goal – but glaring issues remain at the back.

This was evident as early as the 10th minute as the red and white shirts backed off and space opened up for Cleverley, whose fierce effort was well saved by Leno.

Five minutes later, and Etienne Capoue was given the same time and space but could only shoot over the bar.

The Gunners want to play out from the back, and even though Matteo Guendouzi lost possession deep inside his own half on two occasions they persisted with their approach.

And Sokratis eventually made the mistake that always looked likely to happen, before Deulofeu diverted the ball into Cleverley’s path for Watford’s first goal, reports the BBC.

David Luiz was brought in from London rivals Chelsea to shore up the defence over the summer, but the Brazilian has endured a difficult few weeks at the start of his Arsenal career, and has now conceded two penalties in three matches.

 

Luiz brought down Pereyra with a lunge in the final 10 minutes and the substitute stepped up himself to take the penalty and salvage a point for the hosts.

 

In the first game of the day, Alex Iwobi was unable to lift his side, Everton as they lost 3-1 to Bournemouth.

 

RESULTS

Bournemouth 3-1 Everton

Watford 2-2 Arsenal

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Napoli sack Carlo Ancelotti despite UEFA League victory

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Napoli sack Carlo Ancelotti despite UEFA League victory

Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked as manager of Napoli after their 4-0 victory over Genk which confirmed their place in the Champions League knockout stage.

Domestically, a dreadful run of results has them them fall out of contention for the Champions League places for next season.

Napoli had started the season among the Serie A title favourites and were close to a famous draw in their second match of the season when they came from 3-0 down to level it up at 3-3 away to Juventus, only to lose through a calamitous Kalidou Koulibaly own goal in stoppage time, reports ESPN.

They won their next three matches in all competitions — including a 2-0 victory over Champions League holders Liverpool — before losing 1-0 at home to Cagliari. After winning two of their next three matches, they embarked on terrible run of form to fall off the pace in the hunt for the top four.

A 2-1 defeat away to Roma led president Aurelio De Laurentiis to order the players into a week-long retreat. However, after Ancelotti publicly said he was against the idea, the players refused.

That decision saw the entire first team fined 25% of their monthly salary but results did not pick up.

Ancelotti began his managerial career at Reggiana in 1995 before moving to Parma a year later where he led the club to second place in the table and qualification for the Champions League.

In 1999, he moved to Juventus but was sacked at half-time of the final league match of the 2001 season with the Bianconeri having finished second to Roma.

He was named AC Milan manager in 2001 and them to two Champions League trophies, one Serie A title and a Coppa Italia in a glorious eight-year spell.

Ancelotti left Milan for Chelsea in 2009 where he won the Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season before being sacked. He then moved to Paris Saint-Germain and won the Ligue 1 in 2012-13 before leaving for Real Madrid.

At the Bernabeu, he won yet another Champions League as well as the Copa del Rey in his first campaign but was shown the door a year later. He was named Bayern Munich boss in 2016 and won the Bundesliga before he was sacked midway into his second season.

He joined Napoli in the summer of 2018 and led the club to second-place finish in his debut season.

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UEFA League: Ajax out, Chelsea, Liverpool progress

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UEFA League: Ajax out, Chelsea, Liverpool progress

Last season’s Champions League semi-finalists Ajax were knocked out in the group stages as Valencia progressed instead with victory at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Rodrigo scored the only goal midway through the first half as he blasted into the roof of the net from Ferran Torres’ clever pass.

Ajax desperately pushed for the equaliser they needed with Lisandro Martinez and Hakim Ziyech forcing late saves from Valencia keeper Jaume Domenech.

Valencia had defender Gabriel sent off in injury time for clashing heads with Dusan Tadic in a very tense finale in Amsterdam.

Ajax were seconds away from reaching last year’s final before Lucas Moura’s injury-time strike sent Tottenham to the final instead.

Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt were among the stars of that team to leave last summer and they have not been the same since.

Two defeats at home – by Chelsea and Valencia – and a 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge have ultimately cost them.

Valencia go through as group winners, with Chelsea in second after their 2-1 win over Lille.

And Captain Memphis Depay scored the key equaliser as Lyon rallied from two goals down to claim a Champions League last 16 place after a 2-2 draw with RB Leipzig.

Emil Forsberg and Timo Werner both scored from the penalty spot for the Germans before Houssem Aouar and Depay netted for Lyon, who reached the knockout phase as Zenit lost 3-0 to Benfica in the other Group G game.

Lyon’s Rudi Garcia made two changes from the side who beat Nimes on Friday as winger Martin Terrier and midfielder Lucas Tousart started.

Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann, safe in the knowledge his side were guaranteed top spot, brought in five new faces following their convincing weekend victory over Hoffenheim.

In London, Chelsea survived a late scare to move into the Champions League knockout stages with victory over Lille at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard’s side were in complete control for the most part and set up the victory they required with first-half goals from Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Chelsea’s nerves were frayed when former striker Loic Remy pulled one back for Lille late on but they were able to close out victory to reach the last 16 after finishing a tough group in second place behind Valencia but ahead of last season’s semi-finalists Ajax.

And Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he loved that his side were “so smart” as they beat Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 to reach the Champions League last 16 as Group E winners.

The defending champions, who needed at least a point to progress, were on the ropes at times in the first half against a side who had scored 87 goals in 24 games.

But from the moment Naby Keita headed in Sadio Mane’s cross, there was only going to be one winner.

Mohamed Salah clinched victory 100 seconds later with an excellent right-footed finish from a ludicrously tight angle.

Klopp’s side needed the three points to top the group because Napoli beat Genk 4-0.

The Reds will discover their Champions League last-16 opponents in Monday’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland (11:00 GMT). Real and Atletico Madrid are both possible opponents.

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Crisis tears another federation board apart

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Crisis tears another federation board apart

Gymnastics TD resigns over wrangling in GFN

 

 

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arely a week after the board of the Athletic Federation Nigeria AFN was factionalised, another federation, the Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria GFN may tow the same line.

 

This is because of the Pillar of GFN, Coach Anthony Asuquo, has resigned his position as Technical Director on the board.

 

Asuquo in a letter addressed to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, said his resignation was due to constant wrangling between him and the current leadership of GFN.

 

The Coach revealed in the letter that the bone of contention was the money $760 about N273, 600 he borrowed the federation to get a ban lifted following GFN’s failure to pay an international affiliation fee.

He said when he requested for a refund of the money from the current board of the GFN, it refused to pay him.

 

The letter reads, “It is with great pleasure and having done a soul searching exercise that entails a lot retrospective review that confirmed that I am only a nominal member on the board of GFN, I hereby inform you that I have resigned from the board with immediate effect.

 

My decision to borrow out the money is borne out of the love I have for sport. I am grateful for the few periods I served as the technical representative on the board.

 

“My action became necessary being a passionate gymnast; I have previously voiced out some actions/inactions of the board especially the President that contradicts the values and norms of a true stakeholder. My action was wrongly viewed and I was tagged “a prodigal son.”

 

 

“I lend the federation money to pay Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria international affiliation fee to lift the ban placed on GFN, the sum of 600 Swiss Franc which amounts to 760 USD and in naira 273,600 only.

 

“The money was paid through my Keystone bank domiciliary account in the presence of the former Secretary General, Ngozi Amayo and the federation account officer named Soliu Alfa. Please, I am requesting for my refund from the GFN.”

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Ndidi credits Leicester’s run to Rodgers’ magic

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Ndidi credits Leicester’s run to Rodgers’ magic

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eicester City defensive midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, has lauded the management style and approach of Coach  Rodgers as well as the club’s structure.

According to Ndidi, the structure at Leicester is top notch  and also the coach is a good motivation to the team’s success.

 

”I’m happy at Leicester City because the club has a good ambition and structure; they are actually doing so much.  More so, my coach, he is very good;  he interacts with the players, he makes us to understand what we have to do and how to do them.

 

“It is not about playing the game and be talented, you will have to show it and have the confidence and show the personality of who you can really be on the pitch,” Ndidi told brila.net.

 

The Nigerian also believes Leicester City are capable of playing even better than they are now following their electric start to the season.

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Joshua keen to defend his titles in Nigeria

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Joshua keen to defend his titles in Nigeria

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nthony Joshua has revealed his desire to defend his world heavyweight titles in Nigeria.

 

The 30-year-old, who is of Nigerian heritage, said he began to dream of a fight in Africa after visiting the country earlier this year.

 

He said: ‘People had been telling me I should go back for ages. I went to the ghettos of the ghettos where it’s not all about egos and beef, it’s about people who are hungry to survive.

 

‘Africa’s rooting for me for sure, so I would definitely love to fight there.’

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Mourinho drops Kane, others for Bayern clash

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Mourinho drops Kane, others for Bayern clash

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ottenham manager Jose Mourinho is set to rest some of his players for Spurs’ final Champions League group match, away at Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Last season’s beaten finalists Spurs are second in Group B and have already secured their place in the last 16, behind group winners Bayern.

 

Mourinho has already said he will rest top goalscorer Harry Kane.

 

“I can say that Harry Kane will not play, but who will play, I need to think,” said Mourinho.

“The Bayern match will be one when I am going to rest some players.”

 

Tottenham, then-managed by Mauricio Pochettino, were embarrassed in the home match against Bayern in October, losing 7-2 in London, before the Argentine was sacked last month.

 

Mourinho, a Champions League winner with Porto in 2003-04 and with Inter Milan in 2009-10, was in charge for Spurs’ match against Olympiakos and, despite falling 2-0 behind, a 4-2 victory secured their place in the knockout phase.

Tottenham, seventh in the Premier League, are playing seven times in December and their next two league matches are away at sixth-placed Wolves on Sunday and then at home to a Chelsea side who are fourth on 22 December.

 

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Liverpool make Champions League round of 16 with win over Salzburg

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Liverpool make Champions League round of 16 with win over Salzburg

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iverpool clinched their place in the Champions League round of 16 with a 2-0 victory away to FC Salzburg on Tuesday, thanks to goals from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah.

 

Like last season, Jurgen Klopp’s side went into their final group match without qualification assured and needed at least a point to guarantee their progression in the competition they won.

 

And both sides squandered numerous chances, with Salah and Salzbug’s Erling Haaland — who had scored in every Champions League game this season — were the most guilty parties.

 

However, the breakthrough did come when Keita headed past a group of Salzburg defenders into the net from Sadio Mane’s cross on 57 minutes.

 

Less than a minute later, it was 2-0 when Salah somehow found the net from an incredible angle after rounding goalkeeper Cican Stankovic.

 

The result means Liverpool finish as group winners — ahead of Napoli, who beat Genk 4-0 to secure their qualification — with 13 points.

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Etebo for talks with Stoke boss over lack of action

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igerian Stoke City midfielder Peter Etebo has expressed frustration over his lack of game time under Micheal O’Neil since returning from injury.

 

The Nigeria international was a regular starter under previous manager Nathan Jones but has find himself out of the team since returning from three weeks injury.

 

Etebo has missed all Stoke City games O’Neill has managed and it is appearing the new boss doesn’t fancy him in his new set up.

 

O’Neill previously claimed that ‘Peter hasn’t really been at the levels since he came back from injury and it’s difficult to start him’.

 

Reports has now have it that the player is now ready to seek a showdown talk with his manager regarding the issue.

 

The former CD Fierense of Portugal player has made 11 league appearances for Stoke City this season.

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Slovenia fire Nigerian for impregnating club President’s daughter

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Nigerian player name withheld  has been sacked by second division side in Slovenia for impregnating the daughter of the club’s President after just six months with the side.

The player, whose identity is still under wraps according to GhanaSoccerNet said he was fired for ‘gross misconduct and indiscipline’ over the pregnancy which he has claimed full responsibility.

 

GhanaSoccerNet stated that four Nigerians registered with the club are Bede Osuji, Temitope Nelson, Gerald Chiyoke and Sulaiman Adedoja but it is uncertain which of them is involved in the pregnancy issue.

The player, who fears public backlash over the situation, has returned to Nigeria after his ordeal and he is worried over the girlfriend and her pregnancy.

 

The player is considering FIFA action against the club following the decision to sack him over reasons he feels are unjustified after joining the club just in May.

 

“I signed a three-year deal with the option of another year but last month I ran into trouble when my girlfriend who happens to be the daughter of the president said she was pregnant for me.”

 

” The club got to know about it and summoned me for a meeting. I got there and admitted that I am responsible for the pregnancy and I was told to stay at home and not to be seen around the club premises until I am instructed to return.

” A week later I was called to the office and told that my agent has been informed about their plans to terminate my contract for gross misconduct and indiscipline. The news came to me as a surprise because I have not been found wanting in any area since I arrived the club six months ago,” he said

The Nigerian player says he is considering legal action at FIFA over the claims of the club that he went beyond the boundary set for players of the club.

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Usman ready to defend UFC title Sat

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arely a week after Nigerian-Briton Anthony Joshua reclaimed his world titles, another Nigerian Kamaru Usman, a mixed martial arts fighter ,will this weekend in  Las Vegas, United States defend his Ultimate Fight Championship  title against another top rival Colby Covington.

 

Both fighters, who have been tagged ‘bitter rivals’ and men on a mission to claim bragging rights into the early hours of Sunday, with Nigerian fans expected to root all the way for Usman, as he makes his first defense of the UFC welterweight belt.

 

The two have shared bad blood for the better part of a year and will finally lock horns inside the Octagon.

 

Fans of Usman in the US and his country home Nigeria will hope for another glorious night when the highly-rated Mixed Martial Arts fighter goes against former interim champ, Covington in the main event of UFC 245.

 

After winning five of his first six MMA fights, Usman entered the UFC by winning season 21 of The Ultimate Fighter, and he has turned away every opponent in front of him since.

 

After dominant main event performances against Demian Maia and Rafael dos Anjos in 2018, Usman was awarded a title shot against Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in March who he beat convincingly to become champion.

In contrast his opponent, Covington made his UFC debut as a 5-0 fighter in Aug. 2014, and he’s gone 10-1 in the Octagon.

 

Covington won the interim UFC welterweight title at UFC 225 but was stripped of the title due to being unable to unify the belt because of injuries.

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