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Euro 2020: In-form Pukki out to end 80-year Azzurri jinx



Euro 2020: In-form Pukki out to end 80-year Azzurri jinx

The race for next year’s European Championships heats up with Match Day 6 ties taking place today, eyes on the Tampere Stadium to see if Finland can finally end their 80-year wait to beat Italy, writes Tunde Sulaiman



he race for tickets to next year’s European Championship finals enters the home stretch today with Match Day Six fixtures of the 10-match qualifying campaign kicking off with eight games.



The Match Day Six games are coming just 72 hours after the teams saw action on Match Day Five.



However, the stand out fixture today is clearly in Helsinki, where second placed Finland is hosting Group J leaders Italy with only three points separating them.



Although the top two in each of the 10 groups will automatically qualify for the tournament, leaving four spots still available to be filled through the play-offs, the Finis will love nothing more than to get their pound of flesh over the Azzurri.



When both sides met in the first leg on March 29 at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, Parma roughly 24, 000 fans watched gleefully as the revival of the Italians under Roberto Mancini continued with the Azzurri celebrating its first home victory in seven matches courtesy of a 2-0 win.



A powerful strike from Inter Milan midfielder, Nicolo Barella gave the hosts a seventh minute advantage, before teenage sensation Moise Kean scored his first international goal to seal the Italy win.




Sampdoria striker Fabio Quagliarella, who is still going strong at 36, could have made the score line wider had his powerful shot not cannoned off the bar.



But the result does not tell whole story as Roberto Mancini had his 20-year-old AC Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to thank because he played a big part in ensuring the Azzurri’s unbeaten run continued pulling off a string of stunning saves.



Even, the normally deadly Teemu Eino Antero Pukki, who has not lost his touch in front of goal after coming up to the Premier League with Norwich City and who has already scored with four goals in four games, spurned a great chance for Finland to get a consolation goal against the Italians.



However, speaking after the defeat, Finland coach, Markku Kanerva painted a game of two halves saying: “Their midfielders are very skilled and it’s not easy to take the ball from them but I think we did well, at least for some parts of the game.”



And explaining what he did to make a proper game of the encounter, the 55-year-old former international who won 59 caps and scored one goal for Finland, said: “We started with a three-man defence but Italy had several attackers so we opted to play with a back four and a central defender playing as a libero behind them. I think it worked better for us.”



“We came close to equalising in the second half, and maybe the result would have been completely different if we had scored that goal. Still, I think the result reflected what we saw on the pitch.”



Having had a number of months to reflect on what might have been in Parma, the former Finland assistant coach is most likely to set his team up more differently for the return leg clearly going to be more adventurous.



Even though by virtue of Finland’s better head-to-head over third placed Armenia the Finis are already guaranteed a play-off slot no matter the outcome of today’s clash and should they not capitulate in the last two games,  pride will not allow Kanerva let his players take it “easy” against the visitors.



Luckily for him, Pukki, who was named EFL Championship Player of the Season and was included in the 2018–19 Championship Team of the Season, is still continuing from where he left out last season.



In his very first foray in the English top flight, he was named Premier League Player of the Month for August following his five goals in four games for the newly promoted side.



The 29-year-old, who scored 29 goals in 43 appearances for The Canaries last season on the way to being named Norwich City F.C. Player of the Season by Norwich City’s supporters and receiving the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy, terrorises defences with his blistering pace.



The former Celtic player, made his international on February 4, 2009 when Stuart Baxter used him as a substitute against Japan in a friendly match played in Tokyo.



He scored his sixth goal for his country on Thursday night from the penalty spot in Finland’s 1-0 win over Greece to ensure the Fins remain second in Group J with 12 points from five games, five clear of third-placed Bosnia-Herzegovina.



In the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League, Finland won promotion from League C, in no small measure to Pukki, who scored the only goal of each of the Finns’ first three matches, at home against Hungary and home and away to Estonia.



And Kanerva will be hoping that he can do the same thing this evening at the 30,000-searter Tampere Stadium, which is the temporary home of the national team while renovation of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium is on-going.



Sadly Finland has a very poor record against the four-time world champions having failed to win any of their 13 previous encounters.





In fact one has to go back to 44 years to September 27, 1975for the only time they have not lost to Italy and that was also a UEFA European Championship qualifying tie played at the Stadium Olimpico in Rome.



But based on what he saw in Udine, Kanerva feels he has the squad to give the 1968 European champions serious problems in Finland.



“Italy are certainly the strongest team in the group but Greece and Bosnia can also have a say. Obviously, I’m disappointed with the result: it’s a pity especially for the first goal, because it came through a deflection,” talk from a confident manager unhappy at losing.



But while Pukki is revealing in the English elite league, the man who scored the second goal against Finland in March, Kean is still struggling to find his feet with his new Premier League club, Everton.



The 19-year-old forward, who started his career with Juventus in 2016, winning a domestic double in his first season with the club before spending the following season on loan with Verona before returning to Juventus the next season, winning another Serie A title in 2019, has failed to find the net in four games for the Toffees.



But Kean, who has featured at every level for Italy from U15 to the U21s, is still keeping his feet firmly on the ground aware that he still has a lot to learn, especially if he is not to end up like former first choice striker Mario Balotelli, who has dropped off the radar.



Speaking after his goal against Finland made him the youngest goal scorer for Italy in a competitive match, Kean said: “The older players in the squad congratulated me after the game but immediately told me to just keep working hard.



“I’m very happy with the goal. Ciro [Immobile] gave me a great ball and I managed to score. I’m really happy to be in this group. Mancini has plenty of faith in young players and I’m happy to have repaid that.”



Mancini, who took charge of the Azzurri last year, will, however, be quietly confident that he has the side to help him get a decent result in Finland that will ensure his side remains top of the pile at the end of the game.



On Thursday evening the improved form of the Italians was very much evident when they recovered from going behind to eventually triumph over Armenia.



Aleksandre Karapetian gave the hosts a shock lead with an excellent shot from the edge of the area but Andrea Belotti equalised, turning home Chelsea defender Emerson Palmieri’s cross.



Lorenzo Pellegrini headed the Azzurri ahead before Belotti’s shot cannoned in off the back of keeper Aram Ayrapetyan to wrap up the 3-1 win.



Although Karapetian was harshly sent off for a second booking late in the first half on the overall balance of play the group leaders deserved their victory and shows that the Finis will have to play the games of their lives if they are to finally lay to rest the eight decades jinx.

Also in action today in Group J, is Armenia hosting Bosnia-Herzegovina, while Greece welcomes Liechtenstein to Athens.



Both games are mainly being played to fulfil all righteousness as the teams have no hope of qualifying for next year’s finals.



Another intriguing game taking today, is the clash between neighbours Sweden and Norway, who are jostling to finish second in Group F which will ensure that they still have one more shot at a Euro 2020 ticket via the play offs early next year.



On Thursday night, Sweden held firmly to the second slot with a 4-0 over the Faroe Islands to ensure they stayed two points ahead of third-placed Norway who beat Malta 2-0.



As things stand, runaway group leaders, Spain, which has a 100% record with five straight wins, continue to lead the way with another hard fought victory over fourth-placed Romania.


In fact Spain needed a superb last-minute save from Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to maintain this record in Group F.



Kepa denied Reading striker George Puscas with his legs as 10-man Spain recorded a first win in Romania.



Sergio Ramos put Spain ahead from the penalty spot before Borussia Dortmund forward Paco Alcacer steered in.



Former Brighton forward Florin Andone headed in and defender Diego Llorente was sent off, but Spain held on.


Kepa – who has replaced Manchester United’s David de Gea as first choice – made sure Spain took the points when he reacted superbly to stop Puscas’ header from close range.



The match was the first since Robert Moreno permanently replaced Luis Enrique as head coach, and there was a minute’s silence in memory of Enrique’s nine-year-old daughter, Xana, who died last week.

Other teams in the group include Romani and Malta.



Group D has two games taking place with Georgia hosting Denmark and Gibraltar in Switzerland.



The European football governing body, UEFA has engineered a major departure from previous edition of its flagship competition for national team by moving away from a single or joint finals host(s).



Instead next year’s tournament, which runs from Friday, June 12 to Sunday, July 12, 2020 with 24 teams, will take part in 12 cities across 12 nations with the final taking place at the iconic Wembley Stadium in Britain.    




Group J

Armenia v Bosnia-Herzegovina – 14:00

Finland v Italy – 19:45

Greece v Liechtenstein – 19:45

Group D

Georgia v Denmark – 17:00

Switzerland v Gibraltar – 17:00

Group F

Romania v Malta – 17:00

Spain v Faroe Islands – 19:45

Sweden v Norway – 19:45

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Zenith Bank Basketball Women’s Final 8: MFM claim first win, blow out Black Gold




agos-based MFM claimed their first victory at the Zenith Women’s Basketball League  National Final 8 on Sunday with a 97-31 blowout of Black Gold at Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.


Both teams went into Sunday’s game winless in their first two games, but MFM were far too strong for the newly formed Black Gold. The Lagos club, sponsored by the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Church, won all the four quarters comfortably.


MFM had lost their opening game of the Final 8 by 71-46 to Air Warriors on Friday and followed up with another 56-61 defeat to Dolphins on Day 2 on Saturday. But they raced to an early lead in the first quarter on Sunday, scoring triple of their opponents’ points to take a 23-7 lead.


The Lagos club increased their lead to 48-13 in the second quarter and were 71-25 up at the end of the third quarter.

The impressive Blessing Obente of MFM led the game’s scoring with 20 points, with  Oluchi Nzeekwe contributing 14 points to the Lagos club’s big win.


Despite their defeat, Black Gold’s Hembem Wandoo got 12 points and five rebounds. MFM’s Motunrayo Subair got a game-high nine rebounds.


Black Gold are effectively out of contention for the final having lost all three group games: 84-35 to Dolphins on Friday, 87-58 to Air Warriors on Saturday and Sunday’s defeat to 97-31 loss MFM.


The competition, which started last Friday, will end with the final on Thursday. Monday is a day off for the teams as sponsor Zenith Bank hosts the teams at its corporate headquarters and organises clinics and workshops for the officials.


The champion of the competition and runners-up will qualify to represent Nigeria at the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Champions Cup qualifiers in Cotonou from 28 October to 3 November.

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Nigeria vs Benin: Multiple injury boost for Eagles



The Super Eagles have been handed multiple injury boost ahead of the double header Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin and Lesotho in November.


Four key players of the team, Kenneth Omeruo, Ola Aina, Samuel Kalu and  Oghenekaro Etebo  were forced to pull out of the last friendly game against Brazil due to injury but they have all returned to action with their various clubs in Europe.


Leganes  of Spain defender, Omeruo, pulled out of the friendly game after picking up an injury before his club’s home game against Levante on October 5.


The former Chelsea star however played the full 90 minutes in his club’s 2-0 loss against Getafe at the weekend getting a yellow card in the game.


Torino defender, Ola Aina, also missed the game in Singapore with a domestic accident but returned to the bench against Williams Troost-Ekong’s Udinese, although he was on the bench for the duration of the game.


Bordeaux winger Kalu played his ninth appearance in the French Ligue 1 this season after he was selected by manager Paulo Sousa in the club’s 1-0 home loss against Saint-Etienne on Sunday. He played 55 minutes before he was substituted for Hwang Ui-Jo.


Former Warri Wolves midfielder, Etebo was a late withdrawal from the Nigeria squad for this month’s friendly, he however played the entirety of Stoke City’s 2-0 win against Fulham.


Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, will be happy with the return of the players as he continue to strategise ahead of the qualifiers.


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Man United join Osimhen race




remier League giants Manchester United have reportedly joined La Liga champions Barcelona in the quest to land Super Eagle and Lille forward Victor Osimhen in the coming transfer window.

According to reports in the French media, the Nigerian international has many suitors with French regional newspaper La Voix du Nord suggesting the Old Trafford giants are just one of the top teams keeping tabs on the Lille striker.


Man United are currently in the transfer market for a quality forward ahead of the winter transfer window in January, the likes of the quartet of Aleksandr Sobolev, Callum Wilson, Moussa Dembele and Mario Mandzukic already listed.


Interestingly, Osimhen, who will be handed Ligur 1 player of the month trophy during Lille’s home game against Bordeaux on October 26, was first linked with United after winning the top scorer award at the U-17 World Cup in 2015, but Derek Langley, ex-head of youth player recruitment, denied the reports.



Osimhen has enjoyed a boost in top form since arriving Ligue 1 at the start of the campaign, netting seven times and assisting two goals so far.

Brazil coach, Tite has taken time out to appraise the qualities Nigeria’s Super Eagles paraded against Selecao during their friendly game on Sunday, October 13, at Singapore National Stadium.

The football tactician specifically singled out the trio of Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze and Alex Iwobi as quick and exciting going forward during the friendly game on Sunday.

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Joshua gets fresh tips for Ruiz’s clash



Nigerian-born British heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua, has been given fresh tips on how to get his pound of flesh back against David Ruiz Jnr, when they clash in their rematch on December 7.



Ahead of the much-anticipated decider in the future of Joshua as a world heavyweight of repute, another British boxer, Richard Riakporhe has advised that ‘AJ’ needs to be ‘on point mentally’ if he is to beat Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia.



The cruiserweight sparred with Joshua back in 2011 and described him as ‘fast, strong and very intimidating’, but said the man who takes the fight will be the one most mentally prepared, but Ruiz, who stepped in just five-weeks before the fight, shocked the boxing world when he beat ‘AJ’ at Madison Square Garden and took his heavyweight titles back on June 1.



Speaking of the rematch, Riakporhe said Joshua has the necessary skills to reclaim his titles, but when a boxer like Ruiz gets at you, it takes a lot to overcome mentally.



Riakporhe told Yahoo Sport Tailgate: “It’s all about who comes on point mentally, that’s going to take that fight because Joshua has all the attributes to deal with this kind of opponent, we saw him nearly knock him out.


It’s one of them ones, when a guy gets at you like the way he did, listen, it takes a lot to overcome mentally.”

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Lagos Open Tennis: Rain forces postponement of grand finale




he heavy downpour in Lagos and its environs throughout Sunday has forced the final matches of the 2019 Lagos Open Tennis Championship to be postponed till Monday.


The matches of both the men and women’s singles were supposed to start by 1pm, but when it get to some few minutes to 5pm and rain failed to stop, the ITF Supervisor, Patrick Kamuhia in conjunction with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) announced the postponement of the finals which will now begin by 10am Monday with the women’s singles: the match between Indian Riya Bhatia and Nastja Kolar from Slovenia. This will be followed by the men’s singles final between Aldin Setkic from Bosnia and Calvin Hemery from France.


Meanwhile, Governor Babajide Sanwolu-Olu of Lagos, who supposed to declare the tournament closed on Sunday is still being expected during the finals on Monday, so also is the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare.


Before the announcement of the postponement, the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan was a beehive of activities with the venue already jam-packed.

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EPL: Liverpool’s Lallana denies United maximum points



Sub Adam Lallana stole Liverpool’s late leveller after Marcus Rashford’s opener and two VAR decisions left resurgent Manchester United on top.

Rashford volleyed a 36th minute opener from Daniel James’ perfect cross but Lallana tapped home to reward Liverpool’s growing pressure, reports

Impressive Rashford peaked his menacing display up front by stabbing home a goal that was allowed despite video replays suggesting Victor Lindelof fouled Kop frontman Divock Origi seconds earlier.

Then Sadio Mane’s prompt equaliser was erased after VAR showed he handled the ball as he bustled past Harry Maguire.

But after United’s first-half superiority against hesitant-looking visitors, Liverpool switched to 4-4-2 and increasingly pushed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men back, helped by replacement midfield Alec Oxlade-Chamberlain.

And finally Lallana was left free at he far post to slot home.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Oxlade-Chamberlain fired close late on – but a draw was fair.

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Ronaldo strikes again as Juve extend Serie A lead



Ronaldo strikes again as Juve extend Serie A lead

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring as Juventus beat visiting Bologna 2-1 on Saturday to move four points clear at the top of the Serie A table.

Ronaldo struck from close range after 19 minutes, but Danilo levelled for the visitors soon afterwards.

Miralem Pjanic profited from a defensive mix-up to net Juve’s winner after the break, reports Reuters.

Bologna were then denied an equaliser by the crossbar and a superb Gianluigi Buffon save in stoppage time.

The result stretched Juve’s winning run to five matches in all competitions and continued Maurizio Sarri’s unbeaten start as their coach.

The champions are top on 22 points but second-placed Inter Milan can cut their lead to one point with victory at Sassuolo on Sunday.

Ronaldo reached the landmark of 700 career goals while on international duty with Portugal on Monday and made it 701 at the Allianz Stadium as he beat his marker and fired in at the near post.

Bologna travelled to Turin with just one victory against Juve in their last 31 attempts, but they levelled through Danilo midway through the first half when the Brazilian defender smashed in a half-volley.

Pjanic restored the hosts’ lead after 54 minutes as he capitalised on chaotic defending from Bologna to pounce on a loose ball and sweep a shot into the corner.

The visitors nearly equalised in the dying minutes when substitute Federico Santander’s header came back off the bar before veteran goalkeeper Buffon acrobatically palmed over the striker’s overhead kick.

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Rooney’s MLS adventure comes to sour end



Rooney’s MLS adventure comes to sour end

Wayne Rooney’s Major League Soccer adventure came to a sour end along with DC United’s season on Saturday as Toronto FC scored a wild 5-1 extra-time playoff win to send the former-England captain on to his next career stop.

Rooney’s departure proved far less exciting than his celebrated arrival on the MLS scene just last year when the one-time wunderkind and Manchester United all-time leading scorer was hyped as the second coming of David Beckham.

But in a career packed with glory and trophies Rooney’s time in the MLS will appear as nothing more than a footnote, reports Reuters.

There will be no great achievement to underline his nearly two-year sojourn to the United States, the 33-year-old unable to add to his legacy of twice getting his club into the postseason but never winning a match.

If Rooney enjoyed his time in North America he kept it to himself on Saturday, dressing quietly and then offering nothing more than a stone-faced glance in the direction of the media as he turned and left the dressing room without saying a word, leaving it to team mates and coaches to reflect on his contributions.

“I think he gave a lot to the organization, he was a great team mate,” said United coach Ben Olsen. “I think he was good to our fans and he was very appreciative of the support he got with our fan base and the community, the DC area.

“It’s an unfortunate way for him to finish.

“I am sure he would have wanted to hit the back of the net and push us into the next round but that’s not how it went.”

Rooney finished Saturday’s contest on the bench after being substituted in overtime, but did not depart BMO Field without offering a reminder of why he is rated one of the game’s great predators.

Twice during a one minute stretch during the second half with Toronto clinging to a 1-0 lead, Rooney forced TFC’s Quentin Westberg to make spectacular saves, later patting the keeper on the back as he walked away shaking his head and looking towards the heavens.

A stoppage-time equalizer from Lucas Rodriguez off a Rooney corner canceled Toronto’s 1-0 lead but did nothing to deflate the homeside who struck four times in the extra session, including a pair from Jonathan Osorio and one each from substitutes Richie Laryea and Nick DeLeon.

Rooney did not bring the charisma of former England captain Beckham to the MLS but offered a well marketed blue collar appeal and a rich resume of success and trophies, including five Premier League titles, an FA Cup and Champions League crown.

There were a few highlight reel moments during his time in the United States, including a brilliant long range strike from his own end of the field against Orlando, while a Twitter spat between his wife Coleen and the wife of his former-England Jamie Vardy kept him in the English tabloid headlines.

But there was nothing accomplished on North American pitches that added anything of substance to his reputation.

He brought a bit more attention and a put few more fans in the seats as DC United moved from RFK Stadium to their new state-of-the-art home Audi Field, but never came close to elevating the MLS profile the way Beckham had on his arrival in Los Angeles in 2007.

Beckham’s impact on the MLS is still being felt while Rooney returns to England to be a player-coach with EFL Championship side Derby County having failed to leave his mark on MLS.

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EPL: Ole’s gunner need a miracle against Liverpool



EPL: Ole’s gunner need a miracle against Liverpool

This afternoon Manchester United hosts league leaders Liverpool, with the Red Devils’ boss desperately needing a good performance in order to save his job, notes Tunde Sulaiman




ight months ago, the dark clouds gathering against the performance of Manchester United under celebrated coach, Jose Mourinho finally came to a head when the Red Devils made the trip to Anfield and were completely played off the park by Liverpool.



Forty-eight hours after the humiliation, the powers that be at Old Trafford gave the two-time Champions League winner the boot and within 24 hours surprised many by naming a former Red Devils’ legend in his place in the person of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

And this afternoon, the man named the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ during his playing days at Old Trafford, is not only facing the same opposition; but also finds himself in almost the same situation as his predecessor – apparently only one defeat away from becoming the latest ex-United manager.



Incidentally, Ole’s reign kicked off in stunning fashion, with his side racking up an eight-unbeaten run to boost the impression that the Old Trafford hierarchy had been spot on with their choice of coach.

However, the feel-good bounce wore off as soon as the Norwegian was named permanent manger on March 28 with the Red Devils, which had won 14 out of 19 matches before then, only winning five out of 17 games.

This campaign the malaise has refused to go away with United only winning only two of their eight matches to lie 12th on the table only two points above relegation – their worse start to a season in 30 years.



And although, United’s Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward has publically thrown his support behind the 46-year-old former striker, his position will come under more scrutiny should the Red Devils suffer a very heavy defeat today.

Considering the performance of both sides going into the clash, only an incorrigible optimist will bet on the home side getting anything out of this tie, especially when one remembers that going into the Anfield fixture last December United was in a much better shape and still ended up losing 3-1.


But then the beautiful thing about the “beautiful game” is its unpredictability and that is what most United fans will be banking on today more than form or any technical masterpiece from their manager.


After all daring to believe is not a crime as many fans know.

In fact on September 14, fans of newly promoted Norwich City had cause to enjoy such when their team defied all odds to beat champions Manchester City 3-2 while it was the turn of Wolves and their fans only a fortnight ago, when they became only the second side to beat the Citizens this season.


Wolves’ feat was all the more remarkable because going into the game they had been very poor after losing four games and hovering just three places above relegation and yet found their mojo at the right time to stun the runaway favourites at the Etihad Stadium.

This is exactly what United have to find from somewhere today if they are to avoid another very disquieting afternoon at old Trafford.


Unfortunately Ole’s cause is not helped by the crippling injuries to some of his more experienced players, with first choice keeper, David De Gea being the latest to join the list after limping off during Spain’s Euro 2020 qualifier draw with Sweden on Tuesday night, meaning that he will once again have to throw a number of the youngsters into the high stakes game, which has a lot riding on the outcome.


His opposite number, Jurgen Klopp has no such worries and is in fact even spoilt for choice as to the players he can use at the Theatre of Dreams.

Actually his side can set a new Premier League record should they avoid defeat against United today. The Reds are currently on a 17-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League – matching the landmark set by Rafael Benitez’s side in 2008.

A positive result against the Red Devils would extend that run to a record-breaking 18 matches, which includes every top-flight fixture this season plus the final one of last term.

The German will love nothing more than to extend the record by once again showing how wide the gulf between the two teams have grown since he took charge of the Reds in October 2015.

He will also want to end the unwanted record of having never won at Old Trafford with the Reds.



With the odds overwhelmingly stacked against Ole and his wards, there is only one conceivable outcome of the heavyweight clash today – but then, history is replete with instances of shock results.

And right now, that more than anything else is what millions of United fans will be banking on.

The final game of Week Nine comes up tomorrow night with Sheffield Wednesday having the arduous task of welcoming Arsenal to Hillsborough Stadium also hoping for a miracle to happen.    

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Zenith Bank Basketball: First Bank, Air Warriors record wins as competition takes shape



Zenith Bank Basketball: First Bank, Air Warriors record wins as competition takes shape


elta Force slumped to their first defeat at the ongoing Zenith Bank Women Basketball League National Final 8 with a 42-67pts loss to First Bank.

Delta Force tried all they could against First Bank but their offensive prowess was put under check from the determined First Bank players who had a total of 25 defensive rebounds.

Okoro Ifunanya with 14 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds and Regina Iornumbe with 14 points provided the platform on which the Elephant Girls built their success.

In the second game of the day which was a local derby between two Abuja based sides – Air Warriors defeated Black Gold Queens by 87-58points.

The score line did not reflect the stiff competition between the two sides due to the wastefulness of Black Gold ladies inside their opponent’s paint.

Experienced Blessing Kasham was the highest scorer for the Warriors with 31 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists.

As expected, the game between MFM and Dolphins went down to the wire which was decided in the last few seconds of the game.

At the end of the third game of match day two at the ongoing 2019 Zenith Bank Women Basketball League National Final 8, Dolphins won 56-51 points in what seems to be a revenge following their bitter 1point loss at the conference phase in Ibadan.

With the victory, Dolphins have won their 2nd game on the trot as MFM continue the search for their first win of the 2019 Zenith Bank Women Basketball League National Final 8

Gbihi Cynthia once again came through for Dolphins with 17points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists.

Odiowei Susan managed 10points and 1 rebound for MFM which was not enough to secure a win.

It was a blow out for Custom as they recorded 69-34 points victory over Plateau Rocks in the last match of the day at the ongoing Zenith Bank Women Basketball League National Final 8.

Last group games will be decided on Sunday starting by 12noon.

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