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Why I joined Everton – Iwobi

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Why I joined Everton – Iwobi

S

uper Eagles midfielder Alex Iwobi says he has no regrets over his Everton move as he feels at home, although he still struggles with the scouse accent.

 

 

The Nigeria international joined the Toffees from boyhood club Arsenal on deadline day for a reported 35m pounds. Iwobi has spent a majority of his 23 years on earth with Arsenal but he has no regrets over his decision to leave.

 

Speaking on why he decided to leave, the Super Eagles star told Skysports in an interview that he wanted to improve himself as a player.

 

 

He said “It’s so far, so good, I feel like I’ve got a new home and I’m really comfortable here. “I got a few phone calls [about the deal] and spoke to my agent – it took about a day of talking to the manager and talking to Marcel Brands. It wasn’t really hard and I got convinced.

 

 

“I was very comfortable [at Arsenal] and I was on holiday so I didn’t think about any move. I got the call and thought about if this would be a better chance for me to improve myself as a player. I thought that this was a big opportunity and I shouldn’t turn it down. I’ve got no regrets about the decision”

 

 

He also added that Marco Silva’s vision also convinced him to join the club and he wants to be part of the success.  “The ambition that Marco Silva has also persuaded me to come – the drive, what he wants to achieve and the way he saw me in his plans, I feel like I’m able to help him do that,’ he said

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EPL: Liverpool’s Lallana denies United maximum points

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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 thesun.co.uk.

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

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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

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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

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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

 

 

E

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

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

D

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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EPL: City trounce Palace, Chelsea battle past Newcastle

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hampions Manchester City narrowed the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool with a comfortable victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Two weeks on from a surprise defeat by Wolves, Pep Guardiola’s side made a blistering start to proceedings but had to wait until the 39th minute for the breakthrough to arrive, as Gabriel Jesus met Bernardo Silva’s cross with a clever, flicked header.

It took just 93 seconds for David Silva to double the advantage, the Spaniard allowing Raheem Sterling’s delightful chipped pass to drop over his shoulder before volleying past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, reports the BBC.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have climbed into the top four of the English Premier League table courtesy of a hard fought 1-0 victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge.

After an even opening 45 minutes, the Blues dominated the second half but had to wait until the 73rd minute for their breakthrough, which arrived courtesy of Marcos Alonso’s low strike.

Newcastle rarely looked like threatening Chelsea’s second clean sheet of the season as the hosts picked up their fifth successive win across all competitions – the best run of form in Frank Lampard’s fledging managerial career.

The Magpies held their own throughout a relatively uneventful first half, offering sporadic threats on the break and largely keeping Chelsea at bay despite the hosts enjoying the lion’s share of possession.

The best chances did fall to Lampard’s side, though, and Willian should have done better with the first of those when he was picked out by Callum Hudson-Odoi only to get his header all wrong and steer it off target.

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Eagles B team beat Togo, fail to secure CHAN ticket

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D

espite winning the second leg of the CHAN qualifier 2-0 against the Sparrow Hawks of Togo at the Agege Stadium, Lagos yesterday, the Super Eagles Team B failed to secure qualification for the competition scheduled for 2020 in Cameroon.

Nigeria lost the first leg 4-1 in Togo, but the Eagles lost the game 4-3 on aggregate.

Sikiru Alimi scored a brace in the game with a goal in each half.

 

The Eagles started the game with urgency and got the first goal as early as the eighth minute through Alimi.

 

Despite getting the early goal, the Eagles continued the onslaught but were undone with poor finishing and resolute defending by the Hawks.

Alimi and Ibrahim Sunusi missed some half chances as the first half ended 1-0 in the favour of the Super Eagles.

Nigeria started the second half like the first but failed to get the needed goals until the 72nd minute when Alimi completed his brace.

 

 

The Togolese continue to put men behind the ball to protect their advantage, while also resulting to time wasting leading to the referee giving 10 minutes of additional time.

Despite the additional time, the Eagles failed to get the third goal that will give them qualification.

Speaking after the game, the coach of the team, Imama Amapakabo, expressed his disappointment on the outcome of the game but happy with the input of his players.

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Sancho dropped, fined by Dortmund

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adon Sancho has reportedly been fined by Borussia Dortmund after returning back late from international duty with England.

The 19-year-old played in both of his national team’s Euro 2020 qualifiers over the international break – starting against the Czech Republic before entering as a second-half substitute against Bulgaria.

Sancho has been left out of the squad for Dortmund’s Bundesliga clash with Borussia Monchengladbach, though, and according to Sky Sports News, the attacker has also been fined for his late return.

The teenager has been in fine form for BVB this season – scoring four times and contributing seven assists in 11 appearances in all competitions for Lucien Favre’s side.

Manchester United continue to be linked with a move for the former Manchester City youngster, and it is thought that the Red Devils will attempt to complete a deal at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

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Augsburg’s Finnbogason nets stoppage-time equaliser to shock Bayern

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Augsburg’s Alfred Finnbogason scored a stoppage-time goal to snatch a 2-2 draw against a wasteful Bayern Munich on Saturday and deny them the top spot in the Bundesliga.

 

The Bavarians had only themselves to blame for failing to win for the second straight matchday, having squandered a bagful of chances and hit the woodwork in what was largely a one-sided affair against their lowly opponents.

 

Bayern remain in third place on 15 points but could drop further behind leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach, on 16, who play Borussia Dortmund later on Saturday.

 

VfL Wolfsburg remained second, also on 16, after Wout Weghorst scored an 82nd-minute equaliser that rescued a 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig, who are fourth on 15.

Schalke 04, on 14, can also overtake Bayern, if they beat Hoffenheim on Sunday.

Augsburg shocked Bayern with a goal after 28 seconds with Marco Richter volleying in from a Rani Khedira header.

 

To make matters worse, central defender Niklas Suele had to be taken off a little later after suffering what looked to be a knee injury.

Yet Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski continued his stellar scoring run to bring them level in the 14th minute.

He headed in a perfect Serge Gnabry cross for his 12th league goal. He has now scored in each of their eight league games to equal the record set by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang four years ago.

 

Gnabry, who also hit the post late in the first half, curled a superb left-footed low shot past Augsburg keeper Tomas Koubek in the 49th to give Bayern, who travel to Olympiakos in the Champions League next week, the lead.

Koubek then made a string of superb saves to deny Kingsley Coman, Lewandowski as well as Philippe Coutinho.

 

Substitute Thomas Mueller could also have sealed their win in the 90th minute but he fired wide from 13 metres.

 

They were punished for it in stoppage time as Finnbogason tapped in from a cutback to earn a point for his team and make it two league matches without a win for the Bavarians.

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JUST IN: Eagles out of CHAN

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JUST IN: Eagles out of CHAN

Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles have failed to qualify for next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) despite beating Togo.

However, the 2-0 result they got at the Agege Stadium, Lagos on Saturday was not enough having lost the first leg 4-1.

The ouster from the tournament for local players in Africa is coming on the heels of the failure of the Super Falcons to qualify for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, Japan after being beaten by Cote d’Ivoire.

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