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Morocco becomes first African country to use VAR

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Morocco becomes first African country to use VAR

T

he Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology was used at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt from the quarter-finals onwards.

 

 

History has been made in Morocco where the Video Assistant Referee technology (VAR) has been used in an African domestic match for the first time, reports the BBC.

 

Morocco’s Football Federation (FRMF) confirmed VAR would make its debut in the local Cup semi-finals on Saturday which would be “the first time in Africa that the VAR technology is going to be used in a local competition”.

 

The system played a big part in the first semi-final between TAS Casablanca and Difaa El Jadida where a 120th minute penalty decided the outcome.

 

The decision to award the spot-kick in Tangier was checked by VAR, with TAS Casablanca winning 1-0.

 

The second semi-final on Saturday between Hassania Agadir and Maghreb Atletico Tetwan in Marrakech was also set to use the technology.

 

 

Last week, a committee from the International Football Federation Board (IFAB) visited the Marrakech Stadium to look at the VAR set-up.

VAR was used at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt from the quarter-final stages.

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Again, Lagos Shuts 24 pharmacies, stores

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Lagos State Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods have shut at least 24 pharmacies, patent medicine shops and unlicensed premises in some parts of the State have been shut down for offences bordering on illegal operation and operating beyond scope of practice.

 

New Telegraph gathered that the shut facilities were located in Abule Egba, Alagbado, Kola, Meiran, Ekoro and Oko-Oba in Ifako Ijaiye and Alimosho Local Government areas of Lagos.

 

Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this while reviewing a report of the enforcement exercise carried out by Task Force, said that the sealing of the affected pharmacies and patent medicine stores was in accordance with the provisions of Section C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods Provision Act of 1999.

 

He explained that the enforcement which was part of the mandates of the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit (PIU) of the Ministry of Health was in line with the state government’s drive to put a halt to the ugly trend of having unqualified personnel deal with drugs. Abayomi averred that the state government would continue to insist that the environment for the dispensation of medical care should be suitable for the promotion and maintenance of good health for citizens.

 

The Commissioner explained that the affected pharmacies and patent medicine shops were sealed for offences such as operations without license, engaging unqualified persons to man and dispense drugs to unsuspecting citizens, operating beyond scope through sale of ethical products, displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments which compromises the potency of the drugs there by rendering them ineffective.

 

Insisting that that the government would do whatever was necessary to enforce the law and sanction erring operators, Abayomi said that some of the premises visited engaged in illegal clinical practices such as patient admission and setting of intravenous infusions which is unacceptable. Whilenotingthattherecent operation of the taskforce was coming on the heels of the war being waged against fake drugs and illegal drug shops.

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Manchester derby racist abuse claim: Police arrest man

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Manchester derby racist abuse claim: Police arrest man

A man has been arrested after objects and racist abuse appeared to be targeted at Manchester United players during Saturday’s derby.

Police said they received a report of a fan makingalleged racist gestures in the game against Manchester City.

City said they were working with police “regarding an instance of objects being thrown on to the field of play”.

A 41-year-old man has been held on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order and remains in custody, reports the BBC.

On Saturday, a man was filmed apparently making monkey gestures and sounds towards Manchester United players during the derby at City’s Etihad Stadium.

It happened as United midfielder Fred went to take a corner in the second half and appeared to be hit by an object hurled from the crowd.

After the match, the 26-year-old Brazilian said: “On the field, I didn’t see anything. I saw it only in the locker room afterwards. The guys showed me. [A man] even threw a lighter and it hit me.”

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “Fred and Jesse [Lingard] were in the corner, taking a corner, and I’ve seen the video, heard from the boys.”

He said the apparent behaviour of the supporter caught on camera was “unacceptable”.

In a statement, Manchester City said they were working with police to identify offenders, adding: “The club are also working with GMP regarding an instance of objects being thrown on to the field of play.

“The club operates a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind, and anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from the club for life.”

After social media speculation that the person allegedly making the monkey gestures worked for the infrastructure firm Kier Group, the company tweetedan employee had been suspended “pending an investigation”.

The company added: “We’re aware of a video circulating on social media. We take allegations and instances of racism very seriously and are currently investigating potential links between the individual involved and Kier.

The FA said it would investigate the incident, while the Premier League said it “will not tolerate discrimination in any form”.

“If people are found to have racially abused Premier League players they deserve to be punished and we will support any action taken by the authorities and the clubs,” a Premier League spokesperson said.

The incident comes a year after racism in football hit the headlines after City striker Raheem Sterling was subjected to racist abuse at Stamford Bridge, which led to a permanent ban for a Chelsea supporter.

Sterling was also one of a number of England players who faced monkey chants and Nazi salutes in Euro 2020 qualifiers this year.

Fred said the alleged incidents on Saturday showed “we are still in a backward society”.

United won the match 2-1 after goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

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Boxing: Why I lost to Anthony Joshua – Ruiz Jr

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Boxing: Why I lost to Anthony Joshua – Ruiz Jr

*Wants third fight against Nigerian

Andy Ruiz Jr said three months of partying and a lack of proper training left him “overweight” for his world title rematch with Anthony Joshua.

Ruiz, 30, was comprehensively out-pointed in Saudi Arabia, six months after shocking the boxing world by stopping Joshua in New York.

The Mexican vowed he would be “a lot better” if he gets a third fight.

“I should have trained harder. I should have listened to my team and coaches,” he said.

“For this fight I was overweight. I didn’t move how I wanted to.”

‘The partying got the best of me’

Ruiz, the second-heaviest world champion in heavyweight history behind Nikolai Valuev, gained 15lb since his win over Joshua, who is now a two-time champion in the glamour division, reports the BBC.

He scaled 20st 3lb at Friday’s weigh-in and, while he was brave and durable as Joshua ran out a unanimous points winner, he never threatened to repeat his incredible upset from earlier in the year.

Many had questioned if a lifestyle which saw him buy new homes and cars, and make countless media appearances in the aftermath of his win, could prove costly.

He appeared regretful and apologised to his trainer Manny Robles and father Andres at his post-fight news conference but was applauded out at its conclusion.

The former champion claimed he had initially lost weight after his win but added: “I put on the weight and it was my mistake. No-one knows about the training we had. We did the best we can.

“Being a champion for the first time, being over here and there and missing training, it was hard.

“For the trilogy I will be a lot better. I want to redeem myself in Saudi Arabia.”

Trainer Robles has stressed Ruiz had a full three-month camp but that would have still left more than three months between his win over Joshua and the start of preparations.

“I don’t want to say the three months of partying or celebrating didn’t affect me, as to tell you the truth it kind of did,” Ruiz added.

“There’s no excuses. The partying got the best of me. The next fight is going to be a lot different.

“People are still doubting me. I am still a dangerous fighter to anyone in the division. At 100% I can dominate anyone in the world.

“You best believe I am going to come back and be the heavyweight champion of the world once again.”

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Manchester derby: City threaten fan bans after ‘monkey gesture’, missiles thrown

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Manchester derby: City threaten fan bans after ‘monkey gesture’, missiles thrown

Manchester City have said any fans found guilty of racist abuse will be banned from the club for life after a supporter appeared to make a monkey gesture towards a United player during Saturday’s derby match.

The incident happened during the second half of a dramatic but occasionally ugly clash at the Etihad Stadium.

At least two United players including Brazilian star Fred are believed to have been targeted with abuse during the game, which also saw missiles thrown from the stands, reports Sky Sports.

In a statement, City said they were “aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures” – and were working with Greater Manchester Police to help identify those involved.

City added: “The club operates a zero tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind, and anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from the club for life.”

Police are also working with City regarding the missiles that were thrown on to the field.

City players were seen appealing for calm in the section of the crowd where the missile appeared to have come from, with Fred the player who was struck.

Teammate Marcus Rashford told Sky Sports he was not aware of the incident during the game, but said the fact such abuse was still happening “isn’t good enough”.

He added that there was “obviously work still to do in that area”.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer branded the alleged abuse “unacceptable”.

He told Sky Sports: “I’ve seen it on the video. Fred and Jesse (Lingard) in the corner taking coins from the City fans first of all, so they’ve got to go away.

“And then there’s this not-so-intelligent fella chanting racist abuse towards my two players and I hope City and the authorities will deal with it, because he shouldn’t be watching football again. Not live, anyway.

“We have to stamp it out. We keep talking about it every single week and it’s not acceptable. He should not be allowed back into a ground. That’s how simple it is.”

English football’s equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out said it had been “inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals” during the game, which United won 2-1.

Rashford and fellow striker Anthony Martial scored the goals for United, with champions City falling 14 points behind league leaders Liverpool.

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Ex-Bayern boss, Kovac, watches Everton beat Chelsea

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Ex-Bayern boss, Kovac, watches Everton beat Chelsea

Former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac watched managerless Everton’s win over Chelsea from the Goodison Park directors’ box on Saturday.

The 48-year-old Croat was not sat with Everton’s owners for the 3-1 home victory, overseen by interim caretaker Duncan Ferguson and which lifted the club out of the bottom three.

It is understood that Kovac has travelled to England on a ‘fact-finding’ mission about the English game, having left Bayern by mutual consent in November.

From Goodison, he travelled to the Etihad Stadium for the Manchester derby between City and United, before attending the Hawthorns on Sunday to watch West Brom against Swansea, reports Sky Sports.

But his appearance has only heightened speculation among supporters that he is one of the names on a four-man shortlist of candidates to replace Marco Silva on Merseyside.

Also understood to be on that list is the Shanghai SIPG boss Vitor Pereira, who is due to begin negotiations with Everton over the weekend.

Ex-Toffees boss David Moyes is also said to be on the list and the preferred choice of Chairman Bill Kenwright, while Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti is another name to have emerged.

Kovac won a Bundesliga and German cup double as Bayern Munich boss last season, having taken over from Jupp Heynckes on a three-year contract.

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Chinese Cup win delights Ighalo

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Chinese Cup win delights Ighalo

F

ormer Super Eagles striker, Odion Jude Ighalo has expressed his joy after helping Shanghai Shenhua claim the Chinese FA Cup following there 3-0 win over Shandong Luneng, AOIFootball.com reports.

 

The former Watford of England attacker completed a perfect end to the year for his career as his side made amends for their disappointing league finish, with the striker claiming his first silverware in the Asian country.

 

With his side 1-0 up, the 2019 AFCON top scorer came off the bench for goal scorer Shin Wook Kim with Shanghai going on to score two late goals to claim their 5th FA Cup and their first since 2017.

The 30-year-old told AOIFootball.com afterwards that he was excited with the outcome of the game as he now wants to have a wonderful off season ahead of the New Year.

 

“It’s a nice feeling to end the season on a high. To even win my first trophy here in my first season even makes it more special. It’s been a tough season for the club and I will say the fans really deserve this fantastic ending.

“Now it’s time to look back at the season and pick the positives and ensure I remain sharp ahead of the New Year,” Ighalo said.

 

Despite being linked with a return to the EPL, the CAF best player nominee stated that a whole lot of things can happen before the New Year as he just wants to focus on having a pleasant holiday with family and friends.

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EPL: Foxes continue top two quest at Villa Park

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EPL: Foxes continue top two quest at Villa Park

Surprise 2016 Premier League champions, Leicester City go into this afternoon’s match full of confidence following their impressive hard fought 2-0 win over Watford during the midweek fixtures. Although the visiting team may be at the foot of the table, but they made life very difficult for the Foxes for very long periods of the game until leading scorer Jamie Vardy and James Maddison in the second half swung the three points their way.

The final outcome was also an indication of how far the Foxes have progressed under former Liverpool manger, Brendan Rogers. Incidentally, Rodgers’ reign at Leicester got off to a losing start with a 2-1 defeat at Watford back in March, but the two sides have gone in opposite directions since that day. The Foxes have gone on to collect 52 points from 24 games compared to just 15 for the Hornets over the same period, while this win was Leicester’s 11th from their opening 15 games of the season – the first time they have won so many games at this stage of a league campaign.

 

This was not Leicester at their fluid, attacking best but even so they could still have won by an even bigger margin. Leicester is putting together form they did not even manage in their title-winning campaign and show no signs of slowing down. Talk of a second Premier League title may still be premature but they certainly appear ready to pounce should Liverpool slip up during a busy December. Speaking to Match of the Day afterwards, the former Celtic manager said: “It was a tough game for us. Hayden Mullins had Watford very well organised. We had to be patient this evening and worked very hard for that but I thought we deserved it. “Jamie Vardy is absolutely fantastic.

 

I thought he should have a penalty in the first half. I don’t know why that was overturned. In the current rules that is normally given but it wasn’t and we gathered our composure and continued to work away to get the goal. “It was a real team effort tonight and to get seven wins on the spin in the Premier League is a great achievement. The team is developing and are proving they have a winning mentality and mind-set. We will do our best (to stay in top two), we fight and work and see where it takes us.”

 

This afternoon the Foxes will hope to stay on course for his prediction when they travel to Villa Park to face 15th placed Aston Villa, which stretched Chelsea to the limit before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. For Dean Smith the performance of his wards in London would have given him confidence that they can mix it with the ‘big boys’.

 

Villa has performed admirably against the Premier League’s leading lights since returning to the top flight, without earning the rewards their performances have merited. Smith’s side opened the scoring in four of their five matches against established top-six opponents this season, pushing Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United close, with only defending champions Manchester City beating them with relative comfort.

 

Although these displays provided plenty of encouragement, Villa earned a solitary point. At Stamford Bridge, they again showed the basic prerequisites of hard work and organisation, but were unable to stretch Chelsea as their forays into the opposition half were limited. Smith knows that if he is to avoid slipping straight back down, he needs to start turning performances into points and the game against the Foxes will be a good time to do so. Also in action today, fifth-placed Wolves are on the road at Brighton & Hove Albion hoping to keep their winning run going, while in the final game of the day struggling Norwich City (19th) is at home to ninth-placed Sheffield United.

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Club World Cup: FIFA switches final host stadium

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Club World Cup: FIFA switches final host stadium

F

IFA has been forced to switch the venue for the final of the Club World Cup in Qatar because the stadium where it was scheduled to be held has not been signed off.

 

The Education City Stadium in Doha was due to host Liverpool’s semi-final on December 18, plus the third-place play-off and the final on December 21.

The 40,000-capacity ground is built but yet to hold any test events, reports the BBC.

 

Matches will now be held at the city’s Khalifa International Stadium.

The venue, which has a capacity of 48,000, hosted the World Athletics Championships in September and October, and was already scheduled to host two games in the seven-team competition.

Organisers believe the change will lead to minimum disruption.

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La Liga: Benzema helps Madrid to easy victory

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arim Benzema scored and picked up an assist as Real Madrid recorded a comfortable win over Espanyol but were down to 10 men for the final stages after Ferland Mendy was sent off.

Benzema set up French team-mate Raphael Varane for the opener and made it 2-0 with just over 10 minutes to go.

 

The striker also wasted a huge chance in the second half, hitting it straight at keeper Diego Lopez from close range, reports the BBC.

 

Mendy was shown a second yellow card in the 82nd minute for a rash challenge.

Real were comfortably the better team, although Espanyol did come close in the first half when Esteban Granero’s header was palmed away by Thibaut Courtois, seconds before Vinicius Junior raced up the other end and forced a save out of Lopez.

 

The hosts squandered numerous chances to extend their lead before Benzema made it 2-0 – Vinicius having three shots on target, while Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde came close.

 

Brazilian Vinicius, 19, was a constant threat on the left, linking up with Benzema and causing problems for Espanyol’s defence. He replaced Wales international Gareth Bale in the starting line-up, with the winger not in the squad after picking up a hamstring problem.

Real Madrid were also playing in an unfamiliar green kit – the first time they have done so at the Bernabeu – to show support for the COP25 climate summit in Madrid.

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EPL: Man United beat City, help Liverpool go 14 points clear

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•Wins for Spurs, Everton 

 

 

M

anchester United dented neighbours Manchester City’s Premier League title hopes with a superb counter-attacking victory in the Manchester derby.

City stay third but are now 14 points behind leaders Liverpool, who won at Bournemouth. United move up to fifth.

Marcus Rashford’s first-half penalty, which was awarded after a VAR check, put United ahead.

 

Anthony Martial scored the second with a left-foot shot and Nicolas Otamendi replied with a late header for City.

United’s win was no more than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side deserved after they repeatedly carved the hosts’ defence apart in the opening stages.

Some incisive play saw Rashford hit the crossbar, while Daniel James and Martial could have added to the visitors’ tally.

 

Gabriel Jesus missed an excellent chance to score for the City – heading wide from six yards – as they lost two home matches in a season for the first time under manager Pep Guardiola.

At the Vitality Stadium Liverpool moved 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable win over Bournemouth.

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, one of seven changes for the Reds, opened the scoring after a brilliant long-range pass from Jordan Henderson.

Naby Keita made it 2-0 before the break, slotting in with the outside of his foot after Mohamed Salah set him up with a sublime backheel.

Keita then turned provider for Salah as Liverpool eased to victory.

It extends Liverpool’s club record unbeaten run to 33 league games and they have won 15 of 16 Premier League matches this season.

 

In London, Son Heung-min scored one of the goals of the Premier League season as Tottenham returned to winning ways under Jose Mourinho by brushing aside Burnley.

Son picked up the ball on the edge of his area before sprinting the length of the pitch – leaving a trail of Burnley players in his wake – and slotting in to give Spurs a 3-0 half-time lead.

That all but sealed victory after Harry Kane had thumped the home team ahead and Lucas Moura converted a second from close range.

Burnley had chances of their own in the first half, hitting the woodwork through Robbie Brady, but paid dearly for their defensive vulnerability.

And Everton caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson made an instant impact on the pitch and a spectacular one off it as he started his reign with a vital victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park.

Ferguson is in interim control after Marco Silva was sacked following Wednesday’s Merseyside derby thrashing at Liverpool that had left the Toffees in the relegation zone.

And Everton banished their recent struggles to run out fully deserved winners on a thunderous occasion illuminated by the former striker’s wild celebrations.

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