‘Where on earth can a coach accept 60 day contract?’ – Nyamweya questions Firat's Harambee Stars appointment

The administrator believes the appointment of the Turkish coach will not help solve problems facing the national team

Former Football Kenya Federation president Sam Nyamweya has raised questions regarding the appointment of new Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat, saying it has never happened in Africa or the world for a coach to sign a 60-day contract.

On Sunday, FKF unveiled the 51-year-old Turkish tactician to replace Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee, who parted ways with the national team a week ago after only 11 months in charge.

Nyamweya has described the new appointment as "history for football", saying he has never seen a coach agree to take a short contract of 60 days anywhere in the world.

Who will give him a work permit?

“Who will give him a work permit for two months?” Nyamweya posed a question to Goal when asked to comment about the new appointment. “It is a big shame on what the federation has done.

“In my entire football management, I have never seen such an appointment, and it will not work, it is a mutual contract between two parties which does not make sense to me, it is not acceptable, it is just a shame that we have reached such low point.”

Nyamweya has further raised questions on why the FKF opted to hire the coach, despite his poor record at Moldova, where he was recently coaching before accepting the Kenya job offer.

“Our football is sinking to oblivion because why should we hire a coach who had failed from Moldova? He was a failure as he did not win a match there, he played eleven matches and lost mine and it shows you he is not a good coach,” Nyamweya continued.

“This is a shame of an appointment, it is a mockery to Kenyan football, and the earlier stakeholders come together to chat the way forward the better.

“I am 100 percent sure that he will not take Kenya to the World Cup, he has failed previously and will also fail in Kenya, but I will not blame the coach if we don't qualify, I will blame the federation.

“In five years, we have seen a turnover of six coaches under Mwendwa regime and it means when this new coach walks out, it will be seven coaches [under him], that is a big number of coaches leaving a team within a short period of work.

“It seems there is something wrong happening that we are not being told, why are the coaches walking away after joining?”

Why was Mulee and Kimanzi fired?

Nyamweya also further criticised the federation for firing and hiring coaches without giving a reason as to why they reached the decision.

“When Francis Kimanzi was fired the federation refused to tell Kenyans why they had reached the decision and again when Mulee left they have also kept mum and refused to explain what happened. That means they are hiding something,” Nyamweya lamented.

“This is a public office and the officials are answerable to Kenyans, so they must be held accountable, and time will come when they will know the office they are holding belongs to the public and not a personal property.”

Coach Firat’s first assignment will be the upcoming 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Mali, away and home, on October 8, and October 12, respectively.

(Originally posted by Dennis Mabuka)
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Lingard makes Man Utd trophy claim six games into 2021-22 campaign

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are only just getting going this season, but an England international says they can land major silverware

Manchester United are just six games into their 2021-22 campaign but, fresh from helping the Red Devils to a 2-1 win over West Ham, Jesse Lingard claims major silverware is very much in their sights.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has been handed a new contract this season, is the man being charged with the task of bringing a five-year trophy drought at Old Trafford to a close.

His side have made a positive start to that quest in Premier League competition, with 13 points taken from five games, and Lingard believes United boast the depth in a star-studded squad that will allow them to get back into the winners' enclosure.

What has been said?

Lingard, who stepped off the bench to net a spectacular winning goal against former loan employers West Ham, has told MUTV of ambition on the red half of Manchester: "You’ve got to always start well and make a statement to the rest of teams and that’s what we’ve been doing.

"The main aim is to obviously win a trophy this season and I think we’ve got the squad depth to do that. The talent, everyone’s hungry to play and everyone’s working hard in training to get in that matchday squad.

"Everyone’s always ready to play, so the subs have got to be ready to make a difference.

"They’re always tough games against West Ham and to play them back to back is a little bit different, but we’ll go into that game full of confidence."

The England international added on his muted celebration against the Hammers, who helped to get his career back on track last season: "They supported me in the loan spell and gave me a great reception, so it was only right to pay them back."

Who else secured the points against West Ham?

While Lingard's goal proved to be the difference at the London Stadium, there were many more twists to an intriguing plot.

West Ham had taken the lead on home soil through Said Benrahma, only to see the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo peg them back.

Lingard's telling contribution came in the 89th minute, but there was still time after that for Luke Shaw to concede a penalty, Mark Noble to be introduced off the bench to take a spot-kick and David de Gea to save it as a thrilling contest was closed out.

On seeing a Spain international goalkeeper save his first penalty in 41 attempts, Lingard said: "David’s always been a great penalty stopper and we had confidence in him and we trusted him to make the save, which he did.

"There’s been a real togetherness and everyone’s playing for each other; we’re playing to win games and playing for our fans and staff, so everyone’s ready to play."

United, who lost their Champions League group stage opener against Young Boys, will be back in action on Wednesday when facing West Ham again in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

Further reading

(Originally posted by Chris Burton)
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Why Mabasa is key to Orlando Pirates' early-season PSL title charge

Goal explains how the bulky marksman is vital to the Buccaneers' ambitions of challenging for the league championship

The 2021/22 season has seen Orlando Pirates make a decent start to their PSL campaign as they look to mount a serious challenge for the league title.

The Buccaneers have collected eight points from a possible 12 - recording two draws and two victories in their first four games which sees them placed fourth on the log - two points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

The team's first win of the season came against Swallows FC with Tshegofatso Mabasa coming off the bench to score in the 78th minute to earn Bucs a 1-0 victory in the Soweto Derby on September 11.

It was the left-footed striker's second successive substitute appearance for Bucs as he works his way back into the team after recovering from an injury that saw him miss the start of the current campaign.

Mabasa then started against Chippa United on Saturday as a reward for his heroics in the Soweto Derby and he did not disappoint as he marked his first start this season with a goal with Pirates securing a 3-1 win.

It is imperative for Bucs to keep Mabasa keep fit and firing if they are to maintain their unbeaten start in the league with the 24-year-old player's progress at the club having been hampered by injuries.

Unique striker 


 

As Pirates co-interim coach Fadlu Davids recently stated, Mabasa is different from the other strikers at the Houghton-based giants. 

Mabasa is a traditional number 9, who is usually the Buccaneers' focal point in attack, and his positional sense and goalscoring ability inside the penalty area make him a dangerous centre-forward.

The Buccaneers tend to use a lot of wing-play under Davids and fellow co-interim coach Mandla Ncekazi which brings out the best in Mabasa, who has a knack for attacking balls and crosses played into the opposition's box. 

Wide players such as Vincent Pule, Deon Hotto, Paseka Mako and Bandile Shandu are expected to deliver crosses into the opposition's box which is the type of service that a box striker Mabasa needs. 

Two of Mabasa's goals this season came from balls played into the box by Pule, who has developed a telepathic understanding with his fellow Free State-born attacker which will be key for the Soweto giants this term. 

Pirates' very own 'Shalulile'


 

The man nicknamed Tshego has impressively netted 11 goals from 13 league starts since he joined the Buccaneers in July 2019 from Bloemfontein Celtic where he scored 10 goals in his final campaign with the club.

With more starts, Tshego will definitely contribute some goals to the current Pirates team and put the Soweto giants in a position where they are able to win matches and also keep up with the perennial PSL title contenders, Sundowns. 

Masandawana have a reliable striker in Peter Shalulile, whose 15 goals inspired the Tshwane giants to last season's PSL title with the Namibia international missing just five games in the league and he was named Footballer of the Season.

While Mabasa netted five goals from 11 league appearances due to his injury woes, but he can be Pirates' very own 'Shalulile' if he stays injury-free as he is a proven goalscorer just like the Sundowns star.

(Originally posted by Austin Ditlhobolo)
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Ted Lasso sweeps Emmy awards as Jason Sudeikis is named best lead comedy actor

The popular fictional Apple TV series has been recognised by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

Jason Sudeikis was named best lead comedy actor as Ted Lasso swept the Emmy Awards on Sunday night.

The 2021 Emmys celebrated another year of excellence in American primetime television programming, with popular shows The Queen’s Gambit and The Crown among the big winners.

Ted Lasso was also recognised by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, capping a remarkable run for the series about an inexperienced American soccer coach landing a role in English football.

What awards did Lasso win?

Sudekis scooped the best lead comedy accolade for his performance as Lasso, who has been praised for portraying the character with a mix of relentless optimism and sarcasm as he aims to turn around the fortunes of fictional Premiership football side AFC Richmond.

The American also saw his British co-stars Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein win best supporting actress and actor, while the show itself landed the best comedy series award.

What's been said?

Sudekis expressed his delight after accepting his prize, while also paying tribute to his family and close friends.

"This show is about family, it's about mentors and teachers, it's about team-mates," he said. "And I wouldn't be here without those three things in my life."

Waddingham, meanwhile, called for more stage actresses to be considered for television roles when picking up her award.

"West End musical performers need to be on screen more," she said. "Please give us a chance because we won't let you down."

Where can you watch Ted Lasso?

Ted Lasso is available to watch exclusively on Apple TV, who originally launched the show in August 2020.

Customers can enjoy the first two seasons at their leisure already, and a third has been commissioned which will reportedly be released in the summer of 2022.

Further reading

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'Difficult' Haaland transfer admission made by Borussia Dortmund amid Real Madrid and Manchester United talk

CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke concedes retaining the services of the prolific Norwegian will be tough - but not impossible

Keeping Erling Haaland at Borussia Dortmund in 2022 "will be difficult" concedes club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, but the Bundesliga outfit are not giving up hope of repelling interest from Real Madrid and Manchester United.

A big-money move for the prolific Norwegian striker is expected, with his exploits in German football attracting admiration from leading sides across Europe.

Dortmund are aware retaining the services of a prized asset is going to be tough, but Watzke says there is no guarantee the 21-year-old will be lured to pastures new.

What has been said?

The Dortmund chief told Welt am Sonntag of Haaland and the chances of keeping him at Signal Iduna Park: "Of course it will be difficult. I am not saying, however, that it is completely out of the question. We'll do everything we can to keep our top players loyal to us in the future."

What happens if Haaland does leave?

Haaland was among the goals once again in his latest outing for Dortmund, with a brace in the 4-2 victory over Union Berlin. He now has 68 efforts to his name in just 67 appearances for the club.

If Haaland were to move on, then replacing him would be a near impossible task. Dortmund do however boast a rich history when it comes to top striking talent, with Haaland following in the footsteps of Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Watzke is confident that they can strike gold again if forced back into the market for another goal-getter, saying: "We have to have the self-confidence to say we'll find a new top striker again."

Further reading

Original author: Chris Burton
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'He was not happy' - Tuchel half-time anger inspired Chelsea to beat Spurs, says Azpilicueta

The Spanish defender admitted the Blues squad faced the wrath of their manager at the interval in the London derby

Thomas Tuchel's half-time anger inspired Chelsea to beat Tottenham, says Cesar Azpilicueta.

Chelsea stormed to the top of the Premier League table with a 3-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, thanks to goals from Thiago Silva, N'Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger.

The European champions were good value for the three points in the end but were well below their best in the first 45 minutes, and Azpilicueta says the squad felt Tuchel's wrath in the dressing room at the half-time interval.

What's been said?

"He [Tuchel] was not happy, we were not happy with our performance," the Chelsea captain told Sky Sports after the game. "Even though we were able to arrive around the box we did not shoot on target, they created a few chances where we could have conceded.

"Even in duels we were not as good as we usually are. We were sometimes too open and it was something that we had to address. Playing like this, we couldn’t expect to win the game. The best thing we could do was to arrive at half-time at 0-0.

"The reaction was good, everyone is humble enough to accept this and go again and give a strong second half."

Chelsea victorious

Spurs' came out the blocks quickly against their London rivals, but the Blues slowly turned the tide and after a strong finish to the first half, they took the lead when Silva headed home from a corner in the 51st minute.

Kante then produced a superb long-range effort to double their advantage before Rudiger rounded off the scoring in stoppage time with an instinctive finish to condemn Tottenham to back-to-back defeats.

Chelsea will now look ahead to a third-round EFL Cup tie against Aston Villa in midweek, which comes three days before a huge clash with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.

Further reading

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‘He looked lively’ – Rangers’ Gerrard hails Sakala after Motherwell goal

The 24-year-old scored his first goal for the Gers in the top-flight but it was not enough to hand them maximum points

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has hailed the performance of Zambia international Fashion Sakala after he scored his first goal in a 1-1 draw against Motherwell on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Chipolopolo forward headed in his first competitive goal for the Light Blues after 12 minutes before Kaiyne Woolery stunned Ibrox Stadium in the 66th minute when he fired in an equaliser.

The draw saw Motherwell become the first team to take a point away from Rangers at Ibrox since March 2020 but it kept them at the top of the Scottish Premiership table with 13 points from six matches, one more than Hibernian and Hearts, who are second and third, respectively.

Sakala's goal came after his effort was punched out for a corner by goalkeeper Liam Kelly but from the resultant set-piece, the Zambia international headed in from the far post, after an effort by Nigeria international Joe Aribo had been saved.

However, the Gers were left to rue their missed chances as Woolery raced to meet a cross from Kevin Van Veen and sneak the ball past Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

Despite the draw, the Liverpool legend has reserved praise for Sakala, who has managed 164 minutes in the top-flight since he joined the Scottish champions.

“He looked ready, he looked lively and he pulled off a great goal and looked dangerous throughout, but what he needs more is back up [from his fellow players], we need more people to support him upfront,” Gerrard told Rangers TV after the game.

On the performance of Aribo, who set up Sakala for the goal, Gerrard said: "No-one will remember. We're at Rangers. I thought Joe Aribo, Glen Kamara, Steven Davis, a lot of players from box to box today played some incredible stuff.”

On the overall outcome, Gerrard told Sky Sports: “It's two points dropped, there's no getting away from that. I think box to box today we played some outstanding stuff. We got there on numerous occasions but our last pass, our final cross and us taking our chances just weren't there today.

“We've only got ourselves to blame. When you don't get the second goal you lose that control and you've always got that chance to be vulnerable at the back.

“We've had these lessons before. That's the concern. We give the players the detail and the detail doesn't really change.

“We have to take ownership of it. That was a straightforward home win for me and we should be three points clear at the top. Instead, we're only one and that feels frustrating right now.”

While Aribo and Sakala featured for Rangers, two Nigerians - Leon Balogun and Calvin Bassey – did not feature for the side.

Original author: Dennis Mabuka
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Top Six: Mouth-watering Caf Champions League clashes

In light of the First Round matches, Goal pick out the six ties to watch in the Second Round
(Originally posted by Ed Dove)
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NXGN 2021: Shilky Devi - The teenaged sensation gearing up to take the India women's team by storm

The Manipuri defender wants to fulfill her dream by representing India in the upcoming AFC Women's Asian Cup...

Shilky Devi of Manipur is just 15 years old. Yet she has been summoned by India women's national team coach Thomas Dennerby to the ongoing preparatory camp for the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup.

The Swedish tactician has trained her before during his stint as the U17 women's coach and her performances in the youth team have impressed him to the extent that he had no qualms in allowing her to rub shoulders with seniors like Ashalata Devi and Sanju who are the mainstays of India's backline.  

The teenager has had an intriguing childhood. Unlike many other players, Shilky has been fortunate to have a supportive father in Hemam Suresh Singh, who is himself a football fan and has supported her daughter through thick and thin. 

"In my childhood, I used to play with boys as there were not many girls in my village who would play football. My father had no problems and he encouraged me a lot. In my hometown, there is one academy and I got enrolled there. But soon I moved to SAI (Sports Authority of India) Imphal and I trained there for one year," she narrated to Goal. 

However, she soon stepped into the professional setup and started playing for Langthabal Club in Manipur where she was trained by coach Surmala. She began as a striker and scoring goals was her bread and butter.

In the Sub Junior Girls National Football Championship 2018-19, she scored the winner against Odisha to help Manipur lift the title. Her goal scoring prowess continued in the international arena as well and the India U15 team rode on skipper Shilky’s hattrick to kick-start its 2018 SAFF U-15 Championship campaign by thumping Sri Lanka 12-0. In the semi-finals, she scored once again to beat Bhutan 1-0 and seal a berth in the final. She ended the tournament as the joint top-scorer and India won the championship. 

Shilky continued to improve in leaps and bounds and in the Tri-nation U17 international tournament in 2019 in India, which included Sweden and Thailand, she was adjudged as the most promising player. However, under Dennerby she has transformed herself into a defender and from scoring goals, she is mastering the art of stopping them in their tracks. 

"I loved to score goals and I would copy Neymar's celebration. But right now I like to follow Sergio Ramos since I am playing as a centre back," she said. With that, she is also adapting herself to the more rigorous training sessions of the senior national team. 

"I had earlier trained under Dennerby Sir, but there's a lot of difference in intensity in training with the senior team. We have to run a lot more and the drills are also more intense." 

Although she is learning the art of maintaining defensive shape, shooting at goal remains her favourite part of the training routine. Nevertheless, she is aware that to get selected for the final squad of the Asian Cup she has to mature as a defender.

"I have a lot to improve defensively. I need to work on the timings of my tackle and there are a few other areas as well. We have got good facilities here in Jharkhand like gym, good training pitch and I have to make the most of this opportunity. I need to get selected for the Indian team first. That's my primary aim," she stated with a steely resolve. 

Shilky was disappointed when the 2020 FIFA U17 World Cup was cancelled. But, the national team call-up has brought in a breath of fresh air to her aspirations and ambitions. Needless to say, that it is a monumental task for a teenager to break into the final 23-member squad of the Asian Cup, but given her career trajectory it would not be surprising if she makes the final cut.

Original author: Soham Mukherjee
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Del Piero, Trezeguet to Baggio: Who are the top 10 goalscorers in Juventus' history?

Cristiano Ronaldo scored 101 goals in 134 appearances for Juventus in just three seasons...

Juventus are the most successful club in Italy with 59 major trophies at the domestic level which includes 36 Serie A, 14 Coppa Italia and nine Coppa Italiana titles. They also won Serie B in the 2006-07 season. In Europe, the Bianconeri has won two Champions League, three Europa Leagues and two UEFA Super Cup trophies.

Legendary Italian forward Alessandro Del Piero is the all-time highest goalscorer in the club's history with 290 goals in 705 appearances over 19 years. With Juventus, Del Piero won six Serie A titles and a Champions League trophy. He is also the club's most-capped footballer of all time.

Former French international striker David Trezeguet, who played for 10 seasons at the club, is the fourth-highest goalscorer in the club's history with 171 goals to his name. Another Italian football legend Roberto Baggio also features in this list and is the ninth-highest goalscorer with 115 goals. Baggio donned the Juventus shirt from 1990 to 1995.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who had joined Juventus in 2018 at the age of 34 and left the club for Manchester United in 2021, has netted 101 goals in just three seasons appearing in 134 matches for the Italian side in all competitions. He boasts of an incredible 0.75 goal per game ratio in the Juventus jersey.

While Ronaldo fell short by just 12 goals and failed to make it into the top 10 highest goalscorers of Juventus, the Portuguese holds the club record of scoring the most goals (37) in a season. He also jointly holds the record with Felice Borel of scoring 31 goals, the most, in a single Serie A season which he achieved during the 2019-20 season.

Here, we take a look at the top 10 highest goalscorers for Juventus of all time.

Rank Player Goals Years
1 Alessandro Del Piero 290 1993–2012
2 Giampiero Boniperti 179 1946–1961
3 Roberto Bettega 178 1970–1983
4 David Trezeguet 171 2000–2010
5 Omar Sivori 167 1957–1965
6 Felice Placido Borel II 158 1932–1941 & 1942–1946
7 Pietro Anastasi 130 1968–1976
8 John Hansen 124 1948–1954
9 Roberto Baggio 115 1990–1995
10 Federico Munerati 113 1922–1933

 

Original author: Ritabrata Banerjee
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'I lost my job yesterday!' - Solskjaer not getting carried away with Man Utd title talk

The Red Devils boss is remaining level-headed despite his side's fine start in the Premier League

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would not be drawn on Manchester United’s title chances after their dramatic late win at West Ham, joking he had “lost his job yesterday” after their midweek disappointment in Europe.

Solskjaer went into Sunday’s match at London Stadium under a bit of pressure after a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Young Boys in the Champions League.

But the Red Devils bounced back with a drama-filled 2-1 victory to stay level on points with Chelsea and Liverpool at the top of Premier League.

Solskjaer not getting carried away

The scoreline from London Stadium only tells half the story, with Jesse Lingard snatching the winner in the 89th minute before David de Gea saved Mark Noble’s penalty deep into stoppage-time.

The dramatic nature of the victory allied with United’s fine start has raised hopes among the supporters of a Premier League title challenge.

Solskjaer, though, is remaining level-headed as he reminded reporters that some people were questioning his future a few days ago.

"You're not gonna get me on that one now," he replied when asked about his side’s title prospects. "It's five games into the season. I was probably down and out and lost my job yesterday. That's the way it is at Man United.

"We deserved three points. It's a hard place to come, here. Hopefully these points can make a difference. Let's see [about the title] when we get towards April and May."

‘We have to defend better’

Reflecting on the game itself, Solskjaer said there was room for improvement.

The Norwegian was particularly unhappy with his side’s defending for Said Benrahma's goal, which went in via a huge deflection off defender Raphael Varane.

"We have to defend better," Solskjaer added. "We have to make it harder to break us down. For their goal the structure was wrong for whatever reason and we'll have to work on it."

Solskjaer also confirmed that Lingard will start for the Red Devils when they face West Ham again in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

The England international is out of contract at the end of the season and has yet to commit to fresh terms, but Solskjaer insists he is happy at Old Trafford.

"Jesse was quite clear he wants to fight for his place and be part of a Man United team that is going places," Solskjaer added.

"I can't speak for Jesse now but he's really contributing. He'll play on Wednesday as I'll make a few changes."

Further reading

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Caf Champions League: Belouizdad dump Akwa United as Rivers United advance into next round

The Nigeria champions failed to build on their first-leg advantage as they conceded two late goals in Algeria on Sunday

Algerian Ligue 1 champions Belouizdad have eliminated Nigeria Professional Football League winners Akwa United from the Caf Champions League after a 2-0 win on Sunday.

The Belouizdadis showed resilience to overturn the one-goal deficit they suffered in Nigeria a week ago with two late goals at the Omar Hamadi Stadium.

Akwa United tried to resist the threats of their hosts as both teams settled for a goalless first 45 minutes but Hicham Khalfallah’s effort in the 72nd minute broke the deadlock in Algiers and Chemseddine Nessakh’s 84th-minute goal sealed their ticket for the next round.

A week ago, the Algerian champions suffered a late blow at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium after Friday Ubong gave Akwa United a 1-0 win with his 88th-minute goal.

Following the comeback win, Belouizdad now have a date with ASEC Mimosas in the second preliminary round after the Ivory Coast giants defeated Senegal's Teungueth 2-0 on aggregate.

Despite Akwa United’s elimination, Nigeria still boast of a representative in Caf’s premier club competition after Rivers United saw off Tanzania’s Young Africans on Sunday.

After bagging a crucial away advantage with a 1-0 win last weekend, Stanley Eguma's men waited until the 82nd minute for Uche Onuwasonaya to break the deadlock at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium.

The Pride of Rivers will now lock horns with Sudan's Al Hilal who drew Ethiopia’s Fasil Kenema 3-3, but they progressed on away goals.

The next round of the Champions League games are scheduled to take place between October 15-17 while the second leg will be from October 22-24.

“We beat them away, and everyone thought it was a push over, but it was very obvious here that they are a very strong team,” Eguma told PM News.

“But after the away game, I knew that the second leg will be very tough, and it was the reason we came back here to re-strategise.

“Our initial plan in the first half didn’t work, so we had to change strategy in the second half, when we discovered that they were playing more offensive.

“We have to seize the ball from them and had more ball possession before we were able to pierce their defence and get the lone goal in the 82nd minute,”

Original author: Taiye Taiwo
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Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Liverpool and Chelsea keeping an eye on Coman situation

Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and around the world
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Caf Confederation Cup: Bayelsa United to face CS Sfaxien after scaling Ashanti Golden Boys hurdle

The Yenagoa based outfit will face the Tunisian giants having breezed past their Guinean opponents on Sunday evening

Nigeria National League side Bayelsa United will lock horns with Tunisian outfit CS Sfaxien in the Caf Confederation Cup second round.

The Yenagoa based outfit overpowered AS Ashanti Golden Boys 4-2 at the Yenagoa Township Stadium on Sunday evening.

The encounter against the 2021 Guinee Coupe Nationale runners-up was settled in one leg owing to the backdrop of a reported coup d’etat attempt in Guinea.

Depreye Tebowe’s men reigned supreme thanks to a brace from Okardi Inikurogha as well as strikes from Favour Martins and Emo James.

The visitors got their goals through Moussa Keita who beat goalkeeper John Shaibu twice.

To reach the play-off round of the competition, Bayelsa must negotiate their way past the eight-time Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1 champions.

In a chat with Goal after defeating Ashanti Golden, goalkeeper Shaibu is bullish about his team’s chances of making it past the Tunisian giants.

“We thank God for today’s victory. It was not easy however we are proud that we got the job done,” the youngster told Goal.

“Due to the fact that the game would be decided in just one match, we had it at the back of our mind that Ashanti Gold would come out in full force to qualify and we prepared very well for that.

“Trust me, they are a very good team and I must commend them for their fight spirit but I must say a big thank you to my teammates for not giving up when it mattered the most.

“Having qualified for the next round, we will commence preparations immediately because our aim is to get to the semi-final of the Caf Confederation Cup at least.”

“We don’t really know anything about CF Sfaxien, however, based on their exploits in Africa, we know they are a very solid side,” he continued.

“Football is not played on the pages of the newspaper, so we are not scared to face them or any other teams in Africa.

“All we owe ourselves is to prepare very well for them while hoping that luck smiles at us both home and home. More importantly, Nigerians should keep supporting us as usual.”

Original author: Shina Oludare
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Pochettino defends controversial Messi substitution against Lyon

The Argentine superstar looked far from happy when he was brought off the pitch with 15 minutes still to play

Mauricio Pochettino has defended himself after raising eyebrows when he chose to substitute Lionel Messi during his side’s clash with Lyon on Sunday, with the Paris Saint-Germain boss saying "managers are there to make decisions".

Messi, who was making his home debut, looked frustrated when he was hauled off after 75 minutes having failed to score. He appeared to say something to Pochettino as he made his way to the bench.

The game was level at 1-1 at that stage, but Mauro Icardi popped up with a last-minute winner to earn PSG all three points.

What did Pochettino say about Messi?

Despite the dramatic nature of the victory, a lot of the focus after the game fell on Pochettino’s decision to take off Messi when his side still needed a goal to win the game.

The 34-year-old has yet to score for his new club, though he went close in the first half when his 25-yard free kick smacked the angle of post and bar with the goalkeeper beaten.

Asked why he decided to substitute his compatriot, Pochettino said: "Everyone knows we have great players on the team.

"We have a very rich squad of 35 players. Then we have to make choices.  With the 11 who must start. And then we have to make decisions during the game.

“Sometimes these choices pay off and sometimes they don't. But that's why we're standing in front of the bench thinking about what to do. And those decisions that you have to make, whether things go well or not. Whether you like it or not."

Poch praises PSG character

Pochettino’s decision to take off Messi would likely have faced more scrutiny had PSG failed to win, but deep into stoppage time Kylian Mbappe chipped an inviting cross that was headed home by Icardi.

PSG had earlier fallen behind at the start of the second half when Lucas Paqueta converted Karl Toko Ekambi's centring pass, but Neymar won a controversial penalty which he converted himself to haul them level.

The win ensures PSG maintain their 100 per cent start to the Ligue 1 campaign and moves them five points clear of Marseille at the top of the table.

It was also the perfect response to a frustrating draw against Club Brugge in their Champions League group stage opener.

“It's very positive for us," added Pochettino. "After our difficult game against Brugge, winning again was important.

"Lyon are a great team, with great players and they played well in the first half. After the goal we conceded, we had to show some character.

"We have to find the balance to provide strength to the team. We continue to work on it.

"We play every three days, we can't train a lot. And in this case, we have to look at a lot of videos to make adjustments. In particular, we must work to reduce the spaces between the lines. "

Next up for Pochettino, Messi and PSG is a Ligue 1 trip to Metz on Wednesday.

Further reading

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Onuachu and Paintsil complete Genk comeback win over Sint-Truiden

The Ghana and Nigeria stars came off the bench to turn around Sunday's league match in favour of John van den Brom's side

Joseph Paintsil and Paul Onuachu scored a goal each as Genk came from behind to beat Sint-Truiden 2-1 in a Belgian First Division A encounter on Sunday.

Onuachu turned up at the Stadion Stayen to rescue the Smurfs again, three days after he scored a stoppage-time goal that sealed their 1-0 win over Rapid Vienna in the Uefa Europa League.

The Super Eagles striker was introduced with Paintsil on the hour-mark with Genk trailing by 1-0 after they conceded a late goal through Yuma Suzuki in the first-half.

Onuachu replaced Nigerian descent Ike Ugbo for his sixth league appearances of the season while Paintsil came on for Luca Oyen.

The Ghana international scored the equaliser in the 73rd minute and Onuachu secured all three points for the visitors with his right-footed shot, 10 minutes later.

The Nigeria striker linked up with Japan’s Junya Ito again who assisted him to find the back of the net in Austria on Thursday and he has now scored at least a goal in each of his last three outings for the Smurfs.

Sunday’s winning goal was Onuachu’s 51st goal for Genk across all competitions since he moved to Belgium from Danish Superliga club Midtjylland in 2019.

Although they have a game in hand, Genk are third in the First Division A with 14 points from seven games and they trail leaders Club Brugge by three points.

Onuachu and his teammates will shift their attention to Wednesday's league trip to Royal Antwerp before they welcome RFC Seraing to the Luminus Arena on September 26.

Elsewhere in Liege, Cameroon international Collins Fai was shown a straight red card with six minutes left on the clock as nine-man Standard Liege suffered a 1-0 loss to Anderlecht.

Earlier the game, the hosts were dealt a blow after Ameen Al Dakhil was given marching orders in the seventh minute.

(Originally posted by Taiye Taiwo)
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Guardiola turns to young players as Manchester City are hit by injury crisis

Academy stars to be given their first-team opportunities as the Catalan coach aims to mastermind record fifth successive League Cup success

An injury crisis at Manchester City will see Pep Guardiola turn to the club’s youth academy for their Carabao Cup clash with League One opponents Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday.

City are aiming to lift the trophy for a record fifth successive season with their last defeat in the competition back in October 2016.

However, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Oleksander ZInchenko and Zack Steffen were all missing from Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Southampton while Guardiola is set to rest a host of senior players with difficult trips to Chelsea, Paris St-Germain and Liverpool coming immediately after the League Cup clash.

What’s been said?

“I don’t have any alternatives, we are going to play a few young players, some first-team players, but some will rest for the games we have ahead of us,” Guardiola said ahead of the third-round clash.

“A few players from the Academy are going to play because we have John, Ayme, Rodri, Oleks, all of them are injured. Ruben [Dias] and Joao [Cancelo] played all the minutes and I do not think they will be able to play in this game. We will see. 

“We don’t have four or five days [to prepare], we have three to make a good selection. It’s an opportunity for the Academy, that’s why they are there.”

Which young players could feature?

Highly-rated midfielder Cole Palmer made his Premier League debut in the 5-0 victory over Norwich earlier in the season and is expected to start.

With Laporte and Stones injured and Dias likely to be rested, centre-back Luke Mbete-Tabu could make his first-team debut, just three days after his 18th birthday.

Belgian midfielder Romeo Lavia could also make his first start with Rodri injured and Fernandinho rested ahead of the three crucial away matches that follow.

England under-18 international Josh Wilson-Esbrand was also on the bench against Southampton while striker Liam Delap, who scored for City at the same stage last season, is available after recovering from injury.

Any senior players?

Dias, Cancelo and Jack Grealish have started each of City’s six Premier League and Champions League matches so far and are likely to be rested ahead of a trio of important fixtures.

That is likely to give an opportunity to Phil Foden to take another step in his recovery from injury after making just two substitute appearances so far.

Raheem Sterling made just his second start of the season against Southampton in the centre-forward role and while City drew a blank, Guardiola was impressed by his movement in the role.

“He was so active in terms of movement, but football depends a lot on how good we do the process in build up and when it happens our strikers and wingers play better and our attacking midfielders play better,” the City boss said.

“We struggled a bit and that is why he didn’t get many balls but he was always dangerous and ready to try to do it."

Further reading:

(Originally posted by Jonathan Smith)
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FIFA 22: Rooney announced as newest FUT icon

The former Manchester United and Everton star joins as the latest legendary player to be part of EA Sports' popular Ultimate Team mode

Wayne Rooney is the latest icon announced for FIFA Ultimate Team in FIFA 22.

The former Manchester United and Everton star will receive playable cards in FUT representing different stages of his career. He is the fourth icon addition to this year's EA Sports title.

The annual football video game has beefed up its roster of legendary players in recent years, and for FIFA 22, it will also include a FIFA Heroes category.

Wayne Rooney announced as FIFA 22 icon

EA Sports unveiled the Premier League legend on Sunday with a video that pays tribute to his iconic derby bicycle kick against Manchester City.

Rooney's three cards are rated 91, 88 and 86.

What does it mean to be a FUT icon?

In addition to being some of the highest-rated players in the game, FUT icons are special because they have chemistry links to players from any league. They are the only FIFA Ultimate Team players who aren't penalised for playing alongside players in different divisions.

Who are the new FIFA 22 Ultimate Team icons?

So far, Rooney is joined by Robin van Persie, Iker Casillas and Cafu as new icon additions to the game.

Further reading

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‘We didn’t have luck on our side’ – Leicester City’s Rodgers rues Ndidi and Lookman’s disallowed goals

The African stars found the back of the net in the second-half, but their efforts did not count after VAR reviews

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers said his team were unlucky after they had two goals disallowed in their 2-1 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday.

Ademola Lookman and Wilfred Ndidi found the back of the net in the 67th and 85th minutes respectively, but they were denied for offside after referee Stuart Attwell checked the VAR on both occasions.

Leicester City were trailing 2-1 when Lookman slotted home off Ryan Bertrand's corner-kick but it was ruled out because Harvey Barnes was in an offside position.

With just five minutes left on the clock, Ndidi thought he had rescued a point for the visitors at the Amex Stadium with his header, but it was disallowed again because of Barnes who was offside.

The result was Leicester City's second straight loss in the English top-flight and Rodgers analysed the unfortunate decisions to Sky Sports: "I can see a little bit on Ade's [Lookman] one where Barnes' run is maybe blocking him a bit - the 'keeper is maybe thinking Jannik is going to head it so it catches him by surprise. I think he can still see the ball but I can understand that one, that Barnes is maybe half-blocking him.

"But for Wilf's goal, 'Barnsey' is moving out; everything's in front of the goalkeeper - he can see it. It's a great leap, a great header and at no time was the 'keeper ever blocked from viewing it. We didn't have the luck on our side and that's ultimately cost us. I don't think there's any doubt that we should have had at least one of those as a goal."

On the other hand, Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter described the disallowed goals as luck for his team who suffered similar fate last season.

"I haven't watched them back but the offside ones felt tight to me,” Potter said.

“That's life sometimes. There were times when margins didn't go our way last season. It's part of football unfortunately but we know we've had a bit of luck to get the three points."

Brighton are fourth in the Premier League table with 12 points after five matches while the Foxes sit in the 12th spot with six points after the same number of matches.

Original author: Taiye Taiwo
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Nuno: A lot of things went wrong for Tottenham against Chelsea

Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo said "a lot of things went wrong" in his side's second-half meltdown against Chelsea on Sunday.

The Blues scored all of their goals in a 3-0 victory in the final 45 minutes as Spurs "went to their limits" trying to slow the reigning European champions. Thiago Silva, N'Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger were responsible for the scoring in the derby romp.

Nuno has now seen his team lose consecutive matches by the same scoreline after a three-game winning streak to begin the campaign.

What has been said?

"A lot of things went wrong," Nuno told BBC. "Let's start with the first half - I think it was a good game, competitive. We were on the the front foot, started pressing high, creating problems and had chances.

"In the second half, the set piece and goal changes the game. Then it becomes much harder, the game totally changed and Chelsea took control and were the better team in the second half.

"It's difficult, but I'm proud of the first half and of all the game because we had troubles in team and the players went to their limits." 

"We knew through the game that we would have problems [with fatigue], but the boys went and tried find solutions and tried to give energy with the subs. But it was a tough opponent in front of us. "

We know we have a lot of things to improve and are working to improve."

Next up for slumping Spurs

Tottenham visit Arsenal in another tense Premier League rivalry match next Sunday. The London clubs have trended in opposite directions, with Spurs slumping after a positive start to the season and the Gunners recovering from an abysmal opening three weeks to pick up momentum.

Before the derby, however, Nuno's men must face Wolves on Wednesday in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

Further reading

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