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Central Africa Shock Eagles In Lagos To Record 1st Win In 3 Years

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles suffered a shocking 1-0 defeat to the Central African Republic in their third group C match of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying race at the Teslim Balogun Stadium Lagos on Thursday.

Kari Namnganda took advantage of a miscalculation between William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun to fire a shot past helpless Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and gave the Central African country their first victory in three years.

The Gernot Rohr-led star studded Eagles struggled to break their visitors’ defensive organisation all through the encounter with a lot of extremely poor final balls and they were made to pay for it in the 90th minute as CAR converted their only shot on target in the match.

Following the lack of cutting edge in the first half, Gernot Rohr made a tactical change with Union Berlin striker Taiwo Awoniyi replacing Iheanacho immediately after the break.

It was Awoniyi’s debut outing for the Super Eagles and he came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 53rd minute after Osimhen’s shot struck the post but his effort was off target.

Later in the encounter, Ahmed Musa and Bordeaux winger Samuel Kalu replaced Joe Aribo and Moses Simon respectively but their impacts were not enough to rescue the three time African champions.

Despite the defeat to CAR in Lagos, Super Eagles remained at the top of group C with six points after three games while Central African Republic moved up to the third spot with four points from the same number of games. Cape Verde also has four points following their 2-1 defeat of Liberia on Thursday. The Lone Star of Liberia occupied the bottom table with three points.

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Patrice Evra: I’m sick of giving the Ballon D’or to Messi

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Patrice Evra has admitted that he is tired of watching Lionel Messi win the Ballon d’Or, and the current Paris Saint-Germain star has done it six times in his career.

This year’s 2021 Ballon d’Or race looks more open than it used to be, with Evra even named Chelsea team N’Golo Kante and Jorginho as winners who should be better than Leo Messi.

“In my opinion, this Ballon d’Or belongs to Kante or Jorginho … I’m sick of giving it to Messi,” Evra said.

“What did you win last year? All right, Copa America and Argentina. What did you do with Barcelona?”

Competing with Leo Messi, Kante, and Jorginho in the Ballon d’Or race are the likes of Karim Benzema, Robert Lewandowski, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Man U need to change something’ after losing 4-2 at Leicester – Pogba

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Leicester ended their opponents’ 29-game unbeaten run away from home to increase the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba suggested that his side lack maturity and experience as they were beaten 4-2 in the Premier League at Leicester.

Pogba has declared something needs to change at Manchester United following their 4-2 Premier League defeat to Leicester City. “We need to find something, we need to change something.”

The Frenchman played the entirety of United’s latest defeat that ended their 29-game unbeaten run away from home.

The defeat leaves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under further scrutiny as United’s own winless run extends to three games as they continue to look less than the sum of their expensive parts.

“To be honest, we’ve been having this kind of game for a long time and we haven’t found the problem,” Pogba said.

“We need to find what’s the problem, to concede easy goals, stupid goals, when we know those games where we play on this pitch, the fans are going to push, put pressure on us and everything. We need to be more mature, I think. We need to play with more experience, arrogance in a good way. We have to take the ball and play our football.

 

“But now we have to find what’s the key of these games that we lose. Because I think we deserved to lose today.

 

“We need to find something, we need to change something. I don’t know if the mindset of all of us, the players, when we start… we really don’t know. It’s frustrating because it’s something we don’t understand and we have to find that very fast because if you want to compete and you want to win the title, those games you have to win, even though they are very hard and we’re playing away.

 

“You need to fight their game, you need to find the right mentality, the right tactic to win those games. That’s my thought. We have time to think about it and then all together, we have to stick together and find the problem.”

 

Ole: I made bad decisions

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that he “probably made a couple of bad decisions” with his team selection

Harry Maguire made a surprise return against his former club after recovering from injury, while Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the line-up after being rested against Everton. Yet it was the central midfield area where Manchester United struggled as Pogba and Nemanja Matic were badly overrun at times.

 

Solskjaer admitted he made errors with the way his team set up.

 

“The four goals we conceded were very poor,” he told Sky Sports.

 

“When you concede goals like that in the way we did, we don’t deserve to continue that run. Definitely the performance was very below-par and not good enough. We got a very good goal with Mason and we were knocking on the door to get another one; sloppy play and we concede a goal.

 

“In the second half, it was end-to-end but they created more chances and conceding at set-pieces was disappointing. Conceding seconds after the equaliser shouldn’t happen. I picked the team; Harry showed no reaction. I hold my hand up if it doesn’t work out and sometimes it doesn’t.

“When you concede four, I probably made a couple of bad decisions.”

Merse: Solskjaer in a spot of bother

Paul Merson speaking on Soccer Saturday, said, “I think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in a spot of bother.

“I said before the game if that he can get through November still in the job, then they would have every chance of winning the league because they have some shocking fixtures – and this was the start of it and they have been beaten. Leicester thoroughly deserved it too.

“Manchester United are struggling. I’ve said that Arsenal could finish above them in the top four and I haven’t changed my mind.

 

“They are individuals, they are not a team. They haven’t got legs all around the pitch and because Ronaldo can’t go in behind defences, the other teams are all pushing up on them and that means Pogba doesn’t get time on the ball. For me, Solskjaer is under severe pressure.”

 

Manchester United’s gruelling run

Manchester United face a formidable set of fixtures in October and November as they look to keep pace in the Premier League and ensure Champions League qualification, with Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and the Manchester derby looming domestically.

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Balogun to critics: You can’t criticise me for not trying

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Leon Balogun

Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun has defended his commitment to the Nigeria national side after recent criticisms directed at him over his performances.

The Rangers Glasgow’s defender has come under scathing criticisms following the country’s defeat to Central African Republic during their 2022 World Cup qualifier at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos last Thursday.

The centre-back was held responsible for the late goal conceded against the minnows following a mix-up with his defensive partner William Troost-Ekong, allowing CAR forward Karl Namnganda through on goal before slotting past Francis Uzoho, in goal for the Eagles.

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However, the 33-year-old redeemed himself by scoring against CAR in the second game of the double-header clash in Douala, Cameroon – his first strike for Nigeria since he made his debut in 2014.

In an interview with ESPN, the centre-back said he had always given 100 per cent for Nigeria.

You’ve seen me play for a few years now. And you know that when I step onto the pitch I always give 100 per cent and I am always passionate,” Balogun said.

“Whether I am having a good performance or a bad performance, you can never actually criticise me for not trying. That is what I always give, that is the least I can do.”

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