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Angry fans destroy Abuja pitch, technical area

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…as Ghana send Eagles out of World Cup race

Irate fans invaded the main bowl of the Moshood Abiola Stadium destroying everything in sight immediately after Nigeria’s 1-1 draw against Ghana on Tuesday, which ended the Super Eagles dream of reaching a seventh World Cup appearance in Qatar in November.

Ghana qualified for the World Cup thanks to the away goal rule after the first leg at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi ended goalless.

Eagles coach Austin Eguavoen made four changes to the team that earned a goalless draw at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi Friday, with Ademola Lookman on for Moses Simon, while Dennis Simon replaced the injured Samuel Chukwueze, Frank Onyeka taking the place of Kelechi Iheanacho and Calvin Bassey made his full debut ahead of Zaidu Sanusi.

Despite the Eagles bright start in front of a fully packed 60,000 capacity Abuja stadium, the Black Stars took the lead through captain Thomas Partey in the 11th minute, the Arsenal midfielder unleashing a fierce low drive, which squeezed through the diving Francis Uzoho’s hands.

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Nigeria began to mount pressure on their opponents immediately after going behind and began to carve out chances in search of the equaliser.

The three-time African champions had a penalty disallowed in Kumasi by VAR after the referee had initially blew for a penalty, but in the second leg on Tuesday, they were rewarded, after Ademola Lookman was brought down inside the box.

Captain William Troost-Ekong converted the resultant penalty kick, coolly sending goalkeeper Joseph Wollacott the wrong way to draw level in the 22nd minute and send home fans at the packed stadium into a frenzy.

Striker Victor Osimhen thought he had given the Eagles the lead in the 36th minute, after the Napoli man met a long range pass from Leon Balogun near the halfway line and bullied his way past his markers and Wollacott, but VAR ruled the goal for offside.

The Eagles put virtually every foot wrong thereafter and lacked organisation, as coach Austin Eguavoen and his assistants looked helplessly on from the bench.

Fans, however, vented their anger on the celebrating Black Stars players, pelting them with water bottles until they found a way out of the newly renovated pitch.

After chasing the Ghanaians off, they then started pulling the grass as well as destroying the technical area and breaking the glass.

Efforts by security operatives to dispatch the mob by firing teargas canisters was in vain, as the fans wreaked more havoc, pelting the VIP stand from pitch side with different objects.

PUNCH

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Tyson Fury beats Chisora, retains WBC heavyweight title

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Britain’s Tyson Fury retained his World Boxing Council heavyweight title with a decisive win over British rival Derek Chisora on Saturday.

Fury, unbeaten as a professional, dominated the fight from the start, and with Chisora’s eyes starting to close, referee Victor Loughlin stopped the fight shortly before the end of the 10th round at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 34-year-old now boasts a record of 33 wins from 34 fights with one draw.

Fury’s latest win also paved the way for a unification bout with Oleksandr Usyk, the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion.

Usyk was at ringside on Saturday as he returned to the venue where he deprived Britain’s Anthony Joshua of all those titles in September last year before defeating him again in Jeddah this July.

Soon after Fury’s hand was raised in victory, he was involved in a ringside face-off with Usyk with only the ropes separating him from the Ukrainian.

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Fear over Pele’s health, moved to ‘end-of-life care’ ward

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Football legend Pele has been moved to a palliative or end-of-life care’ ward in the hospital, as his body is said to no longer respond to chemotherapy in the fight against bowel cancer.

Daily Mail reported from Brazil indicated that the 82-year-old legend, who went into hospital last week, is receiving measures to relieve pain at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo.

He was admitted to the hospital last Tuesday after suffering from ‘general swelling’ and ‘heart failure.’

An update on Thursday said the football icon was in a ‘stable’ condition in the hospital with his daughter Kely insisting there was ‘no cause for alarm.’

However, a report by Folha de Sao Paulo on Saturday said “Pele is not responding any longer to the chemotherapy treatment he has been undergoing since last September to treat his bowel cancer”.

Palliative care is for patients with potentially life-threatening diseases or conditions.

Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe and Rivaldo have sent messages of support to Brazil Pele over his worsening health condition.

 

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Germany Exit Qatar Despite 4 – 2 Win Over Costa Rica

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The Germans have been knocked out of the World Cup in the group stage for a second consecutive time despite a 4-2 win over Costa Rica on Thursday.

This was after the four-times champions were consigned to third place in the Group E following Japan’s victory over Spain.

Costa Rica deployed a five-man backline but Germany still found a way through in the 10th minute when David Raum made a cross that was headed home by Serge Gnabry.

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This restarted the game quickly fearing goal difference being a factor.

But after learning that Japan were leading Spain in the other group game, Germany appeared to have  let their guard down with Costa Rica scoring  twice with Yeltsin Tejeda arriving late to score the first before Juan Pablo Vargas bundled a second over the line.

Germany’s Kai Havertz grabbed a brace after coming on as a substitute to seal the three points before Niclas Fuellkrug added a fourth late in the game but the final results left Japan at the top of the group while Spain finished second having scored more goals than Germany.

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