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Barcelona crash out of Europa, beaten by Frankfurt 3-2

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Eintracht Frankfurt stunned Barcelona with a dramatic victory at the Nou Camp to set up a Europa League semi-final against West Ham.

After the first leg had finished 1-1, the German side stormed into a 3-0 lead in the second and looked in control before two late goals for Barcelona.

Filip Kostic’s penalty and Rafael Borre’s superb strike were followed by another for Kostic after the break.

But Sergio Busquets’ effort and Memphis Depay’s penalty set up a tense finish.

Frankfurt defender Evan Ndicka was also sent off for a second yellow card for what looked a soft foul on Luuk de Jong for the spot-kick, with nine minutes added on following a VAR malfunction.

But Frankfurt, who sit ninth in the Bundesliga and won this competition in its previous guise in 1980, saw out a memorable victory to the delight of their almost 30,000 travelling fans.

Barcelona, on a superb run since the arrival of Xavi, did not know how to cope with the Bundesliga outfit’s clinical counter-attacks and Frankfurt could have had more.

Kostic slotted the first from the spot following a foul by Eric Garcia but the goal of the game came from Borre, who thundered a strike into the roof of the net from distance.

The hosts had chances of their own and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed over in the first half before failing to connect with Ousmane Dembele’s low cross in the second.

Busquets saw an initial effort ruled out for offside in added time before sparking a dramatic finish with a well-taken goal, but the hosts ran out of time after Depay’s penalty just crept over the line.

It means Frankfurt can look forward to a semi-final against David Moyes’ Hammers.

BBC Sport

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FG redeems 28-year pledge to Westerhof

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The Federal Government has redeemed its pledge to one of the 1994 Super Eagles Team members 28 years after by handing over the keys of a 3-bedroom bungalow to Mr Clemence Westerhof, former Coach of the team.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola handed over the keys to Westerhof at the prototype housing estate along Gwagwalada-Kuje road, on Wednesday in Abuja.

He was represented by Mr Solomon Labafilo, Director, Department of Public Buildings and Housing.

Fashola said that the government came up with the scheme called prototype housing scheme in Lagos, Abuja, Port-harcourt and other parts of the country.

“The programme was started in 2014 and we have phases I and II while the total houses completed and occupied are 206.

“The phase II is where the allocations for the two coaches were made, Jo Bonfrere has house 1A and Clemens Westehof has unit 1B,” Fashola said.

Fashola said government was committed to rewardiing citizens who made sacrifices to project the good image of the country.

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“It will interest you to know that government’s pledge to the 1994 Super Eagles was not fulfilled until when President Muhammadu Buhari approved that all the members be handed over their houses.

“Westehof was allocated his in the prototype housing scheme here in Gwagwalada and other beneficiaries were allocated their homes in the respective states of their choice in the National Housing Programme estates across the country.

“We handed over keys and Certificate of Occupancy today to former coach of the Nigeria Super Eagles who led the 1994 Team, Clemens Westehof.

“This is to show government’s resolve to ensure that Nigerians, irrespective of time, who made sacrifices to project the good image of the country are recognised and encouraged to keep working for the corporate benefit of all.

“We have entered a season of completion and handover of keys to beneficiaries in 35 states and the FCT to Nigerians who have successfully subscribed for houses built under the National Housing Programme (NHP) through the ministry’s website: Https:nhp.worksand housing.gov.ng.

Fashola said the web-portal was launched on Nov. 12, 2021, adding that over 13,000 applications had been received from Nigerians who have created personal account profiles on the website.

The minister, therefore, called on all Nigerians to avail themselves with the opportunity of owning a house in the 35 states and FCT that have been completed except for Lagos State.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Mr Bashir Alkali, represented by Mrs Lucy Uzodimma, said the ministry was able to fulfill the pledge by the government with the completion of the National Housing Programme estates in 35 states and the FCT.

Alkali said: “Nigerians should be aware that other members who had collected their houses did so in the National Housing Programme sites across the country.

“The philosophy behind the NHP is the provision of pilot scheme that is affordable, accessible and acceptable as contained in the National Housing Policy.

“The approach to the design and use of materials take cognisance of the cultural and climatic peculiarities of the region’s while responding also to the tenets of Building Energy and Efficiency Code (BEEC).”

Westehof, represented by Mrs Charity Biwet commended the Federal Government for fulfilling its promise after so many years, adding, ”it was something noteworthy.

“I stand in here with great joy to receive these keys to this beautiful edifice, I love the building and am sure the owner will love it.

“It is a promise kept and it is really encouraging to see that efforts are being recognised and rewarded. We appreciate this and I will convey the goodwill of the president and the minister to Mr Westehof.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the other beneficiaries who had since collected their keys and title documents to their homes were: Alloy Agu, Uche Okafor, Emmanuel Amunike and Thompson Oliha.

Others were: Peter Rufai, Efan Ekoku, Isaac Semitojo and Austin Eguavoen, among others.

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Ronaldo denies Saudi Arabia transfer deal, rejects new offer from Australia

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has denied reports linking him with a potential move to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Nassr on a lucrative offer worth £173million-a-year.

The Portuguese star, who came off the bench in Portugal’s 6-1 thumping of Switzerland, said after the match that the report is untrue.

Ronaldo is a free agent after reaching a mutual agreement with Manchester United to terminate his contract following his explosive interview with journalist, Piers Morgan.

This has intensified interest from clubs with reports rife in the media recently of a deal reached with Al-Nassr that would see the 37-year-old forward ply his trade in the Middle East.

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“No, that is not true – not true,” Ronaldo said.

The five-time Ballon d’Or has also rejected a move to join a club in Australia (A-League).

A-League chief Danny Townsend disclosed the plans to lure Ronaldo to Australia shortly after the 37-year-old’s Manchester United exit but has now confirmed that the Portugal captain has knocked back their offer.

“We had interesting discussions, and there was genuine interest, but it’s clear he has other priorities at this stage,” Townsend told the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Ramos bags hat-trick as Portugal reach W’Cup quarter-finals

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Goncalo Ramos justified the shock decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo by scoring a hat-trick on his full debut as Portugal demolished Switzerland 6-1 on Tuesday to power into the World Cup quarter-finals.

The 21-year-old Ramos, who started instead of Ronaldo, became the youngest player to strike three times in a World Cup knockout match since Pele in 1958.

Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro and Rafael Leao were also on target for a rampant Portugal, who booked a showdown with Morocco on Saturday for a place in the last four in Qatar.

Ronaldo, 37 and now without a club after his departure from Manchester United, has hogged the headlines during the tournament while looking a shadow of his former self.

The only man to score at five World Cups, Ronaldo was left out by coach Fernando Santos against the Swiss following his angry response to being substituted in the last group game.

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It was a bold call to omit a player with a record 118 international goals in favour of giving a full debut to Ramos, the Benfica striker who had played just 33 minutes across three previous appearances.

But it took just 17 minutes for Ramos to reward Santos’ faith, and to achieve something Ronaldo has never done — score in a World Cup knockout game.

Joao Felix clipped delicately into the feet of Ramos, who quickly swivelled past Fabian Schaer and rifled into the roof of the net past a stunned Yann Sommer.

Otavio, who returned to the Portugal midfield after injury in their opening match, shot straight at Sommer before Ramos did likewise moments later.

Xherdan Shaqiri drew a fingertip stop from Diogo Costa with a dipping free-kick from distance, but Portugal soon had their second.

Bruno Fernandes whipped in a corner and the 39-year-old Pepe towered above the Swiss defence to powerfully head home.

Diogo Dalot hacked Remo Freuler’s header off the line after Diogo Costa failed to properly deal with a cross, but the Swiss simply had no answers against an irresistible Portugal.

Ramos turned in his second from close range six minutes into the second half from Dalot’s cross down the right.

He then turned provider by playing in Guerreiro to lash in another just four minutes later as the Swiss defence was ruthlessly ripped apart.

It was also Ramos who inadvertently glanced a corner towards Manuel Akanji at the far post as the Manchester City centre-back pulled one back for Switzerland.

Ramos completed his treble after more outstanding work from Felix, nonchalantly dinking over Sommer with one of his final touches before making way for Ronaldo.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s introduction elicited the biggest roar of the night. Ronaldo did have the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for a clear offside.

Leao capped off a sensational Portugal performance with a terrific curling strike in stoppage time.

AFP

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