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Benfica sink Barcelona 3-0 to bottom of Group E, Bayern win 5-0

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Barcelona have suffered a second defeat in two games and from now on can’t afford any more slip-ups if they are to progress from Champions League Group E. Ronald Koeman’s former club, Benfica, took an early lead and although the Catalans had a host of opportunities to get back into the game, the Portuguese side were eventually able to build on that lead in the second half.

The result leaves Barça bottom of the group for the time being, but there’s a lot more football to be played, beginning with back-to-back games with Dynamo Kyiv on October 20 and November 2.

Buoyed by an infectious atmosphere inside the Stadium of Light, the home side flew at Barça and Darwin Nuñez fired them into the lead after just two minutes. A finely crafted and finished goal by the Uruguayan, but anything but the start that Barça needed.

The blaugrana response was immediate. For all the remainder of the first half the big plays were all in the direction of the Portuguese goal and it is difficult to fathom how not one of them ended with the ball in the back of the net.

Frenkie de Jong, on the night of his 100th appearance for the club, set up his compatriot and namesake Luuk twice to no avail. Frenkie had a couple of pops of his own and there were fine chances for Pedri and Memphis too, but Barça were still trailing at the break.

That wasn’t for lack of chances, but none of them had hit the target, and sadly that statistic wasn’t going to change after the break.

Other than the goal, Benfica may have battled hard and well to keep the Catalans at bay, but they’d created very little threat of their own. They found new verve in the second half and the closest of a number of chances in quick succession came when Nuñez caught Ter Stegen well off his line and ended up hitting the post.

That had been a let-off, but on 68 minutes Benfica did stretch their lead. Barça had lacking their tight shape of the first half and an unmarked Rafa Silva was able to convert the rebound after a previous effort had been cleared.

And there was further woe ten minutes later when Sergiño Dest handled in the area and Darwin Nuñez poked the penalty home. Benfica had only scored once in their last six meetings with Barça, but tonight they had three.

Meanwhile, for Barça it was the first time they had lost their first two games of a European campaign since losing twice to FC Porto in 1972.

To rub salt into the wounds, Barça played the final minutes with ten men after Eric Garcia was red-carded, but by that stage the game was already looking like a lost cause.

Bayern win

In the other game in Group E, Bayern Munich thrashed Dynamo 5-0, with Lewandowski scoring twice in the first half, and Gnarby, Sane and Choupo-Moting adding three more in the second. The result leaves the Germans flying high with six points, Benfica have four, Dynamo one and Barça none.

 

 

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Oshoala nominated for 2022 Ballon d’Or

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Asisat Oshoala

Super Falcons forward player, Asisat Oshoala has been nominated for the 2022 Women’s Ballon d’Or player of the year award on Friday, Saturday PUNCH reports.

Her exploits with FC Barcelona femeni earned her a place on the 20-woman shortlist.

In July, Oshoala was awarded the African Women’s Player of the Year for the fifth time, breaking her own achievement and becoming the first person to win the CAF award five times.

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Her remarkable form which saw her produce 20 goals in 19 appearances saw her become the first African player to win the Pichichi ward in Spain despite being injured for a large part of the season (three months).

She sustained an injury during Nigeria’s opening game against South Africa at the 2022 WAFCON and Super Falcons ended the competition in fourth place.

Oshoala was nominated alongside 19 other players including.

The other nominees for the 2022 Women’s Ballon d’Or are Selma Bacha, Fridolina Rolfo, Vivianne Miedema, Lucy Bronze, Sam Kerr, Christiane Endler, Lena Oberdorf, Kadidiatou Diani, Catarina Macario, Alexia Putellas, Alexandra Popp, Aitana Bonmatí, Wendie Renard, Alex Morgan,  Beth Mead, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Millie Bright, Trinity Rodman and Ada Hegerberg.

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Messi’s Name Absent As Ballon d’Or 2022 Releases 30-Man Nominees

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Lionel Messi

A 30-man shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or award has been announced today, Friday, 12 August 2022.

This was confirmed by the organizers of the award, via their website today.

It would be recalled that Lionel Messi, who currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, won the Ballon d’Or last year after beating the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Jorginho and Karim Benzema.

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Below are the nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or:

Thibaut Courtois (BEL, Real Madrid), Rafael Leao (POR, AC Milan), Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool), Joshua Kimmich (GER, Bayern Munich), Christopher Nkunku (FRA, RB Leipzig), Trent Alexander-Arnold (ANG, Liverpool), Robert Lewandowski (POL, Bayern Munich then FC Barcelona), Bernardo Silva (POR, Manchester City),Vinicius Junior (BRE, Real Madrid), Luis Diaz (COL, FC Porto then Liverpool), Karim Benzema (FRA, Real Madrid), Fabinho (BRE, Liverpool), Riyad Mahrez (ALG, Manchester City), Heung-min Son (CDS, Tottenham), Casemiro (BRE, Real Madrid), Phil Foden (ENG, Manchester City), Harry Kane (ENG, Tottenham), Sadio Mané (SEN, Liverpool then Bayern Munich), Darwin Nunez (URU, Benfica then Liverpool), Mike Maignan (FRA, AC Milan), Kevin De Bruyne (BEL, Manchester City), Sébastien Haller (CIV, Ajax then Borussia Dortmund), Luka Modric (CRO, Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Manchester United), Antonio Rüdiger (GER, Chelsea then Real Madrid), Joao Cancelo (POR, Manchester City), Erling Haaland (NOR, Borussia Dortmund then Manchester City), Kylian Mbappé (FRA, PSG), Virgil Van Dijk (HOL, Liverpool) and Dusan Vlahovic (SER, Fiorentina then Juventus).

NPO

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Joshua dangerous in training ahead Usyk rematch

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Two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua arrived early in Jeddah to put the finishing touches on his training for the title rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in eight days, and the results are clear to see in a video posted on Thursday.

Eleven months after their first clash in London, Joshua and Usyk are now just eight days away from their highly anticipated rematch in Saudi Arabia.

They went head-to-head in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, with the Ukrainian producing an upset to claim the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts.

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Joshua will look to reclaim the belts and become a three-time unified heavyweight champion of the world, and he looks in fine shape in the latest released footage of his training.

After cutting weight and looking to outbox Usyk in their first fight, Joshua looks to have gained more and improved his power ahead of the rematch.

Since the loss last September, Joshua parted with long-term coach Rob McCracken and instead sided with new coach Robert Garcia.

Garcia criticised AJ’s game plan in the first fight, and is keen for his new fighter to use his superior physique to beat Usyk the second time around.

“When you have somebody that’s a lot smaller than you and you have the weight, height, reach and power advantages then take advantage of that,” said Garcia.

“It seemed like they had a different game plan.

“I wouldn’t even want to say it was a ‘game plan’, maybe it was just the wrong instructions. Anthony is the type of fighter who listens to his corner so he did what he was told and it was totally wrong.”

By the looks of Joshua’s build in his training footage, it seems the Watford-born fighter has taken on board the advice from his new coach.

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