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Iwobi, Eze listed among EPL’s most improved players

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Alex Iwobi

Super Eagles midfielder, Alex Iwobi, has been listed among Premier League’s most-improved players in the ongoing season, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Other players listed among Iwobi are Miguel Almiron, Eric Dier, Diogo Dalot, Joelinton, Ivan Toney, Fabian Schar, Gabriel Martinelli, Eberechi Eze and Granit Xhaka.

Formerly ostracised by Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez at Goodison Park, Iwobi appeared to have amounted to nothing more than a utility player at Everton.

The Nigerian had managed only four Premier League goals in three seasons having joined from Arsenal as a forward player in a deal worth £34m including add-ons.

This season, however, Iwobi has looked a player reborn under Lampard. Indeed, it is form carrying over from the end of the last campaign when he was one of the standout performers in the club’s march to safety.

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But since earning regular starts under Frank Lampard, the Nigerian has emerged as a pivotal part of the Toffees’ system this season, offering an abundance of energy in midfield and has been involved in over 50 per cent of the Toffees goals so far.

He has also racked up five assists in the currently campaign.

No longer a winger or playmaker, Iwobi is now viewed as a hard-working, box-to-box midfielder under Lampard and has helped Everton climb to 11th in the table.

Iwobi’s hard-working role in the engine room has helped boost Everton’s defensive record

The 26-year-old, who is tasked with breaking up play and tracking runners in midfield, has contributed to the Toffees’ superb defensive record so far this season, which is the best among teams outside the top five (Arsenal, Man City, Spurs, Newcastle and Chelsea).

Attributing Iwobi’s resurgence to Lampard’s belief in him, team-mate Andros Townsend said: ‘Rafa used to have this fitness test and Alex was always the fittest. But he didn’t believe it.

“It was only when Frank Lampard came in and said “I believe in you”. Now you’re starting to see Alex as the specimen he is.”

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Super Falcons beat Cameroon in Women’s Olympic qualifier

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Super Falcons beat Cameroon in Women’s Olympic qualifier

The Super Falcons of Nigeria on Monday defeated the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon by a lone goal in the second leg of their Olympic qualifier played in Abuja.

The first leg had ended goalless in Yaoundé, Cameroon last week.

The Falcons have by this victory qualified for the next round.

Esther Okoronkwo’s 14th minute strike gave the Nigerian women the victory and moved to the fourth round of the CAF Women’s Olympic qualifier where they will face the winner between South Africa and Tanzania in April.

At the match played at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja, Okoronkwo broke the deadlock to hand the Falcons an early lead from a goalmouth scramble off Jennifer Echegini’s assist.

Echegini almost doubled the lead for Nigeria but the Cameroonian goalkeeper denied her from close range in the 31st minute.

In the 37th minute, Rasheedat Ajibade thought she had slotted in the second goal but got stopped by the Cameroonian goalkeeper’s point-blank save.

Two minutes later, Ashleigh Plumptre set up Okoronkwo with a long pass but the latter blasted the ball over the bar from close range.

In the 86th minute, Aboudi Onguene headed the ball from close range but goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie denied her.

One minute into added time, Cameroon’s Enganemben Annie got sent off for an awful conduct.

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Nigerian footballer slumps, confirmed dead during club competition

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Olofin Moses, popularly known as Evra

Nigerian footballer slumps, confirmed dead during club competition

Olofin Moses, popularly known as Evra, a player with Jordan FC Ogbomoso slumped and died while featuring in a match between his club and Day Bright FC.

An eyewitness revealed that during the Coaches Cup competition, the late footballer was not with the ball and not in contact with any of the players when he slumped and efforts to revive him proved abortive.

He was confirmed dead at Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital LAUTECHTH and his body has been deposited at a morgue.

Chairman NFCA Ogbomoso Council, Alhaji Bashiru Abdulazeez, in a statement, said the association has decided to Suspend all football activities in the town until further notice.

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“Coaches Cup has been suspended and no training activities in all our clubs until Wednesday 28th February to mourn the departed soul.” He said

His coach, Ayoola Ayantoye David, popularly known as FÉHLÉ” while confirming the incident said “Moses was not sick, because we don’t allow sick players to feature in any match, when he came in this afternoon he was hale and hearty, he was even joking with other players, the match was less than 10 minutes when the sad incident happened.

He was alone and suddenly we saw him going down, efforts to revive him did not yield, His demise is a personal and great loss to me because he was a devoted and reliable player, a loyal disciple, he stood by me, he did support the team financially and always encourage other players, so we are going to miss him.

This is the first time I am experiencing such and it is painful but God knows better. I pray Almighty God to continue to comfort us, his family and the team at large

Nigerian footballer slumps, confirmed dead during club competition

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UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

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Victor Osimhen

UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

Victor Osimhen scored as Napoli drew 1-1 with Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League (UCL) second-round match.

The 25-year-old equalized for the Serie A champions in the 75th minute, after Robert Lewandowski put Barcelona ahead at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Wednesday.

Osimhen spun away from Inigo Martinez inside the box after Zambo Anguissa’s pass reached him. The Lagos-born striker rolled the ball past Ter Stegen, who went the wrong way, and into the goal.

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The match marked Osimhen’s first start for Napoli since December 23, 2023, when he was sent off in a 2-0 loss to Roma.

He played an important role in the Super Eagles of Nigeria’s silver-winning effort at the just ended Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire.

In the other game of the night, Galeno’s late goal helped FC Porto defeat Arsenal 1-0 at the Estadio do Dragao.

Galeno picked up the ball 35 yards outside Arsenal’s goal area deep into stoppage time, proving that the best play was saved for last. The Brazilian carried the ball forward before finding his place and bending a shot past Raya’s stretched limbs into the net.

UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

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