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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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Everton confirm former Burnley boss Dyche as new manager

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Everton have confirmed the appointment of former Burnley boss Sean Dyche as their new manager on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

The report came on Monday that Dyche had been chosen by the Everton board as Frank Lampard’s successor, after also holding talks with former Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa.

Dyche, according to a Sky Sports report, is the seventh permanent manager hired by Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri since he took over the club nearly seven years ago.

Lampard’s last game in charge was a 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers West Ham on January 21, which kept them second-bottom on 15 points after 20 games – two points below the safety zone.

The Merseyside club had been floundering under the former England international, having last won a league game in October when they beat Crystal Palace 3-0 at home.

Lampard was appointed by Everton in January 2022 after he managed Chelsea from 2019/2021 and Derby County in the second tier in 2018/19, but Dyche will now be tasked with arresting the slide towards the Championship.

Dyche told the club’s official website, “It’s an honour to become Everton manager. My staff and I are ready and eager to help get this great club back on track.

“I know about Everton’s passionate fanbase and how precious this club is to them. We’re ready to work and ready to give them what they want. That starts with sweat on the shirt, effort and getting back to some of the basic principles of what Everton Football Club has stood for for a long time.”

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Mourinho Compares Victor Osimhen to one of the African legend, Didier Drogba

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Victor Osimhen

AS Roma manager, Jose Mourinho, has compared Super Eagles of Nigeria and Napoli of Italy hitman, Victor Osimhen, to Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend, Didier Drogba.

NEWSBREAK reports that the  Nigerian striker netted a world-class goal as his side, Napoli, marched towards the Serie A title on Sunday. Osimhen’s classic goal came against Mourinho’s Roma at the Diego Maradona stadium where Napoli won 2-1.

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Speaking after the match, Mourinho, a former Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid manager, said: “He (Osimhen) is of the same level as Drogba, but Didier didn’t dive.

“If Victor changes, then OK. I’d buy him if I was at a club with a lot of money. However, if he does go to England one day, he needs to change, because in Italy they put up with this sort of behaviour, whereas in the Premier League, they’d come down hard on him.”

He added: “I told him that he scored a wonderful goal and needs to stop diving so much. His goal was fantastic, he did the same thing when we met earlier this season, so he’s a fantastic player. But he mustn’t dive.”

Osimhen, 24, is currently the highest goal scorer in the Italian league Serie A with 14 goals scored in 16 matches.

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Kelechi Iheanacho’s record goal helps Leicester qualify for last 16 FA Cup

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Leicester city needed the goal from Nigerian footballer Kelechi Iheanacho to avoid a shock elimination from the FA Cup with a 1-0 win at Walsall on Saturday.

The Nigerian has scored more goals in the competition than any other player since making his debut in 2016.

Iheanacho’s 17th goal in 23 FA Cup appearances had some fortune as his strike from the edge of the box took a deflection for the only goal 23 minutes from time.

Leicester, Leeds and Man United join Manchester City as the first four sides to book their place in the last 16 of the competition.

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