Ruthless Super Falcons dispatch Cape Verde 5-0 in women’s AFCON qualifier – Newstrends
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Ruthless Super Falcons dispatch Cape Verde 5-0 in women’s AFCON qualifier

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Ruthless Super Falcons dispatch Cape Verde 5-0 in women’s AFCON qualifier

Nigeria began their quest for a place in next year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in style with a 5-0 thumping of Cape Verde at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Thursday.

Uchenna Kanu and Esther Okoronkwo scored a brace each while Monday Gift got a goal as the Super Falcons recorded an emphatic win over the minnows.

Despite missing star striker Asisat Oshoala, the record WAFCON holders outclassed their foes. They started the game on a sound note and did not take time before Kanu opened the score sheet for them. She tapped in from close range just seven minutes into the game.

Although Cape Verde rallied to balance the score, goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie made a stunning 16th-minute save to deny them.

Nine minutes later, the Nigerian girls were the beneficiary of a goalmouth scramble with Gift bundling the ball home to double the Super Falcons’ lead. Rasheedat Ajibade then shot inches wide in the 33rd minute.

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But Kanu was not done yet. She converted a Toni Payne cross just at the 45th-minute mark to make it three for the home side.

Nigeria continued to press the Cape Verdean ladies upon resumption of the second half. But it took a 66th-minute effort from substitute Esther Okoronkwo – who came in for Gift – for the Super Falcons to get their fourth goal of the day off Esther Akudo Ogbonna’s cross.

Okoronkwo bagged her brace for the evening eleven minutes later to give Nigeria a fifth goal – a strike that cemented the Falcons’ superiority over their opponents.

With the job done, interim coach Madugu Justine brought in Tochukwu Oluehi for Nnadozie in goal while Chiamaka Okwuchukwu made her debut when she came on for Esther Akudo.

The second leg of the game will be played on Tuesday in the coastal city of Praia, the Cape Verdean capital. The winner of both fixtures will feature at the 2024 WAFCON in Morrocco.

Thursday’s game was Madugu’s third for the Super Falcons in the continued absence of Head Coach Randy Waldrum.

Ruthless Super Falcons dispatch Cape Verde 5-0 in women’s AFCON qualifier

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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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Guardiola apologises to Phillips for comments about weight

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Pep Guardiola

Guardiola apologises to Phillips for comments about weight

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has apologised to Kalvin Phillips for saying the midfielder was overweight when he returned from the 2022 World Cup.

Guardiola had told reporters that Phillips was not in the right condition to go through training sessions after returning from Qatar, where he was used for only 40 minutes in two substitute appearances in England’s campaign.

Phillips endured a wretched time at City after signing from Leeds United in 2022, making only six starts in 18 months, and the 28-year-old joined West Ham United on loan last month.

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After making the switch to West Ham, the midfielder said his confidence had taken a “big knock” from Guardiola’s comments.

“Yeah, I’m sorry,” Guardiola told reporters on Monday.

“I apologise to him. I spoke to him before making the comment. I never, ever don’t speak to the team before I say something here, or the player in that case.”

City, who are third in the Premier League, can close the gap to leaders Liverpool by one point if they beat Brentford at home later on Tuesday.

Guardiola apologises to Phillips for comments about weight

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Osimhen gets new coach as Napoli hire Calzona to replace sacked Mazzarri

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Francesco Calzona

Osimhen gets new coach as Napoli hire Calzona to replace sacked Mazzarri

Struggling Napoli sacked Walter Mazzarri on Monday and brought in Slovakia coach Francesco Calzona just two days before hosting Barcelona in the Champions League.

The 62-year-old Mazzarri became the second man to be sent packing this season by the ailing Italian champions.

Mazzarri took charge in November after Rudi Garcia was dismissed but Napoli then fell to ninth in Serie A ahead of Wednesday’s last 16, first leg with barca at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

“I thank Walter Mazzarri, a friend of the De Laurentiis family and Napoli, for having helped the team in a tricky period,” said Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis on X, formerly Twitter.

De Laurentiis confirmed that Calzona has been hired, reportedly until the end of the season, and will be in charge on Wednesday night.

“It’s always painful to sack a friend,” said De Laurentiis in a short interview with Sky Sport.

“But we need to consider that in Naples you have to give Napoli fans something extra. Now we’re going to try to do that with Francesco Calzona.”

Calzona guided Slovakia to Euro 2024 but has a huge job on his hands as he returns to Napoli, where he was an assistant under Maurizio Sarri and during Luciano Spalletti’s trophy-less first season with the club.

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The 55-year-old will reportedly keep his job with Slovakia while also trying to drag Napoli back up the table after the disappointing end to Mazzarri’s brief second spell in charge of southern Italy’s biggest club.

Mazzarri helped return Napoli to the upper echelons of Italian football between 2009 and 2013.

He guided Napoli to the 2012 Italian Cup, beating undefeated league champions Juventus in the final to win the club’s first trophy in over two decades.

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