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Super Falcons beat Cape Verde, qualify for WAFCON

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Super Falcons

Super Falcons beat Cape Verde, qualify for WAFCON

Super Falcons on Tuesday sealed a spot in next year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) with a 2-1 win against Cape Verde at the Estádio Nacional de Cabo Verde in Praia.

The Nigerian side had been ruthless in their reverse encounter at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja last Thursday. with an emphatic 5-0 victory courtesy of a  brace from Uchenna Kanu, Esther Okoronkwo, and Gift Monday rounding things up.

Justin Madugu’s side were still missing star striker Asisat Oshoala, as well as defender, Ashleigh Plumptre, and were hoping for a repeat show. 

However, the hosts had other plans and made their intentions known with an 8th minute goal from Racing Power striker, Ivania Moreira.

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The Super Falcons pressed for an equalizer, but the Cape Verde side remained resolute taking their lone goal advantage into halftime.

The second half resumed with a Nigerian press with Madugu bringing in Okoronkwo  for Kanu and the UD Tenerife forward thought she had given the away side the equaliser but her 55th minute goal was ruled offside

The 26-year-old would have to wait seven minutes to get her much-cherished goal with a solo finish to maintain the five-goal aggregate tally.

Okoronkwo was making herself a nuisance of the Cape Verde defence and almost got an assist after she set up Toni Payne but the latter couldn’t beat the opposition goalkeeper Jacinta Rodrigues.

Acting captain Rasheedat Ajibade also came close to giving the Falcons the lead, however, her effort went inches wide of the post.

Rodrigues was kept busy by the likes of Payne and Okoronkwo to keep the scoreline deadlocked.

The breakthrough would finally come for the Super Falcons from Ajibade in the 93rd minute to seal the win.

Super Falcons beat Cape Verde, qualify for WAFCON

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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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