Italy and Juventus goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon has welcomed Leicester City and his former manager Claudio Ranieri to the Champions League.
The Foxes secured their place in Europe’s top competition for the first time at the weekend and need three more wins to guarantee the Premier League title.
Leicester, who this time last season were fighting relegation from England’s top flight, are seven points ahead of second-placed Tottenham.
“Leicester is no more a fairy tale, now is reality. Welcome in Europe Mr Claudio Ranieri,” said Buffon, who was coached by his fellow countryman at Juventus from 2007-09.
The 64-year-old last managed in Italy in 2012, when he was sacked by Inter Milan, prior to that he resigned after a two-year spell with Roma and was also dismissed by Juventus. NaijaBet
A 2-2 away draw has left Manchester City well placed to reach the semifinals for the first time, although Paris Saint-Germain have already won in England this season.
While Paris Saint-Germain are in a fourth successive Uefa Champions League quarterfinal, Manchester City are making their first appearance – and they hold a slight advantage in the tie.
The first leg at the Parc des Princes finished 2-2, Kevin De Bruyne giving the visitors the lead before Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who had earlier had a penalty saved by Joe Hart – and Adrien Rabiot put Paris in front. Fernandinho’s 72nd-minute equaliser, however, ensured Manuel Pellegrini’s side return to Manchester on level terms.
Paul Le Guen’s Paris earned a goalless draw against a Manchester City managed by Mark Hughes at the City of Manchester Stadium in the 2008/09 Uefa Cup group stage – their only previous meeting before the first leg and City’s only prior tie against a French side.
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri played down his emotional response after the Foxes took their latest big step towards the English Premier League title.
Ranieri left the pitch in tears after Jamie Vardy’s second-half double sealed a hard-fought 2-0 win at relegation-threatened Sunderland on Sunday.
Leicester ended the day seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, with the 5,000/1 pre-season outsiders’ fairytale journey towards the title showing no sign of ending any time soon.
Now, if City win three of their five remaining league games they will be crowned champions of England for the first time in the Midlands club’s 132-year-history, regardless of what Spurs, or any of the chasing pack, do in the closing stages of the campaign.
“It’s difficult to express what I feel inside,” said Ranieri who, after his initially teary response, dedicated the Foxes’ fifth consecutive victory to Leicester’s 2,500 travelling fans at the Stadium of Light.
“I really want to thank our fans. Today, when we arrived at the stadium, it was like we’d moved Leicester to Sunderland,” the Italian added.
“For me I don’t think I showed any more or any less emotion today, but I’m just so happy with this victory against a very tough Sunderland side who made it hard for us.” Naijabet.com
Continue reading “Leicester City close in on title,Qualify for Champions League”
Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed another record Lionel Messi doesn’t own in Real Madrid’s four goal thrashing of Eibar and made history yet again on Saturday.
In Real Madrid’s four goal thrashing of Eibar, Ronaldo notched his 30th goal of the season becoming the first player to tally 30 goals in six straight La Liga campaigns. The Portuguese star stands alone when it comes to prolific goal-scoring consistency in Spain. Even Lionel Messi’s best is four seasons of 30. Naija and Bet
Ronaldo’s lowest scoring season in the league came in his first with Real Madrid. He only scored 26 times in La Liga but rippled the net on seven more occasions in the UEFA Champions League.
Ronaldo has been dominant since obtaining the No. 7 shirt at Real Madrid. Over the course of six not-yet-completed seasons, Ronaldo has scored 229 goals. And although he may not possess the skills at 31 years old that he showcased at 26 years old, Ronaldo still has a knack for electrifying 80,000 Madridistas at once.
A Federal High Court sitting in Jos,has nullified the election that brought Amaju Pinnick’s board into office of Nigeria football federation close to two years into its tenure.
Justice Musa Kurya restored the reliefs of the plaintiffs, Senator Obinna Ogba and Yahaya Adama, on Friday after both men approached the court to re-list the case against the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
In October 2014, the same Federal High Court sitting before Justice Ambrose Allagoa had ruled against the election that brought the Pinnick board into the football federation saying “I have set aside all the proceedings and decisions of the Warri Extra Ordinary meeting of the 20th September and the Elective Congress of 30th September which were direct contravention of the orders of this court as granted on the 19th September.”
Days later in the same month of that year, the case was struck out following an out-of-court settlement in which former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan presided over in the face of a an impending Fifa suspension at that time. Naija and Bet
Continue reading “Federal High Court has invalidates NFF election that brought Pinnick into Glass House”
Manchester City have edged closer to a place in the Champions League semifinals but Jesus Navas has warned they can’t afford to relax when they return to Premier League action on Saturday.
City’s 2-2 draw at Paris St-Germain in the first leg of their quarter-final has made them favourites to progress to the last four following next Tuesday’s return meeting at Eastlands.
But before that, City face a visit from West Bromwich Albion as they look to make sure they are not reliant on winning the Champions League to guarantee playing in the competition again next season.
And City know they can’t afford any distractions as they look to secure a top-four finish – regardless of whether they go on to win Europe’s elite club competition for the first time.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are currently in fourth place, but only one point ahead of Manchester United and three in front of West Ham.
Their 4-0 win at Bournemouth last Saturday was only their second victory in seven league games and, remarkably, the 2014 champions have not won a home league fixture since mid-January. Naijabet.com
Continue reading “Manchester City can’t afford to relax but Improved their Game to overcome PSG”
Liverpool claimed an excellent 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal on Thursday as Jurgen Klopp made an emotional return to the Westfalenstadion.
The game marked Klopp’s first coming together with his former club since his departure last summer and subsequent appointment by Liverpool back in October.
He saw Divock Origi put the Premier League side in front in the 36th minute before Mats Hummels equalised for the hosts three minutes into the second half.
However, that away goal means Liverpool have the upper hand ahead of next Thursday’s second leg at Anfield and Klopp will be confident his side can progress to the last four after an encouraging display in Germany.
“Dortmund’s a pretty good side. Everybody could see that but we had our moments and we could have won the game, I’m pretty sure a lot of people thought we’d lose 2, 3, 4-0- we had them in some moments. Around our goal we were brilliant,” Klopp. Naija and Bet
Continue reading “Liverpool hold Dortmund, Liverpool secures vital draw in Europa League”
Borussia Dortmund seem to have the wind in their sails in the Europa League as they welcome their former coach’s Liverpool FC side in what has been dubbed the ‘Jurgen Klopp derby’.
After the draw, Klopp said of meeting his old club: “I am really happy to introduce my new team to Dortmund. I am really happy to show the boys this wonderful stadium and a great city. It’s a story only football can write.”
Dortmund’s overall record in 21 competitive matches against English opposition is W11 D4 L6 (W6 D3 L1 in Dortmund – W4 D1 L5 in England). They eliminated Tottenham Hotspur FC with back-to-back victories in this season’s round of 16.
Liverpool’s record in 34 games against German sides is W16 D12 L6 (W12 D3 L0 at home – W2 D8 L5 in Germany – W2 D1 L1 on neutral territory). They landed their first European trophy by beating VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 1973 Uefa Cup final and overcame the same opponents in the 1977 European Champion Clubs’ Cup decider.
Dortmund have won all four of their Europa League fixtures since the start of the knockout phase, conceding just once in the process. They have won six of their seven European home matches this season, the lone defeat a 1-0 reverse at home to PAOK FC in their closing group stage game. Naijabet
Dortmund have won seven of their ten fixtures since the start of the group stage; one more than any other team in this season’s competition.
Continue reading “Europa League : Borussia Dortmund VS Liverpool Preview”
When Leicester City faced Sunderland on the opening day of the season, even their most optimistic fans were expecting another testing struggle to avoid relegation.
As they prepare to visit Sam Allardyce’s side in the return fixture on Sunday, some of those supporters are now pre-emptively buying scarves emblazoned with the words ‘Premier League Champions’.
While many are no doubt steering clear to avoid tempting fate, four victories from the remaining six games of the season will hand Leicester a maiden top flight title and complete one of the most remarkable fairytales in English soccer history.
Leicester lead second place Tottenham Hotspur by seven points heading into Sunday’s game and need 12 more to put themselves out of sight.
For the Leicester side that plunged to the foot of the table last season, four wins in six games might have seemed like a daunting task.
Yet such has been the collective sense of calm that seems to encircle Claudio Ranieri’s side this year that few are now expecting a collapse in the home straight, 9ja sport bet predict.
Continue reading “Leicester need four wins to be crown ‘Premier League Champions’”
Real Madrid suffered a shock 2-0 Champions League defeat at Wolfsburg in Wednesday’s quarterfinal, first-leg to leave them on the verge of a European exit.
Just five days after ending Barcelona’s 39-game unbeaten run with a 2-1 away win in El Clasico, Real were humbled as Wolfsburg ignored their struggling mid-table form in Germany’s top flight.
Real never recovered as first-half goals from Swiss defender Ricardo Rodriguez and Maximilian Arnold put the hosts 2-0 up at the Volkswagen Arena with 25 minutes gone.
“I’m not happy, above all with the first-half. This can happen If you don’t play with intensity from the start,” said Zidane.
“Despite everything I’m proud of the team, we have to think about resting well and think about the return because we have the chance to change this in the return leg.”
Real’s six-game winning streak was ended as Wolfsburg picked up their first win in four games since beating Gent in the last 16 of the tournament.
To give the result context, Wolfsburg needed a 93rd minute equaliser to seal a 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Darmstadt on their last home league appearance.
There was no hint they would bother Real when they crashed 3-0 at Bayer Leverkusen last Friday in Germany’s top flight.
But having also beaten Manchester United 3-2 at home in the group stages, Wolfsburg now have the upper hand ahead of Tuesday’s return leg at the Bernabeu – But goal-scorer Arnold insists nothing has been decided yet. Naijabet.com
Continue reading “Real Madrid suffers shock defeat by Wolfsburg”
Cristiano Ronaldo, the Champions League’s top scorer this season with 13 goals, can add to his tally and extend his record against German clubs in the knockout stages at Wolfsburg.
The 31-year-old is currently four short of matching his record in a Champions League season ahead of Wednesday’s quarterfinal, first leg, at the German league club with the return next Tuesday at the Bernabeu.
The Portuguese star is on a rich run against Bundesliga sides and has found the net in all of the last six knockout ties played against German clubs in the Champions League.
It started back in the 2011/12 semifinals when he bagged a brace against Bayern Munich as the Bavarian giants went on to suffer heartbreak in the final at home to Chelsea.
In the 2012/13 campaign, he netted against Borussia Dortmund as the German side reached the final at Wembley when they lost to Bayern.
But in the 2013/14 campaign, when Real achieved ‘La Decima’, he notched a total of seven goals across the home and away meetings with Schalke, Borussia and Bayern.
Then last season, he claimed three goals in the last-16 tie against Schalke in a 5-4 aggregate win, netting twice in the shock 4-3 defeat in Madrid having also scored when Real won 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen. Naijabet
Continue reading “Ronaldo hunts to score more goals in Champion League”
Luis Suarez converted Barca’s relentless second-half pressure into a 2-1 lead as he struck twice in 12 minutes. Atletico were enraged as unlike Torres, Suarez escaped punishment for a kick out at Juanfran and an off-the-ball incident with Filipe Luis.
Fernando Torres raged that Atletico Madrid are not treated equally to Barcelona by referees after his early red card turned their Champions League quarterfinal, first leg around on Tuesday.
“They shouldn’t have been cards. If it had been the other way around then they wouldn’t have been given, With 11 (men) we would have won without any doubt.” Torres
The former Liverpool and Chelsea striker claimed Uefa have their priorities wrong after making both sides play in their away kits to avoid a colour clash.
“Uefa worry about making us change shirts, but they didn’t appoint a referee that is up to the level of the Champions League quarterfinals.”
Luis went even further by implying Uefa are scared of Barcelona not reaching the final.Naija and Bet
Continue reading “Suarez strike gives Barcelona edge against 10 Men Atletico Madrid”
Ibrahimovic’s contract at PSG is expiring this summer and has been linked with a move to the Premier League, but Silva wants his team-mate to stay.
“I’m not just saying this because I’m friends with him, but I can’t imagine PSG without Zlatan,” said Silva, who arrived at PSG from AC Milan alongside Ibrahimovic in 2012.
“Ibra is invaluable for our team, opponents struggle to get him under control. He’s simply too clever and his moves are very intelligent.
“Some argue that he’s getting old, I would rather say he’s experienced. If I were the club president I would extend his contract for one or even two years. He’s like no other, unique. Even at 34 he’s got a huge passion for football.”
Silva was also full of praise for his team-mate Angel Di Maria, who has impressed in his first season in France following his switch from Manchester United last summer.
“We’ve taken huge steps forward this season, we hold the ball better and have improved both technically and tactically,” said Silva. “Much of this is thanks to Di Maria’s transfer. He is strong in one to one situations, provokes the opposition and destablilises them. He’s a goal threat.” Naijabet.com
Continue reading “Thiago Silva wants Zlatan Ibrahimovic to stay at PSG”
Alex Iwobi has been handed a new long-term deal by Arsenal following his impressive performance in the past days.
The 19-year-old has agreed a new contract that will see him stay at the Emirates Stadium until 2021.
The new deal for the Nigerian international will see him earn three times his previous wages. Iwobi is now set to net £30,000 per week from the five-year contract.
The teenager has formed a seamless partnership with Arsenal senior players, and it was evident in the Barclays Premier League games at Everton and against Watford in which he combined well with Chilean forward, Alexis Sanchez. Naija and Bet
The youngster, who can play as a wideman or a midfielder, had only signed an improved deal last October worth around £10,000 a week until 2019.
Iwobi has made 15 appearances for the Gunners this season in all competitions. He has scored twice, in the Premier League, and helped with an assist in the FA Cup.
Long-time opponents in Spanish football, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will transport their rivalry to the European stage for the second time in three seasons when they meet in the Uefa Champions League quarterfinals.
The teams’ sole previous European tie came at the same stage of the 2013/14 competition. Then, as now, the first leg was at the Camp Nou, where Neymar’s 71st-minute strike cancelled out Diego’s 56th-minute opener for Atletico.
Atletico are the only team to prevent Barça from reaching the semi-finals in the past eight seasons and one of only three clubs to have eliminated them in a Champions League quarter-final, along with Paris Saint-Germain in 1994/95 and Juventus in 2002/03.
Barça won both league meetings between the teams this season 2-1. Diego Godín and Filipe Luís were sent off in the game at the Camp Nou on 30 January. Koke opened the scoring for Atletico, but Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez turned the game in the Blaugrana’s favour.
Atletico clinched the 2014 Liga title at the Camp Nou on the final day of the season, Godín cancelling out an Alexis Sánchez strike to give the visitors their first championship since 1996. Naija and Bet
Continue reading “Barcalona vs Atletico Madrid Champion League Match Preview”
Italian Antonio Conte was named as Chelsea’s new head coach with a three-year contract, the outgoing Premier League champions announced on Monday.
Conte, 46, currently the head coach of Italy, will take up the appointment after the June 10-July 10 European Championship in France. He will replace interim manager Guus Hiddink, who is leaving the club at the end of the season.
Antonio Conte has signed a three-year contract worth £15m to become the newChelsea manager and will join the club after helming Italy’s Euro 2016 campaign.
“I am very excited about the prospect of working at Chelsea Football Club. I am proud to be the coach of the national team of my country and only a role as attractive as manager of Chelsea could follow that,” said Conte.
“I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the club and the day-to-day challenge of competing in the Premier League. Chelsea and English football are watched wherever you go, the fans are passionate and my ambition is to have more success to follow the victories I enjoyed in Italy.
“I am happy we have made the announcement now so everything is clear and we can end the speculation. I will continue to focus on my job with the Italian national team and will reserve speaking about Chelsea again until after the Euros.”Naijabet.com
Continue reading “Chelsea appoint new head coach Antonio Conte,to takeover from next Season”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is convinced he has “something special” in Alex Iwobi, after the Nigerian teenager scored his second Premier League goal for the club in Saturday’s 4-0 dismantling of Watford.
Iwobi, who had netted his first senior goal against Everton on March 19, slotted home an Alexis Sanchez assist to double his tally against Watford, earning a standing ovation from the fans and praise from his manager.
“These people have seen many good players over the years and they know straight away when a player has something special, so they acknowledge that,” Wenger told the club’s website.
“You cannot cheat people. They’ve seen how quickly Alex improved and how well he’s played. It’s surprising how quickly he’s integrated into our game,” he said of the 19-year-old. Naija and Bet
“He’s worked with us since the start of the season and he has grown, gained confidence and when he came in he had an impact straight away. I didn’t expect that level of efficiency or impact on the scoresheet.”
The win against Watford narrowed the gap between Arsenal in third and Tottenham Hotspur in second to four points and Wenger insisted the title was not out of reach, despite his team trailing leaders Leicester City by 11 points.
“Now we have to find the right mixture between belief and being realistic, focusing on the next game, focusing on the process, and adding that belief. We can still challenge for the title,” he said.
Brazilian superstar Neymar could join Paris Saint Germain, if the French giants pay his huge 193 million euros ($220 million) get out clause, his agent said.
“Neymar has a contract with Barca until 2018, But the prospect of living in a city like Paris and to play for a club like PSG is also a dream for every player Wayne Ribeiro Added.
“That’s to say if PSG showed interest in Neymar we could talk about it.”
PSG have dominated Ligue 1 since the Qatari takeover of the French capital club in 2011. Naijabet
Laurent Blanc’s men wrapped up their fourth successive league title in record time in March, and face Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.
And with talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, courted by some of Europe’s top clubs, in possibly his last season in France, PSG have reportedly identified Neymar as their number one target before the new season starts in August.
Ribeiro added: “A contract can also be dissolved on condition of paying the release clause. It’s huge – 193 million euros.
“But I don’t think that would be an insurmountable problem for PSG.”
Claudio Ranieri says team are enjoying a “magical season” and can handle the pressure of the title run-in.
The Foxes moved seven points clear of Tottenham with six games remaining thanks to a 1-0 win over Southampton.
“I am very calm,” said Ranieri. “We believe in what we are doing.”
He said “everybody” was waiting to see how Leicester would react to Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool, adding: “We gave a very good answer.”
Leicester need 12 points from their final six games to become champions.
“We believe it’s a magical season and next season won’t be the same, We will try to do our best. Other teams can win 3-0 or 4-0, We have to fight to win 1-0 and we must be focused in our way.” Naija and Bet
Continue reading “Claudio Ranieri says wining was a good reply to Premier League title pressure”
Real Madrid star Gareth Bale believes his side can still win La Liga after coming from behind to inflict Barcelona’s first defeat in 40 games with a 2-1 victory in El Clasico.
Madrid still trail Barca by seven points with seven league games to play, but Bale also highlighted the importance of the victory to Madrid’s confidence ahead of their return to Champions League action against Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
“If we wanted to win the league this was a game we had to win,” said the Welshman.
“You never know, football does funny things to teams when you lose and you never know what could happen. All they need is a few bad results, we need a few good ones and we’re right back in it.
“The most important thing today was to get the win to build confidence for the rest of the season.
“There’s still the Champions League as well, which we’re really looking forward to.”
The win was a huge turnaround for Madrid in Zinedine Zidane’s first Clasico in charge after suffering a 4-0 thrashing at home to Barca earlier in the season.
Gerard Pique’s towering header early in the second half put Barca in front, but Karim Benzema quickly levelled as Madrid tore the hosts apart on the counter-attack after the break.
And despite going down to 10 men when captain Sergio Ramos was sent off seven minutes from time, Bale crossed for Cristiano Ronaldo to strike the winner moments later to spark belief Madrid can end a difficult season on a high. Naijabet.com
Continue reading “Real Madrid are not giving up on La Laga title Race”
Chelsea striker Diego Costa will serve an additional one-match ban and has been fined £20,000 after admitting a charge of improper conduct.
Costa, 27, has been punished for his reaction to his sending off against Everton in an FA Cup tie on 12 March.
The Spaniard clashed with Gareth Barry and motioned towards biting him, although the Everton midfielder later said no contact had been made.
Costa was originally handed a two-match ban, but will now miss three games.
He missed the 2-2 draw with West Ham on 19 March and is suspended for Saturday’s away game at bottom-placed Aston Villa.
Costa, who has also been warned as to his future conduct, will now be absent for Chelsea’s trip to Swansea on 9 April. Naijabet.com
Amaju Pinnick has ruled out the possibility of resigning from his role as Nigeria Football Federation president following the Super Eagles’ inability to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Samson Siasia’s men defeat to Egypt in Alexandria ensured they missed the football showpiece two times in a row having missed the 2015 edition staged in Equatorial Guinea.
And despite Nigerians calling for his resignation, though, Pinnick insists he will not quit his post because his administration has not fared badly.
“I was elected by the Congress of the Nigeria Football Federation for a four-year team and I don’t see why I should be asked to resign with over two years to serve,” said Pinnick.
“With all due respect, I don’t think we have done badly in these past one and half years that we have been in office and I have a four-year mandate which I intend to see through. When we came in we had a case running for nine months and this affected us.
“In between we won Fifa Under 17 World Cup, we won the Africa Women’s Championship and we also qualified for the women’ s Under17 and U20 World Cups coming up this year.
“I think we have achieved. Again we have very young Super Eagles players that should be the future of the game in the country” Naijabet.com
Continue reading “Super Eagles have failed to qualify for Africa Cup of Nations twice under Amaju Pinnick”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refuses to throw in the towel in the title race and has vowed to keep hunting Leicester.
Leicester have opened up a five-point lead over Tottenham with seven games to in one of the most unpredictable Premier League campaigns of all time. Arsenal are 11 points off the Foxes, but have a game in hand.
Arsenal host Watford on Saturday, with Leicester welcoming Southampton to the King Power Stadium a day later.
And Wenger hopes to put pressure on a Leicester squad that has little collective experience of competing at the top of the table.
“Leicester at the moment are in a very strong position, but they can still lose it,” Wenger told a news conference.
“Our job is to perform until the last day of the season, so let’s perform. The target is to win our remaining [eight] games. Let’s be pragmatic. It starts on Saturday.
“Finishing on 79 points could be enough, but it depends on the results of Leicester. Nobody knows how they will respond in their last games.
“I don’t know how many teams are still in the title race. Everybody doubts Arsenal’s chances, so for the teams behind us it’s even more difficult.
“Seasons like this could be more of a norm because all English clubs have fantastic financial potential.” Naijabet.com
Continue reading “Leicester can still lose Premier League title, Wenger refuses to give up”