Rafael Benitez has given Newcastle buoyant hope after City point

Rafael-Benitez With Sissoko Son

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez insists his side has the momentum going into the final four games in the fight for Premier League survival.

Despite missing a chance to climb out of the bottom three following a 1-1 draw with Champions League semifinalists Manchester City, Benitez claims Newcastle have put themselves in with a good chance of staving-off a second relegation in seven seasons, after taking four points from their last two matches.

They remain second-bottom, two points from safety going into the final month of the campaign as they bid to finish above Norwich and Sunderland to avoid the two remaining relegation places to accompany Aston Villa in the Championship next season.

Benitez insists his side will fight to the end after predicting the battle to avoid the drop will go right down to the wire. “Everyone is doing everything they can to try to stay up,” he said. “Hopefully we have the momentum and we have to keep believing.

“We have more belief now and you could see that the players will fight to the end. I’ve told the players not to look at the league table too much, and just to concentrate on the next game. If they are concentrating too much on doing the numbers, they’re wasting their time.

“That’s two games in a row where we’ve had a great performance and had a great connection with the fans. To see the players perform like that with passion and commitment, hopefully we can keep that level in the final four games. We’ll keep going and see where we are going into the last game, but with this kind of fight you have to be optimistic for the remaining matches.” Naijabet.com

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Ibrahimovic sends PSG into French Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s second-half strike earned Paris St Germain a spot in the French Cup final as the holders beat Lorient 1-0 away on Tuesday.

The Sweden striker scored 15 minutes from time to send PSG into the Stade de France showdown on May 21 against Ligue 2 side Sochaux or bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille, who play on Wednesday.

PSG, who were knocked out of the Champions League quarterfinals for the fourth season in a row last week, are gunning for a second consecutive domestic treble.

They were crowned Ligue 1 champions last month and will be playing the League Cup final against Lille on Saturday. Bet Naija

PSG, however, were far from impressive at Lorient and managed a single shot on target in the first half.

They were slightly better after the break and Ibrahimovic scored his 42nd goal of the season in all competitions when he slotted the ball home from inside the box after being played through by Angel Di Maria.

Zargo Toure came close to levelling one minute from time but his header was superbly saved by Salvatore Sirigu.

Napoli smash six past Bologna to keep alive their slim hopes of winning Serie A.

Dries Mertens scored a second half hat-trick as Napoli did their best to keep the Serie A title race alive by thrashing Bologna 6-0 on Tuesday.

Manolo Gabbiadini set Napoli, still missing Serie A topscorer Gonzalo Higuain as he sat out the final match of his three-match ban, on their way with a first-half brace. David Lopez completed the rout.

The win left Napoli six points behind leaders Juventus who host Lazio on Wednesday.

Despite Napoli’s efforts on Tuesday, Juventus need only seven points from their last five games to clinch a fifth successive title.

Gabbidiani opened the scoring with a stylish finish in the 10th minute, turning to sweep the ball home with an angled shot after Mertens chipped the ball over the Bologna defence, and then added another from a penalty in the 35th.

Mertens opened his account in the 58th minute when he twisted one way and then the other to outfox his marker, then scored with a low shot which was deflected past Antonio Mirante. Naija and Bet

The Belgian then exchanged passes with Omar El Kaddouri before adding the fourth in the 80th minute and completed his hat-trick eight minutes later with an unstoppable shot past Mirante.

Lopez completed the rout with a fortuitous effort after his first shot was stopped by Mirante but the rebound hit his chest and flew into the net.

CAF Champions League : Enyimba take advantage to Sousse

Champions  Enyimba, are in pole position to reach the last eight of the 2016 Caf Champions League after their 3-0 advantage in the first leg, second round against Etoile Sportive du Sahel.

The Tunisian club will play hosts to the second leg at the Stade Olympique de Sousse this Wednesday and they will need a four-goal margin to turn things around against the two-time Caf Champions League winners.

The Peoples Elephant have not reached the group stage of the Caf Champions League since 2011 when they were bundled out in the semifinal by Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca. The Nigerian side are confident they can reach the last eight following the healthy advantage ahead of Wednesday’s game in Sousse.

With a three-goal advantage, Enyimba surely look like the side that will progress into the next round of Africa’s biggest club competition but their gaffer, Paul Aigbogun, is careful not to be lulled into a false sense of complacency.

“We are ready for the game But the job is not yet done, so we are focused on this match.”Aigbogun said Naijabet.com

Enyimba  will be without their impressive attacking winger, Joseph Osadiaye, who was booked in the game at Vital’O and then got cautioned in the reverse game against Etoile du Sahel in Port Harcourt.

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Klopp calls for cool heads understand and not aggressiveness against Everton

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has challenged his players to keep their cool when they host Everton in the febrile environment of the Merseyside derby on Wednesday.

The fixture has produced more red cards – 20 – than any other since the Premier League began in 1992, but Klopp said he wanted his team to handle the emotions and pressure in a professional manner.

The German is no stranger to city rivalries. He managed Borussia Dortmund during the fiercely contested Ruhr derby games against Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga.

“Before I went to Dortmund there were lots of red cards in derbies. I don’t want to see this. Not to show ‘I am the man’,” Klopp told reporters on Tuesday.

“Maybe one or two fans want to see stuff like this, but it will never help. I understand aggressiveness only in one way, and that is being prepared to hurt yourself, not somebody else.”

Liverpool face Villarreal in the semifinals of the Europa League next week, but Klopp said his players had banished European ambitions from their minds and were concentrating on defeating their local rivals. Naijabet

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Real Madrid have won nothing but we are in good Situation : Zidane

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has warned the club’s fans not to get carried away, pointing out that his in-form side have won nothing yet as the three-way battle for the Spanish title hots up.

“We have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. We are in a good situation but we have won nothing,” Zidane said at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“I don’t like to see people saying we are going to win everything.”

Madrid had been 12 points behind leaders Barcelona in March but a run of seven consecutive wins combined with a remarkable slump in form by the Catalans has allowed them to close right in.

Barcelona have lost their last three league games and are now ahead of Atletico Madrid only thanks to a better head-to-head record, with Real a point back in third.

“We need to keep working and fighting right up to the last moment because they are ahead of us as it stands,” said Zidane, whose side have a perfect league record since losing at home to Atletico at the end of February. Naijabet.com

“At that point it was more complicated. Obviously when you lose a match against a direct rival, it is much more complicated, but what football has shown me, and what I know from my days as a player, is that nothing is ever done.”

Madrid will be without Gareth Bale due to a minor leg muscle injury for the game against a Villarreal side who are fourth in the table.

Dani Carvajal and Pepe are also missing from the Real squad.

“No comment” PSG silent over Mourinho reports

Paris St Germain on Tuesday issued a terse “no comment” following reports in England that the French champions had approached Jose Mourinho to become their new manager.

Sky Sports News flashed the development across their programming, billing it ‘Breaking News’ and citing “Sky sources”. Other websites were quick to follow.

PSG chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi was understood to have instigated the approach to Mourinho immediately after PSG’s Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester City last week, “having grown frustrated at the club’s lack of progress in Europe under Laurent Blanc”.

Blanc signed a two-year contract extension in February, taking him through to June 2018.

The runaway French champions were not answering phone calls when contacted, but sent a text message stating “No comment” when asked about the Mourinho report.

Portuguese Mourinho, who was sacked by Premier League Chelsea last December, has also been linked with Manchester United, where Louis van Gaal has failed to win over fans. Naijabet

Alex Iwobi happy with the love Nigeria fans show to him

Recent Super Eagles player Alex Iwobi has been wowed by the passion of Nigerian football fans and the way they have received him.

The youngster had earlier snubbed England and opted for Nigeria, before he was called up to feature in last month’s double header with Egypt in Afcon 2017 qualifying. “The love Nigeria showed me… when I played for them in a friendly, the fans were just crazy. The fans almost eat you up because they love you so much. I’m enjoying playing for them,” Iwobi said.

“When you’re getting out of the airport there are fans already there screaming ‘Arsenal, Arsenal. Gunners for life!’ and it’s just mad. Some of them have Arsenal shirts and then others will ask me for Arsenal shirts. It’s a bit mad and the fans are crazy.”

He added: “I was hoping to contribute to the team and I came on for eight minutes [for my debut]. I was buzzing and all the fans were clapping and singing songs. The second game we unfortunately lost and went out of the Africa Cup of Nations, but that moment was crazy and a great feeling.

“Hopefully I can play more competitions for them.”

The 2016 Olympics football tournament will see the talented 19-year-old feature for the Dream Team, who will face Sweden, Colombia and Japan in Group B of the preliminary round. Naijabet.com

Olympique de Marseille dismissed head coach Michel

Olympique de Marseille on Tuesday dismissed coach Michel as they battle relegation from the French top flight and other turmoil within the club.

Following constant speculation surrounding the future of the Spaniard, Marseille said they had decided to dismiss Michel and cited his conduct, “in particular over the last three weeks.”

“Olympique de Marseille have suspended him with immediate effect,” added a club statement.

The former European champions, who are up for sale, added that Michel would be replaced until the end of the season by his assistant Franck Passi.

He will be helped by club legend Basile Boli, who has been working as an ambassador for the club and has now been named “sporting coordinator”.

Boli scored the winning goal for OM against AC Milan in the 1993 Champions League final, which remains the only triumph for a French club in Europe’s elite competition. Naijabet.com

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Tottenham win at Stoke City will put more pressure on Leicester’s lead

Tottenham Hotspur took a large bite out of Leicester City’s Premier League lead with two goals apiece from Harry Kane and Dele Alli earning them a 4-0 victory at Stoke City on Monday.

The visitors produced a scintillating display of attacking football to take full advantage of Leicester’s 2-2 home draw with West Ham United on Sunday and close the gap to five points with four matches remaining.

Leicester remain favourites with 73 points but Tottenham’s fourth victory in five games, achieved with a real flourish, means the title race is back on the boil.

Leicester’s final four matches are against Swansea (home), Manchester United (away), Everton (home) and Chelsea (away). Tottenham, meanwhile, face West Brom (home), Chelsea (away), Southampton (home) and Newcastle (away).

Leicester need a maximum of eight points from their remaining four games to win the title.

The earliest Leicester could conceivably win the title is at Old Trafford when they face Manchester United on 1 May – but only if results go their way next weekend.

“We are ready to put the pressure on Leicester. We think we can do it. Leicester are five points ahead but we have closed the gap, that’s all we could do,” Kane, who moved two goals clear of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy at the top of the scoring charts with 24 goals, said. Naijabet.com

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Amokachi take up club coaching role in Finland

Daniel Amokachi has declared that he is ready to make his coaching role at second tier Finnish, JS Hercules, count despite “all obstacles” he is faced with.

The former Nigeria international talked about the having to contend with the freezing weather conditions on arrival in the northern Finnish city of Oulu as well as limited indoor facilities during the winter period.

“Freezing was the not the word, that’s an understatement – it was minus 35 degrees [Celsius] when I arrived!” Amokachi said at his arrival in Finland.

“I was leaving a country that was roasting, about 38 degrees when I left Nigeria. The day before I travelled, I checked the weather forecast with my wife and she joked: ‘Do you really want to go?’ [laughs] I said ‘Of course!’. The weather in Finland is an obstacle but with all obstacles when you’re trying to achieve something, you throw them out the window.

“The outdoor pitches are frozen and everything we do at the moment is indoor. You have a number of other teams using those facilities and it’s hard to get a full pitch to yourself, which can make the program you’re trying to lay down difficult. But I am a Nigerian, an African. I’m used to challenges and I would love to see it through.”

Inspite of those challenges, Amokachi is keen to become the first man who will open the doors for his fellow Africans to take up managerial jobs at European clubs. Naija and Bet

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Mourinho lost his job at Chelsea for trusting too much

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas claims Jose Mourinho lost his job at Stamford Bridge because he trusted the players too much.

Mourinho was dismissed as Blues boss in December with Chelsea struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League less than a year after being crowned English champions.

At the time, former Arsenal and Barcelona star Fabregas was reported to be one of a group of players who had fallen out with Mourinho over his strict style and he was jeered by fans as a result.

Now Fabregas, who insists he remains on good terms with Mourinho, says he and his Chelsea team-mates were to blame for taking advantage of his trust.

“I have huge respect for him – we still keep in touch right now,” Fabregas said.

“The biggest problem was he trusted us too much, gave us more holiday because we were champions and we let him down.

“That was the main reason he had to go – and for that myself and the team feel bad for it.”

Fabregas, who spent eight years at Arsenal, also said he wanted surprise leaders Leicester to win the title instead of second placed Tottenham, who are bitter rivals with his old friends at the Emirates Stadium. Naija Bet

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Pep Guardiola insists Bayern must be focused to keep Treble hope alive

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola says their Champions League semifinal must be the last thing on his players’ minds when they face Werder Bremen in the German Cup last four on Tuesday.

Bremen earned their passage to the semifinal clash at Munich’s Allianz Arena by beating Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 in the quarterfinals, having also seen off Borussia Moenchengladbach and Cologne.

Bayern are chasing a repeat of their 2013 treble and face Atletico Madrid away in the Champions League semifinal, first leg on April 27.

With a seven-point lead, and four league games left including Saturday’s match at Hertha Berlin, Guardiola’s side are poised to make history by becoming the first club to win four straight Bundesliga titles.

But Guardiola says his players must blend everything else out against Bremen to book their place in the May 21 final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

“We can only think of Werder, if we think about Atletico, then Bremen will reach the final, not us,” said the Spaniard, who is in his third and final season in Munich before leaving to coach Manchester City.

“It’s going to be difficult. It’s a cup match and anything can happen.

“You can be the better team and still lose, so: ‘Look Out!’

“If we think we’re already through, then it won’t happen. Bayer Leverkusen were the favourites against Bremen and look what happened.

“I am sure Bremen can beat Bayern, so I am not thinking about Atletico and Hertha.”Naijabet

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Manchester United young striker Rashford to make history at Old Trafford

Marcus Rashford’s emergence at Manchester United has convinced goalkeeper David de Gea that the 18-year-old can go on to etch his name into the club history.

The teenager has impressed since being promoted from the club’s academy this season, scoring seven goals in 12 appearances, including the winner in Saturday’s Premier League win over relegated Aston Villa.

“It’s unbelievable, no?. This player is really young and he’s scored many goals. Hopefully, for many years, he’ll be in this club and can make history for the club as well,” De Gea.

“He’s a shy guy, he is a really good lad and a good teammate. He’s a really good guy.”

Louis van Gaal’s men have conceded 30 goals in their 33 games so far, only Tottenham Hotspur have shipped in less, and De Gea believes their defence has played a key role in keeping United in the hunt for a place in the Champions League next season.

“I think we’ve defended really well this season and we need to continue until the last game and hopefully we will be in the top four. We need to win our games and wait for the rest of the teams. We will see in the end,” De Gea said.

Fifth-placed United are four points behind Arsenal, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, with five games left. The 13-time league champions host 16th placed Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Naijabet.com

Pep Guardiola talk ended City’s title bid : Manuel Pellegrini

Manchester City’s Premier League title challenge derailed once the club announced Pep Guardiola would take charge from next season, outgoing manager Manuel Pellegrini has said.

City won just three of their next 11 games to fall behind in the title race and exit the FA Cup once the announcement was made in February about the Bayern Munich boss.

“At the start of February, there was news about a change of the manager, about players who will not continue here next season, about a lot of things involved in the minds of all the players,” Pellegrini.  Naija and Bet

“It’s not easy for the players when you read in newspapers all things that will happen next season, all the players who will go out, all the players that will come in. It’s not easy for the players to focus their mind.

“In February we were involved in all the competitions, in the Champions League, we won the Capital One (League) Cup, we were forced to leave the FA Cup, and we were three points behind the leaders.”

Third-placed City, 13 points behind leaders Leicester City, have since picked up from the dip and are unbeaten in their last five games, winning 3-0 at Chelsea on Saturday.

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La Liga race wide open with Barcelona’s Collapse

Lionel Messi’s 500th career goal couldn’t prevent Barcelona’s incredible slump in form from continuing with a fourth defeat in five games 2-1 at home to Valencia on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid are now level on 76 points with Barca at the top of La Liga with five games remaining as they beat Granada 3-0, but the Catalans retain the lead thanks to their superior head-to-head record.

Third-placed Real Madrid are also only a point behind thanks to their 5-1 win at Getafe on Saturday.

Valencia were beaten 7-0 by Barca on their last trip to the Camp Nou just two months ago under former boss Gary Neville, but gained revenge thanks to Ivan Rakitic’s own goal and Santi Mina’s classy finish before halftime.

Messi ended a five-game goal drought to bring up his 500th for club and country, but couldn’t inspire a Barca fightback as their alarming collapse in recent weeks continued after a 39-game unbeaten run.

Having looked well set for a second consecutive treble just two weeks ago, Barca could now miss out on all three major trophies as they were dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico in midweek and have taken just one point from their last four La Liga games.

However, in contrast to recent defeats, Barca boss Luis Enrique praised the performance of his side and believes they are capable of winning their last five games to retain the title.

“Luck didn’t shine on the team. I congratulate my players for how they faced the adversity during the game,” said Enrique.

“We still depend on ourselves. Our margin for error has run out and we are aware of the challenge.

“Now we have a marvellous challenge, five games in which if we win them all we are champions” Predict the champion of la liga and other league in Europe on Naijabet.com and win cool cash.

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Juventus to achieved five straight league titles in Serie A

Paul Pogba inspired a second-half blitz as Serie A champions Juventus put one hand on a record-equalling fifth title with a 4-0 win over Palermo on Sunday.

Juventus last achieved the feat of five straight league titles in 1935, but the Turin giants were given extra incentive when title challengers Napoli suffered their second reverse in three games with a 2-0 defeat to Inter Milan Saturday.

It left Napoli in second at six points behind but Juventus turned the screw to leave Maurizio Sarri’s men nine points adrift with five games remaining this season.

The grin on Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri’s face said it all, but he said it’s still too early to celebrate.

“We have a nine-point lead and a good goals difference, but the scudetto fight isn’t over yet,” Allegri told Mediaset.

“We still have to win two games and draw one, then we can talk about the title.”

Juventus, stretching their unbeaten run to 23 games, broke the deadlock on 10 minutes when Germany midfielder Khedira controlled Pogba’s cross on his chest before volleying past Stefano Sorrentino from close range.

Yet Palermo put their current woes to one side to create problems for the Bianconeri, who were lucky to be leading at the halftime interval after being put off their stride by seeing midfielder Claudio Marchisio stretchered off with a suspected ruptured knee ligament.

Juve ‘keeper Gianluigi Buffon got down low to smother Ivaylo Chochev’s effort before, at the other end, Pogba saw his volley tipped just over by Sorrentino. Naija and Bet

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Villa relegated from Premier League,Newcastle sink Swansea 3 – 0

Aston Villa’s long-expected relegation from the Premier League was finally confirmed with a 1-0 loss away to Manchester United on Saturday as teenage rising star Marcus Rashford scored his seventh goal in 12 games.

Defeat left bottom-of-the-table Villa 15 points shy of safety with only a maximum of 12 on offer to the Birmingham club in their four remaining league matches this season.

Villa, under the caretaker charge of Eric Black after former manager Remi Garde was sacked last month, have won just three times in 34 league games this campaign and Saturday’s loss saw them drop down to the second-tier of English football for the first time in 29 years.

“It’s a mood of disappointment,” said Black. “What I will say is today I thought they were outstanding.

“I know there has been criticism, some of it deserved, but today they made a step back for the supporters and showed there was some pride for the shirt.

“There are players in there capable of playing in the Championship. People in certain places will make sure that Villa will come back, I’m confident of that.”

Rafael Benitez got the perfect birthday present as Newcastle improved their prospects of avoiding relegation from the Premier League with a vital 3-0 win over Swansea on Saturday.

Benitez’s side ended a seven-match winless run as they secured three points for the first time since early February thanks to goals from Jamaal Lascelles, Moussa Sissoko and Andros Townsend at St James’ Park. Naijabet.com

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Liverpool avoid holders Sevilla in semis,drawn against Villarreal

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Liverpool have been drawn against Villarreal in the semi-finals of the Europa League.

The Reds, who reached the last four with a dramatic victory over Borussia Dortmund on Thursday, will travel to Spain for the first leg on Thursday April 28 with the second leg at Anfield on Thursday May 5.

Sevilla, winners of the Europa League for the past two years, will play Shakhtar Donetsk in this season’s semifinal.

The holders will have home advantage for the second leg.

Sevilla beat fellow Spaniards Athletic Bilbao on penalties in the quarterfinal. Naija Bet

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool came from 3-1 down on aggregate against Borussia Dortmund to win 5-4 with a goal in the last minute. Villareal will be at home to Liverpool in the first leg.

Basle stages the final on May 18.

Champion League semifinals :Man City vs Real, Bayern vs Atletico

A repeat of the 2014 Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid is still possible after Friday’s semifinal draw.

Real, who won that game 4-1 after extra-time, will play first-time semifinalists Manchester City, with the first leg in north-west England.

Atletico, who beat holders Barcelona in the last eight, host Bayern Munich in their first leg.

Bayern manager Pep Guardiola misses what would have been a difficult semifinal for him against City, the Premier League side he will take charge of next season.

City will host Real on April 26 and Atletico face Bayern the following evening.

Real, record 10-time champions, are unbeaten in their last eight games against English clubs. Their only previous game against City came in 2012 when the Spanish side won 3-2 at home before drawing 1-1 in Manchester. Naijabet.com

The only time Atletico have met Bayern was in the 1974 final, when the German side won 4-0 in a replay after a 1-1 draw.

For Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick to win the quarterfinal against Vfl Wolfsburg, it will be another return to Manchester, where he spent six years with United before moving to Spain in 2009.

Liverpool defeated Borussia Dortmund 4-3 in Europa League thriller

Liverpool produced another remarkable European comeback to reach the Europa League semifinals with a thrilling 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund that drew parallels with its 2005 Champions League final win.

Eleven years ago, Liverpool were losing 3-0 at half-time to Italian side AC Milan in Istanbul. A barnstorming second-half performance pulled the Merseyside club level, before Liverpool triumphed on penalties.
 Jurgen Klopp’s 2016 team rallied after conceding two goals inside the opening 10 minutes to beat German team Dortmund thanks to a 91st-minute header from defender Dejan Lovren.
The two teams drew last week’s first leg in Germany 1-1, meaning Liverpool progressed to the semifinals of Europe’s second-tier club competition 5-4 on aggregate.
The match began disastrously for the English Premier League team. Both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found the back of the net to give Klopp’s former employers Dortmund a start that left Liverpool a seemingly insurmountable mountain to climb.
Lovren rose at the far post to rifle home his header in the first minute of added time, recalling memories of Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League final comeback against AC Milan and propelling them into the last four with a 5-4 aggregate victory. Naijabet

Nigeria to face Swede, Colombia and Japan in Brazil Olympics groups

Nigeria were pitted against Swede,Colombia and Japan  when the draw for the Olympic soccer tournament was made on Thursday.

Brazil, who have been world champions at every level bar the Olympics, begin their campaign against South Africa in Brasilia, one of six host cities for the competition.

“All the teams will find it difficult but we are very confident and hope Brazil can win the gold medal,” said former Barcelona forward Ronaldinho after helping with the draw.

Three players over the age of 23 are permitted to take part for each team and Brazil are in talks with Barcelona to free striker Neymar.

Holders Mexico were drawn with Germany, Fiji and South Korea.

In the women’s tournament, Brazil will face Sweden, China and South Africa.

United States, who have won four of the five Olympic titles, were drawn to face France, New Zealand and Colombia. Naija and Bet

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IFAB release new law that reduce punishment for fouls inside the box

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has published changes to the laws of the game for the 2016/17 season, the most notable altering sending-off and cautionable offences inside the penalty area.

The previous ‘triple-punishment’ rule meant that a player who denied a goal-scoring opportunity was automatically red-carded and handed a suspension, as well as giving away a penalty.

However, the law has now changed so that players committing accidental fouls, that deny a goal-scoring opportunity, are not automatically sent-off, but cautioned instead.

Players will still be sent-off for holding, pulling or pushing, not playing the ball or having no possibility to play the ball, serious foul play, violent conduct or deliberate handball.

Referees’ powers have also been extended so that they can send-off a player before kick-off, from the official’s pre-match pitch inspection onwards.

Announced on Thursday, the new laws also state the ball will also be able to move in any direction from kick-off, rather than only move forward.

Players who are injured by a challenge punishable by a yellow or red card can now have quick treatment on the field, rather than having to leave, which previously gave the offending team temporary numerical advantage. Naija and Bet Continue reading “IFAB release new law that reduce punishment for fouls inside the box”

Uefa Europa League : Liverpool vs Borussia Dortmund Preview

The second leg of the ‘Jürgen Klopp derby’ starts all even, though an away goal in Dortmund may have left the manager’s current club Liverpool with a slender advantage.

The ‘Jürgen Klopp derby’ concludes at Anfield, with the manager’s current club Liverpool FC eager to finish off his old side Borussia Dortmund in the Uefa Europa League quarterfinals.

Divock Origi’s first-half strike gave Liverpool a priceless away goal in last week’s Europa League quarter-final first leg against the tournament favourites at Signal Iduna Park.

But the Reds manager has vowed to treat the second leg against in-form Dortmund at Anfield like a completely new game as Liverpool try and reach the last four of the competition.

Liverpool are unbeaten in seven European home matches – four wins (only one of them by a margin of more than one goal) and three 1-1 draws, which suggests a tense night in prospect against Dortmund.

Liverpool are the only club to make it from the start of the group stage to matchday 11 unbeaten, with four victories and seven draws – more than any other side in the 2015/16 tournament. Naija and Bet Continue reading “Uefa Europa League : Liverpool vs Borussia Dortmund Preview”

Tottenham reject Leicester City fan referee from officiating their game

The Premier League have replaced self-confessed Leicester City fan Kevin Friend with referee Neil Swarbrick for Tottenham Hotspurs’ clash with Stoke City, following an outcry on social media.

Spurs are second in the table, seven points behind leaders Leicester City ahead of the North London club’s visit to Stoke on Sunday.

Leicester will seal their maiden top-flight title if they win three of their next five games, while Spurs are chasing a first league title since 1961.

The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) do not pick Friend, who lives in Leicester, to oversee Foxes’ games, but do not usually consider factors such as a referee officiating a game that could have implications for the club he supports.

“Kevin Friend, initially selected for the game, is from Leicester and has attended matches at Leicester City in a personal capacity,”.

“Given the context of this match, it was felt unnecessary to add extra scrutiny on the refereeing appointment.” Naijabet.com