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Nigeria Records Victory Against Egypt In Friendly

Nigeria’s Super Eagles celebrate after scoring a goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier final against Seychelles in Asaba, the Delta State capital on March 22, 2019. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

Super Eagles of Nigeria started their preparations for the 2019 African Cup of Nations tournament with a 1-0 win over the pharaohs of Egypt on Tuesday.

The only goal of the game came at the first minute of the game by Paul Onuachu.

The team showed more confidence in the game, after a 3-1 win against Seychelles on Friday.

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Super Eagles End AFCON Qualifying Campaign With Victory Over Seychelles

he Super Eagles of Nigeria, today at the Stephen Keshi stadium in Asaba defeated Seychelles 3-1 to finish top of Group E of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

With qualification already achieved, the Eagles needed just a win to ensure they finish top of Group E above South and Libya.

Goals from Odion Ighalo, Henry Onyekuru and Moses Simon completed the mission for Coach Gernot Rohr’s team.

Top striker, Ighalo gave Nigeria the lead in the first half from the penalty spot, moments after Wilfred Ndidi was brought down. But a goalkeeping error from goalkeeper Francis Uzoho allowed Seychelles Boby Melaine to level the score in the 41st minute.

The Super Eagles regained the lead in the second half through a free header from Onyekuru before Simon sealed the win with a late goal.

The Eagles will now focus on next week’s Tuesday international friendly match against the Pharaohs of Egypt at the same stadium in Asaba.

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Champions League quarter-finals: All you need to know

The UEFA Champions League quarter-final and semi-final draws, will both take place at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, on Friday, March 15.

The draw ceremony will begin at 11am GMT.

The final eight are: Juventus, Manchester City, Manchester United, Ajax, FC Porto, Tottenham Hotspur, Barcelona and Liverpool.

There is no seeding or country protection, with any restrictions to be announced ahead of the draw.

The semi-final draw will follow the quarter-final draw, meaning teams will know their potential paths to the final.

When the matches will take place
9/10 April: Quarter-finals, first leg

16/17 April: Quarter-finals, second leg

30 April/1 May: Semi-finals, first leg

7/8 May: Semi-finals, second leg

Saturday 1 June: Final – Estadio Metropolitano, Madrid

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Champions League highest goal scorers [See top 20]

Following the conclusion of the Champions League round of 16 second-leg ties on Wednesday night, where Liverpool defeated Bayern Munich 3-1 and Barcelona won against Lyon 5-1, below are the current highest goal scorers, chasing the Golden Boot in the Europe top-flight league:

Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandowski failed to score in his side’s defeat to Liverpool. The Polish international is currently having eight goals.

Juventus superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, is now up to four goals in the Champions League, following his hat-trick against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.

Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi scored a brace in his side’s win over Lyon. The Argentine international is now on top of the goal chart with eight goals.

UEFA Champions League leading scorers after Wednesday’s matches:

8 goals: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) and Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

6 goals: Dusan Tadic (Ajax) and Moussa Marega (FC Porto)

5 goals: Aguero (Manchester City), Dybala (Juventus), Dzeko (Roma), Kane (Tottenham), Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Neymar (PSG)

4 goals: Benzema (Real Madrid), Ronaldo (Juventus), Jesus (Manchester City), Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Icardi (Inter Milan), Mbappe (Paris SG), Sane (Manchester City)

3 goals: Manuel Corona (FC Porto) and Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

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Real Madrid Make First Contact For 100 Million Pounds Hazard

Real Madrid have signalled their intent to secure the £100 million ($132m) summer signing of Chelsea star Eden Hazard, Goal understands.

Their interest in the Belgian represents the first proper contact ahead of a potential summer move.

The appointment of Hazard’s idol Zinedine Zidane as Santiago Solari’s replacement at the Bernabeu could prove decisive in making up the 28-year-old’s mind.

Hazard has already described a move to Spain’s capital as a “dream”, with Madrid having frequently been linked with the former Lille winger over the last couple of years.

Chelsea are asking for around £100m from the reigning European champions, who are aiming to get the asking price down.

Madrid are keen to maintain a positive relationship with the west London club in the negotiations, as they did in the process of securing the signing of Thibaut Courtois from the Blues in 2018.

Blancos president Florentino Perez is hoping the reappointment of Zidane will lead to a summer rebuild, with Madrid also linked with Paris Saint-Germain duo Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

Perez hopes that the presence of the France legend at the helm once more might tempt Mbappe to Madrid.

“Zidane’s French so maybe he could do something with Mbappe,” Perez, with a laugh, told reporters.

When pressed over whether he believed Mbappe could be convinced to join Madrid, Perez deflected, instead saying their focus was on finishing the season.

“Right now, all we are concerned with is ending the season well and start preparing for next season,” Perez said.

Neymar has also been rumoured as a Madrid target, with reports suggesting the club would shatter the transfer record PSG paid for the Brazilian while offering to make him the highest-paid footballer in the world.

It has also been reported that such a move would take Madrid out of the race, at least in the short term, for Mbappe, given the cost of landing both stars.

However, when asked who he would choose between the two PSG stars, Perez instead answered “Both.”

Hazard, meanwhile, is in a strong bargaining position over his future at Stamford Bridge as his Chelsea contact enters the final year. 

The Blues have fought hard to keep their star man and had hoped to renew his contract – making him the club’s highest-earning player in the process in an attempt to ensure he finished his career at Stamford Bridge.

With the Liga giants now stepping up their plans to sign Hazard, Chelsea are set for something of a turbulent summer.

As well as Hazard, there are also doubts over the long-term future of Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was targeted by Bayern Munich in January but was ultimately blocked from making the move to Germany.

He will also be entering the final year of his contract in summer 2019 and will likely be considering his future again as regular first-team opportunities in the Premier League under Maurizio Sarri continue to be hard to come by.

The Blues will also be hampered by the transfer ban that has been handed to them by FIFA, which is due to begin in the summer.

Football’s world governing body rejected the Premier League club’s attempt to delay the ban, that will span two transfer windows, with Chelsea now looking to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

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Real Madrid Loses Another Star To Juventus As Marcelo Is Set To Reunite With Ronaldo

Juventus appear to have poached yet another Real Madrid superstar after reportedly agreeing a four-year deal with Marcelo.

La Stampa claims the Brazilian will pocket a staggering £10million-a-season in Turin, making him one of the club’s top earners.

Juventus stunned world football when they completed a shock move for Cristiano Ronaldo last summer.

And it’s reckoned that Marcelo has been pining for a reunion with his good friend after 13 years at the Bernabeu.

He is said to have been in exit talks with Real chiefs for some time.

And the situation has been exacerbated after Marcelo was reportedly dropped by Santiago Solari for being a stone overweight in January.

It’s reckoned the 30-year-old could fetch as much as £40million, with Juve likely to sell Manchester United target Alex Sandro as a result.

But whether Marcelo brings success to Juventus remains to be seen, with Ronaldo’s arrival yet to improve their fortunes in the Champions League.

Max Allegri is set for the chop after losing the first leg of his last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid 2-0.

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UEFA explain controversial Champions League VAR calls

Referee Damir Skomina checks the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) monitor during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on March 6, 2019. Martin BUREAU / AFP

UEFA took the unusual step on Friday to explain a series of controversial Video Assistant Referees (VAR) calls in this week’s Champions League last 16 ties.

European football’s governing body bowed to pressure by bringing forward the introduction of VAR into the Champions League for the knockout rounds, having not used the technology for the group stages.

Ajax and Manchester United benefited from disputed decisions in sealing dramatic comebacks to eliminate holders Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

The handball given against PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe to award United a stoppage time penalty, which Marcus Rashford converted to complete a 3-1 win on the night at the Parc des Princes and progress on away goals, was branded “a disgrace” by injured PSG star Neymar.

Even former United players Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen said in their roles at TV pundits the penalty should not have been awarded.

However, UEFA explained why Slovenian referee Damir Skomina reversed his original decision not to point to the spot having been alerted to watch a replay of the incident by the VAR.

“Following the on-field review, the referee confirmed that the distance that the ball travelled was not short and the impact could therefore not be unexpected,” said UEFA’s statement.

“The defender’s arm was not close to the body, which made the defender’s body bigger thus resulting in the ball being stopped from travelling in the direction of the goal. The referee, therefore, awarded a penalty kick.”

Ajax’s third goal in a 4-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu was reviewed over whether the ball had gone out for what would have been a Madrid throw-in prior to Dusan Tadic’s finish.

UEFA said referee Felix Brych was right to award the goal in the absence of conclusive proof the ball crossed the touchline.

Porto’s comeback from a 2-1 first leg defeat to beat Roma 3-1 after extra-time was also marked by big VAR calls.

The Portuguese side’s winner came from a penalty awarded by VAR three minutes from time.

Roma then had a penalty claim of their own turned down when Patrik Schick tumbled inside the area.

“Last year we asked for VAR in the Champions League because we got screwed in the semi-final and tonight, they’ve got VAR and we still get robbed,” raged Roma president James Pallotta.

However, UEFA insisted on the Schick incident “no clear and obvious error had occurred and that there was no ground for a VAR intervention and an on-field review.”

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Messi Returns To Argentina Team After Eight-Month Absence

Lionel Messi was named in the Argentina squad Thursday for the first time since the World Cup, ending a self-imposed eight-month absence.

Interim coach Lionel Scaloni named the five-time World Player of the Year in his squad for the friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco.

The Barcelona star hasn’t pulled on the light blue and white national team jersey since Argentina were dumped out of the World Cup last June by eventual winners France.

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Champions League: Manchester United’s squad to face PSG revealed [Full list]

Brandon Williams has been included in Manchester United’s travelling squad for their Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The 18-year-old full-back was among five academy players snapped by photographers as they arrived Manchester Airport, ahead of the flight to the French capital on Tuesday morning.

Mason Greenwood, 17, Tahith Chong, 19, Angel Gomes, 18, and James Garner, 17, also travelled with the team.

United are without 10 senior players for the trip to Paris, with Paul Pogba suspended, Phil Jones ill and Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez all injured.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg, if they must progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Manchester United’s 20-man travelling squad for PSG fixture is as follows:

Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Lee Grant, Sergio Romero.

Defenders: Chris Smalling, Ashley Young, Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo, Diogo Dalot, Brandon Williams.

Midfielders: Angel Gomes, Fred, Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, James Garner.

Forwards: Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong.

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US World Cup Defender Clavijo Dies At 63

Fernando Clavijo, a US 1994 World Cup defender who became a top coach, has died at age 63 after a battle with cancer, his family announced Saturday.

Uruguayan-born Clavijo died Friday at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after a five-year fight with multiple myeloma, cancer of plasma cells (white blood cells).

A career that spanned more than 45 years as a player, coach and technical director led to Clavijo being inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005.

“All of us in the US Soccer family are deeply saddened by the passing of Fernando Clavijo, one of the pioneers of soccer in the United States,” said US Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro.

“As a player, a coach, a mentor and a friend, Fernando impacted the lives of generations of people involved in the sport to which he dedicated his life. Our thoughts today are with his family and friends as we reflect on his great legacy.”

No details regarding funeral and memorial services were announced.

“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of Fernando Clavijo’s passing on February 8 after a courageous battle with cancer,” the Clavijo family said in a statement.

“The support and encouragement he received from friends and the entire soccer community throughout his fight will always be appreciated.

“At this time the Clavjio family requests privacy as we mourn the loss of a great man.”

Clavijo, who played indoor soccer from 1981 through 1992, had 61 caps for the United States from 1990 through 1994.

He served as coach of Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution from 2000-2002 and the Colorado Rapids from 2005-2008, serving as coach for the Haiti national team in between.

Since 2012, he served as technical director for MLS side FC Dallas, stepping down last September to focus on health issues.

“Major League Soccer deeply mourns the passing of Fernando Clavijo, a gifted player, coach and sporting director,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said.

“Fernando was an important leader with three MLS clubs and he played a key role in the league’s player development strategy. More importantly, he was a joy to everyone who knew him and inspired countless young players.

“Fernando fought cancer with strength, courage and grace, and we are all heartbroken by the news of his passing.”

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Manchester City And PSG Could Be Thrown Out Of Champions League After UEFA Warning.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have been warned no club is too powerful to be thrown out of European competition if they have broken finance rules.

UEFA are yet to decide whether to investigate if City and PSG breached Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules following the publication of documents by the Football Leaks website last year. Both clubs deny any wrongdoing. 

But UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has insisted no team is exempt from scrutiny, saying: ‘Everyone is treated the same way. I have no problem throwing out anyone. I am under no pressure.’

Meanwhile, at UEFA’s congress in Rome on Wednesday, the organisation’s chief refereeing officer, Roberto Rosetti, vowed to ensure players seen making television signals in a bid to persuade officials to use VAR will be cautioned.

The Italian used Harry Maguire’s calling for a replay during England’s World Cup clash with Colombia after Jordan Henderson was head-butted as an example. The VAR system will be used for Champions League knockout matches.

FA chairman Greg Clarke, meanwhile, will learn on Thursday if he has seen off a challenge from Northern Irishman David Martin, the president of the Irish FA, to become Britain’s FIFA vice-president.

It also emerged on Wednesday that Gianni Infantino is set for a second term as FIFA president. He is the only candidate in June’s election.

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Man. U legend Rio Ferdinand blasts Jose Mourinho as the club records eight straight wins after his sacking

Manchester United legend and football pundit, Rio Ferdinand has taken a swipe at Jose Mourinho after the club recorded their eight straight wins against Arsenal in the FA Cup fourth round last night. 

Recall that Jose Mourinho was sacked in December 2018 due to the poor run of the club and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a former Manchester United striker was appointed as interim boss to replace him.

Since his appointment, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has won eight of all his games in charge and his latest win was against Arsenal last night, which was a 3 – 1 victory for the red devil.

Taking to Twitter to react, the club legend, Rio Ferdinand wrote: ‘Ole getting the best out of all these @ManUtd players now. Something Jose failed to do.’

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