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EPL: Manchester United held by Arsenal as both struggle to shine



EPL: Manchester United held by Arsenal as both struggle to shine

…As Torgah’s third round sub-70 score keeps him ahead, in the 1st October Championship***

Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Arsenal on Monday in a Premier League game which was a poor imitation of some of the past clashes between the clubs.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 58th minute goal, given after VAR review, cancelled out Scott McTominay’s well-struck opener on the stroke of halftime, but it was a game which highlighted the weaknesses of the two teams.

The result leaves United in 10th place with just nine points, their worst start after seven games for 30 years and they have won just one of their last six league games.

Arsenal are in fourth spot on 12 points but their nine-point gap with leaders Liverpool illustrates just how far away they are from being real contenders.

This fixture is part of the folklore of the Premier League era, producing some epic battles between Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger’s title-winning sides.

And while there is certainly a retrospective feel to Old Trafford under the lights and in the rain, the only throwback on the field was some of the heavy and late challenges.

There are multiple weaknesses in both teams but what stood out when they faced each other was the utter lack of class and quality in midfield.

Arsenal look lightweight and lacking any real spine while United, despite having Paul Pogba back from injury, were short of attacking options and creativity.

United keeper David De Gea pulled off a fine double-save in the 44th minute, pushing out a low shot from Bukayo Saka and then doing well to keep out Matteo Guendouzi’s follow-up.

Moments later, United had the lead when Marcus Rashford found McTominay on the edge of the box and his slightly deflected shot towards the top corner beat the motionless Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno.

Arsenal got back on level terms in controversial circumstances in the 58th minute with a goal from Aubameyang.

United left-back Axel Tuanzebe gave the ball away to Saka who threaded through to Aubameyang but the linesman raised his flag well before the Gunners striker put the ball past De Gea.

VAR review correctly showed that Harry Maguire had played Aubameyang onside and the goal was then given.

However, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared furious that the linesman had flagged when recent practice has been for the flag not to be shown until the end of a move.

McTominay then missed a glorious chance to secure the three points and his growing reputation when, from an Ashley Young corner, he headed over the bar from close range.

Leno then made two good saves to keep Unai Emery’s side on level terms.

First he dived to deny Maguire’s effort from the edge of the box and then reacted well to keep out Rashford’s stoppage time free kick.

Also read:  Doha 2019: Oduduru, Okagbare reinstated into World Championships

In the meantime, Ghana’s Vincent Torgah carded a superb bogey-free third round of 63 to claim a 10-shot lead at the 1st October Championship at the Port Hacourt Golf Club on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Torgah made seven birdies and 11 pars to maintain a 54-hole lead with 19-under par heading into the final round.

The Ghanaian professional golfer made a “splash” on the African Tour in  May when he claimed his fourth win of the season at the “Port Hacourt Classis”.

Edwin Osuhor, Tournament Director of the African Tour, noted that it would be Torgah’s 14th professional win on the African Tour should he emerge as the winner of this year’s championship.

“With 19 under par, he now holds the lowest 54 holes score in the Tour’s history, with rounds of 63 65 and 63 respectively.

“He also set  a new Course record to beat at the Port Hacourt Golf Club having scored a bogey-free 7-under in a single round, the first player to do so,” he said.

NAN also reports that during a day of low scoring, Zimbabwe’s Visitor Mapwanya now sits solo at second place on the leader board.

He is with a 3-under par in the third round to move to 9-under.

Mapwanya however could not catch up on the leader who had a blitz of birdies in the third round and is now 10 strokes ahead of him.

Also, Port Hacourt-based professional golfer Gift Willy could not beat the course in the third round.

He carded a one-over par 71 on day three and is now solo third on the leaderboard at 5-under par.

Sunday Olapade also carded a bogey-free round of (67) 3-under to move up the leaderboard by a spot at 2-under par after 54 holes.

He is now fourth on the leader board heading into the final round.

Kabiru Haruna of Kano Golf Club also maintained a brilliant performance on day three, scoring a level-par 70 to sit fifth on the leaderboard at 1-over par.

He beat Chukwudi Okoro, alongside Francis Epe, by a stroke, who are now tied for sixth place at 2-over.

Three others in the 60s’ rank are Python Golf Club professional Udom Saater (66), four-under par, Solomon Ideriah (68), two-under par, and Chidi Tobias of Ikeja Golf Club at one-under (69).




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Super Eagles Loss To Ivory Coast Not A Disgrace- Ahmed Toro



…As Bauchi fans hail referee Beida for good officiating 

Sani  Ahmed Toro, former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and ex-member House of Representatives, has commended the Super Eagles’ resilience at the 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Ahmed Toro in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in the aftermath of the Super Eagles 1-2 loss to the Elephants, said that the outcome of the match was not a disgrace.

The Super Eagles on Sunday failed to fly past the Elephants at the finals of the AFCON 2023, played at the 34th edition of the game, at Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan.

Ivorian combative Sebastien Haller, scored the tap in a winning goal to help the hosts 2-1 win over Nigeria.

On-field captain, and Most Valuable Player of the tournament, William Troost-Ekong, with a thumping header as he rose to meet Samuel Chukwueze’s flick-on from a corner, but Franck Kessie equalized just after the hour mark after being left unmarked at the back post from a set piece with another header.

The Ivorians then repeated their comeback strategy as Borussia Dortmund player, Haller, tapped in from Simon Adingra’s cross into the goal.

Ahmed Toro

Ahmed Toro, however,  commended the team for their bravery even though most football pundits did not give them a chance.

“The Super Eagles of Nigeria did their best having gone far till the final match. We were not disgraced at the AFCON.

“Some of us expected them to win, but the game did not go our way. The Federal Government of Nigeria has done its part, so also the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to motivate the team.

“In all, it was a good fight from the Super Eagles,  because this was against all odds or expectations. For every sports-loving Nigerian, we wanted a victory.

“The Super Eagles deserve our commendation, so I congratulate them,” he said.

Ahmed Toro also said it was time for the Eagles to start thinking about the World Cup qualifications.

“We now have to go back to the drawing board and make sure that we qualify for the World Cup, we should focus on that.

“Going forward, we must make sure that we qualify for the World Cup because AFCON is over now, this is the right time for us to put our house in order,” he said.

In another development, the football fans in Bauchi State have praised referee Dahane Beida, of Mauritania, for good officiating during the Cote d’Ivoire finals win over Nigeria, at the 34th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire beat Nigeria’s Super Eagles to capture the African crown, they came from behind to beat Nigeria 2-1, to win the AFCON 2023  title on Sunday, Feb. 11. 

Some football fans in an interview with the News Agency of  Nigeria (NAN) at midnight on Monday in Bauchi, lauded the officiating referee for unbiased officiating.

Mr Adamu Imam, a football fan, said the referee was composed and focused while officiating the match.

“The Mauritanian referee has put in his best to see that the game was perfectly coordinated, without much argument and fewer yellow cards issued. 

“So, I must commend his professionalism at the 2023 AFCON finals.”

Nasiru Ibrahim,  a sports commentator,  said the match was neat and was well-officiated by the referee.

“The referee has done well,” he said. 

Ibrahim, however, said that the Super Eagles coach made some mistakes.

“It was unexpected, and I am devastated. I am hoping to be able to bear the pain of the loss,” he added.

A sports writer, Jennifer Emmanuel, said the referee knew his job, “as a referee, he was impartial to the two teams”. 

“There was no sentiment nor bias in officiating the finals, he deserves commendation,” she said.

According to her, I feel bad but we accept everything in good fate, that’s football for you, Congratulations to Côte d’Ivoire .

“They played like patriots. no matter what happened tonight maximum respect to the super eagles,” Jennifer said with a salute.

Another Sports Enthusiast, Abubakar Waziri, however, noted that while officiating the match, the Mauritanian referee made some mistakes, adding that “it is the beauty of the game”. 

“The Super Eagles played more of a defensive game,  instead of attacking at the beginning of the match.

“There was much pressure on the defence because our midfield was not well coordinated, this put pressure on the defense,” he said. 

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Super Eagles Soar Past S/Africa, Berth In 2023 AFCON final



Enugu State Football league begins May 24 – Official

The Super Eagles of Nigeria on Wednesday in Bouake qualified for the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), after defeating South Africa in a pulsating semi-final clash.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the match played at the Stade de la Paix, Bouake,  was decided on penalties after the game ended 1-1 after 120 minutes of tension-soaked encounter.

The match started on a fast pace, with the South Africans dominating play but was pegged back by the resilient Nigerian defence,  Marshalled by Captain William Troost-Ekong.

The cagey first half ended goalless, despite the forays by both teams.

But in the second half, Nigeria took the lead after Victor Osimhen was fouled inside the 18-yard box.

Ekong stepped up to put the Eagles one goal up.

However, late in the game, substitute Alhassan Yusuf gave away a penalty, which Teboho Mokoena tucked away.

The match was eventually decided on penalties, with Nigeria winning 4-2 after a nervy shoot-out.

Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho scored the winning penalty as Nigeria booked their place in the final, sparking a wild celebration in the stadium.

Nigeria will now face the winners of the Cote d’Ivoire vs DR Congo match in Sunday’s final.

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Own goal pushes Super Eagles into AFCON round of 16



Enugu State Football league begins May 24 – Official

The Super Eagles advanced to the next round of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Monday in Abidjan with a 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau.

The result meant Nigeria finished second after group leaders Equatorial Guinea held firmly to Group A top spot after a 4-0 annihilation of hosts Côte d’Ivoire.

In their match played at the Stade Felix Houphouet Boigny in Abidjan, the Super Eagles did raise their game with the hopes of a resounding win.

But they were largely held back by their opponents who knew they had nothing to lose but could serve as spoilers.

With the Super Eagles suffering a few injuries and some key players rested, they struggled to keep this up, and were rather on the back foot mostly.

Needing to win to keep their position and advance, Nigeria kept up holding on to the game and deservedly got rewarded in the 37th minute through an own goal.

A Simon Moses pullout from the left flank had put the Guinea-Bissau defence on the edge.

With Victor Osimhen advancing into the goal area, Opa Sangante miserably bundled the ball past his goalkeeper into the net for the match’s lone goal.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the result made it two wins and one draw for seven points from three matches for Nigeria to finish second.

They will now meet the Group C runners-up in the second round.

Meanwhile, Equatorial Guinea beat hosts Côte d’Ivoire 4-0 to win Group A, advancing into the second round ahead of Nigeria.

Cote d’Ivoire can still join the two from the group in the round of 16, depending on the results from other groups.

            Group A Final Standings

 Team                                P      W      D     L      GF      GA     GD     Pts

Equatorial Guinea          3       2       1       0        9        3        +6      7

Nigeria                           3       2      1        0       3        1          +2     7

Côte d’Ivoire                    3        1      0        2        2       5          -3      3

Guinea-Bissau                 3        0      0        3       2        7         -5       0


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