2018 World Cup: Nigeria To Play Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

At the 2018 World Cup draw which took place on Friday at the Kremlin, Russia, Nigeria’s Super Eagles, will again be facing Argentina national football team.

This is also the third straight World Cup that has placed Nigeria and Argentina in the same first-round group, and the fifth over all.

Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

Group C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama

Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal, Japan

Messi Extends Barcelona Contract Until 2021

Lionel Messi has extended his contract with Barcelona until 2021.

The Spanish club announced this on Saturday, making official an agreement reached in July.

The contract of the soccer star with the Camp Nou side is supposed to expire in 2018.

“FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the club through the 2020/21 season,” the club said in a statement.

“The buyout clause was set at 700 million euros ($835 million).”

The new deal with the club comes with a €700m release fee.

He has played 602 times for the Catalans and has scored 523 goals, helping them to 30 trophies.

Among the trophies are La Liga (8 times), Copa del Rey crowns (five times) and four Champions League titles.

A goalscorer and creative playmaker, Messi takes credit for the most official goals scored in La Liga.

He made his debut for the Spanish team in 2004 when he was 17 years.

International Friendlies: Sergio Aguero Hospitalised As Nigeria Defeats Argentina

Sergio Aguero reportedly fainted during half-time and was taken to hospital as Nigeria stunned Argentina in a friendly.The Manchester City striker fell ill in the changing room. He was replaced by Dario Benedetto.

Aguero had earlier scored to put his side 2-0 up, becoming the Albiceleste’s third-highest scorer in the process.

But he suffered health issues at the break and was forced to leave the Stadion FK in Krasnodar to be given medical attention.

Aguero underwent tests in hospital as Nigeria came back to record a famous 4-2 win.

Super Eagles Humiliates Argentina In International Friendly

Super Eagles fight back from two goals down to beat Argentina 4-2 in an international friendly at Krasnodar in Russia, with Alex Iwobi grabbing a brace, NAN reports.

Meanwhile, the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation has identified two camping/training sites for the Super Eagles at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, and communicated same to world football –governing body, FIFA.

“A final site would be selected out of the two after inspection and approval by the technical crew led by Coach Gernot Rohr. This is in furtherance of our commitment to ensuring there are no issues outstanding that could constitute distraction before the World Cup.

“All plans for the World Cup are on course and a number of high profile preparatory matches have also been agreed, subject to the Final Draw on 1st December. The entire program would be unveiled after the Draw,” Shehu Dikko, NFF 2nd Vice President, said on Tuesday.

Anthony Joshua Knocks Out Carlos Takam In Round 10, Retains World Title

Nigerian born Anthony Joshua last night knocked out Carlos Takam in the 10th round of a powerfully contested bout which happens to be his fourth world title defence.

The fight took place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

The rugged Cameroon-born contender compared to a “block of cement”, was bleeding from cuts above both eyes as Joshua unloaded in the 10th round.

Takam only stepped in just with 12 days’ notice, to challenge the IBF and WBA ‘super’ heavyweight champion, as replacement for Joshua’s mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.

Pulev was forced to withdraw through injury but with almost 80,000 tickets sold, the show had to go on.

Takam was cleared to continue by doctors twice, after Joshua opened a huge cut above his right eye.

The referee eventually stepped in the 10th round, although the decision looked controversial.

Joshua will now target unification clashes against fellow champions Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker next year. He retains his belts and moves to 20-0 with 20 knockouts

“I have no interest in what’s going on with the officials,” Joshua said during his in-ring interview.

“I just worry about my opponent. Unfortunately, the ref stopped it. I think people wanted to see Takam unconscious on the floor, am I right?

“He was getting there. I didn’t have control over the ref’s decision. We get the win and now we look forward to 2018.”

Germany, England Qualify For 2018 World Cup

Germany secured the ticket to defend their World Cup title in Russia with a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland, who will likely move on to the playoffs from UEFA Group C.

Northern Ireland will finish in second place in the group, though with only eight of the nine group runners-up advancing to the playoffs, they may still need a point in Norway next week to be sure of their place.

Harry Kane scored deep into stoppage time to help England also claim their place at the World Cup with a 1-0 win against Slovenia in Group F.

The result leaves Gareth Southgate’s men six points ahead of Scotland in second place with only one more qualifying game to play.

 

Man City Striker Sergio Aguero ‘Involved In Serious Crash’

Sergio Aguero faces a long spell on the sidelines after the Manchester City striker suffered suspected fractured ribs during a car crash in Amsterdam on Thursday night.

According to reports overnight from his native Argentina, the forward suffered the injuries when in a taxi on the way to the airport to get his flight back to Manchester.

City confirmed the reports on Friday morning in a statement and revealed he would be checked by club doctors ahead of Saturday’s game with Chelsea.

They said: “Sergio Aguero will be assessed by Club doctors today after being involved in a road accident on Thursday.

“The City forward was in Holland on his day off and has sustained injuries.

“He will return to Manchester this morning and his status will be checked ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League clash at Chelsea.”

The Independent

PSG Deny Offering Cavani €1m To Let Neymar Take Penalties

Paris Saint-Germain have denied offering Edinson Cavani a €1m (£880k) bonus in order to allow new teammate Neymar to take over penalty duties.

Reports on Monday morning suggested the Ligue 1 club’s owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi had made the offer after Cavani – the club’s regular penalty taker last season – had a public row with the world record signing before a spot kick against Lyon last weekend.

“PSG formally denies reports which say Cavani would abandon penalties in exchange for the automatic payment of a bonus,” the club said in a statement.

Independent

14-Year-Old Nigerian Wins US Under 14 Championship, Few Weeks After Moving To IMG

Nigerian Tennis Prodigy, Marylove Edwards opened her first US account on a winning note by dispatching her opponents with ease to win the USTA Celsius Level 6 girls’ 14 & Under tournament.

This she achieved barely 20 days after moving to the world renowned, IMG Tennis Academy founded by veteran tennis coach, Nick Bolletieri in Bradenton, Florida.

She defeated her opponent, Nina Sidhu in two straight sets with an emphatic 6-0, 6-1 win to claim her first trophy on US soil. The final was the climax of a competition she dominated winning all her matches convincingly in two sets apiece.

On the way to the final, Marylove defeated Anastasiia Pestereva in the round of sixteen in two straight sets of 6-3, 6-2. She followed up on her remarkable form beating Nicole Ciemark in a 6-0, 6-1 in the quarter finals before ensuring her place in the final with a 6-2, 6-0 defeat of Stella Rundova.

With support from her Lagos-based pan-African talent agency, Temple Management Company (TMC), the twelve year-old has been on a roll. The organization focuses on harnessing and marketing creatively endowed individuals and has been propelling the career of the Nigerian sensation.

After a one week training stint at the IMG Academy in April, Marylove returned to Nigeria to shock keen observers of the Nigerian ennis circuit when she emerged as the first junior to make it to the finals of the CBN Women Seniors.

On close observation, IMG founder, Bolletieri singled out Marylove for her unique double-fisted style. His words, “Now this young girl is very different: super athlete. Very handy. Only a few can get away with that style.”

Committed to her development, TMC was able to secure financing to help the starlet return to IMG Academy to begin a full academic session in September at the prestigious tennis intuition which has produced the likes of the Serena and Venus Williams, Andre Agassi and Monica Seles among others.

Speaking from her IMG Academy base, Marylove expressed her excitement at her new achievement. “I have been training very hard since I started at IMG and was so happy to win my first trophy,” said an excited Marylove.

 Also speaking, Koye Sowemimo, Head of Sports, TMC, said, “we are focused on our commitment to ensure that Marylove continues to make progress such as her latest triumph both on and off the court. This is a great step in that direction and we firmly believe it is just the beginning of what we will be a great future for her.”

D’Tigers Loses Afrobasket Gold To Tunisia

The Nigerian basketball team, D’Tigers were edged by the Tunisian team in the finals of the Afrobasket Championships co-hosted by Senegal and Tunisia with the finals played in the Tunisian capital of Tunis. The game lived up to the hype with the Nigerian team led by charismatic skipper Ike Diogu winning the first quarter 14-8.

Ike Diogu, who has been a part of the team for over a decade was ever present to give his bit to the team and was once again spectacular in a game where all was given but little was gotten. The second quarter also started with D’Tigers having the upper hand as they led initially before being subdued by a massively supported Tunisian team. The second quarter ended with the co-hosts leading Nigeria by a point as the score stood at 25-24. n

It was all Tunisia thereafter as D’Tigers trailed and were second best again in the third quarter which the Tunisians won by 52 points to Nigeria’s 40.  It was a late rally from the Nigerian team that made the fourth and final quarter a very interesting one as they battled hard to salvage a winning result but the Tunisians proved too hard a nut to crack for the visiting D’Tigers as they bowed to the victorious Tunisians at the fourth quarter with the result standing at 77-65 in favour of the Tunisians, a result that stamped the co-hosts’ victory.

Team Nigeria’s skipper, Ike Diogu won the best player of the tournament after being the first on the tournament’s leaderboard and was selected as one of the players in the team of the tournament.

In the third place match, Senegal pipped Morocco to the third position and a bronze medal finish on the podium. The D’Tigers’ final game today was their second consecutive final after claiming victory over Angola the last time out.

Decision To Suspend Me For Five Games Is “Persecution” – Ronaldo

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo said the decision to suspend him for five games is “persecution”.

The 32-year-old failed in his appeal against the ban for the red card he received in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win against Barcelona in the Super Cup.

He was given a one-match ban for two yellows and a further four for pushing the referee after he had been sent off.

The bookings at the Nou Camp were for taking off his shirt to celebrate his goal to make it 2-1 and for a dive.

Ronaldo will miss Wednesday’s second leg and will not return to domestic action until 20 September against Real Betis. However, he will be able to play in the Champions League.

In an Instagram post, after his failed appeal, he wrote: “It seems to me exaggerated and ridiculous, this is called persecution.”

BBC

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