Anthony Joshua knocks out Wladimir Klitschko in Heavyweight Fight

In an epic Wembley battle with 90,000 spectators in attendance to watch the fight, Anthony Joshua retained his IBF world title and added the WBC “super” belt by stopping Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round of their heavyweight contest.

The 27-year-old British heavyweight has remained unbeaten in all 19 professional fights while the 41-year-old Ukrainian heavyweight has  had over 68 fights, 29 of them as champion in an 11-year stretch.

Joshua celebrated in the ring with a message that sounded like a recruiting call for all the lost youth he likes to represent: “If you don’t take part, you fail. Boxing is about character. There is nowhere to hide. No complications about boxing. Anyone can do this. Give it a go. You leave your ego at the door. Massive respect to Klitschko. He’s a role model in and out of the ring and I’ve got nothing but love and respect for anyone who steps in the ring. London, I love you. Can I go home now?”

For Klitschko, he acknowledged: “The best man won. It’s really sad I didn’t make it tonight. But all respect to Anthony.”

Meanwhile, Joshua, in his speech again challenged Klitschko for a rematch. His words: ” I’m not gonna say too much, in case he wants a rematch, but in terms of the boxing hall of fame, he’s a role model in and out of the ring.” But the dust will have to settle before rematches are discussed.

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Messi’s 500th Barca Goal Sinks Real Madrid

Lionel Messi struck his 500th Barcelona goal with the last kick of the game to blow the La Liga title race wide open with a thrilling 3-2 win at Real Madrid on Sunday.

Messi had broken a three-year goalless drought against Madrid to cancel out Casemiro’s opener for Madrid in the first-half.

Ivan Rakitic’s stunning strike and a red card for Madrid captain Sergio Ramos for chopping down Messi 13 minutes from time put Barca on course for victory before James Rodriguez came off the bench to level four minutes from time.

However, fittingly, Messi had the final say with a brilliant finish deep into stoppage time to lift Barcelona’s hopes of a third straight La Liga title.

Fresh from dumping Bayern Munich out the Champions League in a 4-2 thriller after extra-time in midweek, Madrid had started confidently in another breathless encounter at the Bernabeu.

Cristiano Ronaldo had strong appeals for a penalty waived away inside two minutes after he appeared to have been clipped by Samuel Umtiti.

Barca grew slowly into the game and had their first big chance when Luis Suarez dragged wide Jordi Alba’s fine cut-back from the edge of the box 11 minutes in.

Shortly after Messi was left floored and bloodied after being caught by a stray elbow from Marcelo.

The Argentine was still down by Ronaldo drilled another fine effort towards goal that Marc-Andre ter Stegen did well to parry to safety.

Unsurprisingly given both Madrid’s potency and Barca’s inability to defend set-pieces, the opener arrived from a dead ball.

Marcelo picked up the loose ball from a corner and when Sergio Ramos volleyed his cross against the post, Casemiro was on hand to tap into an unguarded net.

The lead lasted just five minutes, though, as with a handkerchief still mopping the blood from his cheek, Messi danced past Dani Carvajal and Nacho to fire home his first goal against Madrid for three years.

Ter Stegen was called into action again to prevent Real immediately retaking the lead as he flew to his left to save from Luka Modric’s long-range effort.

However, Barca ended the half feeling hard done by when referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez didn’t show Casemiro a second yellow card for upending Messi as he led a promising counter-attack.

Madrid were rampant at the start of the second period, but were met with a wall of resistence in Ter Stegen.

The German dived low to his left to turn international teammate Toni Kroos’s effort behind before diverting Karim Benzema’s goalbound header to safety with his outstretched foot.

However, Keylor Navas was also busy at the other end as he came to Madrid’s rescue on three occasions.

Firstly, he got a foot to Paco Alcacer’s prodded effort before pulling off acrobatic saves to deny Gerard Pique and Suarez.

Ronaldo then missed a guilt-edged chance to put Madrid back in front as he somehow turned the ball over from point-blank range after unselfish play from Asensio.

There was nothing Navas could do to deny Barca 17 minutes from time when Rakitic took aim from 25 yards and drilled into the top corner.

The match seemed to have swung decisively in Barca’s favour four minutes later when Ramos scythed down Messi to be shown the 22nd red card of his career.

However, even with 10 men, Madrid rallied and levelled when substitute James Rodriguez swept home Marcelo’s cross four minutes from time.

There was still time for one huge twist in the title race, though, as Sergi Roberto’s lung-bursting run led a Barca counter-attack to feed Jordi Alba and his cross was smashed into the corner by Messi.

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UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Results

UEFA Champions League quarter-final second-leg results on Wednesday:

At Barcelona

Barcelona (ESP) 0 Juventus (ITA) 0

Juventus win 3-0 on aggregate

At Monaco

Monaco (FRA) 3 (Mbappe 3, Falcao 17, Germain 81) Borussia Dortmund (GER) 1 (Reus 48)

Monaco win 6-3 on aggregate

Played Tuesday

At Leicester, England

Leicester City (ENG) 1 (Vardy 61) Atletico Madrid (ESP) 1 (Saul Niguez 26)

Atletico Madrid win 2-1 on aggregate

At Madrid

Real Madrid (ESP) 4 (Ronaldo 76, 104, 109, Asensio 112) Bayern Munich (GER) 2 (Lewandowski 53-pen, Ramos 77-og)

Real Madrid win 6-3 on aggregate after extra time

AFP

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Rasheed Yekini U-13 Football Tourney Kicks Off April 22

The maiden edition of Rasheed Yekini U-13 football competition will kick off on Sat. April 22, in Irra, the home town of the late goal King in Oyun local government area of Kwara State.

The Chairman of the main organising commitee for the competition, Alhaji Wasiu Lawal, told newsmen in Ilorin on Friday that the sale of form has commenced.

Lawal explained that any interested team can contact him in Offa or the office of Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) Ilorin FC, inside the Kwara Stadium Complex, Ilorin for the purchase of form at N5000.

He said the committee agreed after its inaugural meeting on Thursday that only 16 teams will participate in the first edition but it may review the number in subsequent editions.

Lawal added that the final of the competition has been fixed for May 4, a date the late African footballer of the died in Ibadan.

“Because it is the first edition and to have a befitting competition, we have pegged the number of participating teams to 16.

“We are expecting participating teams to register 20 players but teams may bring 25 players for screening, but only 20 will be finally registered.

“We are going to be strict with the age limit, we are dealing with young people here so we will not encourage cheating.

“I am using this medium to appeal to would be participating teams to come or apply for the competition with players in the age bracket.

“Anyone screened out will not be allowed to take part and will not be allowed in where teams are camped” Lawal said.

The Kwara Football Association board member, explained that the sale of form will close by Thurs. April 20 while the screening will take place on Sat. April 22 with opening ceremony and first match scheduled for Sunday, April 23.

Lawal commended the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, for sponsoring the competition and pledged that the committee will do all it can to ensure that the aim of the competition was not defeated.

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Okpekpe Race: Obaseki To Run For Orphanage

Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki has declared his intention to run for an orphanage during the 5th Edition of the 10km Okpekpe Road Race scheduled to hold on May 13 in the state.

Obaseki announced this while receiving the organisers of the race led by Mr Mike Itemagbor at the Edo State Government House in Benin on Friday evening.

A statement issued by Chief Press Secretary, John Mayaki quoted the Governor as saying  he decided to run for the Orphanage because he is a trustee of a Non-Governmental Organisation, We Care Trust, owned by the wife of the former governor of the state, Mrs Iara Oshiomhole.

He said the NGO was involved in providing succour to orphans in the state and he would use the platform to raise a donation for the NGO.

He also commended the organizers for ensuring that the race enjoyed more recognition internationally and was improved on a yearly basis.

Meanwhile, the organisers of the Okpekpe race disclosed that more innovations had been added to the race, such as the use of transponders and trackers to eliminate cheats.

Itemagbor said the Okpekpe race is a bronze category of the IAAF event, which makes the state a tourist attraction, during the hosting of the event.

He continued that athletes from 11 countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, Turkey, Germany, Bahrain, Morocco, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi and Nigeria were expected to participate in this year’s edition.

He added that the former governor of the state, Mr Adams Oshiomhole would be made an honorary Grand Patron of Okpekpe Road Race for his contributions to the hosting of the race for four consecutive years.

The highlight of the event was the filling of the VIP participation form for the Okpepke race by the state governor. 

Photo Caption:  From left, Ade Ojeikere, Sport Editor, The Nation Newspaper, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Mike Itemagbor, and Secretary to Edo State Government, Barr Osarodion Ogie.

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Kaduna Footballers To Earn N150,000 Monthly Through Work And Play Scheme

A new arrangement that will see to ensuring that young footballers in Kaduna State earn decent monthly wages outside their playing field has been introduced by Bizi Mobile Cashless Consultants.

The ‘Work and Play’ Scheme which was officially launched on Thursday at the Maimuna Gawarzo Primary School Football Pitch, Tudun Wada, Kaduna, according to the introducers, will see each footballer that is involved earn nothing less than N150,000 monthly.

Managing Directo/CEO of Bizi Mobile Cashless Consultants, Alhaji Aminu Bizi  explained that the scheme was borne out of his desire to encourage talented footballers to keep playing even without a professional signing, while earning money to sustain themselves and families.

He said that as a former footballer and administrator, he is aware of the financial challenges footballers who have not had a breakthrough face, hence coming up with a way out.

According to him, the footballers can engage in their usual trainings with various teams, which is the play part of the scheme, but also engage themselves positively by being agents of Bizi Mobile partners like Access Bank and Eco Bank, in engaging people in mobile banking, from where they would earn a decent source of livelihood.

Speaking further, he said that in view of the deadline handed out by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the charges to begin to apply on withdrawals and deposits above N500,000 done in cash, more mobile cashless transactions would be sought, hence the need for more agents and the creation of jobs.

At the exhibition match played between hosts KKD of Tudun Wada and visitors, Moses Dayo FC of Narayi, the visitors scored a late goal to emerge winners.

Both teams had tied 1-1 with the visitors opening scoring and the crowd wild with jubilation when an equalizer came after several attempts.

Notable dignitaries spotted at the exhibition match include the Kaduna State Football Association Secretary, Alhaji Abdussalam Jere who was accompanied by FA officials from Zaria and Chairman Kaduna United Supporters Club, Alhaji Ya’u Inuwa.

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Portugal Names Airport After Ronaldo

Madeira in Portugal renamed its airport in honour  of Real Madrid star, Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday.

The Atlantic island is where Ronaldo, the four-time world player, grew up, and the airport in its capital Funchal will now be known as “Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo”.

The ceremony followed Portugal playing their first match on the island for 16 years, the hosts losing 3-2 to Sweden despite an early Ronaldo goal in the friendly on Tuesday.

Ronaldo, 32, was accompanied to the airport renaming by his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez and mother Maria, and heads were turned when a statue with a debatable likeness to the image-conscious Real Madrid forward was unveiled.

Not everyone on Madeira agrees with the decision to rename the airport after Ronaldo, but his national-hero status was confirmed last year when he led Portugal to victory in the European Championship.

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NFF President, Amaju Pinnick Elected CAF Executive Member

The President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick has been elected an Executive Member of the Confederation of African Football, CAF.

He was elected at the ongoing CAF elective Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Pinnick, the new representative of Zone B on the CAF Executive Committee, polled 32 votes to unseat the incumbent, Moucharafou Anjorin of Benin Republic who polled 17 votes.

Anjorin, in 2013, replaced Nigeria’s Amos Adamu, following the three-year ban slammed on the latter by the World Football Ruling Body, FIFA.

Abiodun defeated the then NFF president Aminu Maigaari.

Pinnick, a close ally of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, has now reclaimed Ngeria’s seat in CAF.

Prior to the election, Amaju Pinnick had declared open support for the new CAF president Ahmad Ahmad, insisting that it was high time the earstwhile, Isa Hayatou was replaced after 29 years at the helms of African Football.

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Ahmad Defeats Isa Hayatou To Emerge New CAF President

After 29 years in charge as the President of the Confederation of African Football, CAF, Mr. Isa Hayatou, has finally been ousted.

He has just been defeated by the President of Madagascar Football Association, Ahmad Ahmad, at the ongoing CAF elective Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ahmad, Hayatou’s main challenger garnered 34 votes to defeat the incumbent who polled 20 votes.

The newly elected CAF president is serving his third term as Madagascar FA Boss. He had also served as Sports Minister of his country.

Nigeria’s FA Boss Amaju Pinnick is contesting a seat on the CAF executive committee.

He is challenging the incumbent, Benin Republic’s Anjorin to represent Zone B.

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FA Cup: Chelsea Beat Man United To Set Up Semi-final Clash With Spurs

Chelsea will meet Tottenham Hotspur in The Emirates FA Cup semi-final, 50 years on from meeting in the FA Cup Final.

Spurs, who lifted the FA Cup for the eighth and last time in 1991, beat Millwall 6-0 in Sunday’s quarter-final.

N’Golo Kante’s goal separated Chelsea and Manchester United on Monday.

It means the Red Devils have now gone 12 games without success against the men from Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have won the FA Cup five times since the turn of the Millennium.

Manchester City, began the weekend with a 2-0 victory at Middlesbrough, and they will take on Arsenal in the last four.

The Gunners, targeting a record 13th FA Cup, ended Lincoln City’s dream on Saturday evening with an emphatic 5-0 win.

The semi-finals will be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 22 April and Sunday 23 April 2017.

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Barca Trash PSG In Historic Champions Leaque Comeback

FC Barcelona players celebrate their last goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 8, 2017.
PAU BARRENA / AFP
Barcelona’s Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez is about to throw his t-shirt to fans as he celebrates their 6-1 victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 8, 2017.
PAU BARRENA / AFP
Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi acknowledges the crowd at the end of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 8, 2017.
PAU BARRENA / AFP
Barcelona’s midfielder Sergi Roberto (2ndR) celebrates their victory goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 8, 2017. Barcelona won 6-1.
Josep Lago / AFP

Sergi Roberto scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time as Barcelona capped a sensational Champions League fightback to thrash Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 and reach the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

“I threw myself at it with everything,” Roberto told BeIN Sports Spain as his outstretched leg turned home Neymar’s cross.

Despite Luis Suarez’s early opener, a Layvin Kurzawa own goal and Lionel Messi’s penalty, Barca, who lost the first leg 4-0, looked down and out when Edison Cavani volleyed home what seemed to be the vital away goal for PSG.

However, Neymar restored Barca’s belief as he firstly fired home a sensational free-kick two minutes from time and then converted from the penalty spot.

And Roberto capped the biggest comeback in Champions League history when he stretched to turn home Neymar’s dinked cross to the delight of a near 100,000 at a rocking Camp Nou, making the score 6-5 on aggregate.

“It is a difficult night to explain with words,” said outgoing Barca boss Luis Enrique.

“It was a horror movie, not a drama, with a Camp Nou that I have seen very few times as a player or coach. “What defines this victory is the faith that the players and fans had.”

PSG coach Unai Emery accepted his side lost their composure in the closing stages as he suffered a 12th defeat in as many visits to the Camp Nou. “The truth is we have let a huge opportunity get away and we are aware of that,” said Emery.

“In the last two minutes we lost everything we had recovered in the second-half. Barcelona are capable of this in their stadium. In the last few minutes they played all or nothing and they have beaten us.”

Barca also enter the record books by reaching the quarter-finals for a 10th straight season.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was blunt in his summary. “It’s a nightmare for everyone. Three goals in seven minutes is very difficult. Everybody is upset but now is not the time to talk about it.”

Enrique warned the French champions on Tuesday that his side were capable of scoring six and they needed the full 95 minutes to pull of a miracle revival.

No side had ever come back from a 4-0 first leg deficit in the Champions League, but after much pre-match hype of a historic turnaround, Barca truly believed when Suarez opened the scoring after just three minutes.

The PSG defence was stationary as Marquinhos headed Rafinha’s cross high into the air and Suarez nipped in ahead of the flapping goalkeeper Kevin Trapp to nod in despite Thomas Meunier’s best efforts to clear off the line.

– Shambolic defending –
Barca’s hopes were further raised five minutes before the break thanks to more shambolic PSG defending.

Andres Iniesta reached Suarez’s hopeful through ball and his backheel provoked Kurzawa into shanking the ball into his own net on his weaker right foot.

The second period started just as the first ended as Barca edged closer to the history books when Neymar was clipped by the prone Meunier and, after consultation with one of his assistants, German referee Deniz Aytekin pointed to the spot.

Messi made no mistake with the penalty to rifle home his 11th Champions League goal of the season.

Only when 3-0 down did PSG begin to come out in search of the crucial away goal and were rewarded just after the hour mark when Kurzawa made amends for his earlier error by heading down a free-kick and Cavani connected sweetly on the volley to register his 38th and seemingly most important goal of the season.

PSG were then to rue to huge missed chances by Cavani and Angel di Maria to put the tie completely beyond Barca. Just when Barca looked down and out Neymar restored hope when he curled home a sensational free-kick high into the top corner.

And as the match entered stoppage time, Barca were awarded a second controversial penalty when Suarez tumbled under a challenge form Marquinhos. Neymar this time took responsibility to send Trapp the wrong way.

“This is the best game I have ever played. For what it meant, for what we experienced and because I am in great form,” Neymar told BeIN Sports. “I know that we have made history. A team like this can do anything.”

And the Brazilian also showed a cool head amongst a mad final minute when he cut inside before chipping into the box for substitute Roberto to extend his right leg just enough to beat Trapp and leave PSG floored.

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Eagles Coach, Rohr Drops Mikel, Lists Musa, 24 Others For Lions, Etalons Friendlies

Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr has listed goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi and forwards Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho for this month’s international friendly matches against Senegal and Burkina Faso in London. But Skipper John Obi MIkel is conspiculoous by his absence in the list. Rohr did not give any explanation for the omission of the midfielder, who referred joined Tianjin Teda in the Chinese League.

But home–based goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders Leon Balogun and William Ekong, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo and forwards Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon are in the list.

Experienced left back Elderson Echiejile, Portugal–based Chidozie Awaziem, Israel–based John Ogu and Watford FC of England forward, Isaac Success are also called.

Germany–based forward Noah Joel Bazee and Holland–based defender Tyronne Ebuehi will join up with the squad for the first time, while youngster Victor Osimhen, record top scorer at the FIFA U17 World Cup, returns.

The Super Eagles will be up against Senegal’s Teranga Lions on Thursday, 23rd March before taking on the Etalons of Burkina Faso four days later. Both matches will be played at The Hive, home ground of Barnet Football Club.

The full list
Goalkeepers: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah)

Defenders: Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); William Paul Ekong (KAA Gent, Belgium); Kenneth Omeruo (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Uche Henry Agbo (Granada FC, Spain); Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Musa Muhammed (FC Zeljeznicar, Bosnia Herzegovina); Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag, The Netherlands); Elderson Echiejile (Sporting Gijon, Spain); Kingsley Madu (Zulte Waregem, Belgium); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal)

Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense, Portugal); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Isaac Success (Watford FC, England); Noah Joel Bazee (Hannover 96, Germany); Victor Osimhen (Wolfsburg FC, Germany).

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