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Real Madrid secure comfortable victory over Celta Vigo

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Winning the LaLiga Santander title will be virtually impossible for Real Madrid this season, and it was almost as if they played without that pressure in a comfortable 2-0 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Just days after booking their place in the Champions League semi-final, Los Merengues were back at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu looking to make some form of a dent in Barcelona’s lead at the top of the table.

It was a rotated starting XI from the Italian coach as Dani Ceballos, Marco Asensio and Nacho Fernandez all came into the team.

Eduardo Camavinga was also given a rare start at left-back, not that it impacted his performance negatively.

Real Madrid controlled possession for much of the game, although their first-half dominance didn’t translate to too many clear-cut chances.

The deadlock, though, was broken three minutes before half-time by Asensio himself.

Vinicius Jr laid on a perfect pass for the Spanish international, which found him free inside the penalty area and he coolly finished the move with a side-footed shot into the bottom right corner.

Real Madrid will treat LaLiga games as Champions League warm-ups
Even the most ardent Real Madrid fan would say there is a very slim chance of the team retaining their domestic crown this year.

As such, domestic games such as these will work as warm-up matches for the two-legged tie against Manchester City.

Three minutes after the half-time break, Marco Asensio was then involved once more as he provided a beautiful cross into the penalty area from a corner.

Eder Militao jumped the highest and was able to power his header down into the left side of the net.

Thibaut Courtois was called into action late on as Iago Aspas made a chance for himself inside the penalty area, but the Belgian stopper was on hand to produce an excellent stop.

The victory leaves Los Blancos eight points adrift of Los Cules, although their rivals do have a game in hand.

Marca

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Iheanacho, Ndidi face promotion setback after Leicester defeat

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Iheanacho, Ndidi face promotion setback after Leicester defeat

With a 1-0 loss to Plymouth on Friday, Nigerian stars Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfried Ndidi’s Leicester team’s attempt to return automatically to the Premier League took another hit.

Mustapha Bundu’s fine finish earned Argyle their first home win since January to move five points clear of the relegation zone at the other end of the table.

Leicester seemed destined to bounce straight back from their shock relegation last season after winning 13 of their first 14 league games this season.

But the Foxes are unravelling at the business end of the campaign.

Enzo Maresca’s men also lost 1-0 to relegation-threatened Millwall in midweek and have won just two of their last six games.

Leicester remain on top of the table but are ahead of Ipswich only on goal difference and one point ahead of third-placed Leeds.

The 2016 Premier League winners could find themselves out of the automatic promotion places by Saturday should Leeds and Ipswich avoid defeat at home to Blackburn and Middlesbrough respectively.

By contrast, Plymouth are now unbeaten in three games under interim boss Neil Dewsnip to pull clear of the bottom three.

Victory hauls the Pilgrims up to 16th.

 

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Harry Kane’s 3 children involved in Munich car accident

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Three of Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane’s children were “lightly injured” in a car accident outside Munich, a fire brigade spokesman said

Three of Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane’s children were “lightly injured” in a car accident outside Munich, a fire brigade spokesman said on Friday, confirming German media reports.

The accident took place on Monday when the England captain was in London ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Arsenal.

The spokesman for Hohenschaeftlarn fire brigade would not provide the identities of those injured in the crash but confirmed a Bild daily report was accurate.

“No one was seriously injured,” the spokesman told AFP, explaining “the accident looked much worse than what it actually was.”

Bild had published images of an accident between three cars, including a van carrying three of Kane’s four children and the striker’s bodyguard.

Eight people were taken to hospital for routine checks, the spokesman said.

AFP

 

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NFF appoints Manu Garba as Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach

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NFF appoints Manu Garba as Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach

The Board of Nigeria Football Federation has appointed former U17 World Cup winner Manu Garba as Head Coach of the Nigeria U17 boys, Golden Eaglets.

 

Garba had, in the same role, led the Golden Eaglets to win the FIFA U17 World Cup for Nigeria in the United Arab Emirates in 2013 – Nigeria’s fourth triumph at that stage.

 

Garba’s world-conquering squad in 2013 included Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Isaac Success, Musa Mohammed, Chidiebere Nwakali and goalkeeper Dele Alampasu.

 

The squad, which finished as runners-up at the African U17 Championship in Morocco after a penalty shootout defeat by Cote d’Ivoire, defeated Mexico 6-1 in their opening game, drew 3-3 with Sweden and hammered Iraq 5-0. In the Round of 16, they ran Iran ragged 4-1, dispatched Uruguay 2-0 in the quarter-finals and trounced Sweden 3-0 in the semi-finals, before they dislodged Mexico by the same margin in the final to lift the trophy.

 

The former Nigeria international will now immediately resume the role and take charge of the team’s preparations for next month’s WAFU B U17 Championship, taking place in Ghana.

 

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ECL: Aston Villa 2-1 Lille: Emery’s side takes slim lead against Ligue 1 side

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Aston Villa will take a narrow 2-1 lead back to Lille following the first leg of their Europa Conference League quarter-final at Villa Park.

Aston Villa will take a narrow 2-1 lead back to Lille following the first leg of their Europa Conference League quarter-final at Villa Park.

Ollie Watkins headed Villa in front from John McGinn’s corner early on and McGinn’s deflected shot early in the second half doubled the advantage for Unai Emery’s side on the occasion of his 1000th game in management.

But Lille, who squandered a number of good opportunities in the first half and saw Gabriel Gudmundsson’s goal ruled out for offside following a VAR check in the second, finally had their reward late in the game through Bafode Diakite’s header.

It made for muted celebrations at the final whistle, an awareness that this tie is in the balance. There is work to do in France.

 

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Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 West Ham: Alonso’s subs seal late win in Europa League QF leg 1

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Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 West Ham: Alonso's subs seal late win in Europa League QF leg 1

Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface came off the bench to unlock West Ham and earn Bayer Leverkusen a late 2-0 victory in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Leverkusen extended their unbeaten run to 42 matches this season and will take a deserved lead to the London Stadium in a week, but they had to be patient to break down David Moyes’ stubborn Hammers.

West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made several superb saves to keep the scores level, denying Patrik Schick with two wonderful stops in either half, while Mohammed Kudus wasted a big chance early on for the visitors.

Leverkusen dominated possession throughout yet could not find a way through until Xabi Alonso made changes. Hofmann struck first seven minutes from time, volleying home from inside the box before Boniface added a crucial second with an injury-time header to leave West Ham with a mountain to climb.

 

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Europa: Atalanta stun Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield

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Europa: Atalanta stun Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield

Atalanta stunned Anfield as Gianluca Scamacca scored twice in a 3-0 win on Thursday to leave Liverpool with a mountain to climb to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Mario Pasalic added a third seven minutes from time to condemn Liverpool to a first home defeat in all competitions for 14 months.

 

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