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Remo Stars, Lobi qualify for Naija Super Eight national finals

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Remo Stars, Lobi qualify for Naija Super Eight national finals

High-riding Remo Stars of Ikenne, who a fortnight ago in Lagos qualified for the 2023/24 CAF Champions League through the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) Championship Play-off, yesterday in Eket, Akwa Ibom State, continued their fine season with qualification for the national finals of the ongoing Naija Super Eight Play-off.

In a demonstration of the changing power game in the Southwest region, Remo Stars defeated the most successful club from the region, Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan, 3-0, to advance to the national finals billed for
Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos, from July 7 to 16.

The Ikenne boys, driven by the craft of midfielder Qudus Akanni, raced into a two-goal lead within 12 minutes. Andy Okpe gave Remo Stars the lead with a tidy finish in the seventh minute, while Nweze Boniface doubled the lead five minutes later with a free header from a corner kick.

3SC rallied to reduce the deficit, but could not convert their chances, as Remo Stars took their two-goal lead into the break.

The second half was a shadow of the first, as both sides struggled to create chances. But Samuel Anakwe finally put the game beyond 3SC with the third goal in the 74th minute, tapping home a low cross from close range.

With the victory, Remo Stars maintained their unbeaten run against the Ibadan-based side.

Earlier in the opening game of the competition, Lobi Stars picked the North-Central zone ticket by defeating City FC of Abuja 4-3 on penalties in a thrilling match.

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In the game at the Eket Township Stadium, City FC started on the front foot and had a clear chance to take the lead in the seventh minute, but failed to make it count.

However, Lobi Stars later grew into the game, and took the lead in the 30th minute through David Okoroni, who capitalised on a misunderstanding between a City FC defender and his goalkeeper to make hay.

The first half ended 1-0 in Lobi’s favour. But things changed in the second half with City FC taking the fight to their more illustrious opponents.

Their efforts paid off in the 53rd minute through Ibrahim Mahfus, who finished off a brilliant move from the left wing.

City FC then took the lead in the 76th minute through Arinze Ogbonna, but 11 minutes later, Lobi Stars drew level through Joseph Atule to send the match to penalties, which Lobi Stars won 4-3.

Naija Super Eight is organised by Flykite Productions in partnership with MultiChoice Nigeria and sponsors, MTN, Hero Lager, DStv, GOtv, SuperSport, Moniepoint, Pepsi and Custodian Assurance.

According to Flykite Productions, each of the participating teams will earn N3 million per game, the runners-up trophy comes with N9 million, while the winner will get N25m.

The best player in every match will pocket N250,000, just as there is money for teams with the best supporting fans.

Today, the battle will move to the Southeast and South South, with Heartland FC of Owerri trading tackles with the current NPFL champions, Enyimba FC of Aba, while South South titans, Rivers United and Bendel Insurance will battle for the right to represent the zone in the national finals.

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Euro 2024: UEFA told to ‘blacklist’ referee Zwayer after England’s win over Netherlands

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UEFA told to ‘blacklist’ referee Zwayer after England’s win over Netherlands

Former Netherlands striker, Pierre van Hooijdonk has called on UEFA to ‘blacklist’ referee, Felix Zwayer following England’s recent Euro 2024 semi-final win over Netherlands.

England will face Spain in the Euro 2024 final on Sunday in Berlin after Ollie Watkins’ 90th minute winner sealed a 2-1 victory for Gareth Southgate’s side.

The Three Lions were gifted a penalty in the first half of the match when Denzel Dumfries attempted to block Harry Kane’s shot, judged to have clipped the England captain in the process.

A VAR review resulted in referee Zwayer overturning his original decision and awarded England a penalty which Kane converted.

However, Van Hooijdonk wants Zwayer to be banned from major matches in the future.

“They [England] can thank Felix Zwayer. He really needs to be blacklisted. Terrible,” van Hooijdonk told NOS.

“Also in the second half. A duel with Cody Gakpo where he simply blew his whistle again, ten meters from the linesman. Those are moments that were crucial in this match.”

He added, “We can talk about it at length, but if you’re going to award a penalty for this. Then you could end up with eight of them on the spot in the final. Really terrible.”

 

READ ALSO  Man Utd agree deal for Zirkzee
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Van de Beek joins Girona from Man Utd

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Van de Beek joins Girona from Man Utd

Donny van de Beek has completed a permanent move to LaLiga side Girona from Manchester United.

The Dutchman struggled in his four years at Old Trafford after he moved to the club from Ajax in a £39m deal in September 2020.

Man Utd are understood to have received a fixed fee of £500k from Girona for the 27-year-old, while bonuses could increase this to an eventual £7.6m (€9.1m), as well as a sizeable share of any sell-on.

Van de Beek made 62 appearances for Man Utd in all competitions and scored just twice.

Source: Sky Sport

READ ALSO  Man Utd agree deal for Zirkzee
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Athletic president: We don’t need to sell Williams

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Athletic president: We don't need to sell Williams

Athletic Bilbao’s president has hit out at the “bombardment” of transfer questions made to Nico Williams, adding the Spanish club can safely keep players such as the Spanish winger.

Williams has shone for Spain at Euro 2024 but has faced lots of speculation over his future at Athletic.

“Nico is a footballer very committed to Athletic Club, who has been subjected to an excessive and uncontrolled bombardment of questions while at the Euro Cup. The Spanish Federation has not known how to protect him,” said Athletic president Jon Uriarte.

“Athletic aims for the maximum, without limits,” he added. “We are showing that we have a winning project for footballers and coaches.

“We have renewed the contracts of players who are playing in the Euro Cup, such as Unai Simón or Dani Vivian, and coveted players such as Benat Prados, Oihan Sancet, Julen Aggirezabala or Aitor Paredes have also signed for several seasons, to give some examples.

“Athletic Club is economically, socially and sportingly capable of keeping footballers of the calibre of those named in its structure, including Nico Williams.”

Source: Sky Sport

READ ALSO  Van de Beek joins Girona from Man Utd
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Man Utd agree deal for Zirkzee

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Man Utd agree deal for Zirkzee

Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Bologna forward Joshua Zirkzee.

The fee is understood to be just over £35m (€42.5m) – above the £33.6m (€40m) release clause.

However, it is in exchange for more favorable payment terms.

It means United will not pay a lump sum up-front but pay over a three-year period.

Personal terms are agreed.

Zirkzee is expected to have a medical this week before signing a five-year contract with the option of a further year.

Source: Sky Sport

READ ALSO  Van de Beek joins Girona from Man Utd
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Chelsea not interested in signing Olmo

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Chelsea not interested in signing Olmo

Chelsea have no interest in triggering Dani Olmo’s release clause at RB Leipzig.

The club are happy with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Christopher Nkunku and Cole Palmer as attacking-midfield options, Sky Sports News understands.

Olmo’s £50m release clause at the German club reportedly expires next week.

He has been sensational for Spain during their march to the Euro 2024 final, scoring in the semi-final victory over France last night.

Source: Sky Sport

READ ALSO  Van de Beek joins Girona from Man Utd
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Darwin Núñez, Uruguay players jump in stands after Copa loss

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Darwin Núñez, Uruguay players jump in stands after Copa loss

Darwin Núñez and about a dozen Uruguay teammates went into the stands as fans brawled at Bank of America Stadium following Uruguay’s 1-0 loss to Colombia in a Copa América semifinal on Wednesday night before security personnel stepped in to restore order.

After Colombia sealed a 1-0 victory in Charlotte, North Carolina, videos on social media showed Uruguay players climbing into the stands and exchanging blows with opposition fans.

South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL, which organizes the Copa, said it is investigating the incident and issued the following statement after the game: “CONMEBOL strongly condemns any act of violence that affects football.

“Our work is based on the conviction that soccer connects and unites us through its positive values.”

Uruguay’s Nunez and Ronald Araujo were among the players at the forefront of the melee. Captain Jose Maria Gimenez said the players were trying to defend their families.

“Let me say something before they cut you off because they won’t let us speak into the microphone, they don’t want me to say anything about what’s going on but this is a disaster,” Gimenez said on the official broadcast. “Please be careful, our families are in the stands, there are little newborn babies. It was a disaster; there was no police and we had to defend our families.

“This is the fault of two or three people who had a few too many drinks and don’t know how to drink.”

Players and staff from both Colombia and Uruguay were also involved in a confrontation on the field after the final whistle.

READ ALSO  Athletic president: We don't need to sell Williams

“I thought that the incident ended with some argument on the midfield and when I saw that happening I went to the locker room,” Uruguay coach Marcelo Bielsa said in a press conference.

“I thought that they were thanking the fans for their support. But then I learned that there were some problems over there unfortunately.”

Jefferson Lerma’s first-half header gave Colombia a place in Sunday’s final against Argentina. Uruguay will play Canada in the third-place playoff.

Source: ESPN

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