FIFA fines Nigeria $30,800, NFF appeals

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday expressed surprise at the $30,800 fine slammed on the country by world football ruling body, FIFA for alleged crowd encroachment during the Super Eagles 4-0 thrashing of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo in a 2018 World Cup qualifier last month. The NFF, which said it would appeal the sanctions, has also launched a campaign to ensure that football fans comported themselves in orderly manner during and after Saturday’s match against Zambia at the same venue. Speaking on the sanction,…

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Talking points for this week’s qualifiers

Six talking points ahead of the European World Cup qualifiers before the final two rounds are played between October 5 and 10. PLAYOFF LOOMS FOR EDGY ITALY Barring major surprises, Italy will finish as Group G runners-up behind Spain and will have to face the uncertainties of the perilous playoff round – a prospect that has fans and media on edge. Italian federation president Carlo Tavecchio has described the possibility of the four-time champions not qualifying as “the Apocalypse.” He even suggested Fifa should change the rules in the future…

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Tunisia look to book Russia 2018 ticket

Tunisia will be hopeful that Saturday evening sees them secure a place in next year’s World Cup when they play Guinea in Conakry for their penultimate qualifying clash. The Group A match is set for the Stade du 28 Septembre, kick-off at 7pm CAT (SA, GMT+2). The North Africans hold a three-point advantage over nearest challengers DR Congo at the top of the log and can secure qualification through one of two scenarios: if they win away to Guinea and DRC fail to win away to Libya; or if they…

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Manchester City’s Stones keen to repay Guardiola faith

Manchester City centre-back John Stones says he is determined to repay manager Pep Guardiola for the faith he showed in him during his difficult first season at the Etihad Stadium. Stones, 23, produced several error-strewn displays last season after joining City from Everton in a £47.5 million ($62.9 million, 53.6 million euros) move that made him the world’s second most expensive defender. But Guardiola stuck by the England international and has been rewarded this season as Stones has contributed to six clean sheets in City’s last seven games, helping the…

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WAFU: Super Eagles set up final showdown with Black Stars

The home-based Super Eagles yesterday zoomed into the final of the ongoing WAFU Cup of Nations taking place in Ghana by beating Benin Republic by a lone goal. The Nigerian team will meet Ghana, who defeated Niger Republic 2-0 in the second semifinal, in the final of the competition on Sunday. The Eagles took the lead in the 11th minute after beautiful counter-attacking football, which saw Anthony Okpotu play Rabiu Ali through on goal and he showed all the composure of a veteran to coolly slot past the keeper, 1-0.…

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Zinedine Zidane pleads for calm amid Real slump

In the space of just five games Real Madrid have gone from red hot La Liga title favourites to trailing rivals Barcelona by seven points ahead of Saturday’s trip to Alaves. When Madrid swept a crisis-ridden Barca aside 5-1 in the Spanish Super Cup last month, Zinedine Zidane’s men were expected to romp to the title. Instead, disappointing home draws against Valencia and Levante were compounded as Real failed to score for the first time in 74 games when Real Betis became the first side other than Barca or Atletico…

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Arsenal, Man City, Man Utd in League Cup 4th Round

All the English  Premier League big guns, such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Everton  have qualified for the fourth round of the League Cup. Only Liverpool are missing in the line up as they were beaten by Leicester City. At the Emirates, Theo Walcott sealed Arsenal’s 1-0 win over third tier Doncaster at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, while  Marcus Rashford fired Manchester United to victory,  crushing Burton 4-1. Manchester City eased through with a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion.  Chelsea and Everton completed the parade of…

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Real Madrid beaten by Real Betis on Ronaldo return

Antonio Sanabria struck deep into stoppage time to hand Real Betis a shock 1-0 win away to Real Madrid on Wednesday as the European champions failed to score for the first time in 74 matches. Defeat leaves Real already seven points adrift of leaders Barcelona just five games into their defence of La Liga having failed to win in all three home games so far this season. Even the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo on his return from a five-match domestic ban couldn’t break Betis’ resistence as former Real goalkeeper Antonio…

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Super Eagles seek an encore as Benin Republic dream revenge

Nigeria’s’ quest to qualify for the final game of the on-going WAFU Cup will meet a familiar foe when they confront Benin Republic in one of the semifinals of the championship. The Eagles defeated home team, Ghana 2-0 to berth into the last four, where they will meet with the Squirrels barely two months after beating the same foes 2-1 on aggregate to qualify for next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN). The Beninoise defeated Niger Republic 2-1 to win Group B and a place in today’s semifinals. The Super Eagles…

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Machine retires tennis line judges

Line judges face an uncertain future after the ATP announced that they will be replaced by “electronic line calls” at this year’s inaugural Next Gen Finals in Milan. For the first time at an ATP event, the chair umpire will be the only official on court, with ‘Hawk-Eye Live’ technology used to judge whether shots are in or out. Decisions will be final with players unable to challenge calls as they do at most tournaments via Hawk-Eye playback. Marginal calls will, however, still be accompanied by a visualization on video…

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