Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 24, 2018. Oli SCARFF / AFP
Jurgen Klopp described a near perfect Liverpool performance as a “joy to watch” as Mohamed Salah scored for the sixth straight game in a 4-1 thrashing of West Ham at Anfield on Saturday.
Klopp’s men moved up into second in the Premier League by edging a point ahead of bitter rivals Manchester United, who host fourth-placed Chelsea on Sunday, as Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were also on target.
“I don’t think as a manager you can expect a game like this, you can hope for it but it’s very rare you get it. We got it. It was a joy to watch,” said Klopp.
“It was intense, it was aggressive, it was angry, it was full of desire. I saw everything I wish to see in a game of football and it’s not often you see that.”
Salah also drew level with Harry Kane on 23 Premier League goals in an outstanding debut season at Liverpool in the battle for the golden boot.
The Egyptian was inches away from opening the scoring inside three minutes when he struck the post, but did have a hand when Can’s bullet header from Salah’s corner broke the deadlock on 29 minutes for Liverpool’s 100th goal of the season in all competitions.
Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead when he steered a shot into the far corner on his favoured left foot after the break from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s through ball.
Moments later it was Firmino who beat West Ham goalkeeper Adrian to Can’s pass before slotting into an empty net.
Substitute Michail Antonio pulled a goal back for the Hammers just a minute after coming on, but Mane ensured all of Liverpool’s prolific front three were on target when he converted Andrew Robertson’s cross 13 minutes from time.
“We always thought we had a chance of scoring today but we couldn’t keep their front players quiet,” said West Ham boss David Moyes. “Ultimately we are playing against a team in real form.”
More West Brom Woe
At the other end of the table, promoted Huddersfield and Brighton moved clear of the bottom three.
West Brom are now seven points adrift of safety at the foot of the table as Huddersfield struck twice in eight minutes at the start of the second period through Rajiv van La Parra and Steve Mounie to win 2-1 at the Hawthorns.
Brighton moved up to 12th thanks to Glenn Murray’s double and late goals from Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia to end Swansea’s 10-match unbeaten run in a 4-1 thrashing that drops the Welsh side back into the relegation zone.
Dwight Gayle also scored twice, but Newcastle failed to back up their stunning win over Manchester United as they blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Bournemouth. Adam Smith and Dan Gosling struck for the hosts in the final 10 minutes.
Southampton also salvaged a point late on to edge out of the drop zone on goal difference.
Manolo Gabbiadini came off the bench to level in stoppage time and grab a 1-1 draw at Burnley, whose wait since December 12 for a Premier League win continues.
Earlier, Stoke boss Paul Lambert hailed Jack Butland as the “best goalkeeper in Britain” despite an own goal from the England international costing his side the chance to move out of the bottom three in a 1-1 draw at Leicester.
The visitors, who remain 19th, led through Xherdan Shaqiri’s long-range strike until Butland fumbled Marc Albrighton’s cross into his own net 20 minutes from time.
Watford moved into the top half of the table as captain Troy Deeney’s strike 11 minutes from time edge a low quality encounter 1-0 over Everton.
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Madrid – Real Madrid’s “BBC” strikeforce hit back with a vengeance when Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema all scored in a 4-0 win over Alaves on Saturday.
The victory moved the champions within four points of second-placed Atletico Madrid.
Ronaldo returned to the starting line-up after being rested for Wednesday’s game with Leganes.
The Portuguese put Real ahead after shaking off a painful ankle knock on the stroke of halftime, taking advantage of a clever backheel from Benzema.
Benzema was also the catalyst for Real’s second goal which came under a minute into the second half.
The Frenchman won the ball back in midfield and tore towards goal, slipping it into Bale’s path for the Wales international to slot it inside the near post.
Ronaldo struck Real’s third goal of the day and his 299th in La Liga in the 61st minute, sending Vazquez’s cutback under the reach of former Real goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.
Ronaldo then surrendered the opportunity to score a hat-trick by offering Benzema penalty-taking duties after Bale was brought down.
The Frenchman made no mistake, converting from the penalty kick spot in the 89th minute.
Real are third in the standings on 51 points, 11 behind leaders Barcelona and four from Atletico, who can widen the gap back to seven when they visit Sevilla on Sunday.
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Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger go head-to-head for the 13th time on Sunday as Arsenal battle Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley. Both have met 12 times, with Guardiola having an advantage. Completesportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD chronicles their previous encounters between the two managers of the final…
1. Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona (Champions League quarter-final, March 2010)
The first meeting between Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola was in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League and it ended in a draw. Barcelona raced to a two-goal lead after 13 minutes through strikes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic but Theo Walcott pulled one back before Cesc Fabregas’ late penalty made it 2-2.
2. Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal (Champions League quarter-final, April 2010)
The reverse fixture of the tie Camp Nou saw Arsene Wenger’s side lose 4-1 with Lionel Messi scoring a double brace to send the Gunners crashing out after Nicklas Bendtner stunned the Spaniards with an 18th-minute opener to put Arsenal ahead in the tie.
3. Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona (Champions League last-16, February 2011)
In 2011, Wenger recorded his first win over Guardiola at the Emirates Stadium. Andrey Arshavin sealed a memorable win for the Gunners after Robin van Persie had cancelled out David Villa’s opener in the 43rd minute of the first half.
4. Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (Champions League last-16, March 2011)
After recording that remarkable win from the first leg, Arsenal failed to reproduce the same performance in the return leg as they suffered a 3-1 defeat. A brace from Lionel Messi and another goal from Xavi Hernandez cancelled Sergio Busquets’ own goal.
5. Arsenal 0-2 Bayern Munich (Champions League last-16, February 2014)
The 2014 UEFA Champions League round of 16 saw Wenger suffer his first home defeat to Pep Guardiola at the Emirates. Brilliant strikes from Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller saw the Gunners pay dearly for Mesut Ozil’s penalty miss. Wojciech Szczesny was also sent off for a foul on Arjen Robben in the encounter.
6. Bayern Munich 1-1 Arsenal (Champions League last-16, March 2014)
The second leg fixture of the UEFA Champions League at the Allianz Arena ended 1-1. Lukasz Podolski cancelled out Bastian Schweinsteiger’s opener as Arsenal bowed out of the competition.
7. Arsenal 2-0 Bayern Munich (Champions League group stage, October 2015)
Wenger enjoyed his second win over Guardiola after seven meetings in the group stages of the 2015 UEFA Champions League thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil.
8. Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal (Champions League group stage, November 2015)
However, Guardiola claimed his revenge a few weeks later as Bayern Munich annihilated Arsenal at the Allianz Arena. Goals from Robert Lewandowski, a brace from Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and David Alaba sealed victory for the Bavarians in the encounter.
9. Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal (Premier League, December 2016)
This was the first English Premier League meeting between Wenger and Guardiola. Theo Walcott gave Arsenal a fifth minute lead at the Etihad stadium. In the second half, City scored twice through Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling to turn the game around.
10. Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City (Premier League, April 2017)
Their second meeting in the English Premier league at the Emirates Stadium ended in a 2-2 draw. Leroy Sane gave Manchester the lead after five minutes Theo Walcott restored parity in the 40th minute but Sergio Aguero restored the lead two minutes later. Shkodran Mustafi made it 2-2 in the 53rd minute to hand Wenger his third draw against Guardiola.
11. Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City (FA Cup, April 2017)
Arsene Wenger had the last laugh in their first ever meeting in the English FA Cup as his side ran out with a 2-1 win. Alexis Sanchez’s extra-time winner saw Arsenal beat Manchester City at Wembley. Sergio Aguero had put Manchester City ahead in the 62nd minute before Nacho Monreal equalised 11 minutes later. The defeat saw Pep Guardiola end a season without a trophy for the first time in his coaching career.
12. Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal (Premier League, November, 2017)
Pep Guardiola won the first league meeting between both managers this season, as his side emerged 3-1 winners at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City were two goals up after 50 minutes thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero. Alexandre Lacazzete came off the substitutes bench to pull one back for Arsenal but Gabriel Jesus was on hand to put the game beyond reach for Arsenal, making it 3-1.
Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Manchester, England.
By James Agberebi in Abeokuta: South-South Zone emerged the overall winners at the fourth edition of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) national games tagged “Doctors’ Games” held in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The fourth edition of the NMA national games was proudly supported by Mega Lifesciences Nigeria Limited.
South-South Zone first position with 17 gold, three silver and seven bronze medals.
Second position went to North-Central who had three gold, one silver, four bronze medals, while North-West finished third with three gold and one bronze.
Hosts Ogun were fifth with two gold, six silver and nine bronze.
For emerging as overall winners, South-South have now won every edition of the NMA national games (2014,2016, 2017).
Present during the closing ceremony were the National President NMA Professor Mike Ogirima and other top NMA officials.
South-South capped an eventful participation with a 4-1 win against South-East in the football event in the closing ceremony.
This year’s edition which kicked off on Wednesday, 21 February, had doctors representing South-South, South-East, hosts Ogun, Lagos, North-Central, North-West all participating.
Participants competed in football, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, scrabble, draught and chess.
By Hanifat Mustapha: The Super Falcons of Nigeria have won bronze at the WAFU Women’s Cup of Nations after defeating Mali 2-1 in the third place match in Abidjan on Saturday.
Fatoumata Diarra handed the Malians the lead with in the ninth minute before Chinaza Uchendu scored a brace in the 15th and 39th minutes to put Nigeria ahead.
Uchendu was denied her hat-trick after her 89th minute goal was disallowed.
However, Uchendu was named the woman of the match at the end of the game for her brace.
The Super Falcons had lost on penalties to perennial rivals Ghana in the semi-finals, while Mali were defeated by hosts Cote d’Ivoire.
The Super Falcons of Nigeria are bronze medal winners at the inaugural WAFU Women’s Cup The Super Falcons of Nigeria on Saturday, February 24 beat Mali to win the bronze medal at the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Women’s Cup in Cote d’Ivoire.Newly Unveiled Super Falcons Coach Thomas Dennerby, who was in charge for the encounter, and the Falcons aimed for victory against Mali after their disappointing loss to Ghana in the semi finals.Th Falcons however fell behind in the ninth minute as Diarra Fatoumata’s shot from outside the box put the Malian in front. Nigeria equalised in the 15th minute as winner of the young player (women) at the NFF Awards Rasheedat Ajibade’s pull out came off the crossbar for Chinaza Uchendu to convert. Uchendu scored her second of the game in the 39th minute, to give the Super Falcons the lead going into half time. The Falcons resumed the second half, creating more chances but the Malians held on as Nigeria won the third place play-off 2 -1, and Chinaza Uchendu named woman of the match after her brace in the encounter. The Super Falcons had earlier won all their group games at the tournament, after they defeated their Mali by a lone goal in their first match, then beat Senegal in their second group match. After qualifying for the next round, the Super Falcons won their final group match against Togo, before losing in the semi-final clash to arch rivals Ghana. The Falcons thanked the fans of Abidjan for their continuous support throughout the tournament. WAFU Women’s Cup 3rd Place and final resultsThe third place place off and final of the WAFU Women’s Cup will be played on Saturday, February 24.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema were all on the scoresheet as Real Madrid recorded a 4-0 win over Alaves in Saturday afternoon’s La Liga clash at the Bernabeu.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane made four changes to the team that defeated Leganes on Wednesday with Keylor Navas, Nacho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale all returning to the starting line-up.
Marco Asencio, Luka Modric, Marcelo and Toni Kroos all missed out due to injury, while captain of the team Sergio Ramos was suspended.
The hosts put pressure on Alaves from the start but only make the breakthrough a minute before the break.
Ronaldo spun inside the box before firing a powerful effort into the bottom corner.
The European champions got their second of the game a minute after the break courtesy of Bale’s fine strike.
Benzema raced away and passed the ball to Bale who slotted the it into the bottom corner of the net.
Ronaldo got his second and Madrid’s third of the evening in the 62nd minute as he swept a low Lucas Vazquez cross into the bottom corner.
Benzema netted the fourth from the spot a minute before time.
By Bamidele Boluwaji: Nigeria’s D’Tigers continued their impressive showing in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Africa Qualifiers on Friday in Mali with a 108-53 victory over Rwanda in their second game of the tournament, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Having defeated Uganda 102-86 points in their first game on Friday, the coach Alex Nwora-led side continued from where they stopped with a convincing 31-13 lead against the Rwanda in the first quarter of the game to announce their readiness for another victory.
The Nigerians who are all foreign-based also went into the second half with full determination to dominate the Rwandese who defeated host nation Mali 74-70 points in their opening game on Friday. The efforts paid off for D’Tigers who also won the second quarter by 24-15 points to end the first half 55-38.
The third quarter was however better than the second quarter as D’Tigers ensured they subdued their opponents by winning the period with 29-12 points.
Going into the last quarter was however training for the 2015 Afrobasket champions who put every foot and basket right to confirm their supremacy over the Rwandese with 24-13 points to end the game with108-53 points.
D’Tigers shooting guard Michael Efevberha again remains the leader in the team with his impressive performance that produced 16 points for Nigeria in the victory.
Nigeria centre Christopher Obekpa added seveb rebounds while Benjamin Uzor recorded six assists in the game.
With the two victories so far, Nigeria have recorded four points in the tournament.
In the other game played on Saturday, Cote d’Ivoire beat Senegal 67-60.
By James Agberebi:
Liverpool gave their push for a top-four finish a huge boost with a 4-1 win against West Ham United in the Premier League at Anfield on Saturday.
The win temporarily moved Liverpool to second in the league table on 57 points.
Emre Can, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all scored for Liverpool.
Salah is now tied on 23 league goals with Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane at the top of the scorers chart.
Michail Antonio was the scorer of West Ham’s goal.
Swansea’s unbeaten run was eventually ended as they lost 4-1 away to Brighton and Hove Albion.
A brace from Glenn Murray in the 18th and 69th minutes and a goal each from Anthony Knockaert on 73 minutes and Jurgen Lokadia on 90 minutes secured the impressive win for Brighton.
Chelsea on-loan forward Tammy Abraham got Swansea’s goal in the 85th minute.
Prior to the defeat to Brighton, Swansea had gone five straight league games without losing (three wins, two draws).
Swansea are now 17th on 27 points, just one point above the relegation zone.
And at the Vitality Stadium, Newcastle United failed to make it back-to-back wins as they threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 against Bournemouth.
Dwight Gayle scored twice in the 17th and 45th minutes to put Newcastle 2-0 up.
But goals from Adam Smith (80th minute) and Dan Gosling (89th minute) rescued a point for Bournemouth.
In other results, West Bromwich Albion’s woes continued as they lost 2-1 at home to Huddersfield Town while Southampton snatched a late goal to draw 1-1 away to Burnley.
D’tigers continued their winning start to the FIBA Men’s World Cup qualifiers with victory over Rwanda in their second game Nigeria’s men basketball team (D’Tigers) on Saturday, February 24 beat Rwanda in their second qualification match for the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup.D’Tigers were leading 31 – 11 after the first quarter, with Mike Efevberh contributing 15 points, the second quarter finished 56 – 28 in favour of Nigeria, by the end of the third quarter, D’Tigers were leading 84 – 40, and the game already won. The Nigerian basketball team played in the newly unveiled jerseys by their kit sponsors, and eventually won the game 108 – 53, to make a giant step in qualification for the World cupD’Tigers on Friday, February 23 beat Uganda (102 – 86) as they began their qualification process for the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup. FIBA Men’s World Cup qualifiersNigeria’s men Basketball team (D’Tigers) will continue their qualifiers on Sunday, February 25, against Mali, before the second leg of qualifiers in June.
Tottenham make the short journey across London to take on Crystal Palace on Sunday with manager Mauricio Pochettino comparing midfielder Mousa Dembele to Diego Maradona.
“I have said before that he is a genius of football,” said the Spurs boss of the Belgium international.
“I put him next to Ronaldinho, Maradona, (Jay-Jay) Okocha -– players that I was lucky to play with.
“For me he is one of the unbelievable talents in the history of football. Now he is in an amazing moment and for me he deserves all the praises that people are giving him.”
Those comments will certainly have raised a few eyebrows on both sides of the River Thames as Tottenham look to clamber above Chelsea and Liverpool, the teams directly above them in the Premier League.
The Argentinian has a full squad available with defender Toby Alderweireld the only doubt because of a hamstring problem sustained in a training session on Thursday.
The 28-year-old is Dembele’s international team-mate and is expected to be a key figure in his nation’s attempts to win the World Cup for the first time this summer.
However contract negotiations have stalled to the extent that he could well be at another club by then and Pochettino made it clear he would be playing no part in the talks.
“It is not my job and I cannot say anything about that,” he said. “I am not involved in negotiations. I never talk about rumours, what the media say or what happens around the club.”
Pochettino developed a relationship with Palace manager Roy Hodgson when the latter was in charge of England, and regularly picked Spurs players.
Tottenham beat Palace 1-0 at Wembley in December when Hodgson was beginning to lift the Eagles out of relegation trouble, having succeeded Frank de Boer in September.
“Roy and his staff are doing a fantastic job,” Pochettino said.
“It will be good to see them again. But for me it will be a battle. We need to match them in the areas of motivation, ready to fight and then of course try to deliver our way and our game.
“Of course it will be very tough. It will be very important to win the three points, fighting for the top four. The idea is to win, the idea if to fight, to be ready. The three points are massive for us.”
Palace’s hopes of putting distance between themselves and the bottom three have been hampered by a frustrating run of injuries that has deprived Hodgson of 12 senior players.
“It was always going to be a difficult game, even if I could resuscitate these 12 players and add them to those that we have to give us a very good squad, it would still be a tough game,” said Hodgson.
“Whatever way you look at it, we are a bottom of the table team at the moment and they are a team chasing not only the Champions League honours, they are chasing second place in the league.”
The post Dembele as good as Maradona, Tottenham boss hails appeared first on Vanguard News.
Jose Mourinho has predicted an “amazing” period for Manchester United as he prepares to host a series of significant fixtures at Old Trafford across three different competitions.
United host Chelsea in the English Premier League on Sunday to kick off a run of four home games in their next five matches.
Mourinho’s side start next month with a league trip to Crystal Palace before welcoming top-four rivals Liverpool.
A Champions League last-16, second-leg fixture against Sevilla and a home FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton & Hove Albion wrap up the busy period, and Mourinho remains confident ahead of United’s decisive spell in the campaign.
“I think the next few weeks at Old Trafford will be amazing,” he told MUTV.
”Two big matches against two direct rivals in the EPL, two knockout matches that, if things go well, can leave us in the quarter-final of the Champions League and the semi-final of the FA Cup.
“Sometimes we have periods with three, four consecutive away matches but this time we have four matches at home, with Crystal Palace away in between, but four big matches at Old Trafford.”
United’s schedule contains 13 fixtures, including 11 league matches, but that total could potentially rise to 20 depending on their progress in the cup competitions.
“March, April and May can be really busy and going far in the FA Cup creates you problems.
“We now play Brighton when we were supposed to play West Ham and we don’t know when we’ll play West Ham,” Mourinho added.
United, currently second in the league, have an opportunity to open up a six-point advantage over fourth-placed Chelsea with a win at the weekend. (Reuters/NAN)
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By Johnny Edward: Nigeria midfielder Wilfred Ndidi made his 28th English Premier League appearance of the season for Leicester City who played a 1-1 draw in Saturday’s clash at home to Stoke City at the King Power Stadium.
Xherdan Shaqiri put Stoke City ahead with a minute left to play in the first half before an own goal from Stoke keeper Jack Butland restored parity for Leicester.
Leicester City started brighlty, dominating the game but they struggled to create a clear cut chance for Jamie Vardy in attack.
Demarai Gray and Riyad Mahrez both came close to breaking the deadlock with efforts from distance but these were saved by Butland.
Stoke got the opener against the run of play when Ndidi was robbed of possession by Joe Allen at the edge of the box.
The Welsh man teed up Shaqiri who fired in a first time shot past Kasper Schmiechel.
Ten minutes into the second half, Shaqiri almost made it 2-0 when he capitalized on a poor pass from Schmiechel to Harry Maguire but his shot went inches off the post.
With 28 minutes left to play, Leicester City brought on Nigeria forward Kelechi Iheanacho for Danny Simpson in search of an equaliser.
It was Iheanacho’s 13th appearance in the EPL.
In the 70th minute, Butland committed an error to gift Leicester an equaliser.
The England international diverted in Marc Albrighton’s cross into his net to deny Stoke City their first win from their last four games.
By James Agberebi: Nigeria forward, Isaac Success, has returned to Malaga side with his selection for a 18-man squad for their trip away to Athletic Bilbao in Sunday’s Spanish Laliga Santander clash Completesportsnigeria.com (CSN) reports.
Success’ inclusion was confirmed on Malaga’s verified Twitter handle on Saturday.
Also in the squad is his compatriot, Brown Ideye, who has been a regular since joining the club on loan from Chinese Super League club, Tianjin Teda, in January.
Success’ first and only game for Malaga was in their 1-0 away loss to Oghenekaro Etebo’s Las Palmas on February 5, when he came on in the 78th minute.
After appearing in the game against Las Palmas, the loanee forward from Watford was excluded in the squads that faced Atletico Madrid and Valencia.
Malaga are currently bottom on 13 points after 24 games in the Laliga league table.
By Johnny Edward: Former Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi is confident the Blues can still qualify for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League despite playing a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the first-leg round of 16 clash at Stamford Bridge last Tuesday.
Willian scored Chelsea’s opener before Lionel Messi’s strike 15 minutes from time gave Barcelona an away goal advantage ahead of the second leg at Camp Nou.
Nigeria captain Mikel believes Chelsea can replicate their 2012 semi-final heroics where they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Nou Camp to reach their second UEFA Champions League final 3-2 on agreggate.
“I played for Chelsea for 11 years and that comeback I will remember for the rest of my life,” Mikel told Tianjin Today’s Evening News.
“Obviously I will continue to support Chelsea as always and hopefully they will go through into the next round.
“I believe they will knock out Barcelona on their own ground, just like we did in 2012.”
Chelsea who are fourth in the English Premier League table will face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.