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Nigeria vs Croatia: 5 things we learnt from Super Eagles’ 2-0 defeat



Nigeria began their 2018 World Cup campaign on a bad note, losing 2-0 to Croatia on Saturday night.
The result leaves the Super Eagles bottom of Group D.

But what other things did we learn from the game?

1. Rohr got it all wrong: We all know that 4-3-3 is his beloved formation, but it was obvious from the last friendly matches that 3-5-2 suits this team. Because it is the formation that brings out the best in Alex Iwobi, who is by far the creative hub of this team. And also free the wingbacks to provide width, while Mikel Obi and Wilfred Ndidi bring solidity at the base of midfield.

2. Croatia were not that special: For all the talk of their firebrand midfield, the Croats didn’t exactly blow the Super Eagles away. What gave them the edge and ultimately the victory, was the fine margins in football. It would be interesting to see how they fare against Argentina in their second game.

3. All or nothing: The Eagles take on Iceland in the next match on Friday. Before the tournament, this was a game we wrote off as three points. However, having played a creditable 1-1 draw with Argentina, you can’t toss Iceland aside. But for Nigeria, it will be all or nothing. Anything other than a win, means they are out.

4. Unlucky Etebo: Oghenekaro Etebo had a decent game overall. He was a mobile and energetic presence in midfield and repaid Rohr’s faith. There was nothing he could do about the first goal Nigeria conceded and I hope Rohr sticks with him for the next game.

5. Bad subs: Rohr has earned a reputation for being a ‘second-half coach’. However, his substitutions were very poor. First, he didn’t revert to a 3-5-2. And when he had to pull out a player, it was Alex Iwobi! Not Mikel Obi. Or Victor Moses. Even Kelechi Iheanacho seemed to slip onto the pitch. A real mess.


I’m really grateful to our fans, Messi speaks after netting hat-trick




Barcelona talisman, Lionel Messi, was given a standing ovation by Real Betis supporters, after scoring his 33rd La Liga hat trick in their 4-1 win at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.

Messi opened the scoring with a free kick and added the second before the break after a brilliant Luis Suarez assist.

He completed his treble late on with an exquisite chip, after Suarez and Loren Moron had exchanged goals.

The third Messi strike, which killed off any late hopes of a Betis comeback, drew an ovation from the home supporters which the Argentine international says he has never previously experienced.

“I don’t ever remember a night like this [being applauded by rival supporters].

“I’m really grateful for the way the fans responded. I honestly don’t remember an ovation like that [from rival fans],” Messi told Movistar.

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Sadio Mane top highest goal scorer in Premier League




Following the conclusion of match-day 31 of the English Premier League, EPL, on Sunday, below are the current highest goal scorers chasing the Golden Boot in the English top-flight league.

Liverpool forward, Sadio Mane scored in his side’s 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday to take his tally to 17 goals so far this season.

Everton stars, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison scored in their side’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Sunday to take their tallies to 12 goals each.

See top 20 of Premier League highest goal scorers so far below:

18 gaols: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City).

17 goals: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Harry Kane (Tottenaham), Sadio Mane (Liverpool).

15 goals: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

13 goals: Eden Hazard (Chelsea).

12 goals: Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Raúl Jiménez (Wolves), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Richarlison (Everton), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United).

11 goals: Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Son Heung-Min (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Joshua King (Bournemouth), Glenn Murray (Brighton).

10 goals: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham).

Meanwhile, the match-day 32 of the English Premier League will resume coming weekend.

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Dogo explains as Sunshine Stars FC held to goalless draw in Akure by Enyimba




Sunshine Star Football Club of Akure have played a goalless draw with Enyimba International Football Club of Aba in the match 11 of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, at the Akure Township Stadium.

The week 11 fixture saw the Enyimba team doing most of the defensive playing, while the Akure-based team, Sunshine Stars FC’s strikers could not prove their potency within the box 18 of the Aba team after series of chances.

Reacting after the match which saw his team drop two points at home, the Sunshine Stars FC coach, Kabiru Dogo, who described the performance of his boys as not too good, disclosed that it was due to logistic problems within the club.

“As a coach, I’m not happy for the outcome of the match, as you can see my team played one of their best games today but we could not get the goals in the area of attacking, because football is all about goals, I could not say we did well, we didn’t do well, but there is room for improvement.

“We had opportunities to bring in new strikers into the team but due to some problems and logistics within the club, we had to manage what we have,” the Sunshine coach stated.

On his own part, the Head Coach of Enyimba International FC, Usman Abd’allah, who lauded his team’s spirit at getting the deserving one point away from home, maintained that it will help in boosting the mental stability of his boys in subsequent fixtures.

“A draw is a good one for us, even though we came here for the three points because the last two away matches because we were able to grab two point each from that match. But we thought we are going to get our first three away points but we had one point, it’s okay.

“At this moment, we are one step ahead because we are now picking up because the away points we have been getting is helping in replacing those we have lost. It’s a recovery of what we lost against Lobi Stars.

“I like the result and the fighting spirit of my boys,” Usman stated.

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