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Nigeria ready to stun Spain today

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Nigeria's Falconets face an uphill task as they play tournament favourites Spain in today's (Thursday) quarter-final of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.

The Nigerian girls who were on the verge of elimination against China after going down 1-0 in the first half, scored a last-minute goal to earn qualification to the knockout stages.

Nigeria came second behind Germany on four points after losing their opening fixture 1-0 to them before beating Haiti 1-0 in their second match.

However, the team would be hoping to shock a Spain side that have been scoring goals freely in a bid to pick the semi-final ticket.

Will Victor Moses retirement affect Nigeria's AFCON qualification?

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If was a shocking news to many football pundits and lovers in Nigeria when one of Nigeria's finest players, Victor Moses announced his retirement from the Super Eagles at the age of 27 years on Wednesday.

The decision which is still seen as a surprise considering the fact that at 27 years old, the Chelsea star is just in the peak of his career and expected to pilot Nigeria's quest of qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, with the team having failed to qualify for two of the previous editions.

With the team set to face Seychelles on September 7 before facing Libya, many football lovers have been hopeful that with Moses' presence in the Super Eagles, there is a possibility that the team would qualify for the tournament. 

But then, with his decision to retire from the senior National team when they needed him most, will it affect Nigeria's chances of qualifying for the tournament?

Moses came into limelight after playing an integral role in helping Nigeria win their third Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa under late Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi. He was also part of the team that represented Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup.

The former Wigan star has played 37 times, scoring 12 goals, for the Super Eagles, which included featuring at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

He was also instrumental in helping the team qualify for the 2018 World Cup despite Nigeria been pitted alongside Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia. Moses scored against Argentina in Nigeria's 2-1 loss in their last group game at the World Cup.

In his tweet, he said: 'I have experienced some of the best moments of my life wearing the Super Eagles shirt and have memories with me that will last a lifetime. Nothing will ever compete (sic) to what it felt like to represent Nigeria.

'However, I feel that now is the right time to step away in order to be able to focus fully on (my) club career and my young family as well as to allow the next generation of Super Eagle stars the opportunity to step up and to flourish.'

'I have already spoken to the manager (Gernot Rohr) by telephone and would like to say thank you to him and his staff, the NFF (Nigeria Football Federation) and all of my team-mates for all of their support over the years.

'Most importantly, I would like to say thank you to the Nigerian people for believing in me and supporting me over the years.'

There is no doubt that Moses will be missed by Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr considering the fact that he adds more quality and pace to the team and gives opponent serious nightmare any time the ball is with him.

His commitment whenever he dons the green and white jersey of Nigeria has always been second to none but, his decision should be respected.

What's more important at this stage, will be for Rohr to look for a perfect replacement for Moses before Nigeria play Seychelles on September 7 in an AFCON qualifier.

CD Leganés unveil Kenneth Omeruo

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Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo has today completed his loan move to Spanish first division side CD Leganés, where he will stay for at least the season, if not longer.

The tiny Madrid-based club, who will be contesting just their third season ever in the top flight, have a previously reported €5m buy-option with a 20 percent sell-on clause.

That fee sounds tiny, but it would make Omeruo the joint-most expensive transfer in club history, joining José Manuel Arnaiz Díaz who arrived for the same from Barcelona earlier this summer.

This will the fifth different team in Omeruo’s Loan Army career, though he spent two seasons (not back-to-back) at Kasimpasa, and 18 months each at Middlesbrough and ADO Den Haag.

He’s amassed over 150 professional appearances in those 6.5 years since signing for Chelsea and collected 40 caps for Nigeria as well.

Facebook to broadcast La Liga games for free

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Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale and a host of La Liga stars will be beamed for free to viewers in the Indian subcontinent as part of a landmark deal with Facebook to broadcast live matches, the Spanish top flight division said Tuesday.

All 380 football matches of the new 2018-2019 La Liga season, which begins Friday, will be available to watch on the social media network in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, La Liga said in a statement.

“We are delighted to team up with Facebook and be able to bring the action closer to all followers of La Liga in the Indian subcontinent,” said La Liga President Javier Tebas.

“La liga is a reference in world football and it is a great satisfaction for us that now, the number of people who can watch matches live in this geographic area will be greater than ever and they will be able to do so for free through Facebook.”

The deal will last for the next three seasons and will include pre- and post-match analysis programmes.

The financial details of the agreement were not disclosed in the statement but Spanish sports daily Marca reported that the deal was worth 90 million euros ($105.5 million).

In June La Liga announced it had renewed its contract for five seasons, between 2019-2024, for the international broadcast rights for the Spanish championship for around 4.48 billion euros — or about 896 million euros per season, a 30 percent increase over the previous agreement.

The Facebook deal is the latest sign of interest on the part of tech firms in sports broadcasting.

In June Amazon has secured the rights to show English Premier League football matches in a pioneering move for the online sector in the bidding war for sports events.

The global online retailer will show 20 Premier League matches a season for three years in the UK, starting from the 2019/20 season, the league said Thursday.

The US company breaks up the recent dominance of Sky and BT Sport of lucrative Premier League TV rights in a first for the online sector that is threatening to shake up the traditional sports rights market.

India has a billion-plus mobile phone users — more than any other country on earth — and close to half a billion people with internet access, most via their smartphones, that make streaming video from sites like Facebook possible.

Chelsea midfielder Bakayoko joins AC Milan on loan

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France international Tiemoue Bakayoko has signed on loan for AC Milan, the resurgent Serie A side announced on Monday, bringing an end to the midfielder’s frustrating spell at Chelsea.

Milan have signed the 23-year-old for a reported initial five million euros ($5.7 million) with an option to buy for a further 35 million euros next summer.

Bakayoko leaves Chelsea after making 29 Premier League appearances for the Blues but failing to recapture the form that prompted the London club to pay Monaco a reported £40 million for his services last summer.

He was left out of the squad by new coach Maurizio Sarri for Chelsea’s opening fixture at Huddersfield on Saturday as his replacement Jorginho scored in a comfortable 3-0 win.

Milan hopes Bakayoko will help them reclaim their position at the top of the Italian game following years of strife on and off the pitch.

Last year they finished sixth in Serie A despite the around 200 million euros spent on new players by the disastrous Chinese consortium that bought the club from former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in April 2017.

That led to them falling foul of Uefa’s financial fair play regulations and being booted from this season’s Europa League.

However since hedge fund Elliot Management took control of Milan last month following missed payments from the previous owners, the seven-times European champions have been readmitted to continental competition and have looked to rebuild both the squad and morale.

They have signed proven Serie A goalscorer Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus in a complex deal that also saw them bag promising centre-back Mattia Caldara while offloading the disappointing Leonardo Bonucci back to Juventus.

Meanwhile, Milan great Paolo Maldini has been brought in alongside new sporting director Leonardo.

Silva quits international football

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Manchester City midfielder David Silva on Monday called time on his distinguished 12-year international career with Spain.

Selected for the first time in November 2006, the 32-year-old helped his country be crowned world champions in South Africa in 2010 and won two European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012.

“I leave proud and happy, bringing an end to a time full of emotions and memories, like of the figure of Luis Aragones, a maestro who will never be forgotten,” he said in a message on social media.

Emery needs time to rebuild Arsenal - Cech

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Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech pleaded for patience after Unai Emery’s first match as Arsene Wenger’s successor ended in a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.

The Gunners were largely outclassed by the Premier League champions on Sunday and struggled to implement some obvious changes demanded by Emery in the offseason.

Cech nearly scored an embarrassing own goal and looked uncomfortable in trying to play out from the back as City pressed high.

After a series of risky passes, a long clearance by Cech was met with huge cheers from the Arsenal fans, but the veteran called for Emery’s methods to be given time.

“I think they have to understand that when you start building a new team with a new manager and a completely new way it may take time,” said Cech, who kept his place in goal ahead of new signing Bernd Leno.

A tough start for the Spanish coach continues next weekend against Cech’s old club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s new boss Maurizio Sarri did get off to a winning start in his Premier League debut at Huddersfield.

But Cech believes Arsenal can take heart from Chelsea’s own struggles to cope with City in losing the Community Shield 2-0 last weekend.

“Next week we have another big game but we will be better prepared because we have this game behind us. I believe we pushed them more than Chelsea did in the Community Shield,” he added.

Many of the concepts Emery wants to implement at Arsenal are similar to what Pep Guardiola has mastered in raising the bar at City.

And the difference between a project now into its third season under Guardiola and Emery’s early days was obvious on the opening weekend of the season.

“We try and build the team and create our own way of playing,” said Cech.

“Obviously we have been doing that for five weeks, they have been doing that for three years now so obviously they have a big advantage.”

Ahmed Musa scores first Al Nassr goal

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Super Eagles and Former Leicester City forward Ahmed Musa’s debut goal gave his new Saudi Arabian side a 2-1 win over Al Jazira in Abu Dhabi.

There was a famous face on the bench for the Knights of Najd, with Nigeria forward joining from Leicester City earlier this month for an initial fee of £14.8m, which is believed could rise to £25m.

And the Super Eagles star proved to be a super sub as he climbed off the bench and scored a superb winning goal, with the Saudi Professional League side now in the driving seat to make the last 16 when the sides reconvene in Riyadh at the end of September.

The Nigerian, who scored twice for the Super Eagles in Russia, came off the bench to make his debut and had an almost instantaneous impact.

The 25-year-old forward immediately began to chip away at what could turn out to be a huge fee half an hour after coming on for another Premier League old boy, ex-Watford winger Nordin Amrabat.

He lit up an otherwise draining second half 15 minutes from time. There was still plenty of work to do when the ball was played up to him 30 yards out.

But he obliterated Jazira centre-back Musallem Fayez for pace and stroked home past Khaseif calmly with his wrong foot to give the Saudi side a first-leg advantage.
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