Everton slipped into the Premier League relegation zone as they conceded five in a defeat by Arsenal at Goodison Park that increased the pressure on manager Ronald Koeman. Nacho Monreal, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey netted for the Gunners after Wayne Rooney opened the scoring for the hosts. Oumar Niasse pulled one back in stoppage time before Alexis Sanchez added Arsenal’s fifth. Idrissa Gueye was sent off for a second yellow card with Everton trailing 2-1. BBC reports that Arsenal’s first league away win of the season lifted them above Watford into fifth in the table, while Everton have not won in five games in all competitions.
Three-time African champions Nigeria and two-time world champions Argentina will meet in a mouth-watering international friendly in the Russian city of Krasnodar on Nov. 14. A statement by the Communications Department of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Saturday and made available to Promnewsonline indicated that the match’s venue is the Krasnodar Arena Stadium. It quoted NFF General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi as assuring that nearly all arrangements have been concluded with regards to the big match. He however pointed out that the match was still subject to approval by world football-ruling body FIFA as well as agreeable flight arrangements. “We have had long and fruitful talks, and we can say that we have an agreement. “We await the approval by FIFA and also, we have to agree on the flight arrangements that would be comfortable for the players and crew. “The match will come up four days after the Super Eagles’ final 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match away to Algeria. “We actually had offers from teams like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, but we have opted for the Argentines,” Sanusi said. The Eagles will take on Algeria’s Fennecs in what is no more than an academic exercise, at the Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui in Constantine on Nov. 10. Nigeria and Argentina had played two high-profile friendly matches in 2011, with the first in Abuja in June ending 4-1 in favour of the Super Eagles. The Argentines won the second encounter 3-1 in Dhaka, Bangladesh three months later. Nigeria have had to confront Argentina in four of its previous five FIFA World Cup appearances, starting with a 1-2 defeat in Boston, U.S. in the African team’s debut in 1994. Argentina won another group phase clash 1-0 in Ibaraki, Japan in 2002, before winning a similar encounter by the same margin in Johannesburg, South Africa eight years later. They then edged the Eagles 3-2 in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2014. Other famous encounters between both countries include two final matches of the Olympic Men’s Football Tournament –– Nigeria winning it in 1996 in Atlanta, U.S. The South Americans won by the odd goal in China 12 years later.
Eden Hazard rescued Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the Champions League group stage after a dominant Roma had fought back from two goals down to lead in a pulsating game at Stamford Bridge. Hazard scored in each half, heading in to level from Pedro’s cross with 15 minutes to go to keep the Blues top of Group C. The Belgium forward had given Chelsea a two-goal lead in the first half after David Luiz scored a wonderful opener. But the Serie A side fought back, with Aleksandar Kolarov scoring before Edin Dzeko netted twice in six minutes. BBC reports that the striker’s first was a sensational volley, and Dzeko then combined with fellow former Manchester City man Kolarov to head in and put the visitors in front. That lead lasted just five minutes as Hazard levelled to keep Chelsea’s two-point lead intact, with Atletico Madrid held to a goalless draw by FK Qarabag in the other Group C game.
Akwa United last night defeated Niger Tornadoes at the Agege soccer temple in Lagos to emerge winner of the nation’s most prestigious trophy, the FA Cup after beating. The FA Cup final was watched by a full house that included CAF president Ahmad, three governors, Akinwumi Ambode ( Lagos) Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Abubakar Bello (Niger) which ended goalless during regulation time. The two teams after the regulation time of 90 minutes went straight into penalties and both teams went into a missing spree. Akwa however managed to convert three of their six kicks, while Tornadoes scored two. Akwa went home with the brand new trophy donated by the competition sponsor, Aiteo, cash prize of N25m and a continental ticket. The Promise Keepers would be flying the nation’s flag in next year’s CAF confederation cup. Chairman of Akwa United, Paul Bassey after the match said that the victory is a befitting gift for the State governor Udom Emmanuel who has been supporting football. “Our governor has been supporting football and that saw Nigeria qualify for the World Cup with ease. He has given Akwa United all the needed support and winning the FA Cup is a befitting gift for him,” Bassey said. Nigerian Tornadoes, however, got N10 for reaching the final.
Watford recorded a shocking 2-1 win over woeful Arsenal at the Vicarage Road Stadium on Saturday to break a 30-year old jinx. Watford have not beaten Arsenal at home since 1987 and Tom Cleverley did the magic in injury time. Arsenal had taken the lead in the 39th minute of the match when Per Mertesacker opened scoring for the visitors. Troy Deeney scored from the penalty spot in the 71st minute of the game to draw Watford level. Tom Cleverley scored on 90th minute to give the home team the needed victory. There was a pinball inside the Arsenal penalty area and Tom Cleverley smashes the ball into the roof of the net.
The Nasarawa Amazons football club on Friday evening emerged champions of the 2016/2017 Nigeria Women Football League Super 4 tournament. They lifted the trophy after defeating their Delta Queens counterparts with a lone goal at the Samuel Ogbamudia Stadium-venue of the tournament, in Benin, Edo state. The match which kicked off at 4:11 pm, was watched by the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu and his Nasarawa State counterpart, Silas Agara. Others at the Stadium are former Super Eagles coach, Austin Eguavoen and former national Under 17 coach, Fanny Amu. Both teams exhibited good and skillful ball control, until late in the first half when Amarachi Okoronkwo’s 41st minute goal gave the Amazons the lead. While the Nasarawa state representatives took effective control of the game at resumption of the second the half, their efforts to increase their goal tallies however came to futility, as they wasted several chances. The Amazons’ first choice goal keeper, Chioma Nwankwo, had to be substituted with Uche Chukwu in the 52nd minutes, following an injury after a collision with one of the Delta Queens players. But the game became tension-soaked in the last 15 minutes, which earned the Amazons four yellow cards. Shaibu later presented the first and second place trophies to the Nasarawa Amazons and the Delta Queens respectively. The victorious Nasarawa Amazons also went home with N3 million top prize, while the Delta Queens went home with N2 million and the third placed Bayelsa Queens, went home with N1 million.
Another upscale betting game company has just sprung up in the ancient city of Ibadan. Named Paddypaddybet, the firm has already 30 major outlets in the capital city of Oyo State. The sport betting game is gathering momentum and many are now moving into the business however Paddypaddybet’s incursion into the business is about adding value to the economic growth of Nigeria, without ripping the hard-earned money. With the 30 outlets that opened up, Padddypaddybet outfit must have generated employment opportunities for over 500 unemployed youths in and around the largest city in West Africa, Ibadan. According to interim General Manager of Padddypaddybet, Mr. Alexander Ezekiel, “People are so much in love with football in this part of the world. Like in the USA, we know they like soccer and basketball. We have twenty-two sports on our live betting platform and we also have the virtual bet. In the virtual bet, we have horse-racing, etc. We also give instant rewards to stakers who win. “Our strategy is a key to company development. We are developing the on-line and the retail network. We believe it is not everybody that has the basic computer knowledge, so we created the retail outlet for people to play. As it stands now, Paddypaddy bet will soon be taking the shine off other stakeholders in the industry, as it is very set to unveil many packages in its progamme of re-defining the betting industry.”
Egypt picked the second African ticket, after Nigeria, to the Russian FIFA World Cup, on Sunday after grinding out a 2-1 win over stubborn Congo in Alexandria. The Congolese nearly ruined Egypt’s World Cup hopes, after Boukah Moulou cancelled Mohammed Salah’s 64th minute goal in the 87th minute. But undaunted Pharaohs piled on the pressure against the visitors. Thanks to Salah again who found the net deep in stoppage time via a penalty kick, to give Egypt a memorable,hard fought victory over bottom-placed Congo. Egypt, though a powerful force in African soccer, have been missing in World Cup tournaments since 1990. They are now top of Group E with 12 points, while their closest rivals, Uganda have eight points after being held at home to a goalless draw by Ghana in Kampala on Saturday. With the Egyptians now having an unassailable four-point lead, their last match away in Ghana is just of academic interest only. And Russia is now a certainty. Winners of the three remaining tickets will be known between 10-14 November.
The Super Eagles have confirmed their place at the Russia 2018 World Cup after a hard-fought win against the Chipolopolo of Zambia at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria on Saturday. The Super eagles made impressive display against the Chipolopolo, the Zambian national team to silence them Alex Iwobi’s second half goal guaranteed Nigeria’s place at the 2018 World Cup, earning a 1-0 home win against Zambia. With that win Nigeria now has 13 points from four games while the Zambians are closing in from behind with seven points from the same number of games. It will be recalled that the Super Eagles of Nigeria began their qualification quest for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with a wonderful strikes from the England based duo of Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho that gave Nigeria all the three points that ended in 2-1 win at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium. Nigeria has therefore, joined other countries like Brazil, Spain, Mexico, England, Germany, Iran, South Korea, etc. who have also booked their places at next year’s tournament.
It was a miserable Thursday night for Argentina as their hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup were left hanging in the balance, no thanks to resilient Peru. Argentina were held to a 0-0 draw in Buenos Aires by Peru, leaving the two-time world champions outside the automatic qualification places as they head into the final round of fixtures next Tuesday. It was another desperately disappointing display by Lionel Messi’s Argentina, who once again struggled to turn a wealth of possession into goals. Barcelona star Messi hit the post in the second half but could only watch in frustration after serving up a stream of chances for team-mates who failed to convert. The result left Argentina in sixth place in the standings. The first four teams qualify automatically, with the fifth-placed team advancing to a playoff against New Zealand in November. But with only two points separating third-placed Chile and seventh-placed Paraguay, the final standings could change dramatically depending on results on Tuesday. The AFP reported that the margin for error for Argentina, however, has narrowed after their latest setback, their third consecutive draw of a faltering qualification campaign. Argentina’s final qualifier is a challenging away trip to Ecuador in the thin air of Quito. Argentina have a poor record in the Ecuadoran capital, losing two out of three of their last World Cup qualifiers there and drawing the other. The Argentines’ last World Cup qualifying win in Quito came in 2001. However a victory on Tuesday would guarantee Argentina at least fifth place in the standings, with Peru and Colombia guaranteed to drop points against each other in their final game. Brazil, who have already qualified in first place, were held to a 0-0 draw by eliminated Bolivia in La Paz earlier Thursday. That left the focus on the teams jostling behind the five time champions for the three remaining automatic spots. Uruguay, who are second with 28 points from 17 games, missed the chance to book their place in Russia after being frustrated 0-0 away at Venezuela. Uruguay’s Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani squandered a golden chance to win the game but shot wide in the 83rd minute. The Uruguayans are all but assured of qualification however, needing only a draw or a win against lowly Bolivia in Montevideo next week to book their place. South American champions Chile, meanwhile, resurrected their qualification hopes with a thrilling 2-1 win over Ecuador in Santiago. Striker Eduardo Vargas drilled in a low shot on 22 minutes to put the 2015 & 2016 Copa America champions 1-0 up. But Alex Ibarra equalised in the 82nd minute for Ecuador to silence the home crowd. But with Chile’s fans still struggling to digest Ibarra’s strike, the hosts went back up the other end and Arsenal star rammed home a close-range finish after Arturo Vidal’s shot was only partially saved. The win saw Chile climb from sixth to third in the standings. Chile will qualify automatically if they are able to beat Brazil in their final game next week. In Barranquilla, Colombia threw away what looked to be a certain victory that would have put them within touching distance of qualification as they crashed to a 2-1 defeat to Paraguay. Radamel Falcao scored with a deft lob to put Colombia 1-0 ahead in the 79th minute. But the Colombians inexplicably continued to press forward and were twice caught on the break by Paraguay. Oscar Cardozo bundled in the equaliser for Paraguay in the 89th minute and then Tony Sanabria punished poor goalkeeping by David Ospina to poke in a second in injury time to clinch the win. AFP