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Nigeria Plays Tunisia Today In Friendly Match

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Three days after falling 0-1 to current African champions, Desert Foxes of Algeria, in a friendly match, the Super Eagles will again face another tricky tie, this time, against Tunisia in Austria.

Today’s big game at the Jacques Lemans Arena in the Austrian city of St. Veit an der Glan, is coming about 14 months after the Gernot Rohr-led Eagles defeated the Carthage Eagles in their bronze medal match at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo. The event was the Egypt 2019 African Cup of Nations.

NFF officials confirmed yesterday that a fresh round of COVID-19 tests was conducted on Eagles players and coaches yesterday. On Friday, the entire Nigerian contingent of players and officials returned COVID-19 negative results after tests conducted on Thursday, ahead of the clash with African champions, Algeria.

Friday’s match against Algeria saw Ramy Bensebaini reacting fastest to the ball in the box from a corner kick to poke the ball behind goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.
Many Nigerian fans went to bed in disappointment, as the Super Eagles failed to level up the early minute goal scored in the sixth minute of the match.

But Coach Rohr and the players say they have put behind them the disappointment of losing a second match in a row to Algeria. He has challenged the squad to up the ante and show vibrancy, especially in attack against the 2004 African champions in today’s match.

“We definitely must put up greater effort against the Tunisians. It is an opportunity for some of the players to rise up to the occasion, stake a claim. They are ready to go and I believe we will see a much better game on Tuesday (today).”

Nigeria capped four new players against Algeria, with midfield dependable Wilfred Ndidi, Joseph Ayodele-Aribo and Oghenekaro Etebo, as well as forward Victor Osimhen unavailable.

In their absence, Rohr had to start first-cap Frank Onyeka alongside Alex Iwobi and defender Oluwasemilogo Ajayi in midfield, with Paul Onuachu as the lone striker.

In a match that also saw wing back Zaidu Sanusi, centre-back Kevin Akpoguna and midfielder Samson Tijani also earning their first senior caps, the Eagles huffed and puffed and strove hard to find cohesion and some sort of solidity, but failed to match the mentality and organisation of the Fennecs.

Today, the three-time African champions must be at their best against a motivated Carthage Eagles, who thumped Sudan 3-0 in Tunis on Friday.

All 24 players in camp were involved in yesterday evening’s training session, and are available for selection. Goalkeepers Dele Alampasu and Matthew Yakubu, defenders Kenneth Omeruo, Chidozie Awaziem, Olaoluwa Aina and Jamilu Collins and forwards Cyril Dessers and Chidera Ejuke were not part of the run-out with Algeria and could be considered for action this night.

Tunisia have not beaten Nigeria in a competitive game since the 2004 AFCON that they hosted, when they edged the Super Eagles in a penalty shoot-out after both teams tied 1-1 in regulation and extra time at the Stade Olympique in Rades, outside Tunis.

Matches between Nigeria and Tunisia have always been supercharged, the 2004 encounter no less so. After Jay Jay Okocha gave Nigeria the lead from the spot, Tunisia restored parity with only eight minutes left, Khaled Badra also poking in from the spot. Osaze Odemwingie missed during the shoot-out and the Eagles had to be content with the bronze medal after beating Mali. Tunisia went on to defeat Morocco in the final for their only continental title so far.

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Tottenham Appoint Conte As Manager — Hours After Sacking Nuno

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Tottenham Hotspur have announced Antonio Conte as their new manager — less than 24 hours after the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo.

The club announced Conte’s appointment in a statement released on its official website on Tuesday.

The Italian, who had been out of work since he parted ways with Inter Milan in the summer, is now back in the English Premier League (EPL) to take over the reins at the White Hart Lane.

The statement revealed that Conte, who won the EPL with Chelsea in 2017, had penned a deal that will see him lead Spurs till 2023.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Antonio Conte as our Head Coach on a contract until the summer of 2023, with an option to extend,” the statement read.

“Antonio has won titles in Serie A, including a hat-trick of Scudettos with Juventus, the Premier League and also managed Italy, leading the Azzurri to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.

“Born in Lecce, Antonio began his playing career at his hometown team (1985-1991) before achieving legendary status at Juventus (1991-2004). A midfielder, he won five Scudettos with La Vecchia Signora, the UEFA Cup in 1993 and the Champions League in 1996. He earned 20 caps for Italy and was part of squads that achieved runners-up status in the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000.

“Antonio began his coaching career as an assistant in Siena in 2005 and had spells at Arezzo, Bari – where he won Serie B – and Atalanta before returning to Juventus in 2011. He won the title in his first season, 2011/12, completing the campaign unbeaten and equalling a club-record 28-match unbeaten run set by Fabio Capello. He completed a hat-trick of titles with success in 2012/13 and 2013/14 when Juve amassed a Serie A record of 102 points.

“Antonio took charge of the Italian national team in 2014 and led them to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, topping their group and beating Belgium and Spain along the way.”

Conte won Serie A with Inter Milan last season before departing, reportedly due to issues with the club’s hierarchy.

“I am extremely happy to return to coaching, and to do so at a Premier League club that has the ambition to be a protagonist again,” Conte said.

“Tottenham Hotspur has state-of-the-art facilities and one of the best stadiums in the world.

“I can’t wait to start working to convey to the team and the fans the passion, mentality and determination that have always distinguished me, as a player and as a coach.

“Last summer our union did not happen because the end of my relationship with Inter was still too recent and emotionally too involved with the end of the season, so I felt that it wasn’t yet the right time to return to coaching. But the contagious enthusiasm and determination of Daniel Levy in wanting to entrust me with this task had already hit the mark. Now that the opportunity has returned, I have chosen to take it with great conviction.”

Nuno was sacked by Tottenham on Monday after failing to produce the type of football that births convincing results.

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World Cup Qualifiers: Ighalo Makes Rohr’s Final List Amid Criticism

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Gernot Rohr has included Odion Ighalo in the Super Eagles final squad list for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde later this month.

Ighalo had announced his retirement in 2019, shortly after picking up the golden boot at the AFCON in Egypt.

But last week, Rohr had revealed that he included the 32-year-old in the Eagles provisional squad for the next World Cup qualification fixtures.

The revelation has spurred an avalanche of criticism among fans and former Nigerian footballers.

Mutiu Adepoju, former Super Eagles forward, said the Franco-German has no reason to recall Ighalo back to the team as other young strikers have stepped up since his retirement.

“I like Ighalo as a player and he is a very good striker. He retired from the Super Eagles about two years ago and I believe we presently have strikers that are good enough in the team,” he had said.

“If we have players! Who are doing very well and scoring goals in their clubs, do we still have to recall Ighalo? It’s just my opinion.”

Despite the backlash, Ighalo has been named in the final Eagles squad list, which was released in a statement on Monday.

Wilfred Ndidi and Alex Iwobi will also be returning after being sidelined from the last two matches of the qualifiers with injuries.

Samuel Chhukwueze was handed his first Eagles call-up since May when he damaged his knee in Villareal’s Europa League game to Arsenal at the Emirates.

Super Eagles will face Liberia on November 13 before hosting Cape Verde three days later as they push to book a place in the final round of qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

FULL LIST:

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany)

Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Odion Jude Ighalo (Al-Shabab Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

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Iheanacho Shines As Leicester Beats Spartak Moscow 4-3

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Patson Daka scored four goals as Leicester revived their Europa League campaign by fighting back from two goals down to beat Spartak Moscow 4-3 in the Russian capital on Wednesday.

Zambia striker Daka, a close-season signing from Salzburg, became only the fifth player to score four goals in a Europa League game since the competition was rebranded from the UEFA Cup, and the first since Willian Jose for Real Sociedad in 2017.

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester moved up to second place in Group C behind leaders Legia Warsaw, a point above third-placed Spartak.

“It’s been an amazing few days for me and the team,” Daka told BT Sport. “It was a very good effort from the team. I’m just happy I was able to help the team.”

Goals from Aleksandr Sobolev and Jordan Larsson put Spartak in control, but Daka netted his first European goal for the visitors just before half-time.

Less than three minutes after the break, Kelechi Iheanacho claimed his second assist, crossing low for Daka to tap in from close range.

Leicester, and Daka, made it three goals in the space of nine minutes when the 23-year-old slid the ball under home goalkeeper Aleksandr Maksimenko.

He completed his four-goal haul with 12 minutes remaining by picking out the corner of the net after collecting James Maddison’s pass.

That goal made Daka, who also netted in Leicester’s 4-2 win over Manchester United on Saturday, the Foxes’ all-time joint-top scorer in Europe.

Sobolev gave Spartak hope in the 86th minute, but Leicester held on.

AFP

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