AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS QUALIFYING – CAMEROON 2022
Paul Onuachu came off the bench to grab a 93rd minute winner as Nigeria’s Super Eagles inflicted a first home defeat in 8 years on the Squirrels of Benin in Porto Novo on Saturday.
Get Rohr’s men came into the game already qualified for next year’s showpiece slated for Cameroon following a 0-0 draw in the Group’s other game between Lesotho and Sierra earlier in the day.
Benin, who would also have secured qualification with a draw against Nigeria, will now have to slug it out for Group L’s final slot against Sierra Leone in their match day 6 fixture scheduled for Tuesday in Freetown.
A draw will be enough for Benin to qualify, while Sierra Leone need an outright win.
Nigeria will finish top of the group and Tuesday’s match against Lesotho in Lagos will have no implications on the standings.
Meanwhile, Everton attacker Alex Iwobi was forced to miss the game after returning a positive Covid-19 test result during mandatory testing of the Nigeria squad before the match.
The 24-year old will now undergo a period of self isolation in Nigeria before traveling to the UK to rejoin his Toffees teammates in first-team training.
Today’s Fixtures (GMT+1)
- Namibia 14:00 Guinea – Windhoek
- Tanzania 14:00 Libya – Dar es Salaam
- Tunisia 14:00 Equitorial Guinea – Tunis
- Sudan 17:00 South Africa – Omdurman
- Ghana 17:00 Sao Tome e Principe – Accra
- Mali vs Chad – Canceled (Chad disqualified from qualifiers)
WORLD CUP QUALIFYING – EUROPE
GROUP A: Serbia 2-2 Portugal
Diogo Jota’s brace was cancelled out by Aleksandar Mitrovic and Filip Kostic as Serbia forced Portugal to a 2-2 draw in their Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying fixture at the Rajko Mitic Stadium in Belgrade.
Cristiano Ronaldo thought he had scored an injury time winner but his effort was harshly adjudged not to have crossed the line, leading to the Juventus man throwing his Captain’s armband to the to the turf, before storming down the tunnel in agony at full time and getting booked by the referee.
Portugal’s all time highest goalscorer said on Instagram:
“There are moments which are tough to digest especially when we feel the entire nation is being punished. We will keep our heads up and move on to the next challenge.”
Meanwhile, Mitrovic achieved a career milestone following his goal in the game to kickstart Serbia’s fightback.
The Fulham striker became Serbia and the former Yugoslavia’s all-time leading goalscorer with his 39th international goal taking him one clear of Stjepan Bobek.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos also achieved a career milestone after registering his 1,000th game as a manager at both club and international level.
“The referee apologised to me straight after the game and we now have to move on,” said Santos.
“It was a clear goal but there is nothing we can do now. We controlled the first half but lost our focus in the second and failed to contain Serbia as they surged forward.”
Republic of Ireland 0-1 Luxembourg
Group A’s other fixture saw the Republic of Ireland slump to the bottom of the standings after an unlikely 1-0 home loss to Luxembourg, thanks to an 85th minute winner by Gerson Rodrigues.
The result leaves the Republic’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup hanging in thin air after they failed to register a single point after two games.
HOW IT ENDED ACCROSS OTHER CENTERS
The Netherlands overcame a tough match day 1 loss to Turkey as they returned to winning ways against Latvia on Saturday.
Russia 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia also recorded a slim win at home to Cyprus, while Turkey continued their fine form with an emphatic win away in Norway.
- Netherlands 2-0 Latvia
- Croatia 1-0 Cyprus
- Czech Rep. 1-1 Belgium
- Montenegro 4-1 Gibraltar
- Russia 2-1 Slovenia
- Belarus 4-2 Estonia
- Norway 0-3 Turkey
- Slovakia 2-2 Malta
BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has beaten Lewis Hamilton to pole position after finishing 0.388 seconds faster than the Mercedes driver at this season’s curtain-raiser in Bahrain.
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) finished third, ahead of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Alpha Tauri (Pierre Gasly).
Sergio Perez (Red Bull) finished in 11th place, while Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) came 18th.
Dillian Whyte avenged his loss to Alexander Povetkin with an impressive 4th round knockout victory in their rematch held in Gibraltar, to keep alive his ambitions of landing a world heavyweight title fight.
The 32-year old, who takes his tally to 28 wins in 30 fights, becomes the third opponent after compatriot Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko to beat Povetkin in his 39 fights as a professional.
“I am just sad I didn’t get it finished in the first round,” said Whyte.
“He is a tough guy but I felt I could have finished it early. I want the world title,” he roared.
For Povetkin, this loss might as well mean it’s time to hang his gloves with the 41-year old hitting the twilight of his career, while for Whyte, there are at least exciting possibilities on the cards once more.
“His world championship dreams were on the line tonight. That was a lot of pressure tonight. Tonight was about getting him back on track. He wasn’t going to be denied,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.
“He man-handled Povetkin, he battered him from pillar to post. We are back where we wanted to be. The aim remains the same, for Dillian to have a shot at the world championship.”
Whyte will likely have to exercise some patience before getting another shot at a world title challenge, with holders of all four major belts, Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury still working to complete all proceedings necessary for a world title unification bout.
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS (MMA)
Cameroonian fighter Francis Ngannou has become the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion after needing only two rounds to knockout Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The 34-year-old fully utilized his devastating punch power to avenge for his loss to Miocic in their first fight in 2018, where the 38-year old won by unanimous decision after a dominant five rounds.
Ngannou unleashed a short left hook 52 seconds into round two to triumph over the American, who is considered by many within the sport to be the greatest heavyweight champion in UFC history.