- International Football Round Up
- The Major Updates From The Miami Open
AFCON Qualifiers 2021
LAGOS: Nigeria Score Three Against Lesotho To Finish Qualifying Campaign Unbeaten
Napoli striker Victor Osimhen delivered a man of the match performance to climb to the top of the goalscorers’ charts as Nigeria’s Super Eagles rounded off their campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over the Crocodiles of Lesotho in the team’s first competitive game in 20 years at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos.
Osimhen broke the deadlock in the 21st minute, before assisting Galatasaray midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo for the second.
In form Genk striker Paul Onuachu, who scored a 93rd minute winner against Benin in the last game came off the bench to score the game’s third in the 83rd minute after combining brilliantly with fellow substitute Henry Onyekuru.
Nigeria finished as Group L leaders with 14 points and are unbeaten throughout this qualifying series.
FREETOWN: Sierra Leone vs Benin Put On Hold Amid COVID-19 Rout
A breathtaking final day of Cameroon AFCON 2021 qualifiers saw the highly anticipated Group L fixture between Sierra Leone and Benin postponed indefinitely after the Beninese team refused to turn up at the stadium after a Covid-19 related row with Sierra Leone officials.
The Squirrels, who hold a three-point advantage over the Leone Stars had five of their players return positive Covid-19 tests after mandatory testing was carried out on arrival in Sierra Leone, leading to a huge disagreement which could not be settled in time before kickoff.
ABIDJAN: Referee Mix Up Leads To Premature Ending Of Ivory Coast vs Ethiopia
The Group K match between the Ivory Coast and Ethiopia was abandoned after 80 minutes of action with center referee Charles Bulu unable to carry on after collapsing.
The Ghanaian referee was originally selected as the fourth official but had to take center stage after the game’s originally assigned referee, also a Ghanaian, did not show up at the stadium.
An Ivorian was subsequently brought in to act as fourth official, but the Ethiopians refused to carry on after raising doubts about his neutrality.
Results From Other Centers
- Central African Rep. 0-1 Mauritania
- Ivory Coast 3-1 Ethiopia
- Madagascar 0-0 Niger
- Senegal 1-1 Eswatini
- Guinea-Bissua 3-0 Congo
- Nigeria 3-0 Lesotho
- Cameroon 0-0 Rwanda
- Mozambique 0-1 Cape Verde
- Morocco 1-0 Burundi
- Sierra Leone PSTP Benin
- Cape Verde
- Equitorial Guinea
- Ivory Coast
- Burkina Faso
Benin Republic will complete the 24-team line up for next year’s showpiece as Group L runners-up if they avoid defeat in their postponed fixture, while Sierra Leone need an outright win.
2022 World Cup Qualification – UEFA Section
LEUVEN: Red Devils Leave Belarus For Dead In 8-Goal Thriller
Premier League duo Leandro Trossard (Brighton) and Dennis Praet (Leicester City) opened their international goalscoring accounts as Belgium inflicted a heavy 8-0 defeat on Belarus.
Michy Batshuayi bagged the game’s first, before Hans Vanaken volleyed in a second to put FIFA’s number one ranked team two goals up.
Trossard applied a clinical finish from 22 yards to stretch Belgium’s lead before Jeremy Doku made it 4-0 heading into half-time.
The Red Devils scored four more through Praet, Christian Benteke, Trossard and Vanaken in the second half to complete a memorable 8-0 rout.
The result lifted Roberto Martinez’s men to the top of Group E with seven points from three games.
The group’s other game saw Czech Republic drop to second on the log after falling to a slim 1-0 defeat to Wales.
BELAIR: Portugal Survive Luxembourg Scare
Goals from Diogo Jota, Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Palhinha cancelled out Gerson Rodrigues’ opener to deny Luxembourg an unlikely win in their Group A World Cup 2022 qualifying fixture.
Lisbon-born Rodrigues gave the home side the advantage after scoring the game’s first goal from a header, before Liverpool forward Jota restored parity from another header in first half injury-time.
Ronaldo scored shortly after the break to put Oscar Tabarez’s men in the lead for the time in the game, before Joao Palhinha headed in a third to seal the win.
The win lifts Portugal to the summit of Group A, along with Serbia on seven points.
Results From Other Centers
- Azerbaijan 1-2 Serbia
- Cyprus 1-0 Slovenia
- Wales 1-0 Czech Republic
- Gibraltar 0-7 Netherlands
- Montenegro 0-1 Norway
- Turkey 3-3 Latvia
- Croatia 3-0 Malta
- Slovakia 2-1 Russia
Tennis: Miami Open
Women’s Event: World number one Ashleigh Barty through to semi-finals
The defending champion is into the semis after winning 11 of the final 12 points to complete a hard fought 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 win over Belarusian seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka.
“That was the best level I’ve played for a long time, especially for a sustained period,” said the 24-year old.
Men’s Event: Daniil Medvedev through To Quarter-Finals
Daniill Medvedev clinched a quarter-final spot after winning in straight sets against American Frances Tiafoe in Miami.
The Russian won 6-4 6-3 against Tiafoe to book a last eight clash against Spanish seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is also through to the last eight after dispatching Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 6-2 7-6 (7-2).
The Greek will now face Poland’s 37th seed Hubert Hurkacz, who conquered Milos Raonic in three sets.
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Mubarak Mohammed Zakari He prefers to be known not as just a Sports Journalist; but as a "modern broadcaster" because of his ability to create content for visual, audio and print media. He co-hosts a football podcast with a growing audience from 17 countries across the globe.