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Nigerian League

Brentford shock Chelsea to make Premier League history



Chelsea’s revival came to a grinding halt in a 2-0 West London derby defeat to Brentford, who have become the first-ever visiting team to win each of their opening three Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team dominated the possession and shot counters, but Thomas Frank’s side defended admirably and drew first blood through Ethan Pinnock’s powerful header, before Bryan Mbeumo doubled the Bees’ tally with seconds remaining, making the Blues pay for their worrying profligacy.

With neither Enzo Fernandez nor Mykhaylo Mudryk making the hosts’ squad due to fresh knocks, the door swung open for Noni Madueke to make his first Premier League start, and the ex-PSV Eindhoven man almost justified Pochettino’s decision with just 10 minutes gone.

While both sides enjoyed forays forward in the earliest exchanges, Chelsea countered with pace after every Brentford set piece, one of which ended with Madueke cutting in from the right and curling a sumptuous strike onto the bar with 10 minutes gone.

Pochettino’s side continued to make inroads at will, as Mark Flekken got down to his right to beat away a Conor Gallagher drive in the 12th minute, before Cole Palmer picked out the run of Marc Cucurella with a delightful inswinging delivery in the 19th minute, but the Spaniard’s tame volley landed straight into the arms of the Bees goalkeeper.

Brentford’s besieged defence continued to hold out, although Mads Roerslev was arguably fortunate not to give away a penalty for a shove on Raheem Sterling in the 24th minute, which neither Simon Hooper nor VAR official Craig Pawson deemed spot-kick worthy.

For all of Chelsea’s first-half dominance, Robert Sanchez was forced into the first meaningful action of the second half, as Mathias Jensen’s cutback into the penalty area landed at the feet of Vitaly Janelt in the 50th minute, but the German could only shoot straight at the Blues goalkeeper.

However, the hosts’ early profligacy would eventually come back to haunt them, as with 58 minutes gone, Mbeumo lifted an inviting delivery to the back post, where Pinnock surged beyond a jumbled Chelsea defence and directed a bullet header past a stranded Sanchez.

The same old story befell Chelsea as the Blues searched for an equaliser, with Pochettino’s men stringing together several slick passing sequences in and around the Brentford box before a mishit final ball killed the attack, although the visitors’ defensive masterclass more than played its part too.

Chelsea frustrations soon boiled over on the sidelines, as Pochettino’s assistant Jesus Perez was given a red card – seemingly for something he said towards the Brentford dugout – and his dismissal would only mark the beginning of a chaotic 90th minute.

As Chelsea failed to make the most of a set-piece again, Brentford launched a four-on-one counter-attack, which ended with Sanchez bravely thwarting substitute Yegor Yarmolyuk before Mbeumo fired just wide of the post a few seconds later.

Sanchez then came up for a last-minute corner as Chelsea rolled the dice one last time, but the goalkeeper’s risky endeavour backfired and then some, as Neal Maupay broke away on the counter-attack, shook off the backtracking Sanchez and slid in Mbeumo to tap home into an empty net.

Brentford and their ecstatic fans celebrated with a few Jurgen Klopp-esque fist pumps, as the Bees snapped their six-game winless run in all tournaments to rise to 10th in the table, leapfrogging Chelsea – who have only won one of their last 13 league home games – in the process.

The Bees have a week to recuperate before they tackle another London counterpart in West Ham United next Saturday, while Chelsea seek a spot in the EFL Cup fourth-round when they battle Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday.

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Nigerian League

Heartland beef up Technical crew with Nwachukwu, Gaadi




The management of Heartland FC has announced the further beefing up of the team’s technical crew with two new coaches.

They are Ifeanyi Nwachukwu, former Head coach of SKE, Port Harcourt who is to serve as Assistant Coach 1 and legendary John Gaadi who becomes Goalkeeper Trainer 2.

The club’s General Manager, Promise Nwachukwu presented the two coaches to the players in their last training session on Thursday before their departure to Ibadan for the NPFL Matchday 11 tie with Shooting Stars Sports Club slated for Sunday.

Nwachukwu charged them to be good ambassadors of the club and work with other coaches in the team to fashion out strategies to ensure Heartland FC get out of their present situation on the league table.

He said they should see their new assignment as call to duty and that they should work to justify the confidence repose in them.

“We are happy to have you in our club. You have come to add something unique to the technical crew and we will like you to make hard work your watchword,” Nwachukwu said.

Recall that Heartland FC recently appointed twice NPFL champion, Kennedy Boboye as Technical Adviser while Charles Uzor became the Chief coach among other changes made to ensure the club rediscover winning formula after a not too good start to the season.

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Nigerian League

Club Owners commends NPFL, insists on improved officiating




As part of efforts geared towards strengthening the synergy between the managers of the league, Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) and Nigeria Football Club Owners Association, both bodies met in Abuja on Tuesday and agreed to continue to engage in the interest of the league.

The meeting ended with the Club Owners led by its chairman, Chief Okey Kpalukwu commending the efforts of the NPFL for taking a strong stand against erring match officials, and putting the league on TV. He charged the Honorable Gbenga Elegbeleye led board not to relent in giving Nigerians a league they will be proud of.
“We want to commend the NPFL board for the way it has dealt with the issue of poor officiating by match officials and the promptness applied in doing so.

This is highly commendable and on behalf of the Club Owners, I’ll want to urge you not to rest on your oars because we can’t afford to go back to the ugly past where match officials do whatever they like with impunity and nothing is done to checkmate them. We’re not there yet but we’ve made progress. We are also happy that our games are now on television, this is very important for any league that wants to develop and be attractive to sponsors,” posited the former Sharks Football club of Port Harcourt General Manager.

As far as the Rivers United General Manager is concerned, the NPFL strategic partners, GTI deserves support for what they’ve been able to do for the league which he described as immense, he however asked them to redouble their efforts at attracting more support for the league while pledging the backing of the clubs to enable them achieve the lofty plans they’ve for the league.

On the issue of Total Promotions taking the NPFL to court which is discouraging potential sponsors from supporting the league, Chief Kpalukwu pleaded with the former league partners to stop dragging the league backward.

“I thought we’ve gone past this stage and I’m surprised that this issue of Total Promotions hasn’t gone away. What is certain is that the club owners as a body is solidly behind the NPFL and we condemn in its entirety anything that will set the league backward. Enough is enough”, stated Chief Kpalukwu who is also a member of the NPFL board.

In his response, the NPFL chairman, Hon Elegbeleye thanked the clubs for their continued support for the league body and promised to keep engaging with them to deliver on promises made when the board was sworn in by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) a few months ago.

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Nigerian League

Goals Rain As NLO Cup Kicks Off




It was a carnival of goals, with seven victories, a combined 30 goals scored, and Ifeanyi Uzorchukwu going home with a match ball following his hat-trick, as the inaugural NLO Cup- sponsored by telecommunications giant MTN and FirstCentral Credit Bureau kicked off on Friday in Kano and Uyo.

Eight Matchday One fixtures, four each in Group 1 and Group 2 were concluded at the Sani Abacha Stadium and Uyo Township Stadium respectively, to the delight of anxious fans who came to catch a glimpse of the Nationwide League One brand of football.

It was an interesting curtain raiser in Kano, as Like Minds FC ace Ifeanyi Uzorchukwu was a torn in the flesh for Zeal Minds FC defence, after he fired three goals past them, to became the first player to score a hat-trick and helped his team to a 4-3 win.

Another 7-goal thriller was in Uyo after Jaguar FC needed a late penalty to edge RORO FC 4-3. The game produced six different goal scorers, with Awhana Silas scoring a brace for losing Roro FC.

Ikechukwu Chukwudi opened the scoring for Jaguar FC with a fine finish in the 25th minute to the delight of his team at the Uyo Township Stadium.

Two quick goals were recorded in the space of four minutes after Hassan Joshua doubled the lead for Jaguar FC in the 27th minute while Abraham Samson pulled one back for RORO FC from a scramble two minutes later.

In the 33rd minute, Anyaegbunam Pacian increased the tally with a stunning strike, as Jaguar FC took a 3-1 lead into half-time.

On the one-hour mark, Awhana Silas scored a sensational strike to keep RORO FC’s hope alive to make it 3-2. He then completed what looked like a comeback for his team with his second to draw RORO FC level at 3-3 in the 69th minute. RORO FC will rue hard-luck after Jaguar FC was awarded a spot kick and Godwin Onoja stepped forward to send goalkeeper Tubobo Saheed the wrong way to make it 4-3 for Jaguar FC.

In the second fixture of Matchday One,
Alex Sunday also made history as he scored a hat-trick in the NLO Cup after his team Kun Khalifa FC put four goals past FC Chimoski, who managed just one goal in the game.

It took Alex Sunday 12 minutes to find the back of the net after he put Kun Khalifa ahead with a superb stunning strike from the edge of the box. He then scored his second and third in the 37th and 50th minute.

From the other results, Abuja-based Green Lock FC pipped NA Royal FC 2-1, while Kwankwasiyya FC was also 2-1 better than FC Sheika.
Palm Syrup FC were the first team to keep a clean sheet after they edged Krane FC 2-0.

Tudun Wada FC also kept it decent with their defending after they pipped Barau/Murtala by a lone goal while Olegacy FC and Vandrezzer JNR shared the spoils as the game ended 1-1.


Like Minds FC 4-3 Zeal Minds FC
Green Lock FC 2-1 NA Royal FC
FC Sheika 1-2 Kwankwasiyya FC
Barau/Murtala 0-1 Tudun Wada FC

RORO FC 3-4 Jaguar FC
Krane FC 0-2 Palm Syrup FC
Kun Khalifa FC 4-1 FC Chimoski
Olegacy FC 1-1 Vandrezzer JNR

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