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Ilaji FC end Shooting Stars Federation Cup dominance

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Ilaji FC end Shooting Stars Federation Cup dominance

Nigeria Nationwide League One side, Ilaji FC has ended Shooting Stars dominance in the Oyo State Federation Cup.

Ilaji defeated Shooting Stars 5-4 on penalties at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan.

The game ended in a 3-3 draw in regulation time.

Shooting Stars previously won the Oyo State Federation Cup for four years in a row.

The Gbenga Ogunbote’s side will now shift focus to their NPFL campaign.

The Oluyole Warriors will be in action against Kwara United on Wednesday.

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EPL: Crystal Palace snatch 1-0 win at Anfield to leave Liverpool behind in title race

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EPL: Crystal Palace snatch 1-0 win at Anfield to leave Liverpool behind in title race

Liverpool on Sunday lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace in what is a major blow to their Premier League ambition.

A first home league defeat in 29 games for the Reds leaves Jurgen Klopp’s men two points behind Manchester City and level with Arsenal, who can go top with victory over Aston Villa later on Sunday.

Eberechi Eze’s early goal handed the Eagles a vital win in their battle for survival as they move eight points clear of the drop zone.

However, Liverpool’s final season under Klopp is unravelling.

The League Cup winners were on course for a quadruple just a few weeks ago.

But after crashing out of the FA Cup to Manchester United, Liverpool succumbed to a first home defeat in any competition for 14 months when Atalanta stormed Anfield on Thursday to take a 3-0 first leg lead in their Europa League quarter-final tie.

Klopp’s men have now won just three of their last eight games in all competitions and are showing clear signs of fatigue after already having played 51 games this season.

Slow starts have been a recurring theme of Liverpool’s struggles of late and they were again forced to come from behind.

Alisson Becker made his long-awaited return in goal for the home side but he had no chance when Eze was left with a simple finish from Tyrick Mitchell’s cross.

Crystal Palace were millimetres away from a second moments later when Andy Robertson produced a remarkable goalline clearance to deny Jean-Philippe Mateta after Virgil van Dijk’s slip let the French striker through.

Liverpool had to resort to set-pieces to put the Crystal Palace defence under pressure in the first half.

Wataru Endo’s scuffed effort came back off the crossbar.

Dean Henderson then produced a stunning save to prevent Luis Diaz levelling at the back post with an acrobatic effort.

Klopp reacted at half-time with the introduction of Dominik Szoboszlai and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s return after two months out quickly followed when Conor Bradley went down injured.

Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo were also sent on for the rescue mission from the bench.

Jota looked certain to equalise when picked out by Szoboszlai but the Portuguese forward’s finish hit Nathaniel Clyne on the line with the goal gaping.

At the other end, Alisson showed why he is one of the world’s best goalkeepers with a remarkable stop to turn Mateta’s strike over from point-blank range.

Liverpool galloped immediately up the other end and Curtis Jones slotted wide with just Henderson to beat.

Mohamed Salah had one final chance to at least snatch a point, but his goalbound effort was brilliantly blocked by Mitchell in stoppage time.

Unless Liverpool produce a stunning fightback against Atalanta in midweek, Klopp will have just two more games at Anfield before his momentous reign comes to an end.

But what looked like it could be a glorious goodbye is now at danger of turning into a damp squib.

 

 

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Arteta urges Arsenal to banish painful history with Bayern

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Arteta urges Arsenal to banish painful history with Bayern

Mikel Arteta has challenged Arsenal to prove their wretched Champions League record against Bayern Munich is ancient history as the Gunners look to seize their “special” opportunity to reach the semi-finals.

Arteta’s side have endured a series of chastening defeats against Bayern over the last decade, but Arteta expects them to reverse that trend in Tuesday’s quarter-final first leg.

Beaten 5-1 in each of their last three meetings with Bayern, Arsenal were eliminated from the Champions League by the German club in the last 16 in 2017, 2014, 2013 and 2005.

However, Premier League leaders Arsenal are in superb form, while Bayern arrive at the Emirates Stadium in turmoil.

Arteta puts no stock in his club’s past problems against Bayern and the Spaniard called on his players to justify his faith.

“That’s history. When you look at their history in the competition it’s clear. We have to prove that, that’s for sure,” Arteta told reporters on Monday.

“Football is such a competitive environment and it’s so hard to be consistent that this can happen to anybody.

“We are really enjoying the moment because this is where we want to be. We are in a really good position in the Premier League and we are in a good position in the Champions League.

“We have a big task ahead of us against one of the successful teams in Europe. That’s the hurdle we have to overcome and we are really looking forward to it.”

Arsenal have not made the Champions League semi-finals since 2009 and will be playing in the last eight for the first time since 2010.

While Bayern are well below their usual standards this term, Arteta is relishing the opportunity to face the six-time European champions.

– ‘So excited’ –

“A lot of passion and emotion. We haven’t had this opportunity for 15 years so that tells you how special this night is going to be for us. We are going to have put everything into every ball to make it happen,” he said.

“It’s been a really demanding season and it’s a big step forward to be here in this competition, and competing in the Premier League. This is the challenge and we are so excited to be part of that.”

Bayern squandered a two-goal lead in a 3-2 loss to Heidenheim last weekend that all but extinguished their slim hopes of catching Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Thomas Tuchel’s troubled team have lost five of their last 10 games in all competitions.

Yet Arteta’s respect for Tuchel — a Champions League winner with Chelsea in 2021 — ensured he would not underestimate Bayern.

“They are top team. I’m a big admirer of Thomas. The way his teams set-up, the way they play, the way they transmit. I have learned a lot from him and looking at them they are a top team,” he said.

“We have prepared well and now we have to take our game where we want to. If we do that we have a chance to win.

Even the presence of Bayern striker Harry Kane, who scored a north London derby record 14 goals against Arsenal during his time with Tottenham, is unlikely to rattle the Gunners.

Asked about the threat posed by the England captain, Arteta said: “When you look at his numbers over the past 10 years they are unbelievable.

“He can score in many different ways. He has got the service and the players around him as well to provide those opportunities.

“We know the individual qualities of those players, and him in particular. The ability he has. The best thing is to collectively prevent certain things.”

 

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Olympics Qualifier: Supporters Club Rallies Nigerians In South Africa For Super Falcons 

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Ahead of the decisive second leg match of the qualifier for the women's football event of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games between Nigeria and  South Africa billed to hold

Ahead of the decisive second leg match of the qualifier for the women’s football event of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games between Nigeria and  South Africa billed to hold Tuesday in Pretoria, Nigeria’s foremost football fans group, the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC), have intensified its efforts to ensure the Super Falcons enjoy massive support in the game.

 

According to the National Chairman of NFSC, Ambassador(Rev). Samuel Ikpea, the club have mandated its South African chapters, particularly, in South Africa, to rally all Nigerian football fans resident in the country in the neighbouring nations, to storm the stadium on Tuesday and give the much needed support to the Nigerian girls.

“The Chairman of our South Africa chapter, Osita Okeke and his secretary, Boyo Abijoh, have been rallying Nigerians in the country to come out enmasse and give our girls the needed support to qualify for the Olympic games in Paris,” Ikpea said.

“We’re equally supporting our Super Falcons spiritually from home. And we believe, our girls shall pick the ticket for the Paris Olympic games, Ikpea added.

It would be recalled that Super Falcons defeated South Africa 1-0, in the first leg of the final qualifiers played last Friday, in Abuja.

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