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North African teams draw first blood in Qatar World Cup 2022 qualifiers



The eagerly awaited first-leg matches of the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying matches to determine African qualifiers for the Mundial held across the continent on Friday, was dominated by North African teams with Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia picking crucuial away wins.

Egypt pipped their AFCON 2021 conquerors, Senegal, 1-0, and Algeria replicated same against Cameroon, while Morocco brightened their chances by drawing 1-1 away to DR Congo, and Mali gifted Tunisia a 1-0 away win through an own goal.

However, the much anticipated West African derby between Ghana and Nigeria ended in a 0-0 stalemate in what many fans described as a boring affair but with the return leg on Tuesday in Abuja, the die is cast for the long held ‘Jollof Derby’ to be settled once and for all.

With just five goals scored across the five first-leg matches in Africa’s World Cup qualifying playoffs, the return legs may not be as cagey as the first leg matches showed.

Egypt humbles Senegal

An unfortunate own goal in the 4th minute by Senegal’s Saliou Ciss was all Egypt needed to pip the African champions 1-0 in the first leg of their World Cup play-off in Cairo.

The mistake which forced Ciss to turn the ball pass Eduoard Mendy came from a shot by Mohamed Salah which struck the defender and flew past the Chelsea keeper to nestle in the back of the net.

The game which featured Liverpool’s win strike stars, Salah and Sadio Mane, was touted to be a repeat of the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations final which Senegal won on penalties after a pulsating 0-0 draw, but the match turned out to be a cagey affair with few chances created by either sides.

Algeria pips Cameroon for crucial lead

Cameroon have a mountain to climb when they face Algeria in the second leg after Islam Slimani’s headed goal gave the former African champions a 1-0 away victory to take put one foot in the World Cup in Qatar.

Algeria will host Caneroon in the return tie in Blida on Tuesday, and may well be dreaming of their fifth appearance at the Mundial.

Morocco in the driver’s seat after draw in DR Congo

A brilliant Tarik Tissoudali equaliser late in the game saw Morocco fight back after an earlier missed penalty, to earn a 1-1 draw away at Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Kinshasa.

The draw moves the North African giants closer to a sixth World Cup appearance in Qatar with the second leg billed for Casablanca looking a sure win for the host.

Yoane Wissa had given DRC a credible 12th-minute lead after he beat the offside trap down the left wing, before cutting inside and unleashing a shot from just outside the box that took a slight defection off a Moroccan defender and beating goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to his blind side.

With away goals counting double on the continent, odds favour Morocco to take the day on Tuesday.

Unfortunate Mali hands Tunisia initiative

Malian defender Moussa Sissako, was the villain as his unforced own goal gave Tunisia the away goal.

Sissako scored the bizarre own goal in the 36th minute when his attempt to pass the ball back to his keeper sailed into an empty net.

He was then sent off four minutes later after being adjudged to have tripped a Tunisian attacker as the last man in defense.

Even a goal and a man down, Mali had chances to at least draw level with Yves Bissouma missing two sisters, but in the end, it was Tunisia that smiled last with the second leg looking almost done and dusted.

Drab stalemate in Ghana and Nigeria ‘Jollof Derby’

The matchup between eternal rivals, Ghana and Nigeria had generated so much reviews with the much touted ‘Jollodf Derby’ billed to be the biggest match of the day.

But at the end of 90 minutes, both set of fans were disappointed at the dean barren draw at the packed Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

The only excitement in an otherwise forgettable derby was the the VAR controversy which denied Nigeria a obvious penalty in the second half half after a Ghanaian midfielder, Iddrisu Baba, had scooped the ball with his hands under pressure from Nigerian strikers.

A review of the decision in the closing stages of the west African showdown found that Baba was fouled before he handled the ball.

However, the two countries still have Tuesday to end the ‘Jollof Debate’ at the MKO Stadium in Abuja.

Final Results

Egypt 1-0 Senegal

Ghana 0-0 Nigeria

Cameroon 0-1 Algeria

Mali 0-1 Tunisia

DRC 1-1 Morocco


Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon shatters women’s 1500m world record at Diamond League



Kenyan long distance runner, Faith Kipyegon Friday broke the 1500m women’s world record after clocking 3:49.11 at the third leg of the Wanda Diamond League meeting of the season held in Florence, Italy.

The two-time Olympic and two-time world champion who went into the Golden Gala as the second-fastest women’s 1500m runner of all time, took some minutes off the 3:50.37 she clocked in Monaco in August last year on her way to shattering the world record.

In the process, the 29-year-old Kipyegon bettered the previous record of of 3:50.07 set by another African, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in Monaco in 2015.

Top British runner,
Laura Muir, settled for second position while another Briton, Imani-Lara Lansiquot was third.

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Osimhen can’t help Man U win trophies— Andy Cole



Former Manchester United top goalscorer, Andy Cole has kicked against the club’s hunt for Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen, whom he believes cannot help the English Premiership giant win a trophy.

Cole who was one of the of the most prolific strikers in the history of the English game, warned the Red Devils against splashing a mouthwatering transfer fee on the Napoli hotshot as that would not guarantee them winning the Premier League title or other diadems next season.

The English team have been in the the hunt for a new attacker to rejuvenate their strike force next season and Osimhen who ended the season as the highest goal scorer in the Italian Serie A has been repeatedly linked with a move to Old Trafford in a bid to bolster their squad for the 2023-24 season.

The Red Devils entered the fray for Osimhen who has scored 25 goals in 31 appearances in the Serie A, along with several European giants, including Real Madrid, Chelsea, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and PSG.

However, Cole who formed a devastating strike partnership with Dwight Yorke in the 90s, believes signing the Nigerian forward will not be enough to help United conquer England and Europe.

The 1999 treble-winning forward who bared his mind on Thursday night about the FA Cup final involving United and bitter rivals, Manchester City, said categorically that Osimhen was not the answer to Man U’s attacking problems.

“No, Manchester United can’t win the league next season. It frustrates me when people think that buying two more players, we can then win the league,” Cole said.

“So why are Manchester City in such a good position if all it takes is buying two players? Make it make sense. Two players, including Victor Osimhen, can’t help Manchester United compete for the league title.

“Unless Manchester City don’t buy anyone this summer and say ‘we’ll let everyone catch us up.’ Football doesn’t work like that, so I’m honest when people ask if Manchester United can compete for the league title next season, I say no.”

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