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Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo, Kelechi Iheanacho, Ademola Lookman, in fine outing at Europa and Conference League



It was joy for Super Eagles trio of Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey, as their Scottish team, Rangers, edged out Portuguese side, Braga, 3-1 (3-2 on aggregate) to progress to the semifinals of the 2021/2022 Europa League.

Midfielder Aribo was particularly in fine form as he produced an assist in the nervy second leg win on Thursday night.

It was the Nigerian international’s sublime pass to team captain James Tavernier for Rangers opening goal in the second minute before he was substituted in the 106th minute for Zambian striker, Fashion Sakala.

The duo of centre back Leon Balogun and left back Calvin Bassey were also in action, producing a solid defensive shift to prevent Braga from causing any more damage than the one goal they got.

While Balogun came on for Borna Barisic and gave a good account of himself, Bassey played the full 120 minutes and showed why coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst sees him as one of Rangers’ most important players.

This will be Rangers’ first continental semi-final in 14 years, and a huge boost to Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final with Premiership leaders Celtic at Hampden.

Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho

In the UEFA Conference League, the duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman helped Leicester City come from a goal down to defeat PSV of Netherlands 2-1 and qualify for the semi-finals of the newest UEFA competition.

With the feat, Leicester have now qualified for their first ever European football semi-final.

Iheanacho was in the starting eleven before being substituted on 65 minutes while Lookman came on for Harvey Barnes at the start of the second half and had a hand in Leicester’s winner.

Ademola Lookman

Ademola Lookman

Leicester’s reward for taking out PSV is a meeting with the winner of the tie between Bodo/Glimt and Serie A giants, AS Roma, in the semi-finals.

Samuel Chukwueze celebrating his goal against Bayern Munich

Samuel Chukwueze celebrating his goal against Bayern Munich

On Tuesday night, Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze was the hero as he scored the decisive goal for his Spanish side Villarreal, which knocked out Bayern Munich of Germany to take the Yellow Submarine into the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League.


South Africa to host Ireland in Rugby Two-Test summer tour



Current Rubgy World Cup champions, South Africa, will host Ireland, in a two-Test series in July, 2024, which will be Ireland’s first trip to the nation in eight years.

Ireland was the only country to defeat South Africa as they went on to win the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France in October.

South African Rugby Federation which made the announcement on Friday, said the two countries will first meet on Saturday, July 6, in Pretoria, with the second Test in Durban on 13 July.

When the two sides first met on South African soil in 2016, the Springboks came out victorious, edging the Three-Test series 2-1.

In the first test in the 2016 series, Ireland won 26-20 in Cape Town, before losing the next two games, 32-26 in Johannesburg and 19-13 in Port Elizabeth.

Apart from the Ireland games, SA Rugby also confirmed that the team will face Portugal on 20 July at a venue yet to be announced.

South Africa will also host New Zealand, who they beat in the World Cup final, in Johannesburg on 31 August and Cape Town on 7 September as part of the Rugby Championship before concluding their home schedule against Argentina on 28 September, the Federation said.

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Zimbabwe seals last gasp winner over Ireland in T20 Series opener



Host, Zimbabwe, started its 2023 T20 Series on a winning note after rallying back to defeat Ireland from 88-7 to 106-7 in their pursuit of an 118 to end the tie for victory, with the home side requiring 12 runs from as many deliveries at that point.

In the thrilling game played in Harare on Thursday, Ireland’s fightback was not enough as they fell just short as Zimbabwe sealed a last-ball win in the series opener.

Ireland had earlier taken control of the game and posted 147-8 while the hosts needed nine runs from their final over, winning it with two from Blessing Muzarabani off the last delivery.

Captain Sikandar Raza who was voted man of the match, took three wickets and scored 65 to lead their run chase.

Raza was supported with the bat by Wesley Madhevere, who scored 25, with wicketkeeper Clive Madande hitting 20.

Two further T20 contests between the sides will take place at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday and Sunday before three one-day games at the same venue on 13, 15 and 17 December.

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