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.
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.
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.
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.
FIFA honours Osimhen after amazing season with Napoli
Following his record-breaking season with Napoli where he scored 26 goals to win the Serie A top scorer award, Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen has been honoured by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).
The world football governing body Tuesday presented Osimhen with a customized jersey and soccer ball for his “superb displays for Napoli in the 2022/23 season,” which led to Napoli winning the Scudetto after a 33-year wait, according to an official of FIFA, Gelson Fernandes, in a “special message” to the 24-year-old Nigerian forward.
“Victor Osimhen, you represent at the moment what football can do,” Fernandes wrote in an Instagram post.
“From Lagos to Napoli where people love you, you have suffered, but your love for football and determination have guided you.
“Keep going, keep pushing. Africa needs examples and millions are watching and dreaming.”
Osimhen became the first African to win the highest goal scorer award, while also becoming the first player since Zlatan Ibrahimovic to win both the Capocannoniere and the Scudetto in the same season, a record which has stood for 14 long years.
His horde of honours was also enhanced with a National Award of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic bestowed on him by former Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.
Tunisian tennis star, Ons Jabeur zooms into French Open quarter-finals
Tunisian tennis sensation, Ons Jabeur took a step further in her quest to win the 2023 French Open Grand Slam when she defeated World number 36, Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-1 to zoom into the quarter-finals.
Jabeur, ranked number 7 in the world, and who only won her first WTA 1000 title at the Madrid Open last year, has since then been facing a downward slide coupled with injuries which saw her either missing out on some tournaments or crashing out in early rounds.
However, the 28-year-old who became the first ever African woman to reach a Grand Slam final last year, was at her best when she defeated Pera to move to the next stage on Monday night.
Though Jabeur was not at her fluent best and was herself broken three times in the first set and at the start of the second set, she still raced through the final six games, sealing victory in 63 minutes.
“I never thought about something was missing or I didn’t reach all four of them,” the African said after the match.
“Maybe it’s a good thing. It came and hopefully, we’ll set it to all semi-finals and then all finals,” she added.
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