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UEFA CL: Nigeria’s Chukwueze shines as underdog Villarreal go past Bayern but Mendy, Ziyech couldn’t fly with Chelsea



It was a night of mixed fortune for African players as the return leg of Quarter Final matches of the UEFA Champions League took center stage on Tuesday night.

On the heroic side was Nigeria’s Samuel Chimerenka Chukwueze of Villarreal scored a late goal in the clash against Bayern Munich of Germany to take the Yellow Submarine into the next round of the competition. The first leg of the tie ended in a 1-0 victory for the Spanish side and Munich was in a better place after taking the lead in the return leg but substitute Chukwueze had other ideas.

Villarreal’s victory is by all standards an upset given the pedigree of Bayern Munich in the elite club completion. The German side had won the competition seven-time while Villarreal’s best run in the competition was a semi-final stop in the  2005/2006 season when they lost out to Arsenal on a 1–0 aggregate scoreline following Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann’s save of Riquelme’s last-minute penalty.

With Bayern’s pedigree and quality, it is not surprising that it took an African “hammer” to put final nail on the German side’s coffin.

Since the Yellow Submarine was founded, several players from Africa have represented the outfit, with names like Ikechukwu Uche (Nigeria), Karl Toko Ekambi (Cameroon), and Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo) coming to mind.

Others Africans who currently ply their football trade with Villarreal are Boulaye Dia (Senegal), Arnaut Danjuma (Nigeria), Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire), Aissa Mandi (Algeria), and of course Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze

Real Madrid Vs Chelsea

In the other quarter-final tie of the UEFA Champions League on the night. The most successful side in the history of the competition, Real Madrid of Spain hosted Chelsea FC of England who are the current champions of the competition.

There were no African goal scorers in the tie which ended 3-2 in favour of Chelsea, Real Madrid progressed into the next round of the competition with a better goal difference because the first league ended 3-1 in favour of the Spanish side.

The two sides however both have a rich history of African players who have done their colours. While there are no player player of African nationality in Madrid’s current Champions League squad, there were Africans who gave good accounts of themselves on the night on Chelsea’s side. The Blues goalkeeper, Edward Mendy plays for the African Champion – Senegal, while Hakim Ziyech of Morocco also gave his best for the Londoners on the night.


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.

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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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