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Nigeria Keep 100 Per Cent Group D Record with Victory over Guinea-Bissau

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Nigeria wrapped up their Group D campaign at the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua on Wednesday night.

The result, secured by second-half goals from Umar Sadiq and William Troost-Ekong, sees the Super Eagles top the group with a full haul of three wins (the only team in the competition to do so) and underline their status as one of the outright favourites for the title.

The African Wild Dogs, meanwhile, finished bottom of the log and have been eliminated from the Afcon.

With top spot assured before the match even kicked off, Nigeria coach Augustine Eguavoen opted to make several changes to his starting XI, resting the likes of Samuel Chukwueze, Moses Simon, Taiwo Awoniyi and Joe Aribo. They enjoyed most of the possession early on, but Guinea-Bissau had the first real threat on goal.

The African Wild Dogs saw striker Mama Balde brush past defender Semi Ajayi on 10 minutes and almost latch onto a loose ball in the penalty area, but Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho came off his line and bravely smothered the ball at the attacker’s feet.

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The Super Eagles should have claimed the lead on 15 minutes through Ajayi, who rose highest to get on the end of Kelechi Nwakali’s free kick delivery, but the centre-back failed to keep his header down with the goal gaping.

Ten minutes later Nigeria cut open their opponent’s defence and Umar Sadiq almost succeeded in rounding goalkeeper Maurice Gomis, but he was unable to get a shot away under pressure from two recovering defenders.

Guinea-Bissau gradually found some attacking rhythm and created some pressure in the dying minutes of the first half, notably threatening through Jorginho just before the break, with the forward striking a volley through a crowd of players and just wide of Uzuho’s left-hand upright.

Nigeria were the dominant force after the restart and claimed a deserved lead on 56 minutes. Wilfred Ndidi put Kelechi Iheanacho into space and the forward provided a beautiful low cross with the outside of his left foot which curved away from the grasp of Gomis but allowed Sadiq an easy finish at the far post for 1-0.

Guinea-Bissau nearly levelled the game a short while later through Fali Cande, whose shot direct from a free kick took a deflection off the wall and flashed just wide of the target.

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Nigeria claimed a second goal on 75 minutes when a sensational solo effort from substitute Moses Simon rebounded off the underside of the crossbar and was turned home at close range by William Troost-Ekong. The defender’s celebrations were initially cut short by the offside flag, but a VAR review overturned the decision and saw the Super Eagles go 2-0 up.

Guinea-Bissau had a couple of half-chances to reduce the deficit in what remained of the game, but ultimately Nigeria were able to hold out for a comfortable victory that maintains their momentum heading into the business end of the tournament.

Nigeria, as Group D winners, will face a third-placed team from Group B, E or F in their round of 16 clash, set for Garoua on Sunday 23 January.

SPORTS

Eight Medical Staff Face Trial for Maradona’s Death

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Eight medical personnel will stand trial for alleged criminal negligence in the death of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, according to a court ruling made public yesterday.

No date has been set for the trial of the eight over Maradona’s death in 2020, which prosecutors say was due to “omissions” by his caregivers who abandoned him “to his fate” during home hospitalisation.

Maradona died aged 60 in 2020 while recovering from brain surgery for a blood clot, and after decades of battles with cocaine and alcohol addictions.

Neurosurgeon and family doctor Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, medical coordinator Nancy Forlini and four others including nurses were placed under investigation.

Prosecutors have asked that they be tried for negligent homicide.

They claim mismanagement by the team had placed the football legend in a “situation of helplessness”.

The accused risk sentences ranging from eight to 25 years in prison.

According to the prosecutors, the defendants “were the protagonists of an unprecedented, totally deficient and reckless hospitalisation at home”, allegedly responsible for a “series of improvisations, management failures and shortcomings”.

Maradona is widely considered one of the greatest footballers in history.

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SPORTS

FG Plans C’Wealth Games Closed Camping for Athletics, Boxing, Eight Others

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By Idris Umar, Abuja

The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, has concluded arrangements for the closed camping of athletes in the 10 sports federations that will feature at the 2022 Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham, England from July 28 to August 8, 2022.

The sporting federations are Athletics, Boxing, Judo, Para Athletics, Para Powerlifting, Para Table Tennis, Table Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling.

In a statement by the Director Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mohammed Manga, and made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, said the closed camping will begin from July 9, 2022 till the commencement of the Games.

The statement added that athletes will be camped in Abuja, Lagos and Yenagoa.

“Thus, effective July 9, 2022, the Federations closed and open camps will dovetail into the Ministry’s preparations,” the statement read.

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NEWS

MTN Junior Tennis Championship Top Seeds Record Easy Wins

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By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

Nigeria’s top two juniors in the Boys 16 category, Seun Ogunsakin and Mubarak Ganiyu, posted easy victories in their second group matches yesterday to make their semifinal placement all but assured.

Seun Ogunsakin from Ekiti took the centre court against Sinclair Okah from Lagos and completely dominated the match to win 9-3.

Mubarak also put up an even better performance, showing a very high level of concentration and skill to beat Daniel Ibrahim 9-0.

In the Girls 12, the fight for the top two spots leading to the semifinals featured Lorelay Holzendoff from Benin and Favour Okon – James from Akwa Ibom. Holzendoff, born by a German-Nigerian couple won the one-sided but very entertaining match 9 – 0.

The final group matches, which will lead to emergence of semi-finalists will take place Thursday starting 10 am.

The tournament, which is run by the International Tennis Academy is scheduled to end on Saturday, with a grand finale starting at 1. pm at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Race Course.

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