English Premier League title contenders, Chelsea and Manchester United yesterday made it a goal harvest in their respective league matches against Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers.
While Chelsea thumped Aston Villa 7-1 at the Stamford Bridge to go top of the table, United responded in an almost like manner against Bolton, 4-0 away, to reclaim top spot in one of the tightest race to the premier league title in recent time.
Frank Lampard passed the 150 goal mark for Chelsea as they threw the gauntlet down to Premier League pace-setters Manchester United by destroying Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard’s four goals made him the third-highest scorer in the club’s history eclipsing legends Roy Bentley and Peter Osgood with 151 goals.
His efforts, two from the penalty spot, were the centrepiece of an emphatic Chelsea victory as they followed up their 5-0 midweek win at Portsmouth with another goal-laden attacking display.
And as coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted the disappointment of their Champions League exit at the hands of Inter Milan may yet aid their attempts to regain the title, Chelsea’s embarrassing superiority over a Villa side with sights set on the top four provides the perfect tonic for next Saturday’s visit to Old Trafford.
It was a win made all the more impressive because it was achieved without main marksman Didier Drogba, who was rested on the substitutes’ bench after picking up a knock in the victory at Fratton Park. To say he was not missed is an understatement.
Lampard gave Chelsea an early lead when he converted Florent Malouda’s cross at the far post, but John Carew quickly put Villa level after good work by Ashley Young.
The game took a crucial twist right on half-time when Lampard put Chelsea back in front from the spot after Yuri Zhirkov was brought down by James Collins – and there was no way back for Villa as Ancelotti’s side cut loose after the interval.
Malouda took advantage of more fine work from Zhirkov to beat Friedel, and Lampard completed his hat-trick with another penalty. He made his mark in Chelsea history by slipping his spot-kick comfortably past Villa keeper Brad Friedel after another run from the rampant Zhirkov drew a foul from Dunne.
Villa crumbled and Malouda piled on the agony after he was set up by Lampard and substitute Salomon Kalou made it six when he shot low past Friedel after Nicolas Anelka had been given what seemed like an age to turn in the area.
It was fitting that Lampard rounded off the rout with his fourth goal in the dying seconds, turning home his effort inside the area as Villa gave every impression of a side who simply could not wait for the whistle to sound.
And as if this was not enough to ignite ecstasy around Stamford Bridge, the roars were deafening as news of Birmingham City’s late equaliser against Arsenal filtered through.
Barely one hour later at the Reebok stadium, Dimitar Berbatov scored twice as Manchester United returned to the top of the Premier League with a 4-0 win away to Bolton Wanderers
Jlloyd Samuel opened the scoring with an unfortunate and somewhat absurd own goal on 38 minutes, Berbatov provided two cool finishes after the break and substitute Darron Gibson completed the rout.
United leapfrogged Chelsea to go a point clear, and they are now four ahead of Arsenal who drew at Birmingham. It completed a satisfactory evening for United that began amid injury worries over two of their leading players.
Fears over the state of Wayne Rooney’s knee inflammation appear to be well-founded after the England striker was left out of United’s match squad altogether despite having a week to recover since their last game against Liverpool.
Less surprising was the omission of Rio Ferdinand, following his umpteenth back twinge of the season – both absences will cause major concern for fans of both United and England with the World Cup less than three months away.
The first half initially offered little in the way of excitement before exploding into life late on. Ryan Giggs returned from a broken arm and was deployed through the middle to replace some of Rooney’s spark, but the Welshman failed to assert himself.
United carved out some half-chances, with Berbatov volleying at Jussi Jaaskelainen and Jonny Evans thrashing a left-foot shot over following a corner.
But Bolton came closer, bringing two world class saves from Edwin van der Sar. First Johan Elmander raced onto an exceptional through ball from Jack Wilshere, but saw his shot repelled by the Dutchman’s strong wrist at the near post.
Then Van der Sar had to be at his acrobatic best to leap and tip over a Fabrice Muamba shot that appeared destined for the top-left corner.
But between those two saves came Samuel’s aberration. Giggs sent in a low cross from the left and Samuel met it at the back post, planting the ball back across goal into the far corner, giving Jaaskelainen no chance. A great finish, if only he had meant it.
It was the 11th own goal scored in United’s favour in the Premier League this season – the previous record for any side is six.
Iyalo D King Cup: Obidianso FC Emerges Champions
Obidianso Street FC of Port Harcourt has emerged winners of this year’s edition of Iyalo D King, 4 Aside football tournaments at the Amanakana football Stadium, Diobu, on Sunday, in Port Harcourt.
Speaking with journalists, after the finals match, the Chief sponsor of the competition, Victor Fubara, said the tournament was to sustain the existing peace and unity among the youths in Diobu axis of Port Harcourt.
He noted that there were a lot of talents in the area which needed help, saying that, with the competition a lot of hidden talents has been discovered and they will be exposed to the world of football.
“I want to use this competition to change the narrative about the youths of Diobu in Port Harcourt.
I want to tell you that there is peace and unity among the youths in the area.
You can see joy and happiness on the faces of the people watching the game.
My main purpose of organizing this tournament is to foster the existing peace and unity, also to pass a massage to the outside world that what they think about Diobu is different, “ Fubara stated.
Fubara who is popularly known as Diayo, revealed that he brought some scouts to select some good players.
“I personally just want to do it for them,” he said.
He used the medium to call on the Government to support his agenda and programme in terms of youth empowerment in different areas.
“My message to the youths is to stop violence and embrace peace,” he stated.
At the end of the finals, Obidianso Street FC defeated Awgu Street FC 2-1 on penalty shootout after playing goalless draw in regulation time.
By: Kiadum Edookor
Kano Pillars To Pay N5m Fine Over Covid-19 Protocol
Kano Pillars have been charged for breaching the NPFL Framework and Rules, following the infraction in their Matchday 27 fixture vs Akwa Utd at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna last Sunday.
The Kano club has been charged for breaching the Covid-19 Protocol by admitting and/or permitting spectators and supporters into the venue.
Pillars are also charged for encroachment after their supporters encroached onto the field of play, thereby disrupting the match.
The club is further charged for failing to provide adequate security leading to failure in crowd control and restriction of access by unauthorised persons to restricted areas.
In line with The Nigeria Football Federation directives, Kano Pillars are hereby sanctioned with a fine of N5 million for breaching the Covid-19 Protocol.
A fine of N2.5 million is also imposed on Kano Pillars for encroachment by their supporters, which led to a discontinuation of the match.
There is also an imposed sanction of a deduction of 3 points, which shall be suspended for the duration of the remainder of the season, subject to good conduct.
The club also faces a venue sanction of being banned from their Kaduna home ground and subsequently moved to another venue if there is a recurring event.
Kano Pillars have been directed to submit a revised security plan within 7 days and ensure they comply strictly with Covid-19 Protocol. All subject to approval by the LMC.
The club, however, has 48 hours from the date of notice to appeal these sanctions.
Super Falcons Have So Much To Offer – Oshoala
Asisat Oshoala is proud of Super Falcons’ spirited second-half performance against the Portuguese last Monday.
The African women’s champions came back twice to force the Europeans to a 3-3 draw at their second Group game in the ongoing National 2021 WNT Summer Series at the BBVA Stadium.
Reacting to the result, the Barcelona Femino striker, hailed the fighting spirit and said the team had so much potential.
I am proud of everyone. We were two goals down and then 3-2 in the 88th minute and we did it. I want to say this is just the beginning.
“We have so much in this team. We don’t even know what we have, people out there kept cheering us when we had the ball because we kept on pushing. That’s the spirit!” she said.
Following the thrilling six-goal match, the Super Falcons will head to Austin yesterday for today’s final match against the United States at the Q2 Stadium as Jamaica and Portugal bid the Summer Series farewell after two games.
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