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Arsenal, Barca Set To Serve Champagne Football

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Arsenal host Barcelona tonight  fuelled by the belief that they can eliminate the European champions over the course of two legs that promise great entertainment and incredible drama.

The Gunners remain in the race to claim the Premier League crown, though their hopes of dethroning Manchester United and usurping Chelsea took a shot at the weekend as a bad Manuel Almunia error gifted Birmingham City a point on Saturday.

“Barcelona is a different competition and we have a few days to recover and prepare. But it felt like a defeat on Saturday,” manager Arsene Wenger told the club’s official website, having previously blamed the state of the St. Andrews pitch for his side’s failure to register three points.

“It is always hard to pick the players up when you get a result like that. We are on a run that is very difficult, where we know there is no room for error at all, so Saturday was a big disappointment for us.”

When Arsenal have been faced with crisis points in this campaign, they have generally responded well. Against the very best – Manchester United and Chelsea – they have failed to acquire a single league point, yet the Gunners remain a very real threat in the title race, while an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at Porto in the Champions League was brilliantly rescued with a terrific 5-0 response at the Emirates.

Having failed to defeat an elite side this season, questions will be raised over the ability of Wenger’s side to defeat la Blaugrana, who have become known as the best of the best over the last 18 months.

Compared to the all-conquering Barcelona side of last term, this season’s Barca have received a remarkable amount of criticism. With the increased competition from Real Madrid, Pep Guardiola’s side have been placed in the spotlight, and though they have consistently responded, they have rarely convinced.

Recent results have not seen the Blaugrana sweep away opposition in the manner they achieved last season, while their football has not always been as fluid and eye-catching. Their results, in La Primera Division at least, have been just as strong, while progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League has been achieved, albeit with a few scares along the way.

Stuttgart certainly gave Guardiola’s men a fright in the last 16. The Bundesliga outfit grabbed the lead in the first leg, though they were ultimately unable to match the power of the Catalans when forced to travel to Catalunya. Lionel Messi, as has been the case so often of late, was Barca’s inspiration behind a 4-0 second leg victory, and the little Argentine marvel will be the player Arsenal most closely need to police over the two legs.

Goalkeeper Victor Valdes has indicated that the Camp Nou outfit are feeling confident going into this fixture. “We are not going to play conservatively at the Emirates. Barcelona are capable of winning anywhere,” he asserted.

Only the second team to take anything from Mallorca’s ONO Estadi this season, having recorded a 1-0 victory thanks to a predatory Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike on Saturday, Barca can approach this fixture with optimism, despite their naysayers

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Iyalo D King Cup: Obidianso FC Emerges Champions

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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

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Kano Pillars To Pay N5m Fine Over Covid-19 Protocol

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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.

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Super Falcons Have So Much To Offer – Oshoala

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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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