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Sunshine Stars Sink Struggling Jigawa Stars FC

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A more determined and coordinated Sunshine Stars of Akure, Wednesday made things happen late in each half to see off a wasteful Jigawa Golden Stars with a 2-0 victory.
The hosts began their dominance of the match from the blast of the whistle and were almost rewarded as early as the third minute when Timileyin Ogunniyi’s free-kick forced Kenneth Christopher to a great save.
The home fans were left in anguish one minute later when they expected the centre referee to allow Mohammed Suleiman to play on as an advantage but the referee sounded his whistle before the striker scored a goal, which was later ruled out.
In the 15th minute, Seun Olulayo won a free kick for Sunshine in a dangerous position, Jigawa Stars defended brilliantly with a defender heading out the resultant free-kick from his goal line.
The Akure fans were on their feet again in the 25th minute when Fuad Ekelojuoti from the left-hand side of the field found an unmarked Jide Fatokun whose shot narrowly went off target but received an applause from the crowd. On the half-hour mark, Jigawa Stars would have been ahead when a split pass dividing the Sunshine Stars’ defence with only Ojo Olorunleke to beat in the process but they wasted the opportunity with a poor finish in front of goal.
Two minutes later, Sunshine Stars forward Mohammed Suleiman benefited from a poor Jigawa Stars clearance inside their goal area and responded with a fantastic bicycle kick but Kenneth Christopher made what would contend for a save of the season to deny the hosts. With one minute left before the break, Suleiman broke the deadlock following a loose ball from Ekelojuoti, helping the winger (Ekelojuoti) to register an assist in the game.
Sunshine Stars’ players showed that they responded well to the half time team talk when Fatokun laid the ball before Hillary Ikenna who dragged the chance in front of the Jigawa Stars box three minutes into the restart. In the 51st minute, Sunshine Stars head coach, Kabiru Dogo, introduced Sadeeq Yusuf for wasteful Uche Ihuarulam, his introduction added bite to the hosts’ front line and helped peg the Jigawa defenders to their half.
The hearts of Sunshine Stars’ fans were in their mouths in the 58th minute when Jigawa broke from a poor orchestrated corner kick leaving Olorunleke to come off his line in the process but Samuel Agba slipped with only a tap in required to ensure the ball landed in the net. Jigawa were presented with occasional opportunities to level the scores but their poor showing in front of goal won’t let them score.
Former Nigeria U-20 International, Wasiu Jimoh, who replaced Ekelojuoti in the 74th minute, put the icing on the cake for Sunshine in the 82nd minute when Ogunniyi’s brilliant pass found the winger on the left-hand side of the field and beat the offside trap to tip the ball over onrushing Kenneth Christopher for the second goal.
Speaking after the match, Kayode Julius, Sunshine Stars Chief Coach, said the new target for everyone in the team was to win more matches since their game against Lobi Stars in Makurdi irrespective of where they are playing.
“There is improvement in the team now and we are scoring goals, I hope we can keep this up” Julius said. The Sunshine Stars chief coach allayed fear that the team won’t score goals with continuous absence of in-form striker, Israel Abia. “We have many experienced players in our striking position, we have one of the best teams this season and in every positions, we have two or three players.

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‘I Can Discover Ballon d’Or Winners In Nigeria’

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Ex-Nigeria international Usman Abdallah has declared that he can help the country groom future Ballon d’Or winners if he is handed the U20 job.
Abdallah, who led Enyimba to win the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League and a Confederation Cup semi-final finish, is favourite to replace Paul Aigbogun for the Flying Eagles’ head coach role.
His outstanding CV features a Uefa A license, a degree in football coaching and team management (France) and a Strength and Conditioning level 1 coaching certificate in Australia.
According to reports, the Nigeria Football Federation will announce the Franco-Nigerian in the coming days, a claim the tactician is unsure of when quizzed by newsmen.
“Just like every other person, I applied for the job but I’m yet to get confirmation if I was picked or not.
“Nigeria is my country and it will be nice if I eventually get this role because it will be a big chance to serve. Also, I have what it takes to discover future Ballon d’Or winners for the country.
“Without sounding immodest, I strongly believe that I will excel in this position not only because of my wealth of experience but because of my closeness to grassroots football.
“As I have always said, this level deserves a lot of serious work because players picked at this level form a pivot of future Super Eagles,”he told newsmen.
After a failed expedition at the 2019 Fifa U20 World Cup in Poland, Nigeria will be hoping to qualify for Indonesia 2021 through the Africa U20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Mauritania.

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Champions, Europa Leagues Finals Likely For August

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The Champions League and Europa League look increasingly likely to be played exclusively in August after more talks about the remainder of the 2019-20 season on Wednesday.
Uefa told the 55 associations on Tuesday there was still the possibility of the competitions being played throughout June, July and August.
But Tidesports source understands that the latest discussions revolved almost exclusively around a plan to complete the domestic leagues by 31 July, with European competition following after that.
Nothing definitive has been agreed but Uefa is keen to leave all options on the table for as long as possible given the general uncertainty across Europe and in the knowledge there is no guarantee the season will be finished.
However, there is a view that travel restrictions are more likely to have eased in August, which would be necessary for a cross-border competition.
The scenario envisaged would be for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the respective European competitions to be played as two-legged ties between 11 and 22 August, although these could yet become one-off games.
In the plans now being discussed, there would be some flexibility for domestic fixtures to be played in August, should a July conclusion prove impossible.
The Premier League has nine rounds of fixtures remaining but in Spain and Italy, two countries that have been badly affected, there are still 11 and 12 rounds left respectively – although both have fewer cup games to fit into their schedules.
Uefa hopes the situation will become clearer in the next fortnight but completing the season in this way would cause the least disruption to its qualification competition for the 2020-21 season, which was supposed to start at the end of June but has been delayed indefinitely.

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S’Eagles’ll Miss Mikel, Ighalo -Etebo

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John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo would remain a big miss for Nigeria, concedes Oghenekaro Etebo, with the Super Eagles still coming to terms with their retirement.
After the Super Eagles clinched third-place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the duo drew the curtains on their international careers.
Mikel, 32, was the first to bow out before Egypt 2019 top scorer Ighalo followed the path of the former Chelsea star.
Coach Gernot Rohr is prepared to put faith in the likes of Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen as replacements for the duo.
The Getafe man said it was clear that the three-time African kings would miss Mikel and Ighalo for their leadership attributes, but believes Osimhen can fill the vacuum left by the Manchester United striker.
“They are leaders who we are going to be missed in the dressing room,” he stated.
“Mikel was a leader; I recall how he helped us during the Olympics when we had issues during our preparations for the Games. Not because I played with him but for the impact he had on me as a player.
“They helped the team make vital decisions during tough times and I guess it was just time for them to move on.
“Ighalo on his part is a goal poacher that we also miss but thank God that we have another goal poacher in [Victor] Osimhen, but we have to be patient with him to settle in well into that role.”
After the coronavirus pandemic, Rohr is expected to begin life without the retired players as Nigeria would be hoping to qualify for the 2021 Afcon billed for Cameroon.

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