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Man Utd Hosts Bayern In Titanic Clash

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rior to the first leg of Manchester United’s Champions League quarter-final encounter against Bayern Munich, much of the talk revolved around the famous final of 1999, which the Red Devils claimed in dramatic circumstances. Sadly for Sir Alex’s Ferguson’s men, by the time it had turned 22:35 in Munich last week, the media were ruminating over a reverse showing.

Of course, Franck Ribery’s deflected free kick and Ivica Olic’s smart winner were not quite as late as the blows the English Premier League club gave to FCB over a decade ago, and neither were they quite as damaging. Bayern had no chance to bounce back in Barcelona; United have their opportunity for revenge to night.

A flat performance at the Allianz Arena from United was perhaps overshadowed a little by the ankle injury sustained by Wayne Rooney in the build-up to the decisive goal, but there can be few doubts about the repercussions that ‘Wazza’s’ injury may yet have on the Red Devils’ campaign. Out for around three weeks, the Old Trafford club missed their star’s cutting edge and sheer bullishness as they slumped 2-1 to Chelsea on Saturday in a vital league encounter.

Despite the weekend setback, club captain Gary Neville is relishing the prospect of tonight’s encounter and believes United have a good chance of overhauling their opponents. “Our ground is a difficult place to come to and we’ve got a good record at home this season,” he said, according to the club’s official website. “It’s a big game for us and we have to make sure we make things difficult for them.”

With a European pedigree only surpassed by Barcelona over the course of the last five years, there can be little doubt that the vastly experienced English side have every right to remain confident ahead of the test.

Like Manchester United, Bayern Munich had to tackle a vitally important league match at the weekend, but unlike the Red Devils, Louis van Gaal’s side dug deep to secure a 2-1 success against title rivals Schalke in trying circumstances. Reduced to 10 men, the Bavarians defended stoically; a fine dress rehearsal for the trial they are likely to be under this evening.

Dutch coach Van Gaal was delighted with the outcome. “We allowed them very few chances,” he beamed after the game. “We’ve scored two very good goals, so I’m extremely pleased. We knew it would be difficult after we went a man down, but we also knew Schalke would have problems taking the initiative. We closed down the space well, and fortunately that was enough.”

Boosting German confidence further is their fine record against their midweek opponents. United have been relatively regular foes for Die Roten in Europe, yet their record against the three-times European champions is remarkably strong. In eight previous meetings, the German giants have only been defeated once, and should they maintain that record over the course of the game, Van Gaal will lead his side into the semi-finals.

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2021/2022 NPFL Season  Starts, Dec 17

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The 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season  is expected to  kick off on December 17th across 10 centres.
Defending champions, Akwa United, will start their title defence  at home in a Match Day 1 fixture against Kano Pillar at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo
Elsewhere,  Gombe United hosts Shooting Stars Sports Club to the Pantami stadium in Gombe in both teams’ first game of their returned season to the top flight.
The Pride of Benue, Lobi Stars, will host Rivers United at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi with the club’s Manager, Eddy Dombraye, leading his side against his state for the first time in many years.
The first oriental derby match of the new season is among the opening fixtures with Enyimba FC playing host to their arch-rivals Abia Warriors in Aba, while Enugu Rangers travel to Katsina to face the Changi boys, Katsina United.
Niger Tornadoes will welcome Plateau United at their temporary home ground in Kaduna while there will be a reunion, sort of in Akure when Sunshine Stars face their former manager, Kabiru Dogo and Fuad Ekelojuoti who are now with Wikki Tourists at the Ondo Sports Complex, Akure.
Another matchday one fixture will see Kwara United host Dakkada in Ilorin. Kwara United almost won the league title last season, before Akwa United secured the title with seven points gap, while the Olukoya boys, MFM FC, will host regional rivals, Remo Stars, at the Agege Stadium.
The Solid Miners, Nasarawa United will travel to Owerri to face Heartland in another opening day tie.

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Delta Principals Cup: Sponsor Splashes Goodies On Finalists

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The sponsor of the on-going Delta State Principals’ Cup football competition, Zenith Bank, has promised that loads of goodies will be given to the finalists of the annual event.
The competition,  now in its 5th edition, is a developmental football competition organised for all secondary schools in the state.
Zenith Bank’s Group Managing Director, Ebenezer Onyeagwu,  said that the last four teams will be rewarded with various ranges of gift items as part of the final day activities.
“We are very committed to developmental pro-grammes in various ways. For sports, we believe in our catch them young initiatives, of which the Delta Principals’ Cup is one of them.
“I congratulate all the finalists for the 2021 event and wish to show that they are all winners, all of them will go home with attractive gift items on final day next week,” Onyeagwu said.
Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, will host the final match between Osadenis Mixed Secondary School and  School of Com-merce  on November 30.
Alaka Grammar School, Ozoro and Ovwor Mixed Secondary School will clash in the Third Place match billed to be the curtain raiser before the final match involving the defending champions, School of Commerce and Osadenis Mixed School.

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US-Based Okorie Plans Maiden South-East Sports Festival

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United States-based Nigerian former athlete, Victor Okorie, is planning to stage a maiden Southeast Sports Festival in 2022 to prepare athletes in the region for the national sports festival billed to hold in Asaba, Delta State.
Okorie, who is the Performance Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), said he would meet with governors and some stakeholders in the region soon, as part of his arrangements for the event.
Before his emergence as the Southeast zonal representative on the AFN board during the elective congress held in Abuja on June 14, Okorie had sponsored a competition for track and field athletes through his pet project, the South East Sports Foundation.
The competition, which held in Enugu, saw athletes from Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi compete for prizes in sprint events, throw and jump.
The foundation also plans to organise competitions for the physically challenged athletes in the zone in line with Okorie’s view of taking physically challenged athletes in Southeast away from the streets, as well as integrate athletes in volleyball, handball, wrestling, and other sports on the same level with their foreign-based counterparts.
Speaking with newsmen, from his base in Tennessee, USA, Wednesday, Okorie, who won a silver medal for Nigeria at COJA 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja, said that the maiden Southeast Sports Festival would give the states chance to raise formidable squad for Asaba 2022.
“Sports are one major avenue governors in the southeast states can use to empower youths in the region,” Okorie said.
“I will meet with them and other stakeholders soon, on how we will stage a successful Southeast Sports Festival, which will serve as selection ground ahead of Asaba 2022 National Sports Festival. There is the need to re-awake sports campaign in the Southeast zone. Maybe, the next host of the national sSports festival will come from the Southeast after Asaba 2022,” he added.

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