Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as holders Real Madrid thrashed APOEL 6-0 in Cyprus to reach the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, while Liverpool blew a three-goal lead in a thriller at Sevilla.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real bounced back from their 3-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur last time out by crushing APOEL, with four of the goals coming before half-time.
The record 12-time winners had to wait until the 23rd minute to take the lead through Luka Modric, but a run of five goals in 15 minutes either side of half-time sent them through in style.
Karim Benzema put worries about his recent form to bed with a double either side of a Nacho effort, before Ronaldo got in on the act after the break.
The Portuguese climbed highest to power a header into the corner from an inviting Marcelo cross.
And the 32-year-old, who has only scored once in eight La Liga appearances this season, scored his eighth Champions League goal this term with an excellent left-footed finish from a tight angle.
Tottenham sealed top spot in Group H with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Borussia Dortmund.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the hosts ahead, but with Real’s thumping win sending Dortmund out, Spurs levelled through Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min curled in a 76th-minute winner.
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur won Champions League Group H after goals from Son Heung-min and Harry Kane brought Spurs back from a goal down to win 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
Kane and Son struck in 49th and the 76th minutes to take already-qualified Tottenham to 13 points and the Group H summit, after Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had broken his five-game goal drought to give Dortmund the lead in the 31st minute.
Spurs are three points ahead of second-place Real Madrid and are guaranteed to top Group H with a game to spare despite Real’s 6-0 drubbing of APOEL in Nicosia.
Their win in Germany ends Dortmund’s thin hopes of reaching the last 16 and piles pressure on Dortmund’s head coach Peter Bosz, whose team are winless in their last five games.
Dortmund, third but level on two points with bottom club APOEL, must now hope to hold onto a place in the Europa League knock-out stages, when they face Real away in a fortnight while Spurs host APOEL.
Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino made four changes from the side that lost 2-0 to Arsenal at the weekend.
England internationals, Danny Rose and Harry Winks started alongside South Korea forward Son while Serge Aurier slotted in at right-back.
Dortmund boss Bosz brought in French teenager Dan-Axel Zagadou at centre-back, replacing Sokratis, who is out with a rib injury.
Aubameyang returned from a club suspension for coming late to training and an unauthorised video shoot.
Both teams had half chances in the opening 20 minutes, with Dortmund winger Andriy Yarmolenko firing weakly at Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris before Zagadou snuffed out a cross aimed for Kane, who was bursting into Dortmund’s area.
Aubameyang broke his drought when he tucked away the first clear chance after Yarmolenko’s superb backheel put him in behind the defence.
The Gabon hotshot coolly rolled his shot past Lloris on for his first goal since October 14.
Only a superb reflex save by Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki blocked Kane’s volley with half-time approaching, but the England star showed his class when he netted the equaliser four minutes into the second half, pouncing on a mistake after Dortmund right-back Jeremy Toljan lost the ball and tucking his shot past Burki.
Spurs’ tails were up and they took a deserved lead with 14 minutes left when Dele Alli laid the ball into the path of Son, whose side-footed effort hit the top corner of the net.
Only a brave save from Burki denied Tottenham substitute Fernando Llorente from scoring Spurs’ third with time almost up.
LG Football Councils Appoint Chairman, Secretary
Rivers State Local Government Football Councils(RSLGC), has appointed the Chairman of Gokana Football Council, Martins Giadom as it’s Coordinator and Chinasa Elekwachi of the Onelga FC as Secretary.
In a meeting held in Port Harcourt last week, the 23 Football Councils in Rivers State agreed that the election of Martins Giadom and Chinasa Elekwachi as Chairman and Secretary, respectively will serve as a clearing house for a formidable grassroot sports development to support the good works of the State FA Board led by Barr. Christopher Green.
The LG FCs resolved to be proactive in their dealings with the Executive Chairmen of Council such that their impact will be felt as partners in progress
The LG Football Councils further agreed to regularly present major issues and challenges before the State FA Board for consideration.
It called for the resuscitation of the moribund Rivers State Governor’s Cup, urging relevant authorities to take action on the matter in the interest of football development in Rivers State.
The body stressed the need for all LGA FCs to be encouraged to run Football related activities within their jurisdiction, report and restrain non stakeholders from setting up political football committees who will further usurp the duties of LG Football Councils at the various Local Council Areas in the State.
Navy To Sponsor Team In NPL
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Olusola Oluwagbire, has disclosed plans by the Navy to sponsor a football team in the Nigeria Football League.
Oluwagbire said this at the opening of the maiden edition of FOC Eastern Naval Command Intra-Command football competition in Calabar at the weekend.
Oluwagbire said the essence of the competition was to re-engineer the physical fitness and inspire a sense of comradeship in the personnel.
“This competition is to bring together officers, civilian staff and corps members with us together to re-engineer their physical fitness.
“It is also aimed at strengthening the relationship among the personnel and also to maintain their mental alertness.
“It has been long in coming and we are thankful that we finally got it off today,” he stated.
Oluwagbire who was elated with the turnout of teams for the competition, said it would be sustained.
In a remark, the Speaker of the Cross River House of Assembly, Elvert Ayambem, called for the sustainability of the competition, adding that the state governments have plans to revive sports.
More Nigerian Wrestlers Will Qualify For Olympics –Comptroller General
The acting Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Adewale Adeniyi, has expressed optimism that more Nigerian wrestlers will qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
He stated this on Saturday in Abuja after the inauguration of the ‘Work-Life Balance’ initiative which is a routine 5km brisk walk exercise meant to keep officers and men of the NCS physically and mentally fit.
Adeniyi who is also a board member of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) said this against the backdrop of only one Nigerian female wrestler securing Olympic qualification in the just concluded World Wrestling Championships in Serbia.
The tude source reports that only three-time Commonwealth Champion, Odunayo Adekuoroye, secured a bronze medal in the women’s 57kg category at the just concluded Championship, to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics Games.
Team Nigeria was represented by six female wrestlers at the championships.
The customs boss however maintains there is no cause for alarm, as there are still two more pre-Olympics qualifiers, where he hopes more Nigerian male and female wrestlers will qualify.
“I am not disappointed with the performance of the wrestling team in Serbia.
“The competition in Serbia is one of the various competitions lined-up to get slots at the Paris Olympics, there are still one or two championships.
“I am very sure there will be one (championships) in March in Egypt and those of our athletes who did not get the ticket, would have the opportunity to do so,” he said.
Adeniyi said with the quality of wrestlers in camp and the continued training and exposure being given to them, the sky is the limit.
“What we had in Serbia was just our women team, we also have our men in camp and they are in top condition.
“I believe our male and female teams stand a very chance with the level of preparation and exposure we are going to give them ahead of the outing in March,” he said.
On the ‘Work-Life Balance’ initiative, the Customs CG expressed optimism that the initiative will lead to better wellbeing and productivity for officers and men of the NCS.
The theme for the Saturday’s Walk/ exercise is: “balancing for better tomorrow “ and it had participants from other para-military agencies.
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