Nigerian left-back Zaidu Sanusi scored the goal that sealed a 30th Portuguese title for FC Porto as they beat Benfica 1-0 to reclaim the crown from Sporting Lisbon on Saturday.
Sanusi scored in the fourth minute of time added on when he completed a swift counter-attack from Porto to ensure the Portuguese giants moved nine points clear at the top of the table.
The victory completes what has been a memorable domestic campaign for Porto, who nearly went the season unbeaten before FC Braga ended their unblemished run two weeks ago, but they had already set a new mark of 58 games without defeat by then.
The first half ended goalless and it was Benfica who were celebrating, albeit for a few seconds, after the interval when red-hot striker Darwin Nunez put them ahead but the goal was ruled out by VAR.
Both teams then went for each other’s jugular but the deadlock was not broken until deep into extra time when.
With six minutes added on, the 24-year-old Super Eagles defender produced a neat finish when he met Pepe’s cross in the Benfica box for his third goal of the season which turned out to be the title-clincher.
However, Sanusi had a quiet game as he won only two aerial duels while managing a 65 per cent pass completion rate, but he produced what Porto needed the most from his one shot.
Democratic Republic of Congo defender Chancel Mbemba Mangulu, who played the entire game at the heart of the Porto defence alongside veteran Pepe, also celebrated the title win with a fine performance after managing a 96 per cent pass completion rate while winning one aerial duel.up the Africa Cup of Nations
Meanwhile, Morocco international Adel Taarabt had a strong performance in the Benfica midfield but that was not enough to push his side to victory.
Porto’s win was celebrated not just in Portugal but in Nigeria as well as Super Eagles fans were delighted to see one of their own shine abroad.
Sergio Conceicao’s side have a chance to seal a memorable double as they still have the Portuguese Cup final to play against Tondela on May 22.
Nigeria, Zambia Join WAFCON Train
Nine-time Women’s Africa Cup of Nations winners, Nigeria became the final side to book their place at the 2024 tournament as qualifiers culminated this week.
The Super Falcons came from behind to beat Cape Verde 2-1 away from home, with Rasheedat Ajibade’s injury-time winner clinching a 7-1 aggregate victory on Tuesday.
Barbra Banda was among Zambia’s scorers as the Copper Queens, who finished third at last year’s Nations Cup, thrashed Angola 6-0 at home to complete a 12-0 aggregate win.
However, two-time champions Equatorial Guinea will miss out on the 12-team finals following a 2-1 defeat away against DR Congo which saw the hosts progress 3-2 overall.
Botswana beat Kenya 1-0 to secure qualification for their second consecutive finals. while Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia all sealed their places in Morocco, who will host for the second time in a row.
The dates for the tournament, scheduled for next year, are yet to be announced.
Holders South Africa and Algeria secured their spots on Monday, with Banyana Banyana beating Burkina Faso 3-1 on aggregate and the North Africans sealing a 1-0 win in Burundi to progress 6-1 over the two legs.
Ghana will return to the finals for the first time since 2018 despite losing 1-0 away against Namibia, with the Black Queens going through 3-2 on aggregate.
Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia also failed to win their away ties, but progressed against Egypt, Togo and Congo respectively.
Mali won 3-0 away against Guinea to round off a 10-2 victory overall.
Olowu Targets WABU Crown At GOtv Boxing Night 30
Super welterweight boxer, Taiwo ‘Gentle Boy’ Olowu, on Wednesday , said his target is to claim the West African Boxing Union (WABU) super welterweight title at GOtv Boxing Night 30 on December 26.
The enterprising boxer, who is the national welterweight title holder, will square up to top Ghanaian boxer, Michael Ansah, at the event slated for the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.
Speaking ahead of the fight, ‘Gentle Boy’ boasted that he would ensure the Ghanaian returned to his country empty-handed.
“I aim to add this West African Boxing Union title to my national title. As a national champion, I cannot allow a foreigner to come and take this belt away in front of my fans. This is a big opportunity for me to be a WABU champion. Ansah will leave Nigeria empty-handed,” he said.
The more experienced Ghanaian boxer has a record of 23 wins, 12 defeats, and three draws from 38 professional fights, while ‘Gentle Boy’ boasts 15 wins and one defeat from his 16 professional fights.
In another title fight, Sifon ‘Best’ Iwatt will battle Saheed Azeez for the national super flyweight title.
Also on the card for the night are five other national fights, including a female national cruiserweight challenge fight between national champion, Bolatito ‘Black Tito’ Oluwole and Blessing Abisoye.
Arabambi Ojo and Ibrahim ‘Golden Boy’ Opeyemi will slug it out in a national bantamweight challenge bout; Abdulafeez ‘Big Name’ Osoba will face Christopher Ucheji in a national super welterweight challenge fight, while Ayanfe Adeoye and Ahmed Ganiyu will duel in a national light welterweight category.
Nigeria Makes Final Team Of The Year Award
Nigeria made the final three shortlists for the 2023 Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Women’s National Team of the Year award.
CAF announced the final three shortlist on their X handle yesterday.
The other two countries are reigning Women’s Africa Cup of Nations champions South Africa and Morocco.
Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa featured at this year’s FIFA women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The trio all reached the round of 16 at the tournament, which was won by Spain.
The winner will be announced on Monday, December 11, in Marrakech, Morocco.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Super Falcons recently qualified for the 2024 WAFCON, hosted by Morocco.
A 7-1 aggregate win against Cape Verde ensured the Falcons will be making their 13th appearance at the tournament, which began in 1998 in Nigeria.
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