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AFCON 2023: Super Eagles Wallop Al Gharbia FC 12-0 In Warm-up Match

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The Super Eagles walloped Al Gharbia FC, a local team based in Dubai 12-0 in a training match in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ademola Lookman scored four goals, while Victor Osimhen and Moses Simon grabbed a brace each.

Also, Sadiq Umar and Ahmed Musa weighed in with a goal each, while there were also two own goals to complete the dozen-goal rout.

Calvin Bassey as well as substitutes Alex Iwobi and Bright Osayi-Samuel all gave a good account of themselves as an aggressive Super Eagles team laid siege on their opponent’s defence line in a one-sided encounter.

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The team, Al Gharbia, plays in the third division and paraded a Nigerian midfielder.

A post on the team’s official X account noted that it was indeed a comfortable win for the Eagles, adding that coach Jose Peseiro must be pleased his team is firing from all angles.

It noted, however, that the bigger test for the Eagles will come on Monday when they face another AFCON-bound team Guinea in a final warm-up game before they jet out to Lagos.

READ ALSO: FIFA Ranking: Super Eagles End 2023 In 42nd Spot

Osimhen’s overall play showed that he is in fine shape to justify his coronation as the best player in Africa at the AFCON.

“Fulham defender Bassey was calm and collected in the heart of the back after he started the test match alongside Portugal-based Chidozie Awaziem.

“Both Iwobi and Osayi Samuel did not start the game, but they impressed when they were introduced to the fray.

“Late replacement for injured Wilfred Ndidi, Alhassan Yusuf also saw action as he played the last 15 minutes of today’s match, which was played behind closed doors at the Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi,” the statement read.

READ ALSO: [FULL LIST] AFCON’23: CAF Confirms Super Eagles Provisional List

It added that the NPFL lone representative Olorunleke Ojo will “later replace Francis Uzoho, who started in goal.

“Enyimba shot stopper Ojo kept out a penalty to ensure a clean sheet for the team.

“Coach Jose Peseiro made many changes in the game as he tried to have a closer look at all options available before the team’s opening AFCON game next Sunday against Equatorial Guinea.”

It added that Bayer Leverkusen striker Victor Boniface and South Africa-based goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali did not see action as they were probably rested ahead of the Guinea clash.

The 34th edition of the AFCON is expected to kick off on January 13 and end on February 11.

NAN

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Aguero Clears Air On Coming Out Of Retirement

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Former Manchester City forward, Sergio Aguero, has debunked reports that he is planning to come out of retirement after being given a clean bill of health by his doctors.

Aguero retired from football in December 2021 at the age of 33 due to a heart condition.

He was a Barcelona player at the time after leaving Man City.

This week, there have been reports of him considering coming out of retirement to train with Argentinian club Independiente.

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Aguero, reacting, said: “It’s totally a lie, I’m not going to train with Independiente.

“Sometimes things are invented. I reiterate that the cardiologist said that I am well, that it is important that I am in good health.

“But to return to training at the First Division level, I would need to undergo a lot of tests.”

 

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Five-goal Haaland Crushes Luton As Man City Reach FA Cup Quarter-finals

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Manchester City’s Erling Haaland scored five times as the FA Cup holders ran riot in a 6-2 rout of Luton in the fifth round on Tuesday.

It was the second time Haaland had hit five goals in a single game for City after his heroics in the Champions League last 16 second leg win against RB Leipzig in March 2023.

Aided by Kevin De Bruyne’s trio of assists, Haaland completed his treble inside the first 40 minutes at Kenilworth Road.

Jordan Clark struck twice to briefly reduce Luton’s deficit to just 3-2.

But any Luton hopes of an incredible comeback were ruthlessly erased by Haaland as the Norway striker scored twice more after the interval to send City into the quarter-finals.

READ ALSO: Euro 2024 Qualifiers: Spain Keeper Expresses Fear, Wants Haaland Tamed

Mateo Kovacic netted to cap City’s second six-goal haul this season after their 6-1 thrashing of Bournemouth in the Premier League in November.

Haaland now has 27 goals in all competitions this season, making a mockery of the critics who took a swipe at him after a misfiring display in a recent draw against Chelsea.

Saluting De Bruyne’s role in his demolition of Luton, Haaland said: “Kevin is massive. It’s a pleasure playing with him. We know what we both want from each other.

“He’s doing what he does best. It clicks well. He’s a smart player.”

On his own form since returning from a foot injury that sidelined him for two months, Haaland added: “I’m getting back to my best. Finally I’m feeling good.

“It’s an amazing feeling. It’s coming, we’re coming. Exciting times ahead. We are ready to attack.”

READ ALSO: FULL LIST: Messi, Haaland And Bonmati Lead Ballon d’Or Nominees

City have won 14 of their last 15 games in all competitions as they try to emulate last season’s Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble.

Haaland and De Bruyne are rounding into form in time for Sunday’s crucial Premier League showdown against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.

The only frustration for City was Jack Grealish’s first half injury, the latest setback in a disappointing season for the England winger.

Predatory Haaland –

City needed just three minutes to take the lead this time as Haaland finished off a flowing move.

Matheus Nunes clipped a clever pass to De Bruyne and he picked out Haaland inside the Luton area, where the City striker fired past Tim Krul with ease.

De Bruyne was the provider again in the 18th minute when Haaland bagged his second goal.

Taking Haaland’s lay-off in the halfway line, De Bruyne unfurled a sumptuous pass that sent the Norway star clean through on goal for a typically predatory finish.

READ ALSO: Liverpool To Face Chelsea In League Cup Final

Haaland completed his treble in the 40th minute, accelerating onto yet another sublime De Bruyne assist before dinking a deft finish over Krul from 12 yards.

It was Haaland’s eighth hat-trick for City and his first away from the Etihad since signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2022.

Clark reduced the deficit five minutes later with a superb long-range curler that fizzed into the top corner with City keeper Stefan Ortega rooted to the spot.

Ross Barkley came up with a lofted assist the equal of De Bruyne’s earlier gems and Clark took the pass to drill into the roof of the net in the 52nd minute.

But yet again De Bruyne and Haaland proved impossible for Luton to stop.

Kyle Walker’s eye-catching pass with the outside of his foot set De Bruyne free in the area and he unselfishly teed up Haaland for a 55th minute tap in.

Haaland got his fifth three minutes later, taking Bernardo Silva’s pass and shooting low under Krul’s weak attempted save.

Kovacic smashed a 20-yard drive past Krul in the 72nd minute to put a bow on City’s evening to remember.

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EPL: Ten Hag Reveals Mistake Man Utd Made Against Fulham

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Manchester United manager, Erik ten Hag has revealed mistake his team made defending during the closing stages in their Premier League 2-1 defeat against Fulham on Saturday.

Ten Hag lamented his team lacked coordinated pressing in the build-up to Fulham’s shock late winning goal.

Calvin Bassey gave Fulham the lead in the second half but Harry Maguire equalized for the host.

Man United threw caution to the wind thereafter in their search for a winner and were caught cold when Adama Traore powered away from Christian Eriksen and Maguire to tee-up Alex Iwobi, who scored the winner.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Confirm Deal For Striker Hugill

However, Ten Hag was not impressed by the way in which Fulham were able to launch an attack which started near their own corner flag with a throw-in, insisting that his team let the visitors escape.

It was a throw-in [for Fulham] in the corner, we had them under pressure and we have one player in the wrong position,” Ten Hag told the BBC.

As a team we should manage that and make sure everyone is in the right position. We let them escape and it is avoidable.”

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