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Bayer Leverkusen Extend Unbeaten Run To 48 Games With Win At Frankfurt

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Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen extended their season-long unbeaten run to 48 games with a 5-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

With Xabi Alonso forced to watch from the stands due to a yellow card suspension, Leverkusen turned on the style, winning with goals from Granit Xhaka, Patrik Schick, Jeremie Frimpong and penalties from Exequiel Palacios and Victor Boniface.

Alonso left midfield lynchpin Florian Wirtz, who turned 21 on Friday, out of the squad with Thursday’s second Champions League semi-final against Roma in mind, but Leverkusen had no problems in attack.

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Xhaka opened the scoring with a long-range effort, before Frankfurt equalised through Hugo Ekitike, who scored for the third game in succession.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: PSV Eindhoven Crowned Dutch Champions For Record 25th Time

Schick headed Bayer Leverkusen back in front just before half-time and World Cup winner Palacios scored a third from the penalty spot on the 58-minute mark.

The floodgates opened in the final stages, with Frimpong scoring just five minutes after coming on and then won a penalty with three minutes remaining.

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Boniface converted the spot kick for Leverkusen’s first win in Frankfurt for six years.

Bayer Leverkusen, who are unbeaten in 48 across all competitions, need to avoid defeat in two remaining league matches to become the first team to go unbeaten through a Bundesliga season.

Alonso’s side have a 2-0 advantage ahead of Thursday’s second Europa League semi-final leg at home and are through to the final of the German Cup, keeping their dreams of an incredible unbeaten treble alive.

READ ALSO: Super Eagles Stars, Calvin Bassey And Alex Iwobi Caught On Camera Shopping Together In London

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– Union on the edge –

Earlier on Sunday, Bochum won 4-3 at Union Berlin, pushing the hosts closer to the drop just months after they were playing in the Champions League.

In the top division since 2019, Union Berlin finished fourth last season and were playing Champions League football against Real Madrid as recently as December.

Having built their success on home form, a lethargic Union were 3-0 down by half-time thanks to a Maximilian Wittek brace and a goal from former Berliner Keven Schlotterbeck.

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Coach Nenad Bjelica made three changes at the break and they had their desired impact immediately.

READ ALSO: Two Premier League Stars Arrested In R@pe Probe, Suspended By Cub’

Yorbe Vertessen and Chris Bedia, both of whom came off the bench, scored in a three-minute period to cut the deficit to one.

With Union on the march and looking for an equaliser, Bochum scored again, Philipp Hofmann heading in from close range.

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The home side gave their fans hope again just four minutes later, Benedict Hollerbach again cutting the deficit to just a goal.

Union fought but could not score the equaliser and now sit just two points clear of Mainz in the relegation playoff spot.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Flights Diverted As Fire Breaks Out At Lagos Airport

Mainz play at promoted Heidenheim later on Sunday and could leapfrog Union into safety.

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Leeds loanee Brenden Aaronson, one of three Union players to be subbed on at half-time, criticised his team’s first-half performance.

“It was one of those days when we didn’t show up and that’s all there is to it.

“We need to band together and fight like we did in the second-half. That’s what we need to take away from this game.”

Bochum moved five clear of the drop with two games remaining this season.

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CAF Women Champions League: Edo Queens Get Hero’s Welcome, Obaseki Doles Out Cash Reward On Team

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Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (right); his wife, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki (2nd left); Chairman, Edo Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli (left), with players of Edo Queens, during a celebration in honour of the victorious Edo Queens, at the Government House, Benin City, Thursday, May 30, 2024.

The Edo State female football team, Edo Queens, were on Thursday warmly welcomed back to the state amid pomp and pageantry by thousands of fans and other residents after they made history with their triumph at the Super Six Playoffs to clinch a ticket to represent Nigeria on the continental stage of the CAF Women Champions League.

The jubilant fans, led by the Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, joined a motorcade of the victorious Edo Queens from Western Boys High School, in Ikpoba-Hill and cheered the team through Aduwawa, Akpakpava, Plymouth, Ring Road and terminated at the Government House, Benin City, where they were received by Governor Obaseki.

Obaseki was joined by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Asue Ighodalo, and other top government officials to receive the triumphant girls where he doled out cash reward on the victorious team.

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The governor, who praised the team for their excellent campaign at the 2023/2024 season of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) and victory at the Super Six Tournament, assured them of the state government’s sustained support.

READ ALSO: Kenyatta, Weah, Sultan, Others Storm Benin For GJF Annual Democracy Dialogue

He said, “I am so happy and proud today as you have done us proud by bringing this trophy home. The trophy we have been looking for in the past 29 years is now with us. We know you will continue to be champions. I encourage you to work hard as your government and Governor will continue to support you.

“Whether I am here or not, the person that will replace me will continue to support you. You have tried and have made us proud. Money alone can’t do it all but we will give you money for a job well done and for making us proud.”

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He stated, “Each player of the team will get one million naira (N1,000,000.00) for the achievement, while the coaches will get five million naira (N5,000,000.00).”

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Lookman, Boniface, Other Nigerian Footballers Who Won Major Trophies In Europe

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Super Eagles forward Ademola Lookman won the UEFA Europa League with Italian side Atalanta last Wednesday, capping off what many have described as a fairly successful football season for Nigerian footballers in Europe.

Lookman’s success comes on the back of victories for Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella, who were part of Bayer Leverkusen’s ‘invincibles’ squad in the Bundesliga.

Here is a list of Nigerian players who tasted glory with their clubs in Europe in the 2023–24 season.

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Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella (Bayer Leverkusen)

Victor Boniface and Nathan were part of the Leverkusen side that won the Bundesliga title for the first time in the club’s history. Xabi Alonso’s side won the league, becoming the first team in the competition’s history to go unbeaten in a season.

READ ALSO: Royal Tussle: Prof. Akenzua Suspended From Benin Royal Family

Boniface scored 14 goals and registered 8 assists; Tella, on the other hand, scored 5 goals and provided 2 assists for Leverkusen. The club missed out on an unprecedented treble after a 3-0 loss to Ademola Lookman’s Atalanta in the Europa League final. Days later, Leverkusen lifted the DFB Pokal.

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Ademola Lookman (Atalanta)

Lookman was the hero for Atalanta, scoring a hat-trick in the final as the team defeated Bayer Leverkusen to win its first-ever European trophy.

Lookman also added 10 goals in the league as La Dea finished fourth in the Serie A.

Peter Olayinka (Red Star Belgrade)

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The 28-year-old forward played the entire duration of Red Star Belgrade’s 2-1 win over Vojvodina in the Serbian Cup Final.

He also scored a brace for his side in a 4-1 win over Cukaricki to win the Serbian Super League title. He joined Boniface and Tella as the only Nigerian footballers to win the double.

Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanachio (Leicester City)

In the English Championship, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho helped Leicester earn a return to the Premier League.

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Ndidi scored 5 goals and recorded 5 assists, while Iheanacho, who saw limited gametime, scored 5 times for the Foxes.

William Troost-Ekong (PAOK FC)

In Greece, Supeer Eagles defender William Troost Ekong returned from injury to help his side clinch the Greek Super League title.

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Ekong was crowned the best player of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), as Nigeria finished as runners-up in the tournament.

Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge)

Raphael Onyedika featured 30 times and scored three goals as Club Brugge clinched the Belgian League.

Christy Ucheibe (Christy Uchebe)

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In addition to the men’s team, Christy Ucheibe, the midfield powerhouse of the Super Falcons, secured four trophies in Portugal.

Her team S. L. Benfica won the Liga BPI (Portuguese league), Taca de Portugal Feminina (Portuguese Women’s Cup), Taca de Liga Feminina (Portuguese Women’s League Cup), and the Super Taca de Portugal Feminina (Portuguese Women’s Super Cup).

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Joy As NFF Gifts Super Eagles Coach, Finidi George Car Worth N125m

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has presented the newly appointed Super Eagles coach, Finidi George, an official luxurious Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon car worth N125m

The gift is part of the NFF’s commitment to prioritizing the welfare of its employees, ensuring they receive the best treatment to excel in their roles.

READ ALSO: AFCON: ‘Nigeria Thirsty For Victory’ – Sports Minister Charges NFF, Peseiro

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The NFF’s gesture is seen as a demonstration of its dedication to supporting its employees and ensuring their well-being.

Reacting, Finidi George expressed gratitude to the NFF for their generosity, and confirmed that the federation is actively searching for a good apartment for him in the country’s capital.

 

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