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JUST IN: Nigeria Soar Into AFCON Semi-finals, Beat Angola 1-0

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Ademola Lookman scored his third goal in two games as Nigeria advanced to the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday with a 1-0 victory over Angola in the last eight.

Lookman again stole the limelight from Victor Osimhen by following his brace in the 2-0 defeat of Cameroon in the last 16 by breaking the deadlock four minutes before half-time at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium.

The Super Eagles then saw the game out before a crowd of 18,757 in Abidjan, with Osimhen finding the net only for his effort to be disallowed after the VAR ruled him to be offside.

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The Napoli superstar, Africa’s reigning footballer of the year, remains stuck on just one goal at this AFCON, but Nigeria’s success has been built around an impressive defence that has now kept four consecutive clean sheets.

READ ALSO: AFCON 2023: Lookman’s Brace Sends Nigeria Into Q/Finals

The three-time continental champions advance to a last-four tie next Wednesday against Cape Verde or South Africa in the central Ivorian city of Bouake — those sides meet in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

Angola, meanwhile, go home but this Cup of Nations will be remembered as a success for the Black Antelopes, after they won a knockout tie at the tournament for the first time in their history.

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Africa’s 28th-ranked side battled bravely here but could not follow up their victory over Namibia in the last round.

In fact, Jose Peseiro’s Nigeria side struggled to reach the same heights as against Cameroon six days earlier, undoubtedly affected by the heat and humidity which was even more energy-sapping than at previous points in the competition.

READ ALSO: Why Nigerian Referees Are Not Officiating At AFCON — CAF

Angola almost took the lead inside four minutes, as a corner from their right was helped on to Mabululu, whose attempt at the near-post was kept out by Stanley Nwabili, the Nigerian goalkeeper who had passed a fitness test to play.

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Osimhen tried his luck twice from headers but it was Lookman, the Atalanta forward and former England Under-21 international, who broke the deadlock in the 41st minute.

Moses Simon collected a pass on the left, accelerated away from Kialonda Gaspar and drove into the area before cutting the ball back for Lookman to finish emphatically.

Nigeria continued to create chances after the break, but Angola did pass up a glorious opportunity to draw level just before the hour mark.

READ ALSO: AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast To ‘Loan’ Coach Until End Of Tournament

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AEK Athens striker Zini, on as a half-time substitute, was sent through on goal and his effort beat Nwabili, only to rebound back off the far post.

It was a major let-off for Nigeria, who then thought they had killed the game off when Osimhen rose to head home a Lookman free-kick with quarter of an hour left, the ball going in despite the Angolan goalkeeper getting a touch.

However, the effort was disallowed to the frustration of Osimhen, who carried on until the final moments despite taking a succession of knocks and being carried to the side of the pitch on a stretcher at one point.

AFP

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BREAKING: Spain Beat England 2-1 To Win Euro 2024

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The Spanish national team on Sunday night defeated the Three Lions of England 2-1 to lift the Euro 2024 trophy.

Spain’s Mikel Oyarzabal 86th minute goal secured the trophy for a record fourth time.

Nico Williams had earlier in the second half put Spain ahead in Berlin, Germany, before Cole Palmer levelled for England.

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READ ALSO: [BREAKING] PHOTOS: Germany, Denmark Euro 2024 Game Halted Due To Violent Storm

Meanwhile, Marc Guehi’s effort to equalise for the Three Lions at the last minute was frustrated by Dani Olmo to finally sealed the trophy for the Spanish team.

Details later…

 

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VIDEO: Former Liverpool Striker Roberto Firmino Becomes Pastor In Hometown

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Former Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino has embraced a new calling, announcing his ordination as an evangelical pastor at the age of 32.

The Brazilian footballer shared the news on his social media accounts, revealing a significant transition in his life.

Firmino, alongside his wife, was ordained as a pastor at the church they founded three years ago. The dedication ceremony took place last Sunday in his hometown of Maceio.

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In a heartfelt message, Firmino expressed that becoming a pastor was not an initial goal, but a mission that emerged from his encounter with Christ.

READ ALSO: 10 Things To Know About The Samoa Agreement

“Since our encounter with Christ, a longing burns in our hearts… that people may know this love that has reached us. Now we have another responsibility… To be pastors according to the heart of God and to cooperate with the Kingdom,” Firmino stated.

He also extended his gratitude to pastors Jairo and Keila for their belief and encouragement in his spiritual journey.

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Firmino enjoyed a prolific career at Liverpool from 2015 to 2023, during which he secured seven major titles, including the 2019/20 Premier League and the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League.

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One of his standout moments was scoring the decisive goal in the 2019 Club World Cup final, securing the title for the Reds.

Last season, Firmino played 34 games for Al-Ahli, scoring nine goals. He also represented the Brazilian national team, participating in the 2018 World Cup.

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Currently, Roberto Firmino continues his football career with the Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli, where he played 34 matches in all competitions last season, scoring nine goals and providing seven assists.

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Finidi George Gets New Job

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Former Super Eagles coach Finidi George has taken up another managerial job at Nigeria Premier Football League side, Rivers United, barely three weeks after resigning as the head coach of Nigeria’s men’s senior national team, The PUNCh reports.

Finidi was announced as the head coach of the 2022 NPFL champions on Wednesday with an unveiling set to follow on Thursday.

Rivers United Football Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Finidi George as our new Technical Manager,” the club said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Finidi brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our team, having had a distinguished playing career spanning over fifteen years.

READ ALSO: Knocks For Osimhen After Finidi George Outburst

The statement reads, “His impressive credentials include winning the Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles in 1994, the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995, and the Nigeria Premier Football League with Enyimba International FC in 2023.

“As a coach, Finidi has demonstrated his ability to lead teams to success, and we are confident that he will bring his expertise and passion to our club. We are excited to have him on board and look forward to a successful tenure under his leadership.”

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Finidi left his role as the Super Eagles head coach in June after two games in charge. It was in the wake of the team’s poor performance in two 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and the Benin Republic which forced the Nigeria Football Federation to resort to hiring a foreign technical adviser for the team.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Finidi George Resigns As Super Eagles Head Coach

Before taking the Super Eagles job, Finidi spent two full seasons and almost completed the third with Enyimba, leading them to their record-ninth NPFL title in 2023.

At Rivers United, he takes over the leadership from head coach Evans Ogenyi, who guided the club until the end of last season after the dismissal of the long-serving Stanley Eguma.

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A native of Port Harcourt, the 53-year-old began his career with Calabar Rovers, Iwanyanwu Nationale and represented local club Sharks FC – which was merged in 2016 with Dolphins to form Rivers United – for two seasons before embarking on a stellar European career.

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