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Rohr at loggerheads with NFF over Chile friendly

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Gernot Rohr is allegedly at loggerheads with the Nigeria Football Federation over the proposed friendly against Chile ahead of the Super Eagles’ trip to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

Nigeria, who begin their Russia 2018 campaign against Croatia at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 16, have already secured six warm-up games ahead of the tournament.

 

The NFF announced last week that the three-time African champions would play Poland (March 23), Serbia (March 27), DR Congo (May 28), England (June 2) and Czech Republic (June 6) before hitting Russia to make their six appearance at the world football showpiece.

President of the federation Amaju Pinnick said the team would face a South American opponent in a friendly affair before the world’s football showpiece.

Our correspondent learnt on Tuesday that the NFF had allegedly sealed a friendly against back-to-back Copa America champions Chile, who failed to qualify for Russia 2018.

The source said the encounter had been fixed for Austria on June 9, despite reports the NFF was speaking to World Cup-bound Morocco.

However, it was learnt that Nigeria manager Rohr is not comfortable with his team playing a warm-up game nine days to their World Cup opener against Croatia.

Sources close to the NFF claimed that while the national football governing body is insistent on the encounter, Rohr is against it.

“The coach is against playing Chile when his World Cup squad would have been announced – and allowing them to play a match nine days before the match against Croatia,” an NFF source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak about the issue publicly, told our correspondent.

“But the federation wants him to play the match because of its benefits.

 

“I’m not sure the Eagles will play the game because the federation would not want to be seen as interfering in the coach’s plans for the World Cup.”

The source added, “I think the coach is correct because the national team will play a game (against England in London) on June 2 and another one (against Czech Republic in Austria) four days later.”

But spokesman for the NFF Ademola Olajire denied any rift between the federation and Rohr over any friendly game.

 

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The football chief, who said Chile were among the South American teams being considered for a friendly game against the Eagles, declined any further comments on the national team.

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PSG Ended Man United’s Unbeaten Run Under Solskjaer

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Paris Saint-Germain made light of an injury crisis to inflict Manchester United’s first defeat under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 2-0 win at Old Trafford on Tuesday to take a huge step towards the Champions League quarter-finals.
Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe struck in a seven-minute spell just before the hour mark as PSG displayed their credentials to finally become champions of Europe for the first time, especially once they get the world’s most expensive player Neymar and Edinson Cavani back from injury.

After a run of 10 wins and one draw in 11 games since Solskjaer replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho in December, defeat is a reality check for United’s revival and they have a mountain to climb when the sides meet again for the second leg on March 6.

The English giants will also have to cope without Paul Pogba in three weeks’ time as he was sent off for two yellow cards a minute from time to round off a terrible night for the hosts.

The French champions have bowed out in the last 16 in each of the past two seasons to Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Yet, for all the positivity of United’s return to form in the past two months, they remain 14 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and Liverpool and the big rebuilding job required to make the three-time European champions contenders again for this competition was laid bare.

PSG showed they still retain plenty of world class talent despite their big name absentees as United struggled to contain the slick passing of Thomas Tuchel’s men in midfield and the pace of Mbappe in attack.

Angel di Maria was roundly booed by the home support on his return to Old Trafford after an unhappy one-season spell with United after signing for a then club record £60 million in 2014.

The Argentine nearly silenced his detractors with a dipping shot that flew just wide six minutes in.

PSG have struggled on the road in the Champions League against elite opposition but showed little sign of nerves as they stroked the ball around confidently.

However, it was when given the chance to counter-attack and use Mbappe’s speed they looked most dangerous.

The 20-year-old World Cup winner slotted a huge chance wide on the half hour mark, although Mbappe would likely have been ruled offside by VAR, on its introduction to the Champions League, even if he had found the net.

For all PSG’s injury problems, a double blow also rocked United in the seconds before half-time and at the break as Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial limped off to be replaced by Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata.

The home side never recovered their composure as PSG produced a stunning second-half display to all but book their place in the last eight despite David de Gea’s best efforts.

Mbappe had the first chance when his header was turned behind by the Spanish goalkeeper.

But from the resulting corner, Kimpembe was left completely unmarked to side-foot home from point-blank range.

A brilliant team goal doubled United’s trouble soon after when Mbappe was again too quick for Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly to meet Di Maria’s low cross.

Thereafter only De Gea stood in the visitors’ way as he stayed big to block Mbappe’s attempted chip as he bore down on goal again before Juan Bernat’s rising drive was then diverted wide.

Any hope of a United comeback in Paris suffered another huge blow when Pogba was dismissed late on for catching Dani Alves with a raised boot.

PSG suffered the biggest collapse in Champions League history when Barcelona overturned a 4-0 first leg deficit to win the return leg 6-1 at this stage two seasons ago.

However, on this occasion PSG have done the hard work on the road making a similar comeback at the Parc des Princes even more unlikely.

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Manchester United Beat Arsenal 3-1 In FA Cup, Extend Winning Streak

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Alexis Sanchez came back to haunt Arsenal as the Chilean opened the scoring in Manchester United’s 3-1 FA Cup fourth-round win on Friday to maintain Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 100 percent record as caretaker manager.

United’s winning run under the Norwegian is now eight games in all competitions and his decision to make five changes was vindicated as both Sanchez and the returning Romelu Lukaku had a huge impact.

Lukaku set up both Sanchez’s opener and Jesse Lingard’s second for the visitors in a two-minute spell just after the half hour mark.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reduced Arsenal’s arrears just before half-time and the Gunners had plenty of chances to force a replay, but were denied by Sergio Romero as the rested David de Gea was not missed.

Eight minutes from time, United sealed a place in the last 16 when substitute Anthony Martial tucked home the rebound after Petr Cech could only parry Paul Pogba’s initial effort.

Sanchez takes the ball around Cech (L) before scoring the opening goal of the game. Ian KINGTON / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Sanchez was roundly booed on his first visit to the Emirates since moving to Old Trafford just over a year ago after running down his contract at Arsenal into its final six months.

That move bagged the Chilean a highly lucrative deal, but Sanchez has failed to deliver on that investment with a loss of form and injuries contributing to a return of just four goals in 32 appearances before kick-off.

However, handed just a second start since Solskjaer took charge, Sanchez showed why he was once in such high demand as he latched onto Lukaku’s pass before rounding Cech and finishing from a narrow-angle for just his second goal of the season.

Solskjaer used Lingard in the middle of a front three with Marcus Rashford and Martial on either side as threats on the counter-attack to great effect in victory at Tottenham a fortnight ago.

A similar tactic with Lukaku and Sanchez this time in the wider areas worked a treat for United’s second as Lukaku broke forward before his low cross was expertly dispatched by Lingard.

Arsenal were also exploiting the space in behind Lukaku at will, though, and finally made United pay two minutes before the break.

Aaron Ramsey burrowed into the penalty area and his cross was eventually turned home by Aubameyang after Alexandre Lacazette and Lucas Torreira failed to apply a telling touch.

Ramsey is also set to leave Arsenal after failing to reach an agreement over a new deal and the Welsh international again proved what a miss he will be as Romero made a brilliant save from point-blank range to deny him an equaliser early in the second period.

Arsenal’s momentum in the search for an equaliser was disrupted by a lengthy delay when captain Laurent Koscielny took an accidental blow to the jaw from Lukaku’s boot and had to be replaced.

Having lost Sokratis Papastathopoulos to an early ankle injury, Unai Emery had to patch together a makeshift defence for the final half hour, but still opted to attack by introducing Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal enjoyed the vast majority of possession and territory, but couldn’t get the equaliser as Romero again stood tall to parry Lacazette’s powerful drive.

Solskjaer introduced Rashford and Martial for the final 18 minutes and the latter delivered the knockout blow to Arsenal by smashing home the third.

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Nigeria wins 2018 AWCON

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Super Falcons of Nigeria has won the 2018 African Women Cup of Nations after beating the Bayana Bayana of South Africa.

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