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Nigeria Professional Football League week 24 Fixtures

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Dolphins v Sunshine Stars 16:00 (CAT)
El Kanemi Warriors v Warri Wolves 16:00    (CAT)
Heartland v Kwara     16:00

Heartland will be all out to get a double over Kwara United after spanking them 3-1 in the first leg of this encounter in Ilorin. Both clubs are meeting in Owerri at a crucial point in the season  having lost their last two matches and are seeking to redeem their chances of continental football next season.
Taraba v Bayelsa United     16:00(CAT)
Wikki v Abia Warriors     16:00 (CAT)
Enyimba v Kano Pillars*  16:00 (CAT)
match will be shown live on SS9

Enyimba played out a 1-1 draw at Bayelsa United last match day and they will be hoping to grab all 3points as they host Kano pillars who thrashed shooting stars 4-1.

Sharks FC v Lobi Stars FC   16:00 (CAT)
FC IfeanyiUbah v Akwa United FC 16:00 (CAT)
Giwa FC   v Rangers International FC 16:00 (CAT)
Shooting Stars   v   Nasarawa United FC 16:00 (CAT)

The Oluyole warriors  as shooting stars are popularly called will be looking forward to getting all 3 points as they hast Nassarawa united in Ibadan.  the warriors are not in the best of form losing 4-1 at Kano last sunday

 

MATCH DAY FACTS

  1. 815 yellow cards & 37 red cards have been issued out in 230 matches in the Nigeria Professional Football League
  2.  Tunde Adeniji of Sunshine Stars is the leading goal scorer with 12goals closely followed by Bright Ejike of Heartland FC with 11goals.
  3. Prince Aggreh grab a hattrick  in his last game for Sunshine Stars FC.

Standings

 

Standings

 

Rank Team MP W D L GF GA +/- pts
1 Sunshine Stars 23 13 4 6 36 19 17 43
2 Enyimba 23 11 9 3 32 21 11 42
3 Warri Wolves 23 12 4 7 35 21 14 40
4 Wikki Tourists 23 10 8 5 26 21 5 38
5 Kano Pillars 23 11 4 8 32 25 7 37
6 Abia Warriors 23 11 4 8 28 25 3 37
7 Giwa        23 9 8 6 26 28 -2 35
8 Heartland 23 10 3 10 32 27 5 33
9 Nasarawa United 23 9 6 8 25 25 0 33
10 Ifeanyi Ubah 23 9 5 9 25 23 2 32
11 Shooting Stars 23 9 5 9 24 22 2 32
12 Enugu Rangers 23 9 5 9 26 26 0 32
13 El-Kanemi Warr. 23 9 3 11 22 33 -11 30
14 Akwa United 23 8 5 10 19 23 -4 29
15 Lobi Stars 23 6 9 8 24 28 -4 27
16 Kwara United 23 7 5 11 21 28 -7 26
17 Sharks        23 4 10 9 19 28 -9 22
18 Dolphin        23 4 9 10 21 27 -6 21
19 Bayelsa United 23 4 9 10 15 27 -12 21
20 Taraba        23 4 7 12 20 31 -11 19

 

 

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Football

Everton, AC Milan look for Europa League morale boost

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Under-fire Everton will hope to kickstart their campaign when they play host to Lyon on Thursday looking for a first win in the Europa League group stage.

The Premier League side have just one point from their opening two matches in Group E, following up a comprehensive 3-0 loss to Atalanta in Italy by drawing 2-2 at home to the Cypriots Apollon Limassol last month.

Ronald Koeman’s men required a late Wayne Rooney penalty to draw at Brighton and Hove Albion on domestic duty at the weekend, and in the last two months their only wins have come against Sunderland in the League Cup and Bournemouth.

“We just need to get results and once we do that, the confidence will come back into the team and things will come a little bit easier for us,” £45 million ($58 million) summer signing Gylfi Sigurdsson told the club’s website.

“And I think if we get a couple of results back-to-back then we’ll hopefully get going. I don’t think we’re too far away.”

Lyon travel to England having also failed to win in the competition thus far, but Bruno Genesio’s side are fresh from beating Monaco 3-2 last weekend thanks to captain Nabil Fekir’s late free-kick.

Desperate to go all the way to a final that will be played in their own Groupama Stadium, Lyon are without injured former Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz.

Everton’s Premier League rivals Arsenal have fared rather better in the competition so far, beating both Cologne and BATE Borisov in Group H.

Arsene Wenger now takes his team to Serbia to face former European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade, who would leapfrog the Gunners to the top of the section with a win.

Like in previous games, Wenger will field a second-string side with the likes of Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere likely to feature along with several youngsters as Arsenal seek to bounce back from their 2-1 loss at Watford at the weekend.

– Montella under pressure –

In other games, AC Milan will look to ease some of the pressure building on coach Vincenzo Montella with a win at home to AEK Athens.

Montella received the backing of club chief Marco Fassone in the wake of Sunday’s 3-2 derby defeat to Inter, Milan’s third straight defeat in Serie A.

Reports in Italy have suggested that the coach must claim wins against AEK and against Genoa and Chievo in Serie A if he is to keep his job.

However, the seven-time European champions have won both matches so far in Europa League Group D, scoring eight goals in total to see off Austria Vienna and Rijeka.

Milan are one of nine sides to maintain a perfect record heading into the third round of group games.

Among the others are Nice and Lazio, who meet each in the south of France with the French outfit looking to overcome Italian opposition — something they failed to do when they lost to Napoli in the Champions League play-offs.

The surprise package so far in the tournament has been the Swedish club Ostersund, who have already won away to Zorya Luhansk in Ukraine and at home to Hertha Berlin.

Coached by the Englishman Graham Potter, once of Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion amongst other clubs, Ostersund qualified for Europe by winning the Swedish Cup and overcame Galatasaray and PAOK in the qualifying rounds.

On Thursday his side welcome Athletic Bilbao, the 2012 Europa League runners-up, to their compact Jämtkraft Arena, more than 500 kilometres north of the Swedish capital Stockholm.

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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Guardiola – Napoli, best team I faced in my career

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola described his side’s 2-1 victory over Napoli in the Champions League group phase as one of the proudest moments of his storied career.

City took a quick-fire 2-0 lead in Tuesday’s game through Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, but Amadou Diawara’s penalty — after Dries Mertens had squandered an earlier spot-kick — made for a nervy finale.

Prior to the game, Guardiola had lavished praise on Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli, who are top of Serie A with eight wins from eight games, and afterwards, he made the surprising claim they were the best opponent he had ever faced.

“I think it was an extraordinary game from both sides. We faced one of the best sides I faced in my career, probably the best,” said Guardiola, who previously led Barcelona to two Champions League titles.

“It is one of the wins I am most proud of in my career.

“Today we won against an incredible team. To do that you have to do an incredible performance.”

Sterling and Jesus struck in the first 13 minutes at the Etihad Stadium, at which point Premier League leaders City looked set for a victory comparable to Saturday’s 7-2 demolition of Stoke City.

But the home side’s commitment to building play up from the back gifted Napoli opportunities that the visitors eventually exploited.

Although Mertens squandered their first penalty in the first half, drilling his spot-kick at Ederson’s legs, Diawara made no such mistake in the 73rd minute after Fernandinho was penalised for felling Faouzi Ghoulam.

However, when asked if City’s tactics had invited pressure from Napoli, Guardiola said the solution was not less passing out from the back, but more.

“We have to do it more,” said Guardiola, whose team are now three points clear of Shakhtar Donetsk at the top of Group F.

“You play long balls against that team, in two seconds they are attacking. In football, how fast the ball goes, how fast it comes back.

“You have to play better build-up, to contact with Kevin (De Bruyne) and (David) Silva. If you play long balls, (Kalidou) Koulibaly and (Raul) Albiol are stronger than our strikers. You spend 90 minutes running.

“Instead, they run after the ball. That is the point. There’s a risk, but you score goals because after that you can create chances. You have to play as much as possible.”

– ‘Huge step forward’ –
Sarri said his side’s performance compared favourably with their last trip to a European heavyweight when they lost 3-1 away to Real Madrid in the last 16 of last season’s competition.

“Even after missing a penalty, we managed to come back fighting,” said Sarri, whose side trail Shakhtar by three points.

“After this match, we must feel reassured and even more confident. I’ve seen a huge step forward compared to the match in Madrid last year.

“We were lucky enough to score first there. Here we had to come back into the game after a very difficult first 25 minutes. I think we’ve definitely taken a step forward.”

With half an eye on Saturday’s Serie A summit clash with Inter Milan, Sarri started with Allan and Jorginho on the bench.

Lorenzo Insigne hobbled off late on, but Sarri said he was hopeful about the winger’s fitness.

“For Lorenzo, I hope there’s nothing wrong with him,” Sarri said. “He had some muscular problems. It’s probably just a bit of fatigue.”

Madrid went on to win the Champions League after disposing of Napoli last season and Sarri was sufficiently impressed by City’s display to suggest Guardiola’s men could do the same.

“They’re a great team. They have everything,” he said. “They’re very quick, tactically very savvy.

“If they stay in good physical and mental shape, as they are now, I believe they could really go all the way.”

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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Dortmund under pressure after Spurs-Real draw

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Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Bosz admits the Germans face an uphill Champions League battle after struggling to a draw at APOEL Nicosia while Tottenham Hotspur earned a point at Real Madrid.

Bosz said Dortmund have now got their work cut out in their next two home games — against APOEL in a fortnight and Spurs on November 21 — before facing holders Real away.

“It’s going to be difficult for us now and the result in Madrid didn’t help,” said Bosz.

“We need to try to win the home game against Nicosia (APOEL) and see how the last two games go.”

Dortmund, the 2013 Champions League finalists, are third in Group H, trailing both Real and Spurs by six points after having to come from behind in their 1-1 draw at Cyprus side APOEL on Tuesday in Nicosia.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos rescued a point after an error by Dortmund’s goalkeeper Roman Burki let Mickael Pote give the hosts a shock second-half lead.

The German side’s plight in Europe was not helped by Spurs taking a point at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Raphael Varane’s own goal for Real was cancelled out by a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw, which leaves Madrid and Spurs on seven points.

Bosz refused to point the finger at Burki for failing to hold the shot that led to Pote’s goal.

“Roman has often helped the team this season. Things like this happen in football and the team won’t blame him,” said the Dutch manager.

Dortmund’s hot-shot striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang managed just two shots over the 90 minutes.

“We’re all disappointed,” said Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer.

“We didn’t play well in the second-half and it was all a bit wild, which shouldn’t happen in the Champions League,” he said.

“With a bit of luck, we’ll win the next game and we have to show a reaction.”

Dortmund remain top of the Bundesliga despite losing 3-2 at home to RB Leipzig last weekend.

Bosz said only hard work will get them back to winning ways against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday in the top German league.

“I’m a positive person and in football, you can lose, which is what happened to us last week,” said Bosz.

“It will certainly happen to us again this season, but if we work hard, we will be rewarded.”

AFP

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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