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AFCON Qualifiers: Senegal Win as Burundi Draw Mauritania

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Senegal’s Teranga Lions completed their perfect start for the Cameroon 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations Group I campaign, winning their third game in as many matches by a 2-0 victory over Guinea Bissau at the Lat Dior stadium in Thies on Wednesday.

Liverpool striker Sadio Mane scored from the spot just before the break, and Opa Nguette added a second-half goal as Senegal gathered their ninth point to consolidate their grip on the group’s summit.

Aliou Cisse troops started the game on a high note and had their first sight at goal through Ismaila Sarr after 14 minutes.

Guinea Bissau who are eyeing a third consecutive AFCON appearance had their first chance via Piqueti Silva after 25 minutes but found the safe hands of Senegal’s Edouard Mendy.

Silva could have opened the score for the visitors after 34 minutes, but his shot missed the target by a small margin.

And at the brink of halftime Senegal had a penalty for a foul on Sarr inside the area. Mane made no mistake from the spot as the Teranga Lions went to halftime leading 1-0.

After the break it was a similar story, and 16 minutes from full time Ngueet doubled Senegal’s lead scoring from a close ramge being assisted by 2019 African Player of the Year Mane.

With nine points from nine, Senegal seems to already have one foot in Cameroon.

Elsewhere in Nouakchott, the score was Mauritania 1 – 1 Burundi.

A superb free kick from Saidi Ntibazonkiza in the 80th minute gave Burundi their first point of Group E, after snatching a precious draw from Mauritania in Nouakchott.

The Mourabitounes took the lead in a similar pattern, when Bakary N’diaye scored at the half-hour mark from a freekick. Mauritania had the lion share of possession and chances in the first half but could only manage a lone goal lead.

This advantage lasted till the 80th minute, before The Swallows of Burundi managed the equalizer as Ntibazonkiza’s freekick was too much for Mauritania’s goalkeeper Namori Diaw.

It was disappointment for Corentin Martins’ men who thought they had won the game. Both sides lock horns in Bujumbura after four days.

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The Big 5 Review | 30 – 11 -2020

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East Africa Sports News

Egyptian Eksab Raises $500,000 in Funding

With the investment, Eksab plans to scale its product to the millions of football fans in the region with the goal of launching its first paid competitions over the next year.

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Egyptian start-up Eksab, a daily fantasy sports platform, has raised US$500,000 in funding to help it reach more football fans across the Middle East and Africa.

Eksab is looking to tap into the MEA region’s love for football by providing users with exciting and engaging mobile games.

Users download the app, make predictions about live football games from around the world, collect points based on the accuracy of their predictions, and get rewarded with prizes.

The startup, which raised a round of seed funding from 500 Startups in June 2019, has announced an investment of US$500,000 from 4DX Ventures as well as other strategic investors within the international sports and entertainment ecosystem. 

Read also: Autochek Secures $3.4 Million Pre-Seed Funding

With the investment, Eksab plans to scale its product to the millions of football fans in the region with the goal of launching its first paid competitions over the next year. 

“Daily Fantasy Sports and monetised competitions are a multi-billion dollar a year industry in the US,” said Eksab co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aly Mahmoud. “Our goal is to become the premier sports entertainment company in the MEA region by offering exciting fantasy sports competitions as well as highly engaging local sports content.” 

Peter Orth, partner at 4DX, said he saw the region as one of the most exciting and underserved markets for a sports entertainment platform. 

Orth further said “We’ve been really impressed with Aly’s vision for a next-generation and technology-driven platform that is also highly tailored to local fans and their preferences. We’re excited to be on this journey with Aly and the rest of the Eksab team.”

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North Africa Sports

Mahrez Bags Hat-trick in Man City’s 5-0 Thrashing of Burnley

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Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez scored in the sixth minute in Manchester City’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley to grab his 100th goal in the Premier League and joined five other African in the exclusive club list.

The goal ensured he became the sixth African player to reach the milestone after Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Mahrez would add two more goals to complete a hat-trick as Man City hammered Burnley at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.

The win is the fourth straight time Pep Guardiola’s side have beaten the Clarets at home by that scoreline.

City had netted just 10 goals in their opening eight games, raising concerns from Guardiola about their finishing but they looked back to their sharpest best — helped by poor defending from Sean Dyche’s team.

Algerian Mahrez set City on their way in the sixth minute, finishing off a flowing passing move with his trademark cut in from the left and drive into the far corner.

There was a similar finish for the second after Mahrez picked up the ball in space in the area after Burnley had been caught out by a quick throw in.

Benjamin Mendy made it 3-0 in the 41st, volleying home his first goal for the club at the back post after a fine cross from Kevin De Bruyne.

Burnley, weakened by injuries and with Bailey Peacock-Farrell in goal instead of the sidelined Nick Pope, enjoyed some relief from the pressure after the break with Jay Rodriguez forcing a save out of Ederson with a well-struck effort from a tight angle.

But Ferran Torres added the fourth goal, slotting home after the overlapping Kyle Walker had found Gabriel Jesus in the box and the Brazilian flicked it to his Spanish team mate to convert confidently.

Mahrez completed his hat-trick, his first for City, in the 69th minute, heading home Phil Foden’s cross.

It could have been 6-0 had an effort from Jesus not been ruled out for offside by VAR and a shot from De Bruyne not crashed against the post.

Burnley also lost 5-0 at City last season in the Premier League, in the FA Cup in January, 2019 and in the league in 2018.

Broadcasters BT Sport said the last time a team beat the same opponent by five or more goals in four successive games was Notts County against Port Vale between 1893 and 1907.

“It’s been tough here the last few times we have been without doubt,” Dyche said.

“The media have been on about it and I don’t know whether they planted it in the players’ minds!

“The first goal is really poor. The game plan is almost dismantled by our own doing. 2-0 down here is really difficult as they grow with confidence and they are a top team without a doubt. We know the stats and facts of playing these sides.”

Guardiola was pleased his team had bounced back from last week’s defeat by Tottenham Hotspur and City moved up to eighth, six points behind leaders Liverpool.

“It was important to come back with a victory in the Premier League. One more game,” the Spaniard said.

“We play a lot of games, so to play 90 minutes and maintain a good level is not easy but there are always things to improve on.”

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