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Nigeria Fall On Fifa Ranking, Egypt Rise

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Nigeria on Friday slipped three spots to 35th position on the latest FIFA ranking.

The Super Eagles had failed to win the double-header 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against Sierra Leone, drawing 4-4 at home and 0-0 away.

Nigeria is the fourth best country on the continent with Senegal retaining the no. 1 spot, followed by Tunisia and Algeria in the second and third positions, respectively.

Meanwhile, Egypt moved three places up to 49th on the rankings. The Pharaohs defeated the Togolese national side twice in the AFCON qualifying fixtures this month.

On the AFCON qualifying table, Egypt is tied on eight points with surprise package Comoros, after beating Togo 1-0 and 3-1 in the 3rd and 4th rounds respectively.

The Pharaohs are five points clear of third-placed Kenya, while Togo is rooted to the bottom with a solitary point.

Egypt jumped one place among African countries to the 6th position, behind Senegal (20), Tunisia (26), Algeria (31), Nigeria (35) and Morocco (35).

Belgium lead an unchanged top four national teams, including France, Brazil and England.

The best mover in the new ranking was Equatorial Guinea, jumping 10 places to the 134th place, while the biggest drop belonged to Libya, who fell nine spots to 111th place.

FIFA world rankings (October world ranking in parenthesis):

1. Belgium (1)

2. France (2)

3. Brazil (3)

4. England (4)

5. Portugal (5)

6. Spain (6)

7. Argentina (8)

8. Uruguay (7)

9. Mexico (11)

10. Italy (12)

Top ten African teams:

20. Senegal (21)

26. Tunisia (26)

31. Algeria (30)

35. Nigeria (32)

35. Morocco (39)

49. Egypt (52)

50. Cameroon (53)

52. Ghana (48)

57. Mali (56)

58. Burkina Faso (58)

Top five Arab teams:

26. Tunisia (26)

31. Algeria (30)

35. Morocco (39)

49. Egypt (52)

59. Qatar (57)

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North Africa Sports

Morocco’s En-Nesyri Hat-trick Hands Sevilla Win over Cadiz

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Moroccan Youssef En-Nesyri scored his second hat-trick in the space of a month to give Sevilla a 3-0 win over Cadiz.

The victory lifts the home side to third in the table and means that with 12 goals, En-Nesyri is current top goalscorer in the Spanish top-flight.

He got his first on the rebound after Suso’s shot had come off a post on 35 minutes.

He doubled the lead heading in a Suso free-kick on 39 minutes, and he nodded in the third from close range on 62 minutes.

“I have not changed anything, this is just the result of hard work and focus,” said the Morocco international, who has now scored hat-tricks in consecutive home matches.

He managed to net the second in spite of having needed treatment a moment earlier because of an eye problem.

“I couldn’t see properly out of one eye. But I knew the cross was for me and so I had to try to finish it. I scored the goal with one eye,” he said.

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui said: “I’m pleased for him and I’m pleased for the team. The attitude and the mentality of the team was excellent.”

Lopetegui will also be pleased En-Nesyri, who was linked with a move to West Ham in the transfer window, has no plans to move on.

The 23-year-old striker added: “I want to finish the season at Sevilla. This is a great club and I am very happy here.”

Also on Saturday, Huesca drew 0-0 with Villarreal and Real Sociedad drew 2-2 with Betis.

Real Madrid closed the gap at the top of the Spanish La Liga to four points with a 4-1 away win at Alaves on Saturday.

Casemiro headed in the first goal on 13 minutes and Karim Benzema doubled the lead on 41 minutes.

Eden Hazard was excellent in the first half and may be credited with an assist as he tried to flick the ball through to Benzema.

But there was no doubt about his involvement in the third goal, as he scored from Toni Kroos’ assist.

Alaves were brighter in the second half and Joselu pulled a goal back with a powerful header on 59 minutes.

But Benzema raced away to get his second of the game and the fourth for Real Madrid and put the result beyond doubt.

The result was the perfect way to help Real Madrid forget the midweek Cup exit against third-tier Alcoyano.

“It was what we needed after a difficult week. We want to win every game but every game is difficult,” Benzema said.

“This will be good for confidence and there is still a long way to go in the season.”

For Alaves it was not the way they wanted to celebrate the club’s 100th birthday.

Coach Abelardo Fernandez said: “We disappeared as a team after the first goal. At least there was a reaction in the second half.”

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CHAN: Morocco, Guinea Near Q/final Qualification

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Morocco and Guinea inched closer to quarterfinal qualification at the 2020 CHAN currently ongoing in Cameroon.

The Atlas Lions played a goalless draw against Rwanda, as they went up four points and ahead of the group.

Togo also picked their first win of the competition on an interesting 2-1 victory against the Cranes of Uganda.

In group B, Congo DR defeated Libya 1-0 while Congo and Niger played a draw in their fixture. Congo DR are leading the group with four points with Libya and Niger on 2 points each.

In group A, Cameroon and Mali are tied on four points apiece with the Indomitable Lions hoping to settle its place in the next stage of the competition in their next fixture.

Tanzania defeated Namibia 1-0 to open up group D with Guinea and Zambia leading with four points each.

The African Nations Championship has produced great entertainment so far with narrow victories and stalemate indicating the closeness of the fixtures.

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Mahrez, Man City Go Second after 2-1 Win over Aston Villa

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Algerian international, Riyad Mahrez, played for 18 minutes as Manchester City dig deep to beat a hard-fighting Aston Villa 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

The victory, their sixth consecutive, pushes Manchester City, who began the season on a low, to the second place of the English Premier League (EPL) table but with a game in hand.

Man City moved to 38 points, above Leicester City on goal difference, with Manchester United on 39 points after a 2-1 victory playing at Fulham later on Wednesday.

After both sides had created plenty of openings, Bernardo Silva put City ahead in the 79th minute with a brilliant left-footed finish after Rodri had robbed Villa defender Tyrone Mings.

Rodri had come back into play from an offside position and Villa Manager, Dean Smith, was given a red card for his protests at the referee.

Ilkay Gundogan made sure of the three points with a 90th-minute penalty after the ball struck Matty Cash’s arm in the box.

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