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Salah, Mane Fire Blanks as Man United Hold Liverpool to 0-0 Draw

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Liverpool forwards, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, continued their struggles in front of goal as visiting Manchester United hold the Reds to 0-0 draw at Anfield.

With the draw, Manchester United held on to top spot in the ongoing 2020/2021 English Premier League (EPL).

Alisson made two good saves for Liverpool while Thiago and Roberto Firmino went close for the hosts as Manchester United remained top, two points clear of Leicester and three ahead of Liverpool.

With Joel Matip not fit to return, Juergen Klopp played midfielder Jordan Henderson in the centre of defence and he and Fabinho kept Marcus Rashford largely at bay.

Firmino had a couple of half chances as Liverpool were the better side in the opening 45 minutes.

The second half was more open and Alisson saved well from Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba late on.

At the other end, Liverpool failed to score for the third game in a row.

Earlier, Tottenham moved back into the top four, thanks to a comfortable win.

Serge Aurier, Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele, with a stunning third goal, secured victory for Jose Mourinho’s side, after David McGoldrick had given Sheffield United hope.

They remain bottom with just five points from 19 games, 11 points from safety at the halfway point in the season.

“Fantastic performance from everyone today —— started really well, aggressive with our press and were clinical to go 2-0 up,” Tottenham striker Kane said.

“Even in the second half, when they scored, we didn’t panic. Tanguy scored a fantastic goal and we saw the game out well, which we haven’t done in the past few weeks.”

Ndombele’s goal was the pick of the four, flicking the ball over the goalkeeper with the outside of his foot from the corner of the penalty area.

“Tanguy’s goal was incredible, the technique he had to flick that ball back over the goalkeeper was truly special,” Kane said.

“There were a couple of chances I could have done better with, the most important thing is winning games.”

McGoldrick said Sheffield United would continue to fight.

“We knew at half time we had to come out. We thought we had a bit of momentum and conceded a sloppy goal. From there they saw the game out,” he said.

“We took a backward step today, but there are a lot of games to go, we have to go again. We aren’t throwing in the towel, we keep on going.

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Tributes as 21-year-old Ivorian Player, Willy Ta Bi, Dies of Liver Cancer

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Italian club, Atalanta, and the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) are mourning the demise of 21-year-old midfielder, Willy Braciano Ta Bi, who died after a long battle against liver cancer.

Willy Ta Bi, who joined Atalanta from Ivory Coast’s Asec Mimosa in 2019 and immediately helped the team win the Italian youth title, the Primavera, died in his homeland on Tuesday.

In a statement on their website, Atalanta said: “President Antonio Precassi and the whole Atalanta family are deeply saddened by the untimely death of Willy Braciano Ta Bi.

“A cruel destiny interrupted a dream that began with the Nerazzurri shirt in January 2019 too soon.

“He only needed a few months to carve out a leading role in the Primavera and help bring the Scudetto back to Bergamo, but above all to leave a great memory.”

Former Ivory Coast and Chelsea striker, Didier Drogba, also paid tribute to Ta Bi on social media.

“Ivory Coast, the football world are mourning you, you fought against this damn disease as you fought on the pitches like a real boss, a leader!!!!,” he wrote.

Juventus midfielder Dejan Kulusevski, who was also part of that youth team at Atalanta, also paid tribute to his ex-teammate on Instagram: “Rest in peace, brother”.

18-year-old Manchester United’s new Ivory Coast-born winger, Amad Diallo, who joined the Old Trafford side from Atalanta, posted a picture of them embracing on Instagram and wrote: “Now sleep in peace, friend.”

Ta Bi captained the Ivory Coast at youth level and represented his country at the Francophone Games in 2017, with Drogba posting a video of a passionate team talk given by the youngster.

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Exclusive: Why New Players Struggle In The Super Eagles – Rohr

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Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has said getting a grip of the competition in the Nigerian national team prevents many new players from impressing when they join the team.

In an interview with News Central TV’s Tolu Shotade, the Franco-German spoke on a number of issues, ranging from his snub of the players in the NPFL to the chances of an African team winning the World Cup.

On why he hardly gives players opportunities when he invites them, Rohr said the players meet a group on the ground and many of these old players know one another and have formed a good bond.

He said this makes it more difficult for newbies to make an entrance into the team. He however cited some new players that have been given a chance in the Super Eagles, like TSG Hoffenheim German-born Super Eagles defender, Kevin Akpoguma.

On local league players, he said there are many factors plaguing their growth, remarking that the standard of the league is not as high as what’s obtainable in Europe.

“The stadiums in Europe are better and many African teams, especially West African teams don’t have this kind of pitches. Although, North African countries like Morocco have good stadiums, ” he said.

He said it will take a miracle for an African nation to win the World Cup because African players are not playing in big European teams. He cited the example of France having four players in Bayern Munich as a sign of what it takes to win the World Cup.

Rohr said there may be new faces in the Super Eagles as he mentioned Union Berlin attacker, Taiwo and Awoniyi Almeria’s Sadiq Umar as likely call ups to the team as Nigeria prepares for its two final qualifiers.

He said the team will do its best to make it to the next Africa Cup of Nations as he admitted that anything short of a final place finish will mean regression.

Rohr posited that Nigeria has a lot of strikers including Awoniyi, Umar, Onuachu, but said the former has struggled to find his feet in the Super Eagles.

Rohr, in the interview also weighed in on the protection of his players as he cited Victor Osimhen’s case with Napoli as one of such situations he needs to stand behind the player and make them feel better.

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Nigeria-South Africa Renew Football Rivalry in CAF Confederations Cup

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After overcoming the stiff opposition presented by Rivers United of Port Harcourt, Enyimba have been drawn with South Africa’s Orlando Pirates as Nigeria renews its football rivalry with South Africa.

Enyimba will face Pirates, ES Setif of Tunisia and Ahli Benghazi of Libya in the group stage of the competition.

The People’s Elephants are the only Nigerian football club left on a continental sojourn after PlateaubUtd and Kano Pillars got knocked out at the preliminary rounds before Enyimba overcame Rivers.

Recall that Rivers defeated Bloemfontein Celtics in the second preliminary round of the competition before losing to Enyimba.

Nigeria and South Africa have a historical rivalry in football with both national team games and club engagement getting great following on the continent.

While no Nigerian club made it to the group stage of the CAF Champions League, two South African clubs, Mamelodi Sundowns and first-timers, Kaizer Chiefs will play in the more prestigious competition.

Both nations, however have one team each in the Confederations Cup.

See full CAF Confederations Cup draws below;

GROUP A
Enyimba
ES Sétif
Orlando Pirates
Ahli Benghazi

GROUP B
RS Berkane
JS Kabylie
Cotonsport
NAPSA Stars

GROUP C
Etoile Sahel
CS Sfaxien
Salitas FC
ASC Jaraaf

GROUP D
Raja CA
Pyramids FC
Nkana FC
Namungo SC/Primeiro Agosto

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