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North Africa Sports

Salah Scores as Liverpool Hold Man City to 1-1 Draw



Egypt’s Mo Salah scored a penalty kick for Liverpool as the Anfield side held host Manchester City to a 1-1 draw in the English Premier League (EPL) on Sunday.

Kevin De Bruyne missed a potential match-winning penalty kick in the pulsating game.

The match’s two goals, a Mohamed Salah penalty kick for Liverpool and a fine turn and finish from Gabriel Jesus for Manchester City, came in a pulsating opening 45 minutes.

The goals, as well as the missed penalty kick, were part of a half in which the last two league champions produced some exciting football.

But the quality and entertainment faded badly after the break.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp will however be the happier with the result, given the fact his side had lost their last three visits to the Etihad stadium in the league.

They now retain a five-point advantage over Manchester City’s the ongoing campaign.

Klopp answered the question of whether to replace Roberto Firmino with the in-form Diogo Jota by picking both players in a very attacking line-up and unsurprisingly his side began positively.

The visitors took the lead in the 13th minute when Sadio Mane turned sharply in the box and went down after contact from Kyle Walker and Salah converted the penalty kick.

An even better turn produced Manchester City’s equaliser in the 31st minute when De Bruyne found Jesus in the penalty box.

The Brazilian’s superb twist set him free of Trent Alexander-Arnold and earned him just enough space to poke past Alisson.

Manchester City then wasted an opportunity to take the lead, three minutes before the interval, when De Bruyne missed a penalty kick.

It was awarded after his cross struck the arm of Joe Gomez and referee Craig Pawson gave the penalty kick after checking the pitchside monitor.

Yet the excitement of the opening 45 minutes was not replicated after the break as Manchester City gained greater control but struggled to create real openings.

Ederson did well to save from Diogo Jota at the near post and at the other end Jesus was off-target after being found unmarked in the box by Joao Cancelo.

Liverpool are third on 17 points after eight games with 11th-placed Manchester City on 12 points, having played a game fewer.

North Africa Sports

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



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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North Africa Sports

Nigeria Fall On Fifa Ranking, Egypt Rise



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

Al Ahly Defeat Zamalek In Feisty CCL Final Clash



Egyptian and African club giants, Al Ahly defeated local rivals Zamalek to win the CAF Champions League for a record 9th time.

Ahly, who went into the game with some key players missing after testing positive for COVID-19 raised the curtains as early as the 5th minute. The Egyptian champions scored through an Al-Sulaya header as they aimed to end their 7-year drought of continental success.

Zamalek thereafter showed more commitment to having the ball and had crisp passing all night in the Cairo derby at the magnificent Cairo International Stadium.

Lively Abdelrazek Shikabala’s beautiful solo effort helped Zamalek level in the 31st minute as they got rewarded for their better possession and urgency.

The second half saw a more stoked match with players of both teams putting their bodies on the line on many occasions.

Read also: Portuguese Tactician Returns For Second Spell At Zamalek

Ahly improved after the break, and took the game to Zamalek who have been continental champions three times. Nigeria’s Junior Ajayi was lost to injury shortly after the break but it did little to stop Ahly from showing greater purpose.

The game got settled on the 86th minute as Ahly’s Mohammed Magdy scored an all-important winner to hand a 9th continental triumph to the Egyptians.

The game tagged “derby of the century” lived up to hype as a rare football spectacle was seen on a night where the team with a stroke of luck and experience won.

Ahly’s South African coach Pitso Mosimane underlined his status as the best coach in Africa as he has now won the continental showpiece with two different teams in two different countries.

He won the CAF Champions League with Premier Soccer League side, Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016 before his newest success with Al Ahly.

“Zamalek have a good team, they played well and gave us a big scare, they made us play better in the second half because they were stronger in the first,” Mosimane said after the game.

“They played like us, that’s the way we play but yeah, Al Ahly fans, I need to say to them that this is my gift to them. This Champions League trophy is there’s, they deserve it.”

The former Bafana Bafana boss further dedicated the success to the passionate supporters.

“I hope Inshallah that corona passes and we can have them in the stadiums again,” he said. “They deserve this trophy, they have waited for long, every week they came to the training sessions.

“Every day, everywhere I go they said ‘please win the trophy, please win the trophy’. The trophy is there now, there’s the trophy, maybe I can be a free man now [laughs].”

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