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Ziyech, Other Chelsea New Boys Need Time – Abraham

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England forward, Tammy Abraham, has said Chelsea’s new recruits – which include Hakim Ziyech of Algeria – need time to develop an understanding with the rest of their teammates.

Abraham, who is of Nigerian descent, said the congested fixture list and the COVID-19 pandemic has not helped Chelsea’s new recruits jell with their clubmates.

Chelsea spent heavily in the close season to bring in the likes of midfielder Kai Havertz, forward Timo Werner, defender Ben Chilwell and winger Hakim Ziyech, but the London club sit ninth in the Premier League with 26 points from 17 games.

Germany international Werner is among those who have come in for sharp criticism due to a dip in form after failing to score in his last 12 games in all competitions, but Abraham said all of Chelsea’s new signings need time to settle.

“We have hardly had any time to train together and to work out how each other play so we’re just taking every day as it comes at the moment,” Abraham told Chelsea’s website.

“Every game we play, we’re learning new things about each other. I’m starting to understand them more and they’re starting to understand me more so hopefully we drive each other and be the best we can be.”

Chelsea, who have lost four of their last six league games, take on Morecambe in the FA Cup third round on Sunday before a league trip to Fulham on Jan. 15.

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North Africa Sports

Algeria’s Slimani Joins Lyon on a Free Transfer

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Algerian forward, Islam Slimani, has signed for Lyon on a free transfer, the French club has announced.

Slimani, who scored 13 goals in 47 games in all competitions for Leicester, joins Lyon on an 18-month contract.

“I’m very happy and proud to join a big club like Lyon,” Slimani said.

“I’ve joined a team that’s top of the league, playing well and scoring goals. I want to help the club achieve its objectives.”

“I’m very happy and proud to join a big club like Lyon. I thank the president. When I was a child, I came to the area, to Givors, to play in tournaments with my team. I’m a combative person who gives everything on the pitch.”

He added: “Lyon is a big club and near the top of the table every season, playing to participate in the Champions League.

“I spoke to Djamel Benlamri a lot. He told me a lot of good things about the club, the players and the coach. I’m here to help the team. Even if I start as a substitute, get in the game and help the team, the coach won’t let me sit on the bench.”

Slimani, 32, began his professional career in his native country. After four successful seasons at CR Belouizdad, he left Algeria to join Sporting Club de Portugal in 2013. In Portugal, he spent three seasons and in his final season he scored 27 goals in 33 league appearances.

In 2016, Slimani joined Leicester City where he formed a very complementary duo with Riyad Mahrez. After the departure of Claudio Ranieri from the Foxes, the Algerian international played less and went out on loan.

In 2019, Slimani won the Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria.

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CAF Releases Group Draws, Fixtures for Champions League

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Africa’s football governing body, CAF has released group stage pairings and draws for 2020/21 edition of the Champions League.

On Friday, CAF in a ceremony held at its headquarters distributed teams into groups with Senegal’s Teungueth FC getting drawn amongst three North African giants.

In group A, defending champions Al Ahly we’re drawn alongside AS Vita of Congo, Simba SC of Tanzania and El Merreikh of Sudan.

Group B which looked like the most balanced and difficult had former champions TP Mazembe and Mamelodi Sundowns, Al Hilal and CR Belouizdad.

In the third group, last season’s semifinalists, Wydad Casablanca, Guinea’s AC Horoya, Angola’s Petro Atletico, and debutante, Kaizer Chiefs made up the four teams in the group.

The last group had new entrants Tengueth FC, Esperance of Tunisia, last season’s finalists, Zamalek and MC Alger.

There are a total of 16 teams playing for the continental prize. Egypt has two teams in the continent, in Al Ahly and Zamalek. Dr Congo also has two teams in AS Vita and TP Mazambe. Algeria has two teams- CR Belouizdad and MC Alger, South Africa also has two representatives – Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs. Sudan joins others in double representation with El Merreikh and Al Hilal.

Others are; Angola- Petro Atletico, Senegal – Teungeth FC, Tanzania- Simba SC, Morocco – Wydad Casablanca, Guinea- AC Horoya and Tunisa – Esperance De Tunis.

There are sixteen teams from ten countries in the 2020/21 edition of the CAF Champions League.

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Mahrez, Man City Qualify for League Cup Final with 2-0 Win over Man Utd

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Despite being denied by Manchester United’s Dean Henderson fine save, Riyad Mahrez will play in the finals of the League Cup courtesy Manchester City win at Old Trafford.

The noisy neighbours, as Sir Alex Ferguson once described Man City, reached their fourth straight League Cup final after a 2-0 win over Manchester United in Wednesday’s semi-final at Old Trafford.

Two second half goals from John Stones and Fernandinho gave Pep Guardiola’s side victory in the match.

Manchester City will now meet Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley in the April 25 final as they seek their fourth League Cup triumph in a row.

In a frantic opening to the game, both teams had efforts ruled out for offside.

Stones turned the ball into his own net but he was saved by the flag.

Also, Ilkay Gundogan converted a low ball in from Phil Foden but, again, the attempt was rightly ruled out.

Kevin De Bruyne struck the post with a thundering drive from outside the penalty box.

Later on, Foden also put the ball in the net for Manchester City but the visitors were foiled by offside once again.

It was an open and entertaining game, with Manchester City looking sharper.

But Manchester United were competitive as they sought revenge for last year’s defeat by their neighbours at the same stage of the competition.

Manchester City then went ahead five minutes after the break when Foden whipped in a free-kick from the left through a crowded box.

Defender Stones bundled a cross home at the back post, the ball going in off his thigh.

Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson produced a brilliant save to tip over a strike from Riyad Mahrez, after the Algerian had burst forward from the halfway line.

Fernandinho made sure of the win seven minutes from time with a stunning volley as he pounced on a headed clearance from Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Manchester United have now lost at the semi-final stage in their last four Cup campaigns, leaving manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still searching for his first final since taking over at the club.

“We’re getting closer. This is a much better version of Manchester United than a year ago in those semis,” said the Norwegian.

“It’s not psychological, sometimes you meet good teams in the semis. Manchester City are probably the best team in England at the moment,” he added.

Manchester City entered the field in number eight shirts in tribute to former player Colin Bell who died on Tuesday and Guardiola said they had honoured his memory.

“It’s for Colin Bell and his family. He helped to build something special for this club. It’s an incredible victory for us to beat Manchester United away and it was for him absolutely,” he said.

“The team is ready and it was an outstanding performance. We dipped a little bit in the second half, we were tired… But when the team has this mentality they can do something incredible. It’s not the Champions League but four times in a row to reach the final —– I’m so impressed,” he said.

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