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Chelsea force 4-4 draw against nine men Ajax in Champions League thriller

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Chelsea and nine-man Ajax Amsterdam battled to an incident-packed 4-4 draw in Champions League Group H on Tuesday, with the hosts coming back from 4-1 down after scoring two own goals.

The result left both teams and Valencia, who beat bottom side Lille 4-1, on seven points at the top of the standings in a battle for two places in the last 16.

Ajax looked faster and slicker from the outset at Stamford Bridge. Only two minutes into the game Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta gave away a free-kick and Tammy Abraham deflected Quincy Promes’s whipped cross into his own net.

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Less than three minutes later Chelsea were level after U.S. forward Christian Pulisic surged into the Ajax area and was brought down. Jorginho calmly slotted home the penalty, sending keeper Andre Onana the wrong way.

But Ajax, who had won their last five Champions League away games, looked dangerous going forward. They were rewarded in the 20th when Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech spun an inch-perfect cross into the area and Promes dived low to head it home.

Another free-kick led to Ajax’s third. Ziyech sent the ball from near the corner flag curling and spinning towards the far post where keeper Kepa failed to track it. The ball rebounded off the woodwork and went into the net off Kepa’s face.

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Chelsea came out flying after the break and looked to be building momentum but home hopes seemed crushed in the 55th when Ajax’s wingers broke from their own half and Ziyech squared the ball for midfielder Donny van de Beek to poke home for 4-1.

Azpilicueta got a goal back for the hosts with a close-range flick in the 63rd and soon after Stamford Bridge erupted.

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Daley Blind was sent off for a second foul and Joel Veltman also saw red for a second infraction after handling in the area and arguing with referee Gianluca Rocchi.

Jorginho scored his second penalty in the 71st minute and Chelsea’s substitute defender Reece James cut through Ajax’s depleted defence with an angled shot three minutes later.

Azpilicueta then had a goal ruled out for a handball in the area as Chelsea fought for a winner in a stirring last 15 minutes but Ajax held out to share the spoils.

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Rohr must win trophies, not just qualifying for tournaments – Akanni

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I will accept a pay cut to coach Eagles- Rohr

An ex-international footballer, Wahidi Akanni, on Tuesday said with the re-appointment of Gernot Rohr as the manager of the Super Eagles, winning trophies should be his major focus rather than qualifying for major tournaments.

Akanni said this in an interview with Newsmen in Lagos.

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) recently renewed  Rorh’s contract as coach of the Super Eagles for another two and half years.

“Well, having been on the job now for sometime, he’s got a good knowledge of the players in the team, I will expect to see a certain play pattern for the team that can make him achieve what NFF has set for him.

“Nigerians will expect better results than just qualifying for tournaments. Nigeria needs to win trophies.

“It is no longer enough that we qualify for major tournaments, we ought to have moved passed that and set new goals,” Akanni said.

Recently, the minister of Youths and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, stated that the NFF could terminate the appointment of Rohr whenever they felt he was falling short.

MORE READING!  Rohr must win trophies, not just qualifying for tournaments – Akanni

But Akanni wondered whether Rohr needed such reminders at this time.

“My opinion will be that, he’s just renewed his contract, he should be allowed to work.

“Dangling harsh or sack tunes on him now is not good for the super eagles, in as much as I am not a fan of foreign coaches.

“He was employed as the coach, he should be allowed to work and until he doesn’t perform, then he can be relieved of his job,” the former Lagos FA boss said.

NAN

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George Floyd killing: FIFA asks leagues to use ‘common sense’ over protest

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George Floyd killing: FIFA asks leagues to use ‘common sense’ over protest

World soccer governing body,  FIFA,  has asked competition organisers to use “common sense” with players who display messages of protest over the death of George Floyd.

Recall that George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by the police in the United States.

FIFA regulations barred players from displaying any “political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on their kit.

Since 2014, this ban had included undershirts — a response to players lifting up their shirts to display a message when scoring.

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However, several players protested during matches in Germany’s Bundesliga at the weekend, with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi displaying undershirts with the message, “Justice for George Floyd” on Sunday.

Schalke 04 defender Weston McKennie, displayed the same message on his armband in another game while Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram knelt to honour Floyd after scoring against Union Berlin.

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The German Football Association said it was reviewing the incidents where the message was shown.

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In a statement on Tuesday, FIFA said it “fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case.

It added that applying the laws of the game was the responsibility of competition organisers, such as domestic leagues, who FIFA said “should use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events.

“FIFA had repeatedly expressed itself to be resolutely against racism and discrimination of any kind and recently strengthened its own disciplinary rules with a view to helping to eradicate such behaviours.

“FIFA itself has promoted many anti-racism campaigns which frequently carry the anti-racism message at matches organised under its own auspices,” it added in the statement.

 

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Reuters

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Mayweather offers to cover funeral costs for George Floyd

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Boxing great Floyd Mayweather has offered to cover the funeral expenses for George Floyd, the 46-year-old African-American man whose death while in police custody in Minneapolis prompted protests across the United States.

The former five-division world champion’s promotional company, Mayweather Productions, confirmed on Twitter that he had made the offer, and several local media reports have said the family have accepted.

MORE READING!  Mayweather offers to cover funeral costs for George Floyd

Mayweather Productions and the boxer’s agency have yet to respond to a request for comment.

Derek Chauvin, the 44-year-old Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on Floyd, has been arrested on third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. Three other officers involved in the arrest have not been charged.

The incident has prompted an outcry across the United States and abroad, with numerous pro athletes and leagues speaking out, including NBA great Michael Jordan and golf’s 15-times major champion Tiger Woods.

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Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, pledged $1 million for social justice reform and said a group of former and current players would decide which organisations benefit.

“We must all discover new ways to unite. We must all work to break the cycle of systematic racial injustice,” Bisciotti said in a statement.

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