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FIFA Under-17 World Cup: Golden Eaglets whip Hungary 4-2 

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Five–times champions Nigeria swept past Hungary 4-2 in the opening match of the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup finals in Brazil on Saturday.

The Eaglets scored three goals in six second-half minutes, and they were just a reward for their persistence and determination.

Just like what happened when both teams last met at the championship — the inaugural edition in China 34 years ago — Hungary drew the first blood.

Inside the first three minutes, Gyorgy Komaromi took full advantage of a poor defensive organisation to slot past goalkeeper Daniel Jinadu.

The Eaglets created chance after chance and eventually drew level when team captain Samson Tijani sent goalkeeper Kristjan Hegyi the wrong way from the penalty kick spot.

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That was after Wisdom Ubani had been upended in the box.

Tijani’s equaliser was Nigeria’s 150th goal in the history of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

Yet, the Europeans would again go into the lead, when Samuel Major placed the ball clinically beyond Jinadu from a counter-attack as the Nigerian defence was again caught napping.

Still unruffled, the Eaglets continued to launch onslaught after onslaught but were undone by a combination of short passes, hyper-ventilation and wayward shooting.

On resumption of the second half at the Estadio Olimpico in Goiania, the Eaglets took full control, dictating the pace and creating goalscoring opportunities.

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But poor finishing by Ubani, Tijani, Ibrahim Sa’id and Olakunle Olusegun delayed the turn-around.

The introduction of Akinkunmi Amoo and Ibrahim Jabaar invigorated the Nigerian side, and in the 79th minute, defender Usman Ibrahim scored.

He was on the alert to head the ball into the net from a corner kick by Sa’id as goalkeeper Hegyi made a poor job of coming out to claim the ball.

Two minutes later, it was 3-2 after Jabaar’s dazzling run ended with a pullout from the left, which defender Oluwatimilehin Adeniyi headed past Hegyi even as Donat Orosz tried in vain to stop the contact.

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Tijani made the scoreline safe for a hardworking Nigeria side in the 85th minute.

His angled free-kick from 23 yards out was deflected by the head of Botond Balogh to wrong-foot Hegyi.

In the other match of the opening day, host nation Brazil pounded Canada 4-1 in Brasilia.

Nigeria will go up against Ecuador in their next match on Tuesday at the same venue.

Victory is certain to take the Eaglets to the Round of 16, ahead of their final Group B encounter with Australia.(NAN)

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Iheanacho scores again as Vardy hits 100th EPL goal

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Super Eagles forward Kelechi Iheanacho scored in his second consecutive game as the Foxes continued their push for a Champions League place next season.

Iheanacho scored his fifth goal of the season to help Leicester City defeat Crystal Palace 3-0 in Saturday’s Premier League game.

Jamie Vardy’s hit a brace and his first took him to 100 Premier League goals as he became the 29th player to join that exclusive club since the competition was founded in 1992.

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Vardy also added a second during stoppage time of a 3-0 victory at the King Power Stadium. Despite joining an elite club, his focus was on securing Leicester’s first win since the restart.

“I am absolutely over the moon,” Vardy told Sky Sports afterwards. “First and foremost it was about the win today, getting back to basics and putting in a performance.

“I am always frustrated if I miss a chance. You want to score as many as possible. But to score two goals and get the three points, that is all you can ask for.

“I will wait until the end of the season before I can start reflecting on stuff.”

Vardy’s achievement is all the more remarkable given that he did not make his Football League debut until the age of 25 and did not appear in the Premier League until he was 27.

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AFCON 2022: Lazarus wants Super Eagles call up

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Slovakia based Nigeria defender, Celestine Lazarus, has told Gernot Rohr to extend an invitation to him as Nigeria prepares for 2022 AFCON qualifiers.

The Slavoj Trebišov player has enjoyed a smooth journey in Europe in the last five years and believes he has gathered enough experience to be in the star-studded national team.

“Playing for my country is one of my biggest dreams coming up as a player, and I think I have gotten better credentials to don the country’s colours ahead of next AFCON,” said Lazarus.

“My coach and my teammates have been encouraging me to reach out to the national team coach for a chance in the national team but I believe my ability and hard work will take me there at the appropriate time. I am not rushing, but I am ready and ripe enough to prove a chance to play for my country.”

“My uncles used to tell me about Uche Okechukwu, Stephen Keshi and others, some of them said I play like Uche because of my physique but in my club, they always see me as another player like Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid.”

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Leicester boss aims for top four

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Brendan Rogers

After another loss in this horrid run of form for Leicester City, Brendan Rodgers was asked if he thinks the Foxes will qualify for the Champions League.

After the Toffees defeat, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was asked if the East Midlanders will qualify for the Champions League. And it was encouraging to hear the manager take a combative approach:

“I’ve always said we’ll push to finish as high as we possibly can. If we finish outside it, then we haven’t been good enough. It’s as simple as that. You have to sustain it over 38 games. We’ve go six games to go and we have to fight to finish as high as we can.”

 

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