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IGHALO SCORES HATTRICK! Super Eagles thrash Libya 4-0 in AFCON qualifier

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Odion Ighalo scores a hattrick for Nigeria as they trounced visiting Libya national team 4-0 in an African Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.

The match was played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital.

Ighalo, who plies his trade with Chinese club Changchun Yatai, grabbed the first goal from the penalty spot after a blunder from Libya goalkeeper in the second minute.

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At the 58th minute, Arsenal’s midfielder Alex Iwobi delivered a lovely weighted pass to Ighalo who maintained his composure to dibble the goalkeeper and score his second goal for Nigeria. He completed his hattrick 10 minutes later after latching onto a cross from Ahmed Musa and in the ensuing scramble played the ball past Libyan defenders and the keeper.

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Samuel Kalu rounded up the Super Eagles victory at the 91st minute.

The Super Eagles are second on the table with six points from three marches behind leaders South Africa who are on seven points.

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Ukrainian match postponed after footballers test positive for coronavirus

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Ukraine’s top professional soccer league said on Saturday it had canceled one of its first post-lockdown matches after several players and staff at Karpaty in the western city of Lviv tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The match between Karpaty and Mariupol from the Azov Sea port of Mariupol was supposed to be played on Sunday behind closed doors.

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The football authorities did not specify how many players had been affected by the virus and when a rescheduled match may be played.

“Those infected were immediately transferred to self-isolation. They had no symptoms,” the league said in a statement.

Ukraine’s government has started easing restrictions imposed in March to prevent the spread of the virus and allowed sports events to continue if all participants are tested and comply with other safety requirements.

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The soccer authorities decided to resume competitions in the Premier League and the Cup with no spectators. Two of Ukraine’s most famous clubs, Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk, are scheduled to meet on Sunday.

Ukraine has reported 23,304 cases, including 696 deaths from the coronavirus as of May 30.

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Tennis’ world number 11 undergoes surgery on both ankles

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World number 11 Fabio Fognini underwent surgery on both ankles on Saturday to cure a long-standing problem.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the 33-year-old Italian tennis player said he had hoped the two-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic would have improved his situation.

“I’ve been having a problem with my left ankle for three and a half years now and it’s an issue I’ve learned to cope with,” Fognini said. “Then my right ankle started playing up in the last two years as well.

“After a medical examination and a long discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles.

“I believe it’s the right thing to do while the Tour is on an enforced break. I will have surgery today`(Saturday).”

No professional tournaments have been played since the start of March because of the pandemic, and the ATP Tour has been suspended until at least the start of August.

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La Liga clubs free to start full training from Monday

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Football: La Liga season to resume on June 11

Clubs in Spain’s top two soccer divisions can hold full training sessions from Monday for the first time since returning to activity after action was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers La Liga have said.

“Clubs will begin collective training on June 1 after the government’s latest health order on the easing of restrictions,” La Liga said in a statement on Saturday.

Teams returned to individual training at the start of May before progressing to training in groups of up 10 players two weeks later, and groups of 14 players from last Monday.

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The top-flight will resume on June 11 without fans attending, with Sevilla taking on Real Betis, and with matches potentially to be played every day of the week until the season is concluded on July 19.

All organised football in Spain was provisionally suspended on March 12 as the virus ravaged the country, but the rate of infection has slowed significantly.

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Thirty-nine people died in the last week compared with a daily death toll in the hundreds a month ago, the health ministry said on Friday.

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