Substitute Daniel Ceballos fired Arsenal into the FA Cup semi-finals with a stoppage-time goal that sealed a 2-1 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday. Arsenal, record 13-times winners of the trophy, went ahead after 23 minutes when Chris Basham fouled Alexandre Lacazette in the penalty area, and Pepe rattled home the spot-kick. Arsenal struggled in the second half as Sheffield United fired long balls into the penalty area aimed at the head of striker Oliver McBurnie. United keeper Dean Henderson almost scored with a wind-assisted kick that bounced and narrowly cleared the Arsenal crossbar, to the relief of his opposite number Emiliano Martinez. With their defence under pressure, Arsenal lost David Luiz to injury and the game looked to be heading for extra time when David McGoldrick equalised in the 87th minute, hooking home a volley after the visitors failed to clear a corner But Ceballos popped up to slot home the winner and lift Arsenal, who are ninth in the Premier League table, one place below Sheffield United. “Today, we didn’t give up even when they got the equaliser because you have to prepare for the extra time anyway; we believed until the end and we got rewarded,” Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi, told reporters. Arsenal joined Manchester United in the last four while Leicester City face Chelsea and Newcastle United meet Manchester City later on Sunday in the last two quarter-finals.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo (NAN)
Golf’s Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup fall victims of coronavirus also
The hotly-contested biennial team competition between the United States and Europe, known for its raucous, partisan crowds, was originally scheduled for Sept. 25 to Sept. 27 at Whistling Straits.
It will now be held from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26 in 2021.
The Presidents Cup, which pits a 12-man team from the United States against international players from outside Europe, was also postponed a year.
It will played Sept. 22 to Sept. 25 in 2022 at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina, organisers said.
Organisers said medical experts and public authorities in Wisconsin were not able to provide certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible.
“The spectators who support both the United States and European sides are what make the Ryder Cup such a unique and compelling event and playing without them was not a realistic option.”
The Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup are the latest events on a ravaged golf calendar to be hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
The pandemic has already forced three of the sport’s four majors to be postponed while the British Open was cancelled.
“These two premier international team events are lifted by the spirit of the fans,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
“With the uncertainty of the current climate, we fully support the Ryder Cup’s decision to delay a year in order to ensure fans could be a part of the incredible atmosphere in Wisconsin.
“Also, the delay of next year’s Presidents Cup was the right decision in order to allow for that option.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
India among 5 countries interested in hosting 2027 Asian Cup
“The AFC will now work with each bidding member-association on the delivery of the necessary bidding documentation.
“We will announce the hosts for the 19th edition of the AFC Asian Cup in 2021,” the continental governing body said in a statement.
Qatar staged the competition in 1988 and 2011, while Iran have fond memories of hosting it in 1968 and 1976, winning the title on both occasions.
India bagged hosting rights for the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup last month.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Africa Cup postponed to 2022 due to COVID-19
“After consultation with stakeholders and taking into consideration the current global situation, the tournament has been rescheduled for January 2022,” the CAF statement said.
“The date for the final tournament and the remaining matches of the qualifiers will be communicated in due course.”
The tournament was originally scheduled to run from Jan, 9 to Feb. 6, 2021.
The Africa Cup had been moved back to the winter months at the beginning of the year due to the better weather conditions.
The 2019 tournament was still played in the summer to better harmonize with the schedule of the major European leagues.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Winning FA Cup would be ideal preparation for Real clash: Guardiola
Winning FA Cup would be ideal preparation for Real clash: Guardiola
Manchester City’s slim hopes of retaining their Premier League crown have gone but they still have two trophies in their crosshairs, manager Pep Guardiola said after the club reached the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United.
City are also still in the hunt for the Champions League title and hold a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid from the away leg of their last 16 clash in February before the competition was suspended due to COVID-19.
Europe’s elite club competition will be completed with an eight-team mini-tournament held in Lisbon in August.
The FA Cup semis will be held on July 18-19 and the final is scheduled for Aug. 1.
“We have two competitions we can win,” Guardiola told reporters on Sunday.
“It will be good to arrive against Real Madrid in the best condition. To win this title would be the best way to prepare for Madrid.”
Guardiola also said he was pleased with City’s response after last week’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea handed Liverpool the Premier League title.
“We’re delighted after the defeat against Chelsea to be in London again at Wembley to play against Arsenal in the semi-final to try to reach the final of the FA Cup,” he added.
“Always it’s an incredible trophy and it gives us an extra bonus.”
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
Holders Manchester City beat Newcastle United to cruise into FA Cup semi-finals
Newcastle (UK), June 29, 2020 Kevin de Bruyne’s first half penalty kick and a superb strike by Raheem Sterling after the break earned holders Manchester City a comfortable 2-0 win away at Newcastle United on Sunday.
The win, in the weekend’s last FA Cup quarter-final, was the result of Manchester City’s domination.
The domination in the first half was absolute and the only surprise was it took a penalty kick for them to lead at halftime, with De Bruyne slotting home in the 37th minute.
Newcastle United did improve marginally after the break and substitute Dwight Gayle somehow missed a gaping goal.
One minute later, Sterling curled home a delightful effort to seal Manchester City’s progress and set up a semi-final against Arsenal.
It was incredible that all four of this year’s Cup quarter-finals, all played behind closed doors, were won by the away team —– the first time that has happened since 1987.
Manchester United will face Chelsea in the other semi-final.
“We are in the semi-finals. It was not easy to attack against a team defending so deep, but it was a good performance. I am happy to go back to London, to Wembley,” Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola told reporters.
After their midweek defeat at Chelsea, a result that confirmed Liverpool as 2019/2020 English Premier League (EPL) champions, Guardiola’s side were fired up at an empty St James’ Park.
Twenty-five minutes into the tie, Newcastle United had completed only 15 passes and were camped inside their own penalty area as Manchester City toyed with them.
Riyad Mahrez wasted three chances for Manchester City and Sterling was twice denied by Newcastle United goalkeeper Karl Darlow.
Having somehow survived the Manchester City onslaught, Newcastle United then gifted them an opening goal when Fabian Schar needlessly shoved Gabriel Jesus and de Bruyne tucked away the penalty kick.
Newcastle United showed more intensity after the interval with striker Andy Carroll throwing his weight around.
But their absent fans watching at home on TV would have been groaning when Gayle somehow fired over the crossbar from Allan Saint-Maximin’s low cross.
That glaring miss looked even more costly a minute later when Sterling, who was inspired throughout, cut in from the left and picked out the bottom corner with a clinical finish.
Manchester City may have lost their English crown, but they have already bagged the League Cup and are still in the UEFA Champions League.
However, they could still end the most strange of seasons with three cups.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Barkley strike sends Chelsea into FA Cup semis
Cup Leicester, June 28, 2020 Eight-times FA Cup winners Chelsea reached the semi-finals on Sunday as midfielder Ross Barkley came off the bench to secure a deserved 1-0 victory at faltering Leicester City. Barkley, one of the three changes Manager Frank Lampard made at halftime, slid home the winner in the 63rd minute as the West London side joined Manchester United and Arsenal in last four.
Leicester were the better side before the break and had the bulk of the chances against a lethargic Chelsea, but the visitors were a different proposition after the interval.
Tammy Abraham had a goal ruled out for offside and then Barkley found space in the area to clip Willian’s measured cross past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel just past the hour.
Leicester, without the creativity of attacking midfielder James Maddison who was missing with a hip problem, struggled to respond although they did mount some belated late pressure.
Chelsea have been buoyant since the season resumed following the novel coronavirus stoppage, winning both of their Premier League games to consolidate fourth place, and they now have a Cup semi-final to look forward to.
Leicester on the other hand have struggled to rediscover their rhythm, drawing twice in the league, and while they are still third, other teams are breathing down their neck.
“It was important to get the win and keep the momentum going.
At halftime we said, it’s not good enough and to be vocal on the pitch, and we improved,” Barkley said.
It was the third of this year’s FA Cup quarter-finals to be won by the away side and how Leicester could have done with the noisy support they usually receive at the King Power Stadium.
They did start the game well with Harvey Barnes having half a chance and Jonny Evans just failing to connect with a header.
Chelsea keeper Willy Caballero did not have much to do, although he did scramble away a Youri Tielemans shot.
Lampard was unhappy and could clearly be heard telling his team to “liven up” in the empty stadium.
Young trio Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour and Reece James all came off at halftime with Barkley, Mateo Kovacic and Cesar Azpilicueta sent on to add some experience.
Lampard was rewarded with a much-improved display.
Dianabasi Effiong and Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Jordan condemns Israeli decision to install elevator in occupied Jerusalem
Jordan on Sunday condemned an Israeli decision to install an elevator linking parts of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem with the Buraq Wall which is also known as the Western Wall or Wailing Wall.
Expressing Jordan’s rejection to all unilateral Israeli measures, Daifallah Fayez, spokesman of the kingdom’s foreign ministry, said this project will change the nature of the Old City and its Arab identity, according to a ministry statement.
The Jordanian spokesman called on Israel to halt the shift of the identity of the Old City and abide by its commitments under international law.
Making peace needs immediate end of Israeli occupation: Palestinian official
A senior Palestinian official said on Saturday that making peace needs an immediate end of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Hussein al-Sheikh, Palestinian minister of civil affairs, made the remarks in response to Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s proposal to start peace talks with the Palestinians on the basis of United States President Donald Trump‘s Middle East peace plan.
“The one, who says he is willing to visit Ramallah and hold peace talks with the Palestinians, must think first of ending the occupation instead of deploying his soldiers for annexation and occupation,” said al-Sheikh, also a member of the central committee of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas‘ Fatah Party.
“He (Gantz) should believe first in the international legitimacy and not in the legitimacy of force and imposing apartheid on other people,” added the Palestinian minister who is close to Abbas.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Gantz said he would go to Ramallah tomorrow if the Palestinians ask for peace talks.
“If they request to have serious negotiations, I’m ready to be in Ramallah tomorrow morning to discuss this,” Gantz said.
The last Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down in 2014, mainly because of their deep divisions on the issues of the Jewish settlements and Jerusalem.
The resumption of peace talks has become a longer shot since Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in late 2017 and moved the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed holy city in mid-2018.
Israel considers the entire Jerusalem as its eternal capital, a fact that is rejected by the Palestinians, who insist that East Jerusalem be the capital of their future independent state.
The Israeli government is planning to annex more than 30 percent of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, as well as imposing sovereignty on several settlements in the territory.
The tension between the two sides has mounted since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his annexation plan will start on July 1.
People attend “Occupy City Hall” protest in New York
A police officer stands guard near the New York City Hall where the “Occupy City Hall” protest takes place in New York, the United States, June 26, 2020. Protesters have been camping out overnight next to the New York City Hall since the “Occupy City Hall” protest kicked off Tuesday, demanding a billion-dollar cut to the New York Police Department budget. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)p>
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