Ginter the inspiration as Germany clinch Euro 2020 spot



Defender Matthias Ginter scored one goal and was involved in two more as Germany comfortably saw off Belarus 4-0 on Saturday.

The victory ensured that Germany clinched their place at Euro 2020, qualifying for the finals for a record 13th time in a row.

The inspired Ginter broke the deadlock in the 41st minute with a clever backheel, provided a dummy which allowed Leon Goreztka to score the second and the pass for Toni Kroos to add the third.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer saved a penalty from Igor Stasevich in the 75th minute.

And Kroos added a fourth goal to complete his first national team brace since the 7-1 World Cup semi-final win over Brazil in 2014.

Group C leaders Germany were given a helping hand by arch-rivals the Netherlands who held Northern Ireland 0-0 away to ensure the Dutch and Germans qualified with one match to spare.

Germany have 18 points —- from six draws and one defeat — while the Dutch have 16 and Northern Ireland 14.

Belarus have four points but could still qualify as they have reached the playoffs of the Nations League which offers four more places.

As expected, Germany quickly took control although their early attacks were somewhat predictable.

They were given a fright when Stasevich’s dipping long-range shot forced Neuer into a difficult save and they went ahead shortly afterwards.

Serge Gnabry wriggled past his marker and fired a low ball across the face of goal which was flicked in by Ginter for his first Germany goal on his 29th appearance.

Germany increased their lead four minutes after halftime when Kroos sent a low corner to the edge of the area, Ginter dummied and Goretzka fired home.

Six minutes later, Ginter’s pass found Kroos on the edge of the area and he swept the ball home with a trademark first-time shot.

Belarus were awarded a penalty when Robin Koch tripped Pavel Nekhaychik but Neuer dived to his right to save Stasevich’s spot-kick.

Kroos rubbed it in when he collected the ball in the area, spun past his mark, evaded another and fired a low shot past Aleksandr Gutor to complete the rout.

edited by Sadiya Hamza


Liverpool manager Klopp extends contract to 2024



Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has agreed a contract extension until 2024, the English Premier League (EPL) club announced on Friday.

Former Borussia Dortmund manager Klopp took the reins at Liverpool in October 2015 and guided them to back-to-back UEFA Champions League finals in 2018 and 2019.

They won their sixth European cup last season.

“For me personally this is a statement of intent, one which is built on my knowledge of what we as a partnership have achieved so far and what is still there for us to achieve,” Klopp said in a statement on the club’s website.

“When the call (to manage Liverpool) came in autumn 2015, I felt we were perfect for each other. If anything, now I feel I underestimated that.

“It is only with a total belief that the collaboration remains totally complementary on both sides that I am able to make this commitment to 2024.”

The club said the German manager’s assistants Peter Krawietz and Pep Lijnders had also agreed new deals.

Klopp took Liverpool to the brink of their first-ever EPL title last season, finishing a point behind champions Manchester City.

This season, they are well poised to end their 30-year wait for a top-flight league title after going unbeaten in the first 16 games.

They have an eight-point lead over second-placed Leicester City.


(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Woods to sit out Saturday fourballs at Presidents Cup



United States’ captain Tiger Woods has decided to sit out Saturday morning’s fourball matches against the Internationals at the Presidents Cup.

Justin Thomas, whose partnership with Woods at Royal Melbourne has helped keep the U.S. in touch with the Internationals, has instead been paired with Rickie Fowler.

They face Australian Marc Leishman and China’s Li Haotong, who has been handed his Presidents Cup debut by team captain Ernie Els on the third day of the biennial competition.

Woods has decided to stick with the misfiring combination of Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson.

He sent them out for a third time in spite of defeats in the first two days, to face Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Taiwan’s CT Pan.

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele face the South Korean pair after Friday’s win over Adam Hadwin and Joaquin Niemann helped the U.S. hold the Internationals to a 6.5-3.5 lead.

They take on Im Sung-jae and Abraham Ancer in an all-rookie match.

Tony Finau is back in the U.S. line-up after being rested on Friday and will partner Matt Kuchar against Australian Adam Scott and An Byeong-hun of South Korea.

The pairings for Saturday afternoon’s foursome matches have yet to be announced.

(Edited by: Emmanuel Okara and Olawale Alabi)


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African Track Championship: 5 cyclists depart Nigeria for Cape Town training



The Cycling Federation of Nigeria (CFN) says five of its cyclists on Thursday departed Nigeria for South Africa for track training in preparation for the 2020 Africa Track Championship in January.

The President of CFN, Giandomenico Massari, told the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja on Friday that the cyclists departed Abuja for the two-week training and would return on Dec. 28.

Massari said the five athletes are two male and three female, namely: Okeyah Berhel, John Odumu, Mary Samuel, Tawakalt Yekeem and Grace Ayuba.

He added that the training which would hold at the World Cycling Centre in Cape Town was for selected cyclists across Africa.

According to Massari, the cyclist would also compete in international track events in preparation for the 2020 African Track Championship which is an Olympic qualifier.

NAN reports that the 2020 Africa Track Championship will hold in Cairo, Egypt in January.

Edited by: Donald Ugwu


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GOtv Boxing Night 20 brings WBF Heavyweight bout to Nigeria



The 20th edition of GOtv Boxing Night will be headlined by a World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental heavyweight title bout between US-based Nigerian, Onoriode “Godzilla” Ehwariemi, and Argentina’s Ariel “Chiquito” Baracamonte.

This was announced in Lagos on Thursday at a press conference addressed by the organisers, Flykite Productions.

The bout is one of the nine scheduled for the show slated to hold on Dec. 28 at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.

Jenkins Alumona, CEO of Flykite Productions, explained that the bout, which is the biggest to be staged on Nigerian soil in decades, is a part-fulfilment of the promise to host world-class bouts at the show.

Nigeria has not hosted a bout of this profile in decades. We made a promise to put Nigeria back on the global boxing map and we are happy to see the promise come to fruition.

We believe this bout provides an indication of the return to health of Nigerian boxing since GOtv launched an intervention to revive the sport which, long before 2014, was in coma,”Alumona said.

He added that the nine-bout event will also feature live musical performances by Zlatan Ibile, Mayorkun and Oritsefemi among others.

In addition to the headline clash, fights lined up include the West African Boxing Union (WABU) lightweight title defence by Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu, who takes on Ghana’s Ezekiel Anan.

WABU welterweight title defence by Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde against Ghana’s Sanitor Agbenyo.

National featherweight challenge clash between Taiwo “Esepo” Agbaje and Olusegun Moses; as well as national super featherweight duel between Ridwan “Scorpion” Oyekola and Sikiru “Omo Iya Eleja” Shogbesan.

Also in action are Adewale “Masevex” Masebinu, who takes on Olanrewaju Segun; and Adeyemi “Sense” Opeyemi, who fights Sadiq Adeleke.

Alaba Omotola takes on Bolaji Abdullahi; and rising female ring artist, Cynthia “Boby Girl” Ogunsemilore faces Aminat Yekini.

The best boxer at the show will win a cash prize of N1million attached to the Mojisola Ogunsanya Memorial Trophy.

Edited /Oluwole Sogunle

CAPTION: L-R; Jenkins Alumona, MD, Flykite Production; Bamidele Johnson, COO, Flykite Production; Jenifer Ukoh, PR Manager, GoTv; Rafiu Ladipo, President, Nigerian Boxing Board on Control (NBBofC); and Remi Aboderin, General Secretary, NBBoFC, during a press conference on GoTv Boxing night held at The Regent, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday.

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Former Spanish footballers sentenced to prison for raping teenager



(Reuters) Three former Spanish football players were each sentenced on Thursday to 38 years in prison for gang-raping a minor in 2017, the latest high-profile sexual violence case in Spain.

The three men at the time played for fourth division club Arandina FC.

They knew that the victim was underage when they raped her in their apartment in Aranda de Duero in northcentral Spain,’’ the judge said.

The issue of sexual violence has been thrust in the spotlight in Spain in the wake of several trials, including the so-called Wolf Pack case.

In this case, five men were sentenced for raping a teenage girl during Pamplona’s annual bull-running festival.

At issue in the Wolf Pack trial, as well as a string of others, was the fact that Spanish law currently does not legally recognise rape.

It only looks into it if physical violence or intimidation is employed.

The Socialist government has appointed a panel to review relevant parts of the penal code.

In the sentencing of the football players, the judge said the girl, who was less than 16 years at the time, was unable to react to the assault.

He said this was due to the disparity in age and physical strength between her and the attackers.

The attack took place with the lights off, taking the victim by surprise and creating an atmosphere of intimidation, the judge added.

The victim had initially told friends and relatives on social networks that she was not raped.

But the court said it accepted her subsequent statement that she did not submit voluntarily to the men.

The three men were convicted for rape and for helping the other two take part.

Olga Navarro, the players’ lawyer, called the sentence “embarrassing” and said the court was imprisoning three innocent young men, who have denied any wrongdoing.

The men insist the girl was lying.

We’re not rapists. We were naive and they’re trying to screw up our lives,” one of the men, Carlos Cuadrado, said after the sentence.

Another, Victor Rodriguez, said the sentence was the result of social and media pressure.

The sentence can be appealed.


(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)

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