Chelsea Beat Villarreal To Win UEFA Super Cup
Kepa Arrizabalaga was the unlikely hero as Chelsea started the new season as they ended the last with a European trophy by beating Villarreal 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to win the UEFA Super Cup in Belfast.
The Spaniard, who has lost his place as number one since joining the club for a world record fee for a goalkeeper in 2018, was introduced late in extra-time as a substitute for the shootout by Thomas Tuchel.
Kepa famously refused to be replaced by former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri in a League Cup final defeat to Manchester City two years ago.
But this time he rewarded his manager’s faith with saves from Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol.
“It was not spontaneous,” said Tuchel who explained the plan had been hatched in the FA Cup last season.
“We talked about it with the goalkeepers after the first cup game against Barnsley.
“Kepa has the best percentage at saving penalties, the analysing guys and goalkeeping coaches showed me the data. We spoke to the players that this could happen when we play in knockout games. It’s fantastic how Edouard (Mendy) accepted it.
“There is proof that Kepa is better in this discipline. They’re team players. Edouard does not show the pride to not step off the field. He was happy to do it for the team and take this for the team.”
Chelsea’s win over Manchester City in Porto to lift the Champions League for a second time in May was the culmination of a meteoric rise in Tuchel’s first five months in charge.
The German has bemoaned having to manage a 42-man squad during pre-season and could soon have even more firepower to call on with Romelu Lukaku expected to complete a return to Stamford Bridge later this week for a club record £97 million ($135 million).
But the depth of resources available to Tuchel was on show early on.
Euro 2020 finalists Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell, Reece James and Jorginho all had to settle for a place on the bench after their late return to pre-season training, but Chelsea still had far too much for the Europa League winners in the opening half hour.
U20WC: Flying Eagles Crash Out To South Korea
Nigeria have bowed out of the 2023 U-20 World Cup after slumping to a 1-0 defeat against South Korea on Sunday.
The Flying Eagles enjoyed the earlier exchanges but failed to make them count in the quarter-final clash.
While the game ended barren after normal time, it only took South Korea five minutes into the extra time to head home the lone goal of the match.
Coach Ladan Bosso’s men dominated the game, especially in the first half and the latter part of the match. They had five corners in the first half, a credence to their dominance.
One of Nigeria’s earlier efforts in the game was via AC Milan’s star Victor Eletu. However, Kim Joonhong parried his shot away for a corner kick.
As the game wore on, the Flying Eagles continued to press for a goal but the South Koreans dealt with their threats. The first half ended with no team able to break the deadlock.
When the second-half hostilities began, Coach Bosso made some switches, throwing in fresh legs as the 2005 runners-up battled to get a goal.
Both sides grew into the game with South Korea opening up more unlike in the first half. However, none could find the net.
But when the game went into extra time, Choi Seok-Hyun needed just five minutes to head in the winner from a corner kick as he flicked the ball past Kingsley Aniagboso.
Nigeria were inches close to a leveller in the second half of extra time but Umeh Emmanuel’s effort at the edge of the box flew over the crossbar.
He had another opportunity to make amends. Again, his shot could only find the side net in the 120th minute.
South Korea held on in added time to seal their second win in three meetings over Nigeria at this level.
The Asians will now play Italy in the semi-finals of the competition taking place in Argentina.
Osimhen Becomes First African To Win Serie A Golden Boot
Victor Osimhen has won the Serie A Golden Boot for scoring the highest number of goals in the 2022/23 campaign. The feat makes him the first African to scoop the prize.
The Napoli star scored 26 goals in 32 matches, edging his closest rival Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez to land the highly coveted “Capocannoniere” prize.
Osimhen had already scored 25 goals before Napoli’s Sunday game against Sampdoria. He then scored from the spot to add one more strike to his tally as his club won 2-0.
“This season has been brilliant for me, for my teammates, and for Napoli. We deserved this,” Osimhen told DAZN before discussing whether he might leave in a big-money summer move.
“I don’t know, the president has to decide that. I love the people of Napoli, they have shown me so much love. For me, I don’t mind, the president decides and I will just go with the flow.”
The Nigerian’s goals were instrumental as the club clinched their first league title in 33 years and their third overall.
Earlier, the Super Eagle scooped the Best Striker award for the season for his efforts.
Sunday’s award comes after years of attempts by Africans to win the prize. While the continent’s only Ballon d’Or winner George Weah played in Italy, he could not win it.
Osimhen’s compatriot Simy Nwankwo challenged for the Capocannoniere in the 2020/21 campaign. He scored 20 league goals for Crotone but finished nine strikes behind eventual winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto’s appeared to be the closest to landing the gong in the 2010/2011 season.
He netted 21 league goals which were five shy of Napoli’s Edinson Cavani’s strikes and 7 behind the winner Antonio Di Natale of Udinese who scored 28 goals.
Golden Eaglets Out Of U17 AFCON, Fail To Qualify For World Cup
Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets crashed out of the under 17 AFCON 2023 after falling 2-1 to fellow West Africans Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals in Algiers.
The result meant the Golden Eaglets won’t feature in the under 17 World Cup that would take place later this year, with Burkina Faso completing the quartet of teams to represent Africa in the tournament.
The other teams are Senegal, Mali and Morocco.
The Nigerians have their poor finishing skills and defensive blunders to blame for the result.
The Junior Stallions went into a 2-0 lead over the five-time world champions courtesy of Aboubacar Camara.
He first found the back of the net from a rebound just before half time before completing his brace on 57 minutes from the penalty spot after a goal-bound Burkinabe player was fouled inside the box.
Abubakar Abdullahi, however, pulled one back for Nigeria midway through the second half with a simple tap in giving the Eaglets a hope of comeback.
But it was not to be as the young Nigerians failed to convert any chance in front of goal to pull level.
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