Idrissa Gueye scored in the 69th minute to hand Senegal a 1-0 win over Benin and send the Lions of Teranga to the semi-finals of the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019.
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) came into use for the first time in the tournament’s history and was called upon in the 72nd minute, ruling out a Sadio Mane goal, but that counted for less as Senegal held on for the win.
After a tale of missed chances, Senegal finally got their goal, one made from Merseyside. Liverpool’s Sadio Mane teed up Everton’s Gueye before the latter burst into the box and shot past the keeper. After the goal, Mane should have added to his tally of three in the tournament.
Sub Krepin Diata sent him through on goal, but his shot was well saved by the keeper. He had another chance after his goal was ruled out by VAR but again, he could not get a shot past the keeper.
The Teranga Lions controlled much of the game and should have gone to the break with at least a goal on the balance of chances they created in the first half. Mane had the earliest chance in the 19th minute when he chested down beautifully a well weighted ball from Kalidou Coulibaly, but he was sandwiched by the two Benin central defenders and couldn’t pull the trigger with goal in sight.
Benin had two good chances in the 23rd and 25th minutes through Cebio Soukou. His first effort was from range which went just wide.
Two minutes later, he came close when he curled in a freekick from the right but it went agonizingly off target with a number of Benin legs thrown at it missing the crucial touch to guide the ball home.
Senegal bossed the game and had another opportunity to score late in the half though it almost turned out to be a game of ping pong. Niang broke off on the left but his shot was saved by the keeper before follow up efforts from Gueye and Keita Balde were both blocked at the edge of the six yard box.
At the start of the second half, Benin started with frenzy looking to bury the chances early. Sessi D’Almeida had a shot go wide from range before Mickael Pote missed a glorious chance.
The ball flew straight into his boot unmarked from a Soukou cross from the right, but his aim at goal with no one on his shadow went straight to the keeper’s arms.
As the game wore on, goal scorer Gueye was substituted to a standing ovation and in his place came defensive midfielder Salif Sane to see off the single goal lead.
Elsewhere in Cairo, Nigeria became the second team (after Senegal) to reach 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations semifinal after defeating South Africa 2-1 at the Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday night.
Samuel Chukwueze opened the deadlock after 27 minutes. VAR was used to confirm South Africa’s equalizer scored by Bongani Zungu after 74 minutes, but William Troost Ekong scored one minute from time to send the Super Eagles for the semifinal for the first time since they were crowned champions in 2013. They will now wait to see their opponents from Algeria and Cote d’Ivoire who lock horns in Suez on Thursday.
Wilfried N’didi gave Bafana Bafana an idea of what to expect when he had the first shot after 6 minutes. And despite seeing South Africa with more possession, Nigeria had the lion share of chances.
Chukwueze broke the deadlock 27 minutes after receiving the ball from Alex Iwobi inside the vital area. His initial shot was deflected from defense but he managed to collect the ball again and score past Ronwen Williams between South Africa’s posts.
South Africa tried to equalize but couldn’t pose real threats to Nigeria’s defense and goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
After the break Nigeria were about to double their lead. Peter Etebo sent a scorcher from a free kick but Williams hand and the crossbar stopped him after 51 minutes.
And after 73 minutes VAR interfered to give South Africa the equalizer. From a free kick Bongani Zungu sent a header that wronged Akpeyi. The goal was initially ruled offside but VAR proved the ball came from a Nigerian defender back to let the goal stand.
Iwobi tried to restore Nigeria’s lead but his shot missed the target after 80 minutes.
And when it seemed the game is going to extra time, Williams made a fatal mistake when he missed a corner kick to leave William Troost Ekong to score in the empty net wending the Super Eagles to the semifinal.
Bale In Outrageous £1m-a-Week Deal Daily Record.
Gareth Bale has been offered an outrageous £1million-a-week deal in the Chinese Super League.
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is desperate to offload the Welshman and took the unprecedented step of publicly attempting to force him out of the club.
Zidane pulled no punches as he insisted he wants the winger gone as soon as possible, prompting Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett to label him "a disgrace".
But the French legend may be about to get his wish as Beijing Guoan tabled a staggering contract for the 30-year-old, as reported by our colleagues at The Mirror .
Bale already earns a mind-boggling £650,000-a-week at Madrid but a switch to China would make him the highest paid player on the planet.
And if he heads to the Far East, he'd be granting Zidane his wish to see the back of him.
Zidane said: "We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team.
"I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done."
Those comments prompted an angry response from Bale's representative Barnett.
The former Spurs star has won four Champions Leagues, three Super Cups, three World Club Cups, a La Liga title and the Copa del Rey.
And Barnett said: "Zidane is a disgrace - he shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid."
Bale is expected to remain in Europe amid reports Paris Saint-Germain have told Madrid they would accept him in a cash-plus-player deal for Neymar .
AZUMAH NELSON: First African Inducted To The International Boxing Hall Of Fame.
Azumah Nelson, born on 19th July 1958 in the newly independent Ghana is widely considered as the best boxer to come out of the African continent.
In his fighting days, the Ghanaian boxing legend’s thudding jabs and powerful overhands earned him the moniker “The Professor,” named for the lessons he’d teach opponents inside the ring. His daring feats inside the four corners of the ring made him a national hero in the West African country, while in 2004 he became the first African to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Born the year after his home nation of Ghana gained independence, he played a major part in putting this new country on the world map. A glittering amateur career saw him win every title – competing at the 1978 Commonwealth Games where he won a gold medal in the Featherweight class, except an Olympic medal, as Ghana boycotted the 1980 Games – even when he was a favourite to win.
From the Ghetto of Bokum…
Azumah grew up in the harsh environment of the Bokum province in the Accra Region of Ghana. Fighting was a hobby for Azumah and a way of life for the children of the region. In the then Bokum, kids were allowed to fight on the streets as long as they are the same age and used no weapons. Outsiders knew about the kids from Bokum, and even if you were a talented fighter, you did not mess with the kids from Bokum even if you were older.
Like many champions, he rose from humble beginnings, suffered tragedy along the way, but he won and remained a world champion at featherweight and super featherweight for eleven years. Very few champions have carried such a burden of expectation, and Azumah delivered success at a time when his country needed a hero. He never faltered and won the respect of many across the world.
Azumah Nelson picked up gold in the featherweight division at the Edmonton games in 1978. After this success he turned professional and within 10 fights he was the holder of the Ghanaian, African and Commonwealth belts.
He went 13-0 to start his professional career. In his 14th fight as a professional, he showed the stuff that spawn legends as he stepped up against the legendary WBC featherweight champion Salvador Sanchez.
Azumah Nelson made his first international bout at Madisen Square against the great Salvador Sanchez. After turning professional, he took a last-minute bout for the world title with Salvador Sanchez, even though he was overwhelmed in the 15th and final round, it was that bout that changed his life. From there his fame started spreading and his boxing career spiraled upwards never to decend. Two years later, in 1984, he won the WBC Featherweight World Title.
As a pro, Azumah Nelson took on all comers. The two epic battles with Jeff Fenech, the four with Jesse James Leija, the two with Gabriel Ruelas, and the two with Marcos Villasana, his one round demolition of Pat Cowdell, the epic bout against lion-hearted Jim McDonnell at the Royal Albert Hall. Jim got up from four knockdowns at the Royal Albert Hall and yet, was overcome by Azumah firing on all cylinders.
Charlie Magri, a former World Champion himself, doffed his hat to Azumah’s magnificence. Time and time again, his opponents have praised Azumah as the consummate professional, a gentleman and a road warrior “who’d go to an opponent’s back garden or the gates of hell, and still most of the time achieve a staggering, if not swaggering victory.”
Nelson is widely considered the greatest African boxer of all time, as he held the WBC featherweight title once and the WBC super featherweight title twice.
He ended his career with a record of 47 fights; 39 wins (28 KOs), 6 losses and 2 draws.
Beyond the Ring…
After he retired in 1998, he made a brief comeback to engage lifelong rival Jeff Fenech in Australia in 2008 to raise funds for a charity project being undertaken by the Azumah Nelson Foundation.
Further, he has been actively engaged with inspiring Ghanaian high school students to focus on their studies with a programme dubbed “Time With The Professor”, which he uses to interact with selected students in the various schools across the country. Also, he is involved in boxing promotion in Ghana, partnering ‘Hemann Promotions’ to stage the popular Azumah Nelson Fight Night series.
He is also the brand ambassador of oil marketing company, GOIL and a Director at Director at Kenpong Construction & Telecom Limited. Likewise, he is into farming. His plantations produce teak wood used for telephone poles and furniture.
“I like farming. I’ve been spending a lot of my time on my farms in between travelling for WBC events. I spend part of my time to also train and mentor young boxers in Accra.”
Azumah Nelson built his career on willingness to fight anywhere at any time and having a warrior’s mentality. Nelson was a superb boxer, a slugger who throws punches from strange angles. It is no surprise he is the very FIRST African to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
AFCON’19: Bounedjah’s 1st Half Fluke Enough To Secure Continental Trophy For Algeria.
Baghdad Bounedjah’s first minute deflected effort handed Algeria their second Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title after a 29-year wait with a 1-0 victory over Senegal in a highly charged final at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday night.
Algeria who were playing only their second final since 2010 held on to the slim advantage for the rest of the 90 minutes while Senegal’s wait for a maiden AFCON title still lingers on. It is another case of so near yet so far away, the Lions of Teranga having lost another final in 2002 in Mali.
Within the opening minute, Algeria was one goal up. Bounedjah picked the ball after Chekou Kouyate had missed his attempted tackle on the left, drifted in and struck a shot that came off Salif Sane, the man coming in for the suspended Koulubaly.
The ball took a punishing dip beyond the keeper into the net with one half of the stadium stunned into silence while the other half in green and white of Les Fennecs roared in deafening crescendo.
Algeria’s tact of starting off quick and playing the ball in Senegal’s half worked perfectly until halfway through when the Teranga Lions started roaring slowly into the game.
In the 26th minute, Henry Saivet attempted to catch keeper Adi-Rais Mbohli off his guard with a freekick from range, but the hawk-eyed shot stopper adjusted quickly to gather.
Mbaye Niang had a brilliant effort later with a superbly struck volley from range. The burly forward chested the ball down from 20 yards out and took a sweet volley on the half turn, his stinging effort going just over.
At the stroke of halftime, Sane akmost made amends in exact same fashion he had conceded in the first minute, but this time is strike from range off a corner was deflected over the bar.
The second half started in as much pace as the first had ended and Senegal thought they had been given a lifeline on the hour mark when Djamel Benlamri seemed to have handled the ball inside the box off a Sarr cross.
However, after consulting the VAR, the referee overturned his earlier decision of a penalty and gave possession back to the Algerians.
Senegal kept their push on and came close again in the 65th minute when Sarr beautifully picked up a long ball from Lamine Gassama before striding into the box, gliding past the keeper but his eventual shot came off the side netting.
Youssef Sabaly was next to line up an effort when he picked the ball on the left from Sadio Mane before moving into good shooting range, but his rocket of a shot was smothered behind for a corner by Mbohli.
On the other end, Algeria who were pushed on the wall by Senegal managed to conjure a chance at goal off a set piece, but Youcef Bellaili’s curling effort was deflected for another corner that was well defended.
With the clock ticking and a goal urgently needed, Senegal boss Aliou Cisse made changes, Saivet coming off for Mbaye Diagne, Niang came off for Keita Balde while earlier, Krepin Diatta had come on for Papa Ndiaye.
Djamel Belmadi responded by making a defensive change, Sofiane Feghouli paving way for Mehdi Jean.
Algeria managed to hold on to the score-line and secured the Cup of Nations crown with an unbeaten run.
PRE-SEASON: Kawasaki Inflict First Loss On Lampard.
Frank Lampard suffered his first defeat as Chelsea manager as Leandro Damiao's late strike gave Kawasaki a 1-0 friendly win in Yokohama.
The pre-season contest had appeared to be heading for a goalless draw at the Nissan Stadium, until Brazil striker Damiao headed home with just two minutes to go.
Despite the result, however, Lampard will still have taken much from his side's run out in searing temperatures against the J-League champions, with midfielder Mason Mount once again catching the eye ahead of the new campaign.
How Lampard suffered first reverse
Lampard again opted to start with Mount - who recently signed a new five-year contract at Stamford Bridge - as part of a midfield three, and the 20-year-old impressed in a first period of few clear-cut openings.
However, it was the introduction of Ross Barkley as one of several half-time changes that gave Chelsea's play some much-needed impetus in the second half, only for Shota Arai to thwart the visitors with a number of smart stops.
As the clock ticked down, though, the home team sensed a famous win, twice going close when first Damiao thumped the bar five minutes from time, before Willy Caballero - standing in for the ill Kepa Arrizabalaga - produced a brilliant one-handed save.
But Chelsea - who brought on Christian Pulisic for his debut midway through the second half - did not heed the warning and from the resulting corner, Damiao was left totally unmarked at the far post to head home the winner.
Mount stakes a claim
Lampard clearly has great faith in his young charge, handing the England U21 international another start in midfield ahead of some more experienced players.
And the 20-year-old - who spent last season playing under the Chelsea boss while out on loan at Derby - did not let his manager down with another assured display in midfield.
Mount's passing, running off the ball and closing down were all impressive, with his best moment coming when he nearly opened the scoring with a delightful curler that was only just off target at the start of the second half.
And on his showings so far in preseason, Mount could very well have already played his way into Chelsea's starting XI for their opening Premier League clash at Man Utd on August 11.
Pulisic's long-waited Blues debut
Chelsea fans have been waiting some time to catch a glimpse of their new £57.6m midfielder from Borussia Dortmund, who they signed back in the January transfer window.
Twenty minutes into the second half at the Nissan Stadium, though, the US international finally entered the fray to make his Blues bow in place of the tiring Mount
However, in the short time he had on the field, the cultured Pulisic impressed with some neat touches in his position on the right of a midfield three.
'We were not clinical in front of goal'
Despite suffering his first loss as Chelsea boss, Frank Lampard still saw plenty of positives in his team's performance in Yokohama.
"Obviously we want to win matches no matter what," he said after the game. "But 10 days into preseason, having flown into Japan three days ago, brings up a lot of difficulties for us physically.
"And that is where I was very pleased with the players today, I thought they gave everything in strong humidity. Some good individual performances, some people finding their fitness and form. The normal things in preseason that take a bit of time, which is probably being clinical in front of goal, which we were not.
"But that comes and some small details, which we will work on. So I have no fears, I was happy with big parts of the performance."
Chelsea's remaining pre-season fixtures...
July 23: Barcelona - Saitama Stadium, Japan
July 28: Reading - Madejski Stadium
July 31: RB Salzburg - Red Bull Arena, Salzburg
August 3: Borussia Monchengladbach - Borussia Park, Germany
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