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Ghana Down South Africa As Mali, Guinea Share Spoils.

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Ghana joined Sudan on top of Group C as the Black Stars started off their campaign to qualify for the 2021 Total African Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a 2-0 victory over South Africa in Cape Coast on Thursday.

The victory took them to second spot in the standings, only separated from Sudan by goal difference. Thomas Partey and Kudus Mohammed scored a goal apiece in either half as the Black Stars stormed off on a positive note.

Partey broke the deadlock in the 36th minute with a brilliant low effort from range that caught Bafana Bafana keeper Ronwen Williams flat footed. The Ghanaians were rewarded for a bright start as they had most of the scoring chances.

In the 10th minute, a Partey low freekick was flicked goal-ward by Jordan Ayew but a hawk-eyed Williams picked it up. Dean Furman had a chance for South Africa on the quarter hour mark after Percy Tau’s freekick ping-ponged on bodies inside the box, but the curling shot went over.

In the second half, Ghana kept pushing for a second with Boateng coming close with a header that was well saved by Williams.

They finally got the nerve-calming second 11 minutes from time when substitute Mohammed won the ball close to the halfway line, dribbled into the box and struck an unstoppable right footed shot.

Meanwhile in Bamako, Guinea twice came from behind to force a 2-2 draw with Mali in a thrilling tie. Adama Traore broke the deadlock for the Malians in the 56th minute, but Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita drew Guinea level just 10 minutes later.

The home side would take just five minutes to get themselves back into the lead through Sekou Koita’s goal, but the never say die Guineans struck back level in the 75th minute through Sekou Conde.

Guinea will face Group A leaders Namibia in Conakry on Sunday while Mali will travel away to take on Chad.

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Liverpool Are Set To Bid For RB Salzburg Playmaker, Takumi Minamino.

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Liverpool have fended off competition from Manchester United to agree a January deal in principle with Red Bull Salzburg for Takumi Minamino, who has a paltry release clause of just £7.25million.

Christoph Freund, sporting director of the Austrian champions, told The Independent this week that the 24-year-old is ready to accelerate his development at one of Europe’s elite clubs after five years of service.

Liverpool’s excellent off-field relationship with Salzburg - their new £50million training base was inspired by their Champions League group opponents - has helped them push past a queue of interest in Minamino, which includes United and several Bundesliga sides.

The player himself had originally expected his next destination to be Germany’s top-tier and given his modest nature, was said to be taken aback that the Premier League leaders were heavily pursuing him.

“He is an outstanding player with an outstanding personality,” Freund told The Independent. “The big clubs have been watching him and if I was them, I’d have no hesitation to sign him. Takumi is ready to make the next step in January.”

Salzburg used the option to extend Minamino contract’s last February to 2021, and without the escape clause, could have comfortably fetched over £25million for the Japan international.

Liverpool’s appreciation of the attacking midfielder pre-dates his impressive displays against them in the Champions League as the club keep a close eye on Salzburg’s talent hub, through which Sadio Mane and Naby Keita have also progressed from.

The Austrian’s are famed for recruiting young players with high ceilings and affording them to opportunity to develop in a professional setting much earlier than would typically be the case.

Minamino fits Jürgen Klopp’s mould of a technically gifted footballer with exceptional workrate, a stellar attitude and the desire for further advancement. His age is ticks the box of Liverpool’s recruitment profile and an added advantage is the commercial opportunities the European champions would gain from his signing.

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UCL’20: “We’ll Eliminate Liverpool In The Knockout Stage. – Zinedine Zidane

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Zinedine Zidane has promised to ‘eliminate’ Liverpool if Real Madrid are drawn against the Champions League holders in the last 16.

Liverpool booked their place in the knockout stages on Tuesday night as they beat Salzburg 2-0 to top Group E, with Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah scoring second-half goals at the Red Bull Arena.

The following evening, a young Madrid side cruised to a 3-1 victory over Club Bruges and finished runners-up in Group A behind Paris Saint-Germain. Madrid won the Champions League three times on the bounce under Zidane before being knocked out by underdogs Ajax in the round of 16 last term.

Zidane is desperate to return the trophy to the Spanish capital this season and insists his side are ready to test themselves against any opposition, even Liverpool who they beat in the 2018 final.

‘If we play Liverpool, we will eliminate them,’ Zidane said with a smile following Madrid’s win over Club Bruges. ‘We can’t do anything about the draw.’

On Madrid’s performance at the Jan Breydel Stadium, the Frenchman added: ‘We are happy with the victory and with the way we played. ‘We had difficulty with our game since they usually play with five at the back and, today, they played with four. ‘It took 10 or 15 minutes for the players to adjust. ‘The second half was better in every area.’

Klopp was similarly happy with his side’s display against an ‘unbelievably strong’ Salzburg team. ‘I couldn’t have more respect for what Salzburg is doing,’ the German said. ‘I know how people see it – you think being the best team in Austria is “OK”.

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Manny Pacquiao Graduates From The University.

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International boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday graduated with a degree in political science from the University of Makati. The Philippine national majored in Local Government Administration.

In February, the 40-year-old boxing champion and lawmaker revealed that he decided to pursue a college degree because he “needs” it to better understand the country’s situation. In 2008, Pacquiao was enrolled in the business management program of Notre Dame of Dadiangas University in General Santos City.

He passed a high school equivalency exam in February 2007 under the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System, which made him eligible for college education.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Jr. Named Best Striker In Europe.

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On Monday, Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr won a football tournament with the Juventus Under-9 team, thereby showing all signs of following in his famous father’s footsteps.

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Ronaldo Jr was also named the best striker of the tournament, for scoring three goals throughout the tournament. Afterwards, Cristiano Ronaldo himself took to Instagram to post a picture of his son with his “best striker” award.

“I’m a proud daddy,” the Juventus ace wrote alongside the picture. Take a look:

According to Football Talent Scout information, Ronaldo Jr. has incredible stats for his age.

He has made just 28 appearances for the Juventus Under-9 team so far, but has already recorded 58 goals and 18 assists. However, earlier this year, Cristiano Ronaldo claimed that his son will struggle to be as good as him at football.

Speaking to beIN Sports as reported by The Sun, the 33-year-old Portuguese superstar and five-time Ballon d’Or winner said: “I hope that Cristiano can be like his father. He says he will be better than I, but I think it will be difficult.”

The 34-year-old recently lost out on the race for the 2019 Ballon d’Or title, finishing third behind Lionel Messi who lifted the trophy for a record sixth time in his career, as Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk came second.

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