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FA Cup fourth round review: Manchester City and Chelsea cruise to easy wins

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Manchester City and Chelsea cruised to easy wins in their respective fourth round fixtures of the English FA Cup against Cardiff and Newcastle respectively on Sunday.

De Bruyne starred as Manchester City stayed on course for an unprecedented quadruple as a 2-0 win at Cardiff put the runaway Premier League leaders into the FA Cup last 16.

Manchester City, 12 points clear at the summit of English football, are bidding to bring the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League titles to the Etihad.

They made short work of second-tier Cardiff, with Belgian star De Bruyne putting them ahead in just eight minutes.

This was after he deceived the home side with a brilliant free-kick that he struck under, rather than over, the defensive wall.

Bernardo Silva appeared to have doubled the visitors’ lead with a thunderous 26th-minute shot.

But his goal was ruled out because the officials deemed Leroy Sane to be off-side and interfering with play.

It appeared a harsh call, but there was no way of reviewing the decision.

The controversial video assistant referee system that is being trialled in some English Cup ties this season was not in use for this match.

But the second goal Pep Guardiola’s men had threatened arrived in the 37th minute when Silva’s superb curling cross from the left was glanced in by Raheem Sterling.

Sane was the victim of a bad tackle by Joe Bennett in first-half stoppage time and was replaced at the break by Sergio Aguero.

Cardiff defender Bennett was sent off in injury time at the end of the match when he received a second yellow card for another poor challenge, on Brahim Diaz.

Bruyne said there had been nothing complicated regarding his goal: “The wall was not nine metres away from me and so they were very close and it was easy to put it under.”

But he was slightly bemused by the tactics employed by a Cardiff side pushing for promotion to the Premier League.

“They played man against man all over the pitch — it was a little bit weird,” De Bruyne said. “It left a lot of space.”

Earlier, Michy Batshuayi scored twice as Chelsea beat English Premier League rivals Newcastle United 3-0 to also advance into the fifth round.

Batshuayi’s goals in the 31st and 44th minutes and a Marcos Alonso free-kick 18 minutes from time were enough for Premier League champions Chelsea to see off Rafael Benitez’s struggling side.

The Belgian’s striker’s first goal was the result of a neat team move in the 31st minute.

Pedro’s superb through ball split the Newcastle defence and led to Eden Hazard slipping a pass inside to Alonso, who set up Batshuayi for a finish from eight yards out.

The Belgian forward scored his second goal shortly before half-time when his shot took a huge deflection off Newcastle’s Jamaal Lascelles.

Alonso sealed victory with a well-struck free-kick.

“When I have a chance I take the chance and I work every day to be here,” Batshuayi, who has been linked with a move away from Chelsea during the transfer window, told reporters.

Following their League Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal, the FA Cup offers Chelsea their best chance of a domestic trophy this season.

By contrast, Premier League survival is the priority for a Newcastle side that are currently just one point above the relegation zone.

Newcastle manager Benitez, asked if he would be able to bring in a new striker before the transfer window shuts on Wednesday, replied: “I don’t think so but we will see. We will try to do something.”

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Mahrez hands Algeria 2019 AFCON ticket

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Riyad Mahrez shoots Algeria into 2019 AFCON finals

Riyad Mahrez shoots Algeria into 2019 AFCON finals

Riyad Mahrez scored two stunning goals as former winners Algeria qualified for next year’s African Nations Cup finals on Sunday, with Guinea, Mauritania and the Ivory Coast also sealing their places.

Mahrez struck twice in the opening half hour as Algeria, who won the continental title in 1990, sped into a three-goal lead away against Togo before eventually winning 4-1.

The victory pushed them to top place in Group D.

Mauritania qualified for the first time from Group I as they came from a goal down to beat Botswana 2-1 in Nouakchott with Ismael Diakite scoring an 84th minute winner.

Guinea qualified without kicking a ball several hours before their Group H game against Cote d’Ivoire in Conakry, when Rwanda and the Central African Republic drew 2-2 in Kigali.

Guinea then went on to win the group with a 1-1 home draw.

The Ivorians got the point they needed for qualification when Jean-Michael Seri equalised Mohamed Yattara’s early goal for the hosts.

Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Zimbabwe all missed out on a chance to book their berths.

Burkina Faso were beaten 2-1 in Angola while captain Willam Jebor scored the only goal as Liberia checked Zimbabwe 1-0 in Monrovia.

Tanzania lost 1-0 away in Lesotho, who won a rare competitive international with a header from tall centre back Nkau Lerotholi.

2012 champions Zambia were eliminated from the race in Group K as they went down in Maputo to Mozambique with Reginaldo’s 63rd minute goal separating the two teams.

Jordan Ayew scored twice as he and his brother Dede returned to the Ghana team for the first time in a year to help beat Ethiopia 2-0 away in Group F.

The derby between Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo ended 1-1 in Brazzaville, keeping both sides’ chances alive in Group G.

The top two teams in the 12 groups qualify except Group B which includes already-qualified tournament hosts Cameroon, where Morocco have made sure of the lone slot.

Egypt, Madagascar, Senegal and Tunisia all booked their place last month while Mali, Morocco, Nigeria and Uganda were added to the list on Saturday.

The rest of the 24-team line-up will be decided in the final round of qualifying in March.

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AFCON 2019: Buhari hails Super Eagles

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Super Eagles of Nigeria on their qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations holding in Cameroon in June 2019.

The Eagles secured their ticket following the 1-1 draw against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Johannesburg Saturday.

The Super Eagles now led the Group E, with ten points. South Africs are second with nine points but have a difficult last game to play away to Libya who are third with seven points.

Either of the two teams can pick the last ticket of the group to Cameroon. South Africa need a draw, and Libya a win.

President joined millions of football-loving Nigerians in commending the Super Eagles for their spirited and disciplined performance against a very formidable opponent which earned them qualification with the final match against Seychelles a mere formality.

In a statement by Femi Adesina, the media adviser, President Buhari has keenly followed the senior national football team’s progress in the qualifying stages.

“President Buhari is enthused by their confidence, sense of patriotism and professionalism, and commends these attributes to other Nigerians.

“He equally commends the coaching crew, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Supporters Club, especially Nigerians residing in South Africa who turned out in great numbers to cheer the players, for a job well-done, and assures them of the unflinching support of the Federal Government going forward.

“The President wishes the young Nigerian football ambassadors more successes as they prepare for the AFCON tournament in Cameroon,” Adesina added.

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250 golfers set to participate in Lagos Golf Open

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Lagos Amateur Golf Open

Lagos Amateur Golf Open

No fewer than 260 golfers from across the country will converge on the Ikoyi Club 1968 for the 57th edition of the prestigious Lagos Amateur Golf Open.

Folake Ani-Mumuney, the Head of Marketing /Corporate Communications, First Bank (FBN) PLC, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.
The event is scheduled for Nov. 16 to Nov. 18.

Ani-Mumuney explained that the tournament was not just a competition, but a tradition that FBN was honoured to be part of for 57 years.

“Our identification with the competition is in line with the promotion of talents that fly the green and white colours of Nigeria beyond the shores of the country.

“We recently signed an endorsement deal with a 17-year Georgia Oboh, who has set her sight on playing on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) circuit, who will be participating in this edition.

“With this, she will be the youngest African female golfer to have reached the milestone of playing a minimum of 20 tournaments annually,” said Ani-Mumuney.

She added that the three-day Championship, open to registered members of the Golf club with handicap of 14 or below, would be concluded with a grand finale and award ceremony.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Championship, which made its debut 57years ago, has also sired professional golfers like Sunday Okpe, Willy Gift, Oche Odoh, the number one golfer in the country, among others.

NAN also reports that Samuel Amadi and J. Ajiboye hold the record title of highest winners of the Champion Trophy, with five trophies each. Ajiboye won in 1969, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1979.

Amadi won the trophy in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2007 and 2010, while in 2014 and 2015, Monday Eze and Uche Eze won the coveted title respectively.

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