Connect with us


Kevin De Bruyne scores as City win their first game



Man City

Manchester City starts with a win despite Wolves fightback. It took some poor Wolves finishing for City to see out a 3-1 win in their first game of the Premier League season.

On a gripping night, Manchester City produced a performance of two distinct and telling halves: an imperious passing-machine in the first, City were run thrillingly close in the second by a Wolves team that attacked its weak point on the left flank to great effect.

Wolves were close to full strength. City came here depleted, missing their outstanding cutting edge in Sergio Agüero, and with Riyadh Mahrez, Aymeric Laporte and Ilkay Gündogan all in various stages of Covid-19 recovery. n their absence Guardiola gave a debut to Nathan Aké, newest arrival in a four-man £190m defence that also included Bernard Mendy, Kyle Walker and John Stones. Well, Pep has always been more of a midfielders’ man.

Molineux was another eerie, echoey Premier League ghost ship at kick-off, those empty rows of gold and black plastic extra-poignant given the unusually rousing atmosphere the last time these two teams met here. In a way Wolves were both the worst possible opponent for City at this stage, but also the most tactically fascinating, a team geared to test how and to what degree they have fixed the problems that afflicted them last season.

Most notable of these was a weakness against opponents who break quickly; not to mention those who can keep the ball, take the game deep, and make City fret a little, losing themselves in their own passing rhythms.

It was notable here that City allowed Wolves to do neither in the first half. Fernandinho and Rodri provided a smothering central midfield pivot. And the ball was funnelled with real urgency from flank to flank, with Kevin De Bruyne the great throbbing mobile brain at the heart of every passing sequence.

Arguably City were aided by the spectacle of Adama Traoré playing as a deep defensive right wing-back. Is this a good use of his supreme attacking drive? No doubt the nation’s left-backs would enthusiastically agree. But it is also a position that requires a degree of precision defending, and it was on that right side City made early inroads.

Raheem Sterling wriggled through on goal inside two minutes but took a heavy touch. With nine minutes gone the injured Marcal was replaced by Rúben Vinagre. And for a while City worried away at the Wolves defensive lines, keeping the ball, switching from flank to flank in search of an overload.

With 18 minutes gone it was their right side that forced the breakthrough. De Bruyne showed pretty much the complete midfield hand in the first half: passing, dribbling, shooting, running the entire game, take your pick.

Here he appeared briefly as a winger, sprinting down the right channel then drawing a foul as Romain Saïss slid in, taking both his feet. It was a hare-brained moment from the left-sided centre back. De Bruyne stepped up and smashed the penalty low into the corner.

City just kept on going, moving Wolves around the pitch with calm severity, waiting for the stitches to come apart. The second goal arrived on 32 minutes from a beautiful team move.

This time it came down the left. Gabriel Jesus dropped deep and played a neat little lay-off to De Bruyne. He slid the ball through a tiny channel into the path of Sterling’s run, the white City shirts spinning into space in concert. Sterling’s pull-back found Phil Foden in front of goal, with time to pause and place the perfect low drive into an unguarded net.

By half time City had taken 68% possession and reduced Wolves to a beleaguered extra in their own game of pass and move. It looked set.

At which point Wolves came back out transformed, playing suddenly without fear and finding all kinds of holes on City’s left flank. Pushed further up the pitch, Traoré finally got away, brushing Mendy aside like a man sashaying through a set of saloon bar doors, and finding Daniel Podence in the centre.

He turned and smacked a shot just past a post. Another sortie down the right saw Rúben Neves’ shot kicked off the goal-line by Kyle Walker. Wolves were all over City, Podence haring through again but scooping a showy finish on to the roof of the net. How Nuno Espírito Santo must have wished his team had started with this level of aggression.

With 77 minutes gone Fabio Silva came on for his league debut. And within 60 seconds Jímenez had made it 2-1, heading powerfully past Ederson’s flailing hand after Podence had nutmegged De Bruyne and floated across to the near post, a genuinely wonderful piece of assist-work. Wolves pressed hard. City held on, and at the death, Jesus made it 3-1 with a deflected close-range finish.

Source – The Guardian


Nigerian soccer fans confident of AFCON win



Nigerian soccer fans

Soccer fans in Nigeria have expressed their confidence that the Super Eagles will win the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

The Nigerian team qualified for the finals after defeating South Africa in the semi-final round of the competition. They face hosts Ivory Coast for the last game of the tournament today.

This will be the second match between both teams. The elephants of Ivory Coast suffered a 1- 0 defeat in their encounter with the Super Eagles at the group stage. Nigerian soccer fans say they are confident that the team will also win the final game.

Moshood Olatunji says, “We’re taking the cup. We’re not bragging and we’re not being pretentious and we’re not underestimating any group. But I think the Nigerian team started slow and they really worked as a team. The thing they had that I could see was the teamwork. They play for each other, they’re not playing for the coach, they’re actually playing for each other as a team. And I think if they carry that attitude into the finals, there’s no stopping us.”

Maxwell Ogbaje says, “I’m not surprised that we got to where we are today. We actually have a strong team. We have been at our best. It’s not just by chance, people see it that the one zero, one zero has always been a lucky thing, but it’s not. There’s actually good effort from the team that has brought that success.”

“Let them keep doing what they are doing especially the back 5. It’s a fantastic tactic that the coach Peseiro has been able to knock the boys with, so they should do what they do. They should be tight behind and they should take their chances. They should hit them on the counter and I believe if they are able to do that and they stay together, then Nigeria will be able to carry the day,” says Sam Maimagani.

It’s the eighth time Nigeria has made it to the finals in the Africa Cup of Nations and the 4th for Ivory Coast.

Nigeria is already a three-time winner of the Africa Cup of Nations and a triumph in today’s encounter will make it the 4th in 10 years.

A win for Ivory Coast will make them a three-time champion of the AFCON. Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu is expected to be at the game today to cheer the Super Eagles to victory.

Source: SABC

In other news – Phelo Bala’s father has passed away

His death was announced by his stepson and musician Loyiso Bala on Saturday, 10 February on his social media platforms. Jafta died this morning in the hospital.

The Bala Family

The Bala Family is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved father, Sebenzile Jafta. He departed this morning. Read more

Continue Reading


Bayern Munich wins 11th straight Bundesliga title




Bayern Munich leapfrogged rivals Borussia Dortmund to clinch their 11th consecutive Bundesliga title in a last-day drama in German football on Saturday, May 27.

In a climactic season finale, Bayern Munich ended up celebrating an unexpected title win while Dortmund’s dream of their first league trophy since 2012 was left in tatters following a 2-2 draw with Mainz.

Dortmund were leading by two points before their last match for the season but were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Mainz on Saturday, allowing Bayern to finish in first place with a goal difference.

RB Leipzig and sensational Union Berlin are third and fourth respectively and will also compete in the Champions League next season.

Hertha Berlin and Schalke 04 have been relegated, while VfB Stuttgart will go into the relegation playoff.

In other news – Celine Dion cancels 2023-2024 shows over health

Last year Celine Dion revealed that she was suffering from a rare neurological disorder. The Pop icon on Friday canceled all her remaining shows scheduled for 2023-2024, saying she was not strong enough to tour as she battles a rare neurological disorder.

Last year the 55-year-old Canadian singer revealed that she was suffering from the rare medical condition that was affecting her singing. Learn More

Continue Reading


India look to next generation at Women’s T20 World Cup



Women's T20 World Cup

India is looking to a new generation of talented young cricketers led by teenage batter Shafali Verma to propel them to a first Women’s T20 World Cup title this month. Long-serving skipper Mithali Raj and record-breaking fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, trailblazers for women’s cricket in India, both retired last year.

New captain Harmanpreet Kaur said both players are still on hand to give advice, but it is time to look forward. Whenever we need they are always available to us, that’s what you expect from senior players,” the 33-year-old told a recent press conference.

“Nobody can fill their places, but the young girls who are getting the chances are doing well. One of the players who has grabbed her chance is Verma, an attacking opening batter who led India to victory in the inaugural U19 T20 World Cup in South Africa last month.

The 19-year-old will be back on familiar ground for the T20 World Cup, which is again in South Africa. It starts on February 10 and India are chasing a breakthrough first title, having been runners-up behind hosts Australia in the last edition, in 2020. Their first match is against arch-rivals Pakistan on February 12 in Cape Town.

Verma made her international debut at the age of just 15 and was in the team that reached the T20 World Cup final in 2020.

She also played in the one-day World Cup and was a member of the Indian side which took silver at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The youngster looks up to big-hitting England batsman Liam Livingstone for inspiration and considers Indian great Sachin Tendulkar a role model. After captaining India to victory in the U19 World Cup, Verma said: “This is just the beginning.”

“When I entered the Under-19s, I only focused on winning the Under-19 Cup and we have won that today,” ESPNCricinfo quoted her as saying. I will look to take this winning confidence with me and win the senior World Cup.”

Besides Verma, the India team also includes Smriti Mandhana, Richa Ghosh, Deepti Sharma and Renuka Singh. The women’s game is making inroads in the cricket-mad country, with the inaugural Women’s Premier League set for March, ahead of the men’s IPL.

Last month, India’s cricket board auctioned off five women’s IPL teams for $572.5 million. The new generation “are ready to be the representatives of the modern generation of women’s cricketers”, cricket journalist Sharda Ugra told AFP.

“The women’s IPL is going to start and they are the perfect representation of the kind of Indian women cricketers that belong to the T20 generation. They have the right mindset and they are very, very talented.

Source: eNCA

In other news – Idols SA canceled after 21 years

Idols SA is reportedly coming to an end after 21 years of entertainment. Phil Mphela, an entertainment commentator announced the latest development about the show on Twitter.

Idols SA

After 21 years, #IdolsSA will be bowing out of our screens. The show has been renewed for a 19th season, which will be the show’s final season,” he wrote. Learn more

Continue Reading