Football Scores Top Tips: Man City out to be Lyon tamers

IT’S a big night in the Champions League with Man City and Man United among those in action.

Leicester face Southampton in the EFL Cup and there is six Championship matches as well as full cards in League One and League Two so plenty to look at.

It’s a week for the RFO and I’ve be studying stats and form before putting up tips.

My Champions League tips are reasoned on the post and I’m going with Man City, Juventus and Roma not to lose as a treble.

The Super Single is Norwich who have been fantastic in recent weeks. They hammered Swansea 4-1 away at the weekend to make it 12 goals in three games – they also hit four against Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday. Can make it four wins in a row at a Hull side who went down tamely at home to Nottingham Forest at the weekend.

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Chiellini: I don’t want to be Italy’s top scorer

Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini is eager to see the Azzurri’s attack get into equipment and knock him off the perch of becoming the team’s recent major goalscorer.

The Azzurri consider on Portugal at the San Siro on Saturday in a Nations League match they ought to win if they are to retain their faint hopes of achieving the finals intact.

Chiellini enters the contest with eight markers – more than any other player on the recent squad – and he’s hoping the goals will start flowing as shortly as Saturday, specifically since Italy’s past match with more than 1 goal arrived back again in May against Saudi Arabia.

“I’m more able of talking about defenders as I know that position,” he informed the assembled press. “Rather than searching to the earlier, I am searching to the upcoming.

“There are players that are developing. I just hope that I’m no extended the major goalscorer for this team.”

Italy return to the San Siro for the initial time since their goalless draw with Sweden past November, a match that noticed them are unsuccessful to qualify for the World Cup.

Chiellini admits it was the lowest point of his national team vocation, even though the worst discomfort essentially arrived a handful of months later on.

“A 12 months back was the lowest point of my national team vocation,” he mentioned. “It was a large disappointment, for all of us. We ended up confident we would get to the World Cup.

“However, in my feeling, the worst arrived in June. We did not definitely feel about what transpired that significantly, and we did not entirely understand it.

“Then we noticed the other groups at the World Cup though we ended up on holiday getaway. It was not a simple thirty day period.”

Need to Chiellini play on Saturday it will be his a centesimal match for Italy, but he made it distinct he’s only focused on the game with Portugal.

“It’s a desire I’ve experienced since I was a child,” he added. “However, forgive me if I’m only considering about the match.

“I will get pleasure from the data following the 90 mins.


Yaya Toure: Phil Foden can become one of the top players

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Nov 23, 2017. 12:00

Ivory Coast legend Yaya Toure believes Manchester City youngster Phil Foden has the potential to become a great player.

The England U-17 star, who played a leading role in their age-group World Cup triumph, made his official debut for City in a Champions League win at Feyenoord on Tuesday night.

Toure, who featured for 75 minutes in the match, believes Foden is at exactly the right club to be groomed into an exceptional player.

“If he stays in this club, he is going to be one of the top players because it’s always good to learn from and be close to the big players,” Toure said.

“When I was at Barcelona, I learned a lot. I was lucky enough to have a chance to win trophies because of the players around me.

“It’s fantastic for him and he’s going to be the future. He’s very important. The team keeps changing and the club are moving forward, so it’s very important [to bring players through]. I hope, and I think, he will stay for a long time.

“Sometimes you have great players coming because Man City is such a strong team – a powerful club who can buy players – but I think he must stay here and learn from the big players, like [David] Silva, Kevin [De Bruyne], [Ilkay] Gundogan, Fernandinho – all those players are going to give him more experience and confidence for the rest of his career.

“I hope we will see a great player in the future.”

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Citizens denied top spot as Baroka hold on

Lyle Lakay of Cape Town City FC challenged by Olaleng Shaku of Baroka FC during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Cape Town City FC and Baroka FC at Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town on 21 November 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Staff Reporter

Tuesday Nov 21, 2017. 20:31

Cape Town City were denied top spot in the Absa Premiership, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Baroka FC on Tuesday evening.

As a result, the Limpopo side keep their place at the summit of South Africa’s top-flight with the Citizens remaining in third – two points behind their counterparts.

As is often the case following an international break, the two teams took time to find their rhythm on a wet evening in the Mother City, with the rain and the game’s tempo increasing as the match went on.

Following a rather uneventful opening stanza, the game sparked into life following the break with Robin Ngalande breaking the deadlocked in the 55th minute of the encounter.

Moments after guiding a header attempt over the crossbar, the former Ajax Cape Town man hit the back of the net to give the visitors the lead.

The Citizens went in search of an immediate reply and duly pulled level on 69 minutes through Craig Martin. The speedster getting on the end of Lyle Lakay’s cross for his first in City blue and gold.

City ended the game the better of the two teams and went close to grabbing all three points through Roland Putsche and Martin in the dying exchanges, but it was not to be as they had to settle for a point.

Cape Town City (0) 1 (Martin 69′)

Baroka FC (0) 1 (Ngalande 55′)

Cape Town City: Stephens; Seedat, Johannes, Fielies, Mkhize – Putsche, Matsi, Modise (Patosi 56′) – Lakay (Masina 70′), Martin, Koapeng (Gumede 86′).

Baroka FC: Vries; Masenamela, Banda, Shaku, Kgoetyane – Madubanya, Mdantsane – Moeti, Ntshangase (Kgaswane 68′), Chawapihwa (Motupa 70′), Ngalande (Mahashe 89′).

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Stuart Baxter: Bafana Bafana not far from being a top class team – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Bertin Basson

Saturday Nov 11, 2017. 16:00

Stuart Baxter believes that South Africa were unlucky in suffering a 2-0 defeat to Senegal in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Friday evening.

Bafana Bafana dominated most of the encounter, but lacked a killer edge as two moments of brilliance from Sadio Mané inspired the Lions of Teranga to victory.

South Africa forced themselves back into contention for World Cup qualification following a 3-1 win over Burkina Faso, but successive defeats to Cape Verde proved decisive as Senegal duly booked their return to the world stage.

“Difficult for the whole squad and for the whole country,” Baxter told SuperSport TV. “We dragged ourselves back into contention after two poor performances against Cape Verde…

“I think the performance in the first half – it was amazing that we went into the break two goals down because I thought we were better than them. I thought we were better than them in every department despite the fact that we didn’t have one world class act that could conjure something from nothing.

“We had to work for everything and we missed a lot of chances.

Baxter continued: “Second half we had to push for everything, they could sit and I still thought we created more than they did, but all that talk doesn’t mean anything. They beat us 2-0 and they go to Russia.

All considered, the South African head coach is adamant that Bafana Bafana are not far off the best from the African continent.

“The fact that we had more possession doesn’t impress me at all – we didn’t finish, we had big chances that we couldn’t convert.

“We are not far away from a top class team, but we have to take our chances – maybe that is the problem, a South Africa problem as well,” Baxter concluded.

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Ghoulam, Koulibaly aim to regain top spot in Italy – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 25, 2017. 18:30

The African duo of Faouzi Ghoulam and Kalidou Koulibaly will be aiming to return to the top of the Serie A standings when Napoli take on Genoa at the Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris on Wednesday evening.

Both Ghoulam and Koulibaly have started every game for Napoli this season, with Maurizio Sarri’s men unbeaten after nine rounds of fixtures.

Key to their impressive start has been their defence with the club having conceded a mere five goals this season. Gli Azzurri have kept three clean sheets in succession.


Mauro Icardi scored a brace as Inter leapfrogged Napoli with a 3-2 win over Sampdoria last night, but the Naples outfit will regain their place atop the standings with a point away to Genoa.

Guinea international Amadou Diawara has also been a prominent figure for Napoli this season, with the club boasting a healthy African contingent.

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Ghana thrash India to top Group A – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup

Ghana’s players celebrate after winning the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match against Colombia at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 12, 2017. 18:58

Ghana have won Group A at the U-17 World Cup after thrashing hosts India 4-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.

The Black Starlets finished level on six points with both Colombia and USA (the former beat the latter 3-1 in a simultaneous match in Mumbai), but their handsome goal difference of +4 saw them top the log and claim automatic progression into the last 16.

Ghana were on the front foot from early on, but they struggled to create clear-cut chances and found Indian goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem a tough man to beat.

However, the Black Starlets remained patient and were finally rewarded a couple of minutes before the half-time break, with skipper Eric Ayiah providing a fine finish to an incisive passing movement.

It took just seven minutes of the second half for Ghana to double their advantage and again it was a case of Ayiah finishing off a good team move, with the West Africans able to slice open the hosts’ defence.

The match looked set to end at 2-0, with Ghana seemingly happy to take a two-goal win, but news that Colombia were leading the other group match sparked the Black Starlets back to life.

They claimed two late goals through Mohammed Kudus and Emmanuel Toku in the 86th and 87th minutes respectively – the additional strikes saw Ghana rise clear of Colombia and the USA on goal difference.

Ghana will face a third-placed team from either Group C or D in their last 16 clash in Navi Mumbai on October 18.

Ghana (1) 2 (Aiyah 43’ 52’, Kudus 86’, Toku 87’)

India 0

Ghana: I. Danlad, N. Yakubu, B. Terry Owusu, G. Mensah, R. Alhassan, I. Gyamfi, G. Leveh, S. Ibrahim (E. Toku 56’), I. Sulley, E. Arko-Mensah (M. Kudus 76’), E. Ayiah (R. Danso 82’)

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Baroka regain top spot after a 2-2 draw at home – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

Richard Matloga of Baroka FC © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Sep 23, 2017. 17:20

Baroka FC moved back to the summit of the Absa Premiership when they drew 2-2 against Ajax Cape Town on Saturday afternoon at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

The hosts netted through Richard Matloga and Lewis Macha, as the now have 12 points from six matches so far.

On the other hand, the visiting side scored courtesy of Roderick Kabwe and Tashreeq Morris as they secured a point.

Ajax began the proceedings on a high as they dictated the terms in the heart of the part from the first whistle.

Kabwe used their possession to good use as he netted a cracker of a goal in the second minute after unleashing a thunderous shot, beating goalkeeper Virgil Vries on his right corner.

The ninth minute saw the hosts pushing for an immediate response and Mathari Mothupa also tried a long range shot, but it went wide.

However, in the 11th minute, Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele received a penalty after the referee called for a handball in the box and Matloga converted from the spot.

The Urban Warriors pushed for another goal and Kabwe was denied by Vries from a close range and conceded a throw in.

With both sides exchanging possession in the last 15 minutes of the encounter, there were no opportunities in front of the goal – 1-1 at half time.

The Urban Warriors bounced back with more intent as they regained their lead through Morris in the 50th minute.

Morris received a wonderful pass from the right wing and he controlled the ball well, before slotting the ball into Vries’ left corner.

However, seven minutes later the hosts also found the net with a beautiful header from substitute Macha as he outjumped his opponent to beat keeper Brendon Petersen on his right corner.

Towards the last 10 minutes, the hosts keepr Vries nearly conceded as he misjudged a ball into his area, but the Mother City side failed to capitalise on the error.

Uzoenyi Ejike tried a great set piece in the last five minutes from the edge of the area, but Vries was equal to the task as the ball took a deflection.

Coach Kgoloko Thobejane’s men thought they have found a winner in the 89th minute when Gift Motupa scored, but it was ruled out for an offside.

Resulting from the stalemate, coach Stanley Menzo’s side now sit at number 10 on the log table with five points from the same number of matches.

Baroka FC (1) 2 (Matloga 12′, Macha 57′)

Ajax Cape Town (1) 2 (Kabwe 2′, Morris 50′)

Baroka FC: Vries, Shaku, Matloga (Kgaswane 61′), Ntshangase, Banda, Moeti, Masenamela, Mothupa, Madubanya, Mdantsane, Nguzana (Macha 37′)

Ajax Cape Town: Petersen, Booysen, Evans, Pietersen (Mdabuka 48′), Nhlapo, Malepe, Lebusa, Kabwe (Margeman 72′), Mosadi, Morris, Makua (Uzoenyi 46′)

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Arrows move top following KZN Derby win – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

AmaZulu’s Sadate Ouro Akoriko

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sunday Sep 17, 2017. 17:44

A solitary goal by Sedat Ouro-Akoriko was not enough for AmaZulu as they lost 4-1 to Golden Arrows on Sunday afternoon at Princess Magogo Stadium in the Absa Premiership.

The defeat leaves the Premiership returnees occupying 13th spot on the log table with four points from as many matches.

On the other hand, the hosts found the back of the net through Lerato Lamola, Siphelele Magubane, Kudakwashe Mahachi, and Knox Mutizwa to claim the KwaZulu-Natal bragging rights.

The KZN Derby saw both sides exchanging possession in the opening 10 minutes as they probed for an early goal.

However in the 11th minute, coach Clinton Larsen’s men gained possession and made their way into the box, yet Wayde Jooste’s attempt went over the bar not troubling Usuthu’s Boalefa Pule.

Eight minutes later, the hosts made it 1-0 through Lamola as he capitalised on a defensive error between keeper Pule and his defence.

With coach Cavin Johnson’s men pushing to get an equaliser with a brilliant build-up from the back, Mhlengi Cele’s effort was tipped over the crossbar for a corner by keeper, Nkosingiphile Gumede.

In the 33rd minute,Usuthu were awarded a set piece and Ovidy Karuru delivered to the far post allowing Ouro-Akoriko to find the back of the net to make it it 1-1 with a beautiful header.

With both sides level at half time, their return from the tunnel saw Rhulani Manzini attempting a long range effort from a set-piece, but the forward failed to hit the target in the 51st minute.

The hosts fought back on the left wing as Magubane cut through down to the right – beating two defenders – before unleashing a low shot that beat Pule in the 56th minute, 2-1 to Arrows.

Usuthu introduced Mabhudi Khenyeza heading in the final 15 minutes, as they intensified their attack and pushed Gumede to produce a fine save, and Manzini also hit the woodwork.

But in the end it was Arrows who were sharp upfront as Mahachi made it 3-1 as he picked up the ball on the far side of the pitch before beating Pule.

Right in the dying minutes of the contest, substitute Mutizwa received a ball from Lamola who made a wonderful run down the left flank into the box, allowing the Zimbabwean to easily slot it home to make it 4-1 as they dispatched Usuthu.

Golden Arrows: (1) 4 (Lamola 19′, Magubane 56′, Mahachi 90+2′, Mutizwa 90+5′)

AmaZulu: (1) 1 (Ouro-Akoriko 34′)

Golden Arrows: Gumede, Mngwengwe, Shongwe (Molefe 27′), Jooste, Cele (Sibiya 53′), Nkombela, Mzava, Dube, Lamola, Magubane (Mutizwa 77′), Mahachi

AmaZulu: Pule, Sikhakhane, Mtsweni, Nyongo, Morton, Darpoh (L. Dlamini 46′), Ouro-Akoriko, Karuru(Zungu 78′), Nomvethe (Khenyeza 70′), Cele, Manzini

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Cape Verde beat SA to go top of Group D – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Dean Furman of South Africa challenges Garry Rodrigues of Cape Verde during the World Cup Qualifier match between South Africa and Cape Verde on the 05 September 2017 at Moses Mabhida Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Sep 05, 2017. 21:18

Cape Verde beat South Africa 2-1 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification Group D match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in on Tuesday.

As a result, the Blue Sharks completed a double over Bafana Bafana and they moved to the top of Group D table, while Bafana Bafana slip down to position four.

The first real chance of the encounter fell for Bafana Bafana striker Tokelo Rantie nine minutes into the encounter.

However, the Turkey-based marksman placed his effort wide of the target without troubling Cape Verde goalkeeper Vozinha.

South Africa shot-stopper Wayne Sandilands was called into action four minutes before the half-hour mark.

The 34-year-old made an easy save to deny Cape Verde’s talisman Ryan Mendes as the visitors looked to break the deadlock.

The Blue Sharks defence was then exposed in the 42nd minute, but Bradley Grobler fired straight into Vozinha’s hands.

The score was 0-0 between South Africa and Cape Verde at half-time following a tightly contested first-half in the city of Durban.

An entertaining second-half followed and the visitors broke the deadlock six minutes into the second-half.

Garry Rodrigues scored with a powerful shot from a free-kick – beating Sandilands hands down – making it 1-0 to Cape Verde in the process.

It was soon 2-0 to Cape Verde six minutes after the hour-mark following a good move by the visitors.

Galatasary midfielder Rodrigues beat his marker and he unleashed a long range effort which beat Sandilands to double his side’s lead.

South Africa dominated in the closing stages of the match and they managed to pull one back through Andile Jali’s low shot.

But Cape Verde stood firm in the closing stages of the match and they secured a 2-1 win over South Africa.

South Africa (0) 1 (Jali 89′)

Cape Verde (0) 2 (Rodrigues 51′, 66′)

South Africa XI: Sandilands, Gould, Hlatshwayo, Hlanti, Mphahlele, Furman, Kekana (Tau 77′), Zwane (Manyama 56′), Dolly, Grobler (Jali 65′), Rantie.

Cape Verde XI: Dias, Tiago, Pereira, Santos, Da Cruz, Rodrigues (Admar 94′), Soares, Rocha, Carlos, Mendes (Totti 85′), Tavares (Platini 77′).

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Tunisia beat DR Congo to go top of Group A – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Tunisia players celebrate

Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Sep 02, 2017. 00:25

Tunisia defeated Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 2-1 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification Group A match at the Stade Olympique de Rades on Friday.

As a result, the Carthage Eagles climbed to the top of Group A table, while the Leopards dropped down to the second spot ahead of the return leg match which will be played in Kinshasa on Tuesday.

It took 18 minutes for the Carthage Eagles to take lead from the spot-kick after they were awarded a penalty when Fakhreddine Ben Youssef was fouled in the box.

Tunisia defender Yassine Meriah made no mistake from the spot-kick as he fired past DRC goalkeeper Ley Matampi to make it 1-0 to the home side.

However, the visitors managed to level matters through Cedric Bakambu, who beat Tunisia keeper Aymen Mathlouthi in the 43rd minute to make it 1-1.

The score was 1-1 during the half-time break after the DRC fought back and punished the Tunisian defence, who were caught ball watching.

DRC were unable to contain Tunisia in the opening stages of the second-half as the Carthage Eagles pressed the Leopards in search of the second goal.

The pressure paid off as Esperance de Tunis midfielder Chailene Chaalali hit the back of the net from close range in the 47th minute to make it 2-1 to Tunisia.

The Leopards then pushed for the equalizing goal, but they found it difficult to unlock the Carthage Eagles which was led by goalscorer Meriah.

The home side stood firm in the dying minutes of the match and Tunisia recorded a hard-fought 2-1 victory over DRC on the night.

Tunisia (1) 2 (Meriah 18′, Chaalali 47′)

DR Congo (1) 1 (Bakambu 43′)

Tunisia: Mathlouthi, Ben Youssef, Maaloul, Bedoul, Sliti (Sliti 85′), Meriah, Ben Amor, Chalali, Msakni, Khenissi (Touzghar 90′), Ben Youssef (Badri 68′).

DR Congo: Matampi, Zakuani, Ikoko (Ngonda 69′), Mbemba, Issama, Bompunga, Bokadi, Kakuta, Bakambu, Kabananga, Mubele (Afobe 61′).

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Okwi fires Uganda to the top of Group E – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Marawan Mohsen of Egypt challenged by Murushid Juuko of Uganda (c) and Hassan Wasswa of Uganda (l) during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Egypt and Uganda at the Port Gentil Stadium in Gabon on 21 January 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Aug 31, 2017. 17:23

Uganda overcame Egypt 1-0 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group E match at the Mandela National Stadium in Kampala on Thursday.

As a result, the Cranes move to the top of Group E standings, while the Pharaohs drop to second spot with the return leg game scheduled to be played in Alexandria, Egypt next week Tuesday.

Egypt shot-stopper Essam El-Hadary was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first-half as he produced good saves as he kept Uganda at bay.

Uganda winger Emmanuel Okwi came close to giving the Cranes the lead with a good effort from the right in the 13th minute, but El-Hadary denied him.

The former Al Ahly goal-minder then saved Uganda talisman Farouk Miya’s long range attempt in the 25th minute as the home side pressed Egypt.

Derrick Nsibambi, the Uganda forward, who had been booked, also saw his header saved by El-Hadary with the half-time break fast approaching.

Egypt managed to contain the Cranes in the closing stages of the first-half and score was 0-0 at half-time in the capital city of Uganda, Kampala.

El-Hadary was finally beaten six minutes into the second-half after the Pharaohs defence was caught ball watching inside their own box.

Okwi controlled the ball very well, before beating the 44-year-old shot-stopper with a powerful low shot to hand Uganda a well-deserved 1-0 lead.

Egypt should have equalized in the 63rd minute, but Uganda keeper Denis Onyango was alert and he saved Egypt attacker Mohamed Salah’s header.

Tarek Hamed was then introduced by Egypt head coach Hector Cuper 10 minutes later as the Pharaohs searched for the equalizing goal.

The midfielder had a chance to level matters with five minutes left on the clock, but his attempt was saved by Onyango, who made a fantastic save.

The Cranes then stood firm at the back in the closing stages of the encounter and the match ended in a 1-0 victory in favour of Uganda.

Uganda (0) 1 (Okwi 51′)

Egypt (0)

Uganda XI: Onyango, Wadada, Walusimbi, Isinde, Juuko, Mawanda, Aucho, Okwi (Sserunkuma 88′), Miya (Kizito 75′), Nsibambi, Ochaya (Muleme 93′).

Egypt XI: El-Hadary, Abdel-Shafi, Hegazy, Rabia, Fathi, Hamed, Elneny, El-Said (Hamed 73′), Trezeguet (Sobhi 46′), Salah, Kahraba (Gamal 67′).

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Tunisia and DR Congo in top of the log clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Paul Mpoku of DR Congo (8) celebrates goal with teammates during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Togo and DR Congo at the Port Gentil Stadium in Gabon on 24 January 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Wednesday Aug 30, 2017. 09:30

Tunisia will lock horns with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Stade Olympique de Rades in Rades on Friday.

Kick-off is at 22h00 CAT.

The Carthage Eagles stunned Egypt 1-0 at home in their previous competitive game which was the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier last June.

Nabil Maaloul, who was reappointed in April, 2017, is in his second stint as the Carthage Eagles head coach – having coached the national team in 2013.

Tunisia are placed second on the Group A standings with six points from two matches. They are only behind group leaders DRC on goal-difference.

Taha Yassine Khenissi, who plays for Tunisian giants Esperance, is Carthage Eagles’ dangerman and the striker will be hoping to help his nation overcome DRC.

Meanwhile, DRC thrashed Congo-Brazzaville 3-1 at home in the 2019 AFCON qualifier two months ago and it remains their last competitive match.

The Leopards are still under the guidance of Florent Ibenge, who was appointed in 2014. He guided DRC to the African Nations Championship (CHAN) title.

DRC are placed at the top of Group A standings with six points with four matches left. They are only ahead of second-placed Tunisia on goal-difference.

Cedric Bakambu, who is currently playing for Spanish outfit Villarreal, is one of DRC’s dangermen and he will be keen to inspire his nation to victory.

Referee Eric Otogo-Castane, who is from Gabon, will be in charge of the encounter between Tunisia and DRC.

The return leg match will be played at the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa, DRC next week Tuesday.

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Arsenal top race for Jean Seri’s signature – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

epa05660173 OGC Nice’s Jean-Michael Seri, celebrates after scoring a goal during the French Ligue 1 soccer match, between OGC Nice and Toulouse FC, at the Allianz Riviera stadium, in Nice, France, Sunday, December 4, 2016. EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT

Bertin Basson

Thursday Jul 27, 2017. 09:38

English Premier League club Arsenal are reportedly leading the race to sign Ivory Coast international midfielder Jean-Michael Seri.

The 26-year-old set the French Ligue 1 alight last season, scoring seven goals and chipping in with nine assists in 34 league appearances as Nice pushed champions Monaco all the way.


Seri kicked on from where he left off, setting up Mario Balotelli for the game’s opener in a 1-1 draw at home to Ajax Amsterdam in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers last night.

According to L’Equipe, Arsenal are favourites to sign the former Pacos de Ferreira star with Roma unwilling to meet a release clause believed to be in the region of £36 million. Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City have also been linked with his services.

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USM Alger look to finish top of Group C

USM Alger player (L) fights for the ball with Zamalek Aly Mosaad (R) during the 2017 CAF Champions League game between USM Alger and Zamalek at Stade 5 Juillet 1962 in Algiers, Algeria on 21 June 2017 © BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Jul 07, 2017. 17:00

USM Alger will welcome CAPS United in the 2017 CAF Champions League Group C match at the Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 21h00 CAT.

Alger were held to a 1-1 stalemate by Libyan side Al-Ahli Tripoli in their previous group match which was played in Sfax, Tunisia last weekend.

The draw left the Algerian club placed at the top of Group B standings with eight points. They are only ahead of second-placed Al-Ahli Tripoli on goal difference.

A victory over United will see Alger win Group B and also book their place in knockout stages of this year’s tournament.

Meanwhile, United stunned Egyptian giants Zamalek 3-1 in their previous group match which was played in Harare last weekend.

The victory sees the Zimbabwean club placed third on the Group B standings with six points. They are two points behind group leaders Alger.

United are aware of the fact that they need to defeat a stubborn Alger side in order to reach the quarter-finals of this year’s competition.

Senegalese referee Malang Diedhiou is expected to officiate the encounter between Alger and United.

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Club Africain, KCCA battle for top spot

Denis Okot Oola of KCCA challenges Benard Evoke of Rivers United during the 2017 CAF Confederation football match between Rivers United and Kampala City at Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. @Kabiru Abubakar/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Jul 06, 2017. 11:30

Club Africain and KCCA will battle for top spot in Group A of the CAF Confederation Cup when they meet at the Olympic Stadium in Rades on Friday night, kick-off at 21h00 CAT.

Both sides took major strides toward the quarterfinals with crucial victories last weekend: the Ugandan side defeated FUS Rabat 3-1 in Kampala, while Club Africain became the first team in the group to take any points on the road as they won 2-0 in Nigeria against Rivers United.

As a result the pair sit atop the pool with nine points each, holding a three point advantage over both United and FUS.

A draw in this match will see both CA and Kampala advance into the quarters, while even a defeat may not necessarily be terminal: for example, if Africain lost and Rivers won in the group’s other match, they would both finish on nine points, but the Tunisians hold a superior head-to-head record and would qualify regardless.

A cynical observer would imagine that the teams will have a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to play out a draw and both progress, but given that the group winners will have the advantage of playing the second leg of their quarterfinal at home, the chances of the teams simply going through the motions are slim.

KCCA would end in first place if the game ended in a draw, while CA must win by two clear goals to win the group. The two teams advancing will face MC Alger and CS Sfaxien, who have already secured progression from Group B.

The other Group A match between FUS Rabat and Rivers United will be played at the same time in Morocco. Zambian referee Wellington Kaoma will officiate the game in Rades.

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Naby Keita already a top player – Former Red Bull scout – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Jul 06, 2017. 10:00

Naby Keita has room to improve but is “already on the top” according to former Red Bull Global Soccer scout Benoit Thans.

The 22-year-old RB Leipzig midfielder is a transfer target for English giants Liverpool, who could spend somewhere in the region of £70-million if British reports are correct.

Thans knows all about Keita’s qualities, having brought the Guinean to Red Bull Salzburg in Austria in 2014, where he spent two years before signing for their ‘sister’ club RB Leipzig in Germany.

Keita played a major role in the 2016/17 campaign as Leipzig finished an impressive second on the Bundesliga log behind Bayern Munich, earning a place in the UEFA Champions League for the first time.

“Now I don’t know what the future is for him, but I know that many clubs are interested in him,” Thans told ESPN.

“But I know that Ralf Rangnick [Leipzig’s director of sports] wants to keep him.

“When you go to play in the Bundesliga, you certainly make very good progression.

“But now it’s also financial and if you say Liverpool are interested — all players are interested when Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United come to see you and they are maybe interested.

“It’s always good for a player — it’s a big name in the world.

“For me, he can make progression again, but he’s already on the top.”

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