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No Mercy For Messi As Mbappe Breaks 23 Years Record

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No Mercy For Messi As Mbappe Breaks 23 Years Record

Nobody had any doubt that Mauricio Pochettino’s mission as manager of Paris Saint-Germain is to win the Champions League. There’s a long way to go yet, and PSG will face far tougher opposition than this group of Barcelona players, but a 4-1 win at the Camp Nou on Tuesday in the first leg of the round of 16 is a very good way for the Argentinian coach to start. Kylian Mbappe will, deservedly, take most of the headlines, having scored a hat trick, but what was impressive about this PSG performance was that it wasn’t based on individuals, but on a team performance–sensational as Mbappe was within that.

There had been a sense before the game that these were two teams in uncertain form. Barcelona has been improving but sits third in La Liga’s table, and PSG, almost unthinkably, is not currently on top in France’s Ligue 1 after suffering five defeats this season. But the result Tuesday was an open and engaging game of high quality, in which PSG proved its mettle–not just in terms of ability but in having the resilience to come from behind.

Neymar was absent with a groin injury, but his presence hung over the game. His $270 million move from Barcelona to PSG radically altered the finances of football–at least until the pandemic enforced retrenchment across Europe. No transfer since the 1890s had extended the world record by such a percentage, and it’s hard to imagine that mark being broken any time soon.

Losing Neymar was a humiliation for Barcelona, and perhaps also some measure of revenge for PSG for the remontada of a few months earlier, when Barcelona overcame a 4-0 first-leg defeat to beat PSG 6-1 in the second leg. Barça wasted its windfall–neither Ousmane Dembele, although he was involved here, nor Philippe Coutinho, the two big signings landed in the few months that followed, really settled–but even worse was the sense that nothing like that could ever happen again.

The situation was not dissimilar to losing Luis Figo to Real Madrid in 2000, another embarrassment that provoked a spending spree that only compounded the problem. What could not be countenanced was losing Lionel Messi, and so in November 2017 he was signed to a five-year contract worth roughly $167 million a year. Fans and accountants can argue whether that was worth it, but the club is now $1.5 billion in debt and in serious financial trouble. How the club begins to try to come to terms with those issues will largely be decided by next month’s presidential elections.

READ ALSO: Tributes As Aisha Buhari Clocks 50

In the end on Tuesday, Barcelona’s deficiencies were all too obvious. There may have been improvement recently, but the problems will not rapidly be solved. The first two PSG goals were both the result of balls in behind fullbacks; the issue was less that the fullbacks had pushed up than that there was nobody providing cover. The third goal came from some weirdly bad marking on a set play from Clement Lenglet, who did not have a great night.

Yet Barcelona did, rather fortuitously, take the lead. Messi repeatedly dropped deep in the first half, and PSG struggled to pick him up when he did so. When he clipped a ball for Frenkie De Jong to run onto after 27 minutes, Layvin Kurzawa caught the heel of the Dutch midfielder. The collision was almost certainly unintentional, but the penalty was clear. Messi swept it home emphatically. Almost immediately, Dembele had a glorious Messi-crafted chance to double the advantage but miscued. And with that, the game was gone.

The lead lasted just five minutes, and the equalizer was brilliant. Kurzawa, left mystifyingly untended on the left, swept the ball across the box, Marco Verratti flicked it on, and Mbappe, in his first game against Barcelona, created space with a quick jink past Lenglet before slamming his shot in at the near post.

The main tactical change Pochettino has made in his few weeks at PSG has been to move Verratti further forward. He remains the snarling menace he has always been, but his role now seems more to lead the press, and that in turn pushes Mbappé further forward.

It was a perfectly weighted ball from Leandro Paredes that brought the second goal 20 minutes into the second half, releasing Alessandro Florenzi. Gerard Pique half-blocked his cross, but Mbappe lashed in the loose ball.

READ ALSO: Why Jonathan Won’t Be APC Presidential Candidate In 2023 – Saraki
Then, five minutes later, Moise Kean was left alone on a Paredes free kick and headed in at the back post. A slick counter with five minutes remaining, led by Julian Draxler and finished brilliantly by Mbappé the first opposing player with a Champions League hat trick at Camp Nou in over 23 years–made it four.

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Buhari Leaves For UN Assembly In US

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Buhari Leaves For UN Meeting In US

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Sunday leave Abuja for New York, United States, ahead of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76).

Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this on Saturday.

Adesina noted that the session opened on Tuesday, September 14.

The statement said that the theme for this year’s UNGA is, “Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalize the United Nations.”

Buhari will address the Assembly during the General Debates on Friday, September 24.

He is expected to speak on the theme of the conference and other global issues.

READ ALSO: Presidential Candidate Dies

It said: “In the course of the Assembly, the Nigerian leader and members of the delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as; The High-Level Meeting to Commemorate The Twentieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of

Action on the theme ‘Reparations, Racial Justice and Equality for People of African Descent.’ ”

Buhari will be accompanied to New York by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN); and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.

 

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Presidential Candidate Dies

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Presidential Candidate Dies

A presidential candidate, Olusegun Bamgbose , who contested the last presidential election on the platform of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) is dead.

Bamgbose who was also the National Coordinator, Concerned Advocates for Good Governance, CAGG, was the Principal Head, God’s Own Chambers, a legal team based in Aba, Abia State, died on Friday after a brief illness.

The Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD), whose legal team he headed, described Bamgbose as a strong voice on matters of good governance and human rights advocacy.

Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, Executive Director of FENRAD, in a statement, said Bamgbose was “richly endowed with political sagacity and was consistent in holding governments to account as he lent his voice to the most critical of national and local issues.

“Through his intervention and actions, government relaxed many unpopular policies. He was a fine gentleman, very hardworking, a lovely husband, father and friend to all. His humble mien, approach and disposition endeared him to many. Throughout his stay on earth, he was truly committed to the promotion and protection of environmental, human, and democracy rights which aligned with FENRAD’s goals.

READ ALSO: Kidnapped NDA Major Regains Freedom

“We made many wins working together through his wise and ever-ready counsel. He led and piloted our legal department with such impeccable professionalism as a lawyer properly called.

“We are indeed pained by this loss and pray that God, in this trying time, grants his family – immediate and extended – the fortitude to bear this huge loss; same we also pray for on his friends, learned colleagues and those who by this exit are pained.

“Barr. Olusegun Bamgbose will be terribly missed .

“May his gentle soul find rest in the bosom of the Almighty. Adieu to the great iroko, an icon and a towering legal luminary!”

 

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Kidnapped NDA Major Regains Freedom

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Kidnapped NDA Major Regains Freedom

A military officer who was kidnapped during an attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna State by bandits last month has regained his freedom.

Some gunmen suspected to be bandits broke into the Nigerian foremost military school on August 24, killed officers and abducted Major CL Datong.

The abducted major was in the kidnapper’s den till he was rescued on Friday.

The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Ezindu Idimah who confirmed the development, said Datong was rescued by troops.

According to him, the operations leading to his rescue led to the destruction of several identified bandits’ camps in Afaka- Birnin Gwari areas of the state, revealing that scores of bandits were killed during the operation, particularly, in the late hours of September 17, 2021.

He said the Division in conjunction with the Air Task Force, Department of State Services and other security agencies, immediately swung into action by conducting operations in the Afaka general area to find and rescue the officer after a directive by the Chief of Army Staff.

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“The troops arrived at a camp suspected to be the location where Maj CL Datong was being held. At the camp, the troops exchanged fire with the bandits and overwhelmed them with superior fire.

“In the process, the gallant troops were able to rescue the abducted officer. However, the officer sustained a minor injury but has been treated in a medical facility and handed over to NDA for further action,” he said.

He lauded the efforts of the NAF, DSS , Nigerian Police and “patriotic Nigerians” who worked tirelessly for the release of the victim.

 

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