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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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BREAKING: Peter Obi’s Supporters Lock Down Lagos

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PHOTOS: Massive Turnout As Youths Embark On One Million Match For Peter Obi

From Lekki to Surulere and Festac, thousands of residents of Lagos on Saturday demonstrated their support for Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP).

Many of the supporters on Saturday morning were seen holding the posters of the LP candidate and his vice, Yusuf Baba-Ahmed, who had branded vests as they marched around and moved to the bridge leading.

The rally caused both human and vehicular traffic around the Stadium axis, from Alaka and Teslim Balogun Stadium and down to Ojuelegba.

READ ALSO: Exposed: The Real Peter Obi

A Third Force Movement appealed to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to approve the car park of the National Stadium Lagos, for the October 1 rally of supporters of Labour Party, LP, Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi.

Noting that the use of the stadium would avert unintended lockdown, The Third Force Movement, in a statement by Mr. Olawale Okunniyi, said without the approval the organisers cannot stop Nigerians from using other venues like Gani Fawehinmi Park or Lekki Toll Gate.

At Lekki Toll Gate, the Lagos State Police Command was able to enforce strict compliance with the no rally order.

A federal high court in Lagos had on Wednesday ordered the LP and its supporters not to converge on the Lekki tollgate

 

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BREAKING: APC Disagrees With Lawan , To Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate

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BREAKING: APC Disagrees With Lawan , To Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate

Less than 24 hours after Senate President Ahmed Lawan declared that he would not appeal against the ruling of a Federal High Court in Damaturu, the state capital, on Wednesday on the Yobe North senatorial seat matter, his All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided otherwise..

The APC in the state is determined to go on appeal over the matter.

The lower court had in its verdict, not only affirmed Bashir Machina as the party’s candidate for next year’s election, but ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise him as such, a position the nation’s number three man said he would not appeal against.

However, in another turn of events, Mohammed Gadaka, Chairman of the APC in the state, arguing that the party had taken it as a duty to protect the Senate President, indicated party’s intention to proceed to the appellate court.

READ  ALSO: I Won’t Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate – Lawan

“We are aware of the Wednesday, September 28, 2022, ruling of the Federal High Court in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, with respect to the forthcoming Yobe north Senatorial District election. However, we respectfully reject the decision of the President of the Senate, His Excellency Senator Ahmad Lawan, accepting the judgment of the court which disqualified his candidature and participation in the election.

“In exercise of our legal rights, the Yobe State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided to appeal the Federal High Court ruling in the interest of Yobe State, Nigeria and good governance. We have a duty to protect and sustain Senator Ahmed Lawan’s twenty-three years exemplary sojourn as a lawmaker and his impeccable record of leadership and patriotism – and commitment to making Nigeria work.”

 

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Advocacy For Alleged Witches Petitions NHRC Over Witchcraft Markets Event

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Advocacy For Alleged Witches Petitions NHRC Over Witchcraft Markets Event

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches has written a petition to the Cross River State chapter of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over a planned event to rescue families from witchcraft.

The petition titled “Petition: Ukpabio ‘s Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets Event” was signed by Dr.Leo Igwe.

The petition reads:
“I am writing on behalf of the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, an organization that campaigns to end witch persecution in Nigeria to lodge a complain about a proposed event, Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets, of Evangelist Helen Ukpabio and her Liberty Gospel Church. The event will be held on October 5 to 9 2022 in Calabar. As explained in this article, the event has some criminal intent and could fuel human rights abuses in Cross River state. Witchcraft accusation is a crime under the law. So it is important to restrain any individual or group, or stop any activity with the intent to accuse, or impute witchcraft as this proposed program by Ms Ukpabio and her church has indicated.

“As you may be aware, cases of witch persecution, attack and killings in Cross River have been linked to the activities of Ms Ukpabio and her church, and other witch hunters who openly advertise, stage and hold programs where they make witchcraft imputations (in this case in families), identify witches and exorcise witchcraft. Programs like this event on Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets valorize witchcraft beliefs, and incite people to suspect, maltreat, attack or kill family members in the name of witchcraft.

READ ALSO: Ukpabio’s Rescuing Families From Witchcraft Markets

“At a time when Cross River state is witnessing killings and attacks linked to witchcraft beliefs, it is necessary to take measures to prevent witchcraft accusations, witch identifications and persecutions. The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges you to use your good office to restrain Ukpabio and her church from going ahead with this witch hunting event. ”

 

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