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AFCON: Cote d’Ivoire Suffers Humiliating Exit, Loses 4-0 to E/Guinea

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Ivory Coast slipped to the brink of a humiliating exit from the Africa Cup of Nations as the hosts suffered a 4-0 thrashing by Equatorial Guinea in their final Group A game in Abidjan on Monday.

Emilio Nsue scored a double to follow up his hat-trick against Guinea-Bissau as Equatorial Guinea finished top of the group ahead of Nigeria on goal difference.

Nigeria saw off Guinea-Bissau 1-0 in the group’s other game.

Ivory Coast have only failed to get out of the group phase once in the previous nine editions of the tournament, in 2017.

The two-time champions will have to endure a nervy wait to find out if they will go through to the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides.

Jean-Louis Gasset’s men need a series of results to go in their favour to avoid sliding out of the competition, after suffering their heaviest ever home defeat.

Thousands of Ivory Coast supporters filed out of the stadium late on as Equatorial Guinea scored three goals in 15 minutes to embarrass their opponents.

The Ivorians started brightly but struggled to create any clear-cut chances, with Oumar Diakite’s wild effort off target after a poor punch by Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Jesus Owono their best opportunity in the opening 25 minutes.

Nicolas Pepe appeared to be fouled in the box on the half-hour mark, but the winger decided to stay on his feet and a penalty was not given despite Owono coming out to gather the ball.

Equatorial Guinea grabbed a surprise lead with their first real attack shortly before halftime.

Right-back Carlos Akapo weaved his way past a couple of weak challenges and into the area before squaring for Nsue to divert the ball into the bottom corner.

Ibrahim Sangare briefly thought he had equalised in first-half injury time, but VAR quickly ruled the goal out for a clear offside against the Ivory Coast midfielder.

Sangare wasted an excellent chance less than two minutes after the restart, ballooning the ball high over the bar from close range with only Owono to beat at the back post.

Fiorentina forward Christian Kouame also failed to draw the home side level when face to face with Owono, firing his shot straight at the ‘keeper.

Ivory Coast were again denied an equaliser in the 67th minute by VAR for offside after Jean-Philippe Krasso slotted home left-footed.

The underdogs made the Ivorians pay for their profligacy six minutes later, as Pablo Ganet curled a wonderful free-kick into the top corner.

That goal prompted many of the fans in the Alassane Ouattara Stadium to vacate the stands, and the ones who remained were left stunned when Nsue tucked away his fifth goal of the tournament after a quick counter-attack.

Ivory Coast’s goal difference, which could prove crucial in the fight for qualification, took another dent with two minutes of normal time remaining, as Jannick Buyla bobbled a shot into the corner from a rebound.

Equatorial Guinea should have rubbed further salt into their opponents’ wounds in added time, but Luis Asue’s mishit strike with the goal gaping could not take the gloss off a famous victory.

AFP

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Manchester City Wins Fourth-Successive Premier League Title

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Manchester City won a record fourth-straight Premier League title on Sunday by beating West Ham 3-1 in the final game of the season.

City is the first team to be crowned champion of English soccer’s top division four years in a row after holding off the challenge of second-place Arsenal, which beat Everton 2-1.

Two goals from Phil Foden in the first half set Pep Guardiola’s team on course for its latest title. Mohammed Kudus pulled a goal back for West Ham with a stunning overhead kick, but Rodri restored City’s advantage as it marched toward a sixth title in seven seasons.

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Nigerian Tennis Star, Quadri Aruna Shines at 2024 ITTF Africa Cup in Rwanda

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By Dolapo Aina

May 14th will remain a remarkable day for Nigerian table tennis community and Nigerian table tennis legend, Quadri Aruna as he won the International Table Tennis Federation Africa Cup. The tourney took place at the Kigali Arena in the city of Kigali, Rwanda. The Nigerian table tennis maestro had a sublime 4-0 victory over Mohamed EL Beiali of Egypt.

Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Dina Meshref who is an Egyptian table tennis player and who is African number one table tennis player were the newly crowned ITTF Africa Cup champions by winning the 2024 edition of the tournament in the men and women singles respectively.

Nigeria’s Aruna, had an unstoppable and commanding win in the final against Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali with a 4-0 (11-5, 11-6, 12-10, 11-3) win to emerge as the new Africa Cup champion. It is noteworthy to state that Quadri Aruna lost the title to Egypt’s Omar Assar in 2018.

After the final, Aruna stated that; “There is never an easy win in any competition, and I am happy that I gave my best and my best resulted in the victory. It has always been in me not to give up, even when I am down, and I am happy that all my hardwork paid off with the victory. I must commend Rwanda for providing excellent facilities and great hospitality for us, the players, and I look forward to returning again to this beautiful country.”

He is quoted to have stated; “I never gave up on my dream, it doesn’t matter where you come from, I came from a small place in Oyo state in Nigeria, and it was really difficult growing up, I just want to tell them that something great is very possible to happen in every individual.”

Egypt’s sensation Meshref was at her best after coming back from 2-0 down to defeat a fellow Egyptian, Mariam Alhodaby, 4-3. Meshref becomes the new Africa Cup champion after losing the last two editions in the final.

In her own words; “I am happy that I was able to come back, especially coming back from an injury I sustained before the tournament. I thank my family and my mother who sacrificed to be with me in Rwanda. It was a tough win for me here in this beautiful country and I will cherish this moment for a very long time to come.

She further stated that; “This title means a lot to me, just so happy to be able to fight and be able to reclaim this title, I wouldn’t have done it without my family, especially my mother who’s in the crowd. Thank you so much and of course, I want to thank God.”

Despite trailing 2-0, she fought harder with every setback, ultimately earning her 14th title on the African Continent.

Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu also congratulated Nigeria’s table tennis legend, Mr. Aruna Quadri, on winning the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Africa Cup title.

In an official statement, the President stated; “Mr. Quadri achieved a resounding victory in the final match of the 2024 ITTF Africa Cup in Rwanda, reclaiming his title and sealing his place as Africa’s table tennis champion.”

President Tinubu commended the table tennis star for his dogged pursuit of excellence even in the face of gnawing obstacles, declaring that the zeal for distinction, the hardiness to succeed, and the inventiveness to solve complex problems are the exceptional qualities that define Nigerians.

Nigeria’s team at the end of the ITTF Africa Cup 2024 in Kigali had Men’s singles Gold won by Quadri Aruna, Men’s singles Bronze won by Olajide Omotayo and Women’s singles Bronze won by Edem Offiong.

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Amusan Sets New World-leading Time, Hailed by Sports Minister

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The world record-holder in the women’s 100m hurdles, Tobi Amusan, was the fastest over the barriers, setting a world-leading time of 12.40 (0.9m/s).

Danielle Williams, a two-time world champion, was ahead for most of the race but lost her rhythm over the final two hurdles and finished second with 12.46.

“This is the healthiest I’ve been. It’s a pain-free season compared to other years,” World Athletics website quoted Amusan to have said.

“I told myself: ‘I’m not getting a DQ today’. I’m not the best of starters, but looking at how I executed today, it could have been better, but I am thankful for the win.”

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, John Enoh, took to his X handle to congratulate the Nigerian athletics queen for her latest feat.

“Take your flowers Tobi Amusan, you stormed to an emphatic win in the women’s 100m hurdles at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational, clocking a time of 12.40s (0.9), a World Lead time!

“You defeated World Champion Danielle Williams, who came 2nd in 12.46s, while Christina Clemons was 3rd in 12.54s.

“Tobi, you keep making our country proud. Paris Olympics is around the corner, your performance gives us hope just like others that Nigeria is set to break a jinx. Keep soaring, we are proud of you,” Enoh wrote.

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