Nigeria’s Ajayi Humbled To Be Included In Championship Team

Super Eagles defender, Semi Ajayi

 

Super Eagles defender, Semi Ajayi, has described his inclusion in the English Football League Championship Team of the Season as humbling.

The Nigerian who plays for West Brom only teamed up with Slaven Bilic’s men last summer from Rotherham but has been a regular for the side, featuring in 35 domestic league outings this season.

Semi was included in the FIFA 20’s Ultimate Team, Championship Team of the Season alongside Super Eagles prospect, Ebere Eze who plays for Queens Park Rangers (QPR).

Semi who narrowly missed out of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) where Nigeria clinched the bronze medal, took to his Instagram handle to celebrate the feat.

“Humbled to have been included in the EFL Team of The Season So Far Thank you for all of your support this season,” the Baggies defender wrote on the social media platform.

The 26-year-old Nigerian netted five times for Bilic’s men this term before the halting of football activities in England due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

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Championship: Rooney To Debut In Derby Clash Against Barnsley

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United speaks at the 2011 MLS All-Star Game press conference at All-Star HUB in New York City.  AFP

 

England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney will make his debut for second-tier Derby against Barnsley on Thursday, the club’s manager Phillip Cocu confirmed.

Rooney, 34, joined Derby as a player-coach from MLS side DC United but has been ineligible to play for his new side until January.

“If a player with the qualities, career and the experience of Rooney (is available) you have to be very happy and glad he is here,” said Cocu after Monday’s 2-1 home win over Charlton in the Championship.

“He’s fit, he can start but he will need a few games. Expectation will be high when he starts playing but we have to give him a few games to build up his minutes and get in the team.

“So maybe not perfect from the start but it’s important he will get in the team as soon as possible so we get a certain shape in our team.”

Rooney’s debut can’t come soon enough for Derby.

Their win on Monday moved them into 17th place in English football’s second-tier.

However, they are still nine points shy of the play-off spots and 21 behind the two automatic promotion places.

On Monday, teenage midfielder Jason Knight scored his first goals in professional football to give Derby the three points, ending a run of seven games without a win.

Victory came despite the Rams playing most of the match a man down after Krystian Bielik was sent off for a crude challenge on Conor Gallagher.

Knight put Derby ahead in the 10th minute at Pride Park when he forced the ball in at the back post only for Bielik to see red soon afterwards.

But 10-man Derby still doubled their lead 13 minutes from time when Knight scored his second following a cross from Max Bird.

Charlton ensured a nervous finish for the home side when the south London club pulled a goal back seven minutes from time thanks to Lyle Taylor’s successful penalty, awarded after Curtis Davies brought down Gallagher in the box.

AFP

West Brom Suffer Late Penalty Pain As Leeds Held In Championship

 

Ten-man West Brom missed the chance to extend their lead in the Championship as Charlton forced a dramatic 2-2 draw in stoppage time at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

The Baggies went ahead in the 10th minute through midfielder Matt Phillips but Charlton equalised on the hour from Macauley Bonne’s header.

In the 67th minute, West Brom saw defender Nathan Ferguson shown a straight red card for a foul on Chris Solly.

Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu then looked to have secured the hosts’ victory with just nine minutes left but Charlton were awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time and Josh Cullen kept his cool from the spot.

Earlier, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds both spurned the opportunity to move to the top of the table.

The Yorkshire rivals had to settle for a point from a 0-0 draw at rain-soaked Hillsborough.

Preston took advantage to move up into second place after coming from 2-0 down to beat Blackburn with a late goal from Tom Barkhuizen.

Rovers had taken the lead inside the opening minute when Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd spilled Sam Gallagher’s header. The forward then curled home a second.

Barkhuizen’s header reduced the deficit early in the second half following a mistake by Rovers keeper Christian Walton.

Preston were level in the 65th minute through a penalty from Dan Johnson after Elliott Bennett had fouled Alan Browne.

Barkhuizen completed the turnaround when he curled in a shot from the edge of the penalty area to send Preston above Leeds on goal difference.

At the other end of the table, Huddersfield moved out of the bottom three with a 2-1 win over struggling Barnsley.

New Millwall boss Gary Rowett got his first win with a 2-0 defeat of former club Stoke and Birmingham beat Luton 2-1 with a late goal from Lukas Jutkiewicz.

In-form forward Jarrod Bowen scored both goals as Hull beat Derby 2-0.

Middlesbrough dropped into the bottom three after a goalless draw at home to Fulham.

Nottingham Forest’s home game against Reading was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

AFP

West Brom Slump To Defeat On Championship Return

Wolves Seal Premier League Promotion With Birmingham Win
Photo: LLUIS GENE / AFP

 

Bromwich Albion suffered a blow in their bid to bounce straight back to the Premier League on Saturday, conceding late to slip to defeat against Bolton as fancied Middlesbrough scored a last-gasp equaliser against Millwall.

Bolton nearly slipped back into League One last season but they were able to celebrate a 2-1 victory at The Hawthorns on the opening weekend of the season.

Josh Magennis’ opener was cancelled out on the stroke of half-time by Harvey Barnes, and Magennis looked like he might have missed Bolton’s chance to win it.

But Yanic Wildschut, making his debut after signing on loan from Norwich, scored the winner in the 89th minute, and Bolton survived a late onslaught from West Brom, which included Ahmed Hegazi heading against the bar.

Middlesbrough staged a late fightback to claim a 2-2 draw with Millwall, who dominated much of the match and led through goals from Aiden O’Brien and Lee Gregory.

But Martin Braithwaite pulled one back in the 87th minute and there was still time for George Friend to level up in the 97th minute.

There were mixed fortunes for Championship new boys Wigan, Blackburn and Rotherham.

Wigan were promoted back to the second tier as League One champions and made a winning start with a 3-2 victory against Sheffield Wednesday.

Michael Jacobs scored twice in the first half for Paul Cook’s men, with Atdhe Nuhiu, who was later sent off, briefly equalising for the visitors. Jacobs then created a third for Nick Powell on the hour mark and, although Fernando Forestieri pulled one back, Wednesday could not find an equaliser.

Blackburn pushed Wigan all the way in League One last season but they had to settle for a point at Portman Road after debutant Tayo Edun’s late equaliser in a 2-2 draw.

Winger Gwion Edwards scored five minutes into his Ipswich debut but goals from Danny Graham and Bradley Dack put Rovers ahead inside half an hour.

Rotherham also bounced back at the first time of asking but, after their struggles of 2016-17, when they managed just 23 points, they endured a sobering first match against Brentford, which ended in a 5-1 loss.

There was late drama at St Andrew’s, where Birmingham drew 2-2 with Norwich.

Jacques Maghoma put the Blues ahead in the 56th minute but his goal was cancelled out by Onel Hernandez seven minutes from time. Viv Solomon-Otabor looked to have won it for Birmingham only for Hernandez to grab a stoppage-time equaliser.

Alan Browne’s 50th-minute effort earned Preston a 1-0 win over QPR while Bristol City drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest.

Frank Lampard’s Derby County beat Reading 2-1 on Friday.

AFP

Hamilton Wins In Hungary To Build Championship Lead

Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton reacts ahead of the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix race at the Hungaroring circuit in Mogyorod near Budapest, Hungary, on July 29, 2018. Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP

 

Lewis Hamilton strengthened his push for a fifth world title by increasing his championship lead to 24 points on Sunday as he claimed a convincing victory for Mercedes in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The defending world champion came home 17.123 seconds ahead of title rival and fellow four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari after the German had survived a collision with Valtteri Bottas, in the second Mercedes.

That came on lap 65, of the 70, when Vettel finally passed Bottas, the Finn’s right front wing touching his rear left tyre under braking, wrecking Mercedes’ hopes of a one-two finish.

Kimi Raikkonen finished third, his fifth podium finish in a row, in the second Ferrari ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who surged from 12th on the grid to fourth for Red Bull ahead of Bottas, who finished fifth after a late pit stop.

It was Hamilton’s record sixth win in Hungary, his fifth this season and the 67th of his career.

“We came here knowing that the Ferrari would be really quick this weekend,” said Hamilton. “But to come out with these points, we’ll definitely take as a bonus. What a beautiful day and a great crowd – and a great job from the team.”

Hamilton now has 213 points to Vettel’s 189 after the 12th of 21 races this year and before the championship takes a European summer break.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly came home sixth for Toro Rosso ahead of Kevin Magnussen of Haas, Fernando Alonso of McLaren, on his 37th birthday, fellow-Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean in the second Haas.

“P2 is not what we really wanted, but the maximum we could get today,” said Vettel.

The race, preceded by a minute’s silence for former Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne, began in sweltering conditions with a track temperature of 57 degrees Celsius and air at 34.

After Saturday’s rain-lashed qualifying, the teams had a free choice of tyres, which saw Ferrari split their strategy – Vettel, like Sainz, choosing softs, while Raikkonen and the rest started on ultra-softs.

Verstappen forced out 

The Mercedes men made perfect getaways, Hamilton streaking clear and Bottas staying close to resist attacks as Vettel swept inside into third.

Verstappen, who had moved up to fifth, made an early exit, his Renault engine grumbling into retirement on lap six.

After one lap under Virtual Safety Car (VSC) conditions, Hamilton resumed his charge. He was 4.5 seconds clear of Bottas by lap 10 and 5.7 by lap 14 when Raikkonen pitted, followed immediately by Bottas, both switching to softs.

This left Vettel in pursuit of Hamilton, but despite some swift laps, he remained seven seconds adrift of Hamilton before the champion pitted after 25 laps. He rejoined second between the German and Bottas.

In clear air, Vettel pushed to extend his lead to more than 12 seconds by lap 36, with Bottas further adrift and, in turn, ahead of Raikkonen by just 1.2 seconds.

Held by traffic and still on his original worn softs, Vettel began to struggle and his lead tumbled to 9.5sec by lap 39 when he pitted. A slow stop cost him two seconds and he emerged third behind Bottas.

Raikkonen had pitted a lap earlier, falling to fifth behind Ricciardo, who had yet to stop. For Ferrari, it was not an encouraging position given their raw speed advantage in practice. The Australian pitted, finally, after 44 laps, switching to ultras.

By lap 45, Hamilton led Bottas by 10 seconds with Vettel a further three seconds adrift and making little impact, despite fresher tyres.

On lap 51, Stoffel Vandoorne slowed and retired from an encouraging ninth at Turn One. A VSC was deployed. On resumption, Vettel closed to within a second of Bottas, but despite tyres that were 24 laps younger, he was unable to find a pass as Raikkonen closed in.

For Hamilton, it was a dream scenario and, with 10 laps to go, he was 18 seconds clear of the unyielding Bottas, who had both Ferraris bottled up behind him, within a second, until Vettel lunged by with five laps to go.

AFP

Moyes To Remain At Sunderland Despite Relegation

David Moyes, SouthamptonSunderland Manager David Moyes has expressed his determination to stay at the Stadium of Light next season, despite the club’s relegation to the Championship.

The 54-year-old said he knows what the Black Cats need to do, in order to get back to the Premier League.

“I know what needs to be done to get back in the Premier League, we need to make sure we get a good bit of momentum heading into next season by winning a few games.

“Our performances have been good in recent weeks but the results haven’t matched that. I will know more come the end of the season.

“Once we see exactly what we are able to deal with, what we can work with, then we will know exactly what we can do,” the former Everton and Manchester United manager told BBC.

Bolton Trash Peterborough To Clinch Championship Return

Photo: REX FEATURES

Bolton on Sunday joined the group of teams promoted to the next league, but this time to the Championship.

The Wanderers sealed an immediate return to the second foremost league in England, following a comfortable 3-0 win over Peterborough at the Macron Stadium.

Jem Karacan had set the hosts on the lead before David Wheater and Adam Le Fondre sealed Bolton’s the win and automatic promotion from League One.

The upgrade is coming after Brighton & Hove Albion, and Newcastle United advance to the English Premier League.

Brighton Gain Promotion To EPL

Courtesy: Pinterest.com

Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. have gained promotion to the English Premier League (EPL) after Huddersfield Town were held to a 1-1 draw by Derby County in the English Championship.

Brighton beat Wigan Athletic 2-1 to move seven points clear at the top of the table.

The South-Coast club can now start preparing for life in the top division again, following their relegation in 1982-1983 and subsequent journey down and back up the leagues.

They need three more points to clinch the Championship title and will be crowned champions if they win at Norwich on Friday.

Federer Celebrates Australian Open Victory

Roger Federer,The Australian Open champion, Roger Federer, has celebrated his ‘fairy-tale’ victory and his 18th Grand Slam title at the men’s Australian Tennis Open championship trophy in Melbourne.

The 35-year-old stayed at Melbourne Park until the early hours of Monday before returning to his hotel.

In an interview, the Champion said:

“It was a long night, but a lot of fun. Everybody was in such a good mood — it was a special day, a special couple of weeks.

“We celebrated in a great way, being silly, having fun, chatting about everything. All the stress went away.

Federer has climbed to 10th in the rankings after his win and says it was his self-belief when he had been trailing 3-1 in the final set that had helped him to victory.

He has won his first Grand Slam title in five years on Sunday, defeating Rafael Nadal in a five-set final, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

AFCON 2017: Ghana Defeat DR Congo, Advance To Semi-Final 

footballBrothers, Andre and Jordan Ayew, have led the black stars to reach the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Sunday in Gabon.

The brothers grabbed a goal each to beat Dr Congo 2-1 in the Gabonese city, Oyem.

The Ayews, are the sons of Ghana football legend, Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew, ranked among the greatest African footballers of all time.

Aston Villa’s Jordan Ayew, opened the scoring on 62 minutes, curling the ball past Ley Matampi in the Leopards goal.

Paul-Jose M’poku, equalized for DR Congo with a sensational curling long-range effort from outside the box, while West Ham’s Andre Ayew, then coolly dispatched a winning penalty, to seal the win.

However, Ghana runner-up in the last competition, is seeking a first Cup of Nations title since 1982.

Hamilton Wins US Grand Prix

HamiltonBritain’s Lewis Hamilton has claimed his third Formula One World Championship, equalling the all-time British record, after winning a thrilling, United States (US) Grand Prix in Austin.

Nico Rosberg looked set to make Hamilton wait for at least another seven days to close out the 2015 title as he led his Mercedes team-mate heading into the final 10 laps.

However, as he attempted to re-establish his lead after a late safety car, Rosberg made an error and ran off the track with the mistake enough to let Hamilton through to the lead and a Championship-winning position.

And with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel only finishing third, Hamilton’s 10th win of the season was enough to clinch the crown with three races to spare.

Djokovic Wins Shanghai Masters

DjokovicNovak Djokovic continued his dominance of men’s tennis by winning the Shanghai Masters title on Sunday in straight sets.

It proved all too easy once again for the Serbian brushing aside Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 6-4 to claim his third Shanghai Masters and ninth title of the year.

Tsonga had shown his serving prowess in taking out Rafael Nadal in three tight sets in the semi-finals but against the imperious returning skills of Djokovic, he had no answers.

It was a second straight tournament Djokovic had won without dropping a set after he landed his sixth China Open title in Beijing last week.