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Otedola presents $50,000 cheque to Christian Chukwu for foreign medical treatment

Christian Chukwu, former coach of the Super Eagles and one of Nigeria’s greatest footballers ever, will travel to the UK for further treatment in the first week of May following the footing of his medical bills by Femi Otedola, the billionaire businessman.

Otedola had offered to foot the bill of the former captain of the national team following reports that he was battling with prostate cancer.

The $50,000 cheque was presented to Chukwu on Wednesday morning in Enugu by Philip Akinola, the COO of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, one of Otedola’s companies.

Also present were Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the governor of Enugu state, Amaju Pinnick, the chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Onochie Anibeze, the renowned sports journalist.

Otedola confirmed the development to TheCable.

“The governor just called to thank me immensely and I spoke with Christian Chukwu too. He will be flown abroad next week. I told him he will be fine and I will make sure he is provided with the best health services,” Otedola told TheCable on phone.

Chukwu, with support from the Enugu state government, has already done an initial surgery in Nigeria and has been recuperating.

Aside captaining Nigeria to its first Africa Cup of Nations success in 1980, Chukwu also led the Enugu Rangers FC team that won the Africa Cup Winners Cup in 1977.

He was nicknamed ‘Chairman’ for his authority on the field as a central defender.

Chukwu also served as assistant coach of the first team to win a FIFA World Cup trophy for Nigeria – the Golden Eaglets that triumphed at the FIFA U16 World Cup in China in 1985.

He was also assistant coach of the team tagged the Golden Generation – the 1994 class of Super Eagles that qualified Nigeria for its first FIFA World Cup finals.

As assistant coach, he helped Nigeria win the Africa Cup of Nations title and reached the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in the US.

Between 2002 and 2005, Chukwu was head coach of the Super Eagles, leading the team to bronze medal at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

Ugwuanyi, Chukwu, Pinnick and Akinola… after the cheque presentation

Ambode receives UEFA Champions league trophy in Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday received the UEFA Champions League Trophy alongside its Ambassador and former captain of Barcelona FC of Spain, Carles Puyol in Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.

Puyol, a three-time Champions League winner is in Nigeria on a three-day visit to lead the UEFA Champions League Tour connecting with consumers and football lovers.

Governor Ambode, who was represented by the Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr Kweku Tandoh, also received Nigerian football legend, Austin JayJay Okocha, who was part of the delegation.

Speaking while receiving the trophy, Governor Ambode expressed excitement with the fact that the organisers of the tour considered Lagos as one of the states to visit, adding that the development was particularly gratifying more so that the synergy between sports and entertainment as well as tourism had been massively played up in the last four years.      

The Governor also lauded the contribution of Puyol and Okocha to the development of the round leather game in Nigeria and worldwide, saying they deserved to be appreciated and celebrated.

“I must say I am very pleased with the organisers of this Trophy Tour for deeming it fit to take the UEFA Champions League Cup to Lagos. We are particularly excited because our administration has focused on the synergy between sports, tourism, entertainment and the arts, among others and the people can see the positive effects of our efforts in that regard.

“We are pleased to also welcome Barcelona FC and Champions League legend, Carles Puyol to Lagos, as well as our legend, JayJay Okocha to Lagos House. Many of us underrate this legend that we have and just yesterday, I understand Puyol had a very difficult time on the field of play in Uyo when JayJay had to give him a few tricks.

“Unfortunately, JayJay did not get to play for Barcelona; he would have lifted the Champions League but I must say we appreciate what Okocha has done for Nigerian football. If you have a player that is sometimes compared to Messi, Maradona and spoken about in the same breath, then we know we have a star in our midst and so I like to thank JayJay for his contribution to football,” Governor Ambode said.  

He said in order to ensure a successful Trophy Tour, the relevant security and government agencies have been contacted, assuring that all the activities lined-up as part of the tour would be hugely successful.

While wishing the team a successful tour in Nigeria, Governor Ambode said the State Government would be glad to receive the trophy back in the State in the nearest future, just as he assured that the government remained committed to make Lagos the sports hub not just in Africa but the entire world.

 

L-R: Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde; Ex-Nigeria International, Austin JayJay Okocha; UEFA Champions League winner and former Barcelona FC Defender, Carles Puyol; representative of Lagos State Governor and Chairman, the State Sports Commission (LSSC), Dr. Kweku Tandoh; Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC, Mr. Jordi Borrut Bel; Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh; Director-General, LSSC, Mr. Babatunde Bank-Anthony and Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Habib Aruna during the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour to the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Wednesday.

 

 

 

Speaking earlier, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Breweries Plc, organisers of the Trophy Tour, Mr Jordi Borrut Bel thanked Governor Ambode for warmly receiving the team, saying the Trophy Tour was specifically organised to bring the tournament closer to fans.

He said as part of the tour, there would be a road show from Maryland Bus Stop to Ikeja City Mall, among other activities.   

Besides, he commended Governor Ambode for his well-though out policies and projects in all sectors and sections of the State, saying the Governor deserved to be appreciated for also creating enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the State.

“I will like to say that this visit is a great opportunity for the management team of Nigerian Breweries to appreciate Governor Ambode on the success that he has recorded in the last four years of administering the State which is a testament to the fact that well-thought policies have been implemented as has been witnessed in security, in transportation, in health, in welfare sectors in the State, and particularly in the continuous construction of impactful infrastructure as well as the Governor’s focused and dynamic leadership in the State.

“We also want to thank the Governor for sustaining a supportive business environment in the State,” he said.

Ajax stun Juventus, qualify for Champions League semis

Ajax stunned Juventus to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1997 as Matthijs de Ligt’s thumping second-half header secured a 2-1 second-leg victory in the last eight in Turin on Tuesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo, bidding for his sixth Champions League title, scored a 28th-minute header to put Juve ahead after a 1-1 first-leg draw, but Donny van de Beek levelled for Ajax before half-time.

Teenage centre-back De Ligt struck midway through the second period, though, to seal a 3-2 aggregate win and set up a last-four clash with either Manchester City or Tottenham.

The young Dutch side had already eliminated three-time defending champions Real Madrid en route to the quarters, overturning a 2-1 home defeat against the Spanish side with a memorable 4-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Juventus had been looking to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the third time in the past five seasons.

But Ronaldo, who scored an away goal last week with a diving header in Amsterdam, was Juve’s only weapon against the impressive Dutch side.

The 34-year-old was signed for 100 million euros ($117 million) last summer from Real Madrid in a bid to win the European trophy for the first time since 1996, when they beat Ajax in the final.

Massimiliano Allegri had been forced to reshuffle his side because of injuries, with Paulo Dybala returning in place of the injured Mario Mandzukic, while captain Giorgio Chiellini was also sidelined.

Ajax’s defence took a hit when Noussair Mazraoui, who had replaced the suspended Nicolas Tagliafico, limped off on 11 minutes with an ankle injury, with Daley Sinkgraven coming on.

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana dived to keep out a scorching Dybala half-volley in the 20th minute.

– Ronaldo leaves Onana no chance –

But Ronaldo latched onto a Miralem Pjanic corner with a downward header that left Onana without no chance.

It was the Portugal star’s 126th Champions League goal and sixth of this campaign, having now scored in his past six European games against Ajax, netting nine goals in total.

But Van de Beek soon silenced the cheers of the home crowd when he controlled a wayward Hakim Ziyech shot six minutes later, rolling the ball past Szczesny to cancel out Juventus’ away goal and make it 2-2 on aggregate.

Teenage striker Moise Kean replaced Dybala after the break, but it was the Dutch who turned on the style, with only Szczesny’s reflexes keeping Juventus in the tie.

The Polish keeper denied Ziyech from close range with one hand, and minutes later tipped Van de Beek’s curling effort over the bar.

The Juventus back-line struggled with the pace of the Dutch team with Pjanic doing well to deny Ziyech a tap-in.

But Erik ten Hag’s side’s incessant pressure paid off with 19-year-old skipper De Ligt towering above Alex Sandro and Daniele Rugani to head home Lasse Schone’s corner on 67 minutes.

Ziyech looked as if he had fired a third past Szczesny, but his goal was ruled offside after a VAR check.

And the Dutch visitors held on, with Ronaldo unable to make a difference after his incredible hat-trick had pulled Juventus into the quarter-finals in the last-16 win over Atletico Madrid.

Four-time winners Ajax won their third consecutive title in 1973 at the expense of Juventus, and last lifted the trophy in 1995, with their last semi-final appearances ending in defeat by Juve 22 years ago.

AFP.

Three things we learned from Barcelona v Man Utd

Barcelona cruised into the Champions League semi-finals as their 3-0 win against Manchester United sealed a 4-0 aggregate success on Tuesday.

Here, AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the quarter-final second-leg clash:

No Camp Nou repeat for Solskjaer

Barcelona’s Camp Nou will always hold a special place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s heart, but the Manchester United manager won’t regard the famous old arena with quite as much fondness after this frustrating loss.

It was the first time Solskjaer had played or managed at the Camp Nou since scoring the treble-clinching winner for United in the final seconds of the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

Twenty years after the goal he has seen a “million times” since, lightning didn’t strike twice for the Norwegian.

“We are confident but humble enough to know it’s our hardest night of the season,” he said in a prescient comment just before kick-off.

United were aiming to overturn another first-leg deficit after their epic effort in recovering from 2-0 down to beat Paris Saint-Germain on away goals in the last 16.

But, crucially, Marcus Rashford hit the bar with a glorious chance to give United the lead inside 40 seconds and it wasn’t long before Lionel Messi put the tie beyond Solskjaer’s reach.

Messi feasts on English foes again

Lionel Messi extended his incredible record of tormenting Premier League clubs in the Champions League.

Messi has now scored 24 goals in 32 Champions League games against English opponents, more than any other player in the tournament.

Accelerating away from Fred, Messi was granted too much space by United defender Chris Smalling on the edge of the area and took full advantage with a superb low shot that flashed past David de Gea in the 16th minute.

It was a sweet moment of revenge for Messi, who suffered a facial injury in the first leg after a clash with Smalling.

Messi’s first Champions League quarter-final goal since April 2013 ended a run of 12 games at this stage without netting.

Just four minutes later, Messi effectively clinched Barca’s return to the semi-finals for the first time since 2015 with a helping hand from United keeper De Gea, whose woeful attempted save failed to stop the Argentine’s weak shot slip under his body.

Messi has 45 goals in 41 games in all competitions this season, with his 10 in the Champions League making him the tournament’s leading scorer in 2018-19.

With Messi on their side, it’s no wonder Barca are now unbeaten in 31 Champions League home games.

Liverpool remain the only Premier League club to win at the Camp Nou in 24 attempts dating back to February 2007.

Coutinho makes his point

Philippe Coutinho has endured a difficult time since moving to Barcelona for £142 million ($185 million) in January 2018, but the former Liverpool forward gave a timely reminder of his quality with a stunning strike to wrap up the victory.

Substituted during Barca’s recent win over Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou, Coutinho’s disappointing form reached a new low when he was whistled by a small section of his own fans.

But the Brazilian was handed a start against United as one of Barca’s front three instead of Ousmane Dembele, who has just recovered from a hamstring injury, and at last he showed a glimpse of the talent that made him such a favourite of United’s rivals at Anfield.

With Barca already well on the way to the last four by the 61st minute, Coutinho had nothing to lose when he unleased a majestic curling effort that raced into the top corner from 20 yards.

Coutinho seized the opportunity to emphasise that he won’t be affected by the doubters, celebrating the goal by sticking his fingers in both ears while staring at the crowd in a defiant gesture.

AFP.

$85,000 bet on Tiger Woods nets $1.19m payoff

 A gambler who risked US$85,000 on Tiger Woods winning the Masters is now more than a million dollars richer.

The person who placed the bet at a Las Vegas sportsbook will got a check for US$1.19 million on Monday.

Sportsbook operator William Hill US says the bettor’s win is the largest golf payout in the company’s history.

William Hill US director of trading Nick Bogdanovich says Sunday was a great day for golf but a “painful” one for the sportsbook operator.

Woods rallied to win the Masters for the fifth time before a delirious audience at Augusta National. It had been 14 years since he last won the Masters and 11 years since his last major victory.

The bettor placed the wager Tuesday at 14-1 odds.

Tiger Woods wins first major title in 11 years

Tiger Woods has won the 83rd edition of The Masters Open at Augusta, scooping his first major title in eleven years.

The American golfer sealed his first Major title since his 2008 US Open triumph, finishing on 13-under-par, one shot ahead of his compatriots, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.

Tied on second with Tony Finau going into the third and final round which started earlier than scheduled on Sunday morning due to an incoming storm, Woods, who has fought off persistent back problems and had been written off in the lead-up to Augusta, carded a final day two-under-par 70 to come from behind and claim the much-coveted green jacket.

Wearing his trademark red shirt he reserves for the final day of events, and with the crowd cheering him all day, Woods, despite needing two attempts, putted the 18th hole to claim a hard-fought victory in which he took the outright lead only three holes to the end of the championship.

Playing in his 22nd Masters on the golf course where he started his professional career in 1995, 48-year-old Woods needed all his years of experience to putt for par on the ninth hole where overnight leader Molinari, and fellow Challenger, Finau, both bogeyed to hand Woods the advantage from which he never looked back.

The win is Tiger Woods’ fifth title at Augusta and remains second behind legendary Jack Nicklaus who won six titles at Augusta, while on 15 Majors, Woods also requires three titles to equal Nicklaus’ 18 career Major titles.

Shaw own goal gives Barcelona advantage over Manchester United

Barcelona will take a 1-0 lead over Manchester United into next week’s second leg of their Champions League quarter-final after a 12th-minute Luke Shaw own goal gave them victory at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Sergio Busquets found Lionel Messi with a clever ball into the area and the Argentine carved out space on the left to deliver a lofted cross to Luis Suarez at the back post.

The Uruguayan’s header deflected off the shoulder of a scrambling Shaw and beat David De Gea to give the visitors the lead.

And although the linesman initially flagged for offside, the goal was given after a VAR video review.

United’s best chance of the first half fell to Diogo Dalot but the Portuguese made a mess of a fine Marcus Rashford cross, heading harmlessly across the goal from close-range.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team had struggled to get a foothold in the game during the opening 45 minutes but they were much improved after the break.

United applied plenty of pressure without creating any clear chances.

Barcelona could have added a second had Suarez not fired into the side-netting from a promising position after a clever through ball from Nelson Semedo.

Otedola offers to foot Christian Chukwu’s medical bills

Femi Otedola, the billionaire businessman, has offered to foot the medical bills of Christian Chukwu, former Super Eagles’ coach, TheCable is  reporting.

Chukwu, one of Nigeria’s most influential footballers in history who captained the national team to their first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980, is suffering from prostate cancer which has affected his leg.

Although the surgery on his leg has been done, he reportedly needs an additional $50,000 for the prostate operation.

Norbert Okonkwo, media officer of Enugu Rangers, told TheCable that the Enugu state government donated N1.5 million for the leg surgery.

In the first two days, a GoFundMe appeal raised $4,305 of the $50,000 needed for further treatment.

Speaking to TheCable on phone, Otedola said he would foot the entire cost of the operation as a “token of support to a great Nigerian who served his country to the best of his ability”.

Otedola previously settled the medical bills of the veteran actor, Victor Olaotan, who was at risk of double amputation following a ghastly car accident in 2016.

Chukwu lifting the Africa Cup of Nations in 1980 with a smiling President Shehu Shagari watching

A patron of Chukwu’s former club, Enugu Rangers FC, Benson Ezeomeogo Ejindu, broke the news of the ailment at the weekend.

Chukwu also captained the Enugu Rangers FC team that won the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1977.

He was nicknamed ‘Chairman’ for his authority on the field as a central defender.

Chukwu also served as assistant coach of the first team to win a FIFA World Cup trophy for Nigeria – the Golden Eaglets that triumphed at the FIFA U16 World Cup in China in 1985.

He was also assistant coach of the team tagged the Golden Generation – the 1994 Class of Super Eagles that qualified Nigeria for her first FIFA World Cup finals.

As assistant coach, he helped Nigeria win the Africa Cup of Nations title and reached the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in America .

Between 2002 and 2005, Chukwu was head coach of the Super Eagles, leading the team to bronze medal at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

Ex-Super Eagles coach, Christian Chukwu ‘needs $50,000 to survive serious illness’

Christian Chukwu, a former captain and chief coach of the Super Eagles, is seriously down with an undisclosed ailment.

Consequently, he will be needing the sum of about $50,000 to be flown to the United States of America to undergo surgery and for other medical treatment.

Chukwu’s present predicament was brought to light following an appeal made by Benson Ejindu, the patron of former Enugu Rangers players association, both in Nigeria and all over the world.

“Christian “Chairman” Chukwu, who captained the famous Enugu Rangers International FC and the Nigeria national team in the 1970s and early 1980s, needs a different type of support – your financial support. Your support, no matter how small, will offset the cost of surgeries and treatments to restore his debilitating health,” said Ejindu.

“I am asking you to join me, this time around, in raising funds for Chairman Chukwu, who is currently in Nigeria receiving treatments for various ailments. Your financial support will help fly him to the United States for better treatment.

“We are hoping to raise about $50,000 to cover Christian Chukwu’s round trip flight from Nigeria and all the medical expenses. Leftover funds will help set up a health and welfare account for all Ex Rangers Players.”

As of the time of filing this report, a total of $2,850 has been raised for the former national team captain through an account opened for him. But he will need about $50,000 for the operation and all other medical expenses.

50 Cent weighs in as Floyd Mayweather’s ex accuses him of $3m jewelry theft

50 Cent, popular US rapper, has dished a major career advice to Floyd Mayweather, boxing champion, after Shantel Jackson, the latter’s former girlfriend, accused him of stealing $3 million in jewelry.

A report on The Blast alleged that Jackson said that the boxer allegedly stole $3 million in jewelry from her in the wake of their breakup.

Jackson claimed that the boxing champ took a $2.5 million diamond ring, $250,000 10-carat diamond earrings, a $32,000 Chanel watch, a $100,000 diamond bracelet, a $20,000 diamond heart necklace and a $21,000 Louis Vuitton lock necklace.

The news outlet also said it obtained court documents where Jackson, who is now dating Nelly, a rapper, also claimed various other items, which are listed without a known monetary value, were allegedly stolen.

These items include a platinum masterpiece rolex watch with diamonds, a gold masterpiece polex watch with diamonds, a diamond rolex, a diamond cross necklace and a diamond cuff.

Reacting to this, Mayweather sued his former girlfriend, claiming that she used his credit cards without his permission.

The boxer’s counsel added that she “intentionally used one or more recording devices to surreptitiously record conversations with Mayweather including telephonic conversations and conversations in the presence of one another without Mayweather’s knowledge or consent.”

But the G-Unit boss took to his Instagram page to advise the champ to just pay up instead of taking a possible legal war to court.

“Champ took the s**t back, huh,” he wrote.

“Nah I ain’t gonna lie I’d do the same s**LOL. Champ you not gonna win, she got Gloria Allred. Give her a mill or two and let her go before shit get crazy.”

BREAKING: Eagles beat Pharaohs in Asaba

The Super Eagles on Tuesday defeated Egypt 1-0 in an international friendly played at the packed Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

FC Midtjylland striker Paul, who was making his first start for the Eagles, sent the home fans into wild celebrations as early as the 10 second of the encounter, when he beat his marker before unleashing a ferocious volley that beat the Egyptian goalkeeper for the only goal of the encounter.

Clinton invites Adewunmi 8 year-old Nigerian chess champion

Former U.S President, Bill Clinton has congratulated the eight year-old Nigerian chess champion, Tanitoluwa Adewunmi and also invited him and his parents to his office for personal introduction.

The young Nigerian recently won the New York State Chess championship for his age bracket.

The New York Times reported that Adewunmi had won seven chess trophies including the state tournament, where he outwitted other children.

The story went viral and got the attention of Clinton.

Tanitoluwa Adewunmi and his family

According to the New York Times, the young chess champion’s family are taking asylum in a homeless shelter in Manhattan after they fled the Boko Haram insurgency since 2018.

Adewunmi, went undefeated at the state tournament, outwitting children from elite private schools with private chess tutors.

Tanitoluwa rating is now 1587 and rising fast and he is being compared with the world’s best player, Magnus Carlsen, who stands at 2845.

His feat has attracted commendations from parents and celebrities.

In a tweet on his Twitter handle-@BillClinton, the former number one citizen said: “Refugees enrich our nation and talent is universal, even if opportunity is not.”

The former U.S president now joins the queue of people celebrating the boy and his feats.

Clinton said “this story made me smile, Tanitoluwa “ you exemplify a winning spirit – in chess and in life.”

“And kudos to your hardworking parents. You all should stop by my office in Harlem; I’d love to meet you.”

Tanitoluwa placed first in the New York State Scholastic Championships tournament for kindergarten through third grade, a remarkable win for anyone.

In an interview with New York Times, the young chess champion said: “I want to be the youngest grandmaster.”

BREAKING: Liverpool beat Bayern to reach Champions League quarter-finals

Liverpool eased to a 3-1 victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday to reach the Champions League quarter-finals as Sadio Mane scored twice.

After a goalless first-leg draw, last season’s runners-up Liverpool were too strong for a tame Bayern, completing a clean sweep of four English teams reaching the last eight for the first time since 2008-2009.

(AFP)

BREAKING: Zinedine Zidane returns to Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane has made a sensational return as coach of Real Madrid after Santiago Solari’s sacking was finally confirmed on Monday.

Zidane has been given a contract until June 2022, just nine months after he resigned at the end of last season, having led Madrid to an historic third consecutive Champions League triumph.

Solari’s dismissal was expected after three consecutive home defeats – to Barcelona, twice, and Ajax – deemed Madrid’s season all but over before the middle of March.

But Zidane coming back, with only 11 games left in La Liga and almost nothing to play for, is a surprise, particularly after he left on the incredible high of yet another European triumph.

“Real Madrid’s board has decided to terminate Santiago Solari’s contract as coach of the first team,” read an official statement on Monday.

“Real Madrid appreciates the work done by Santiago Solari and the commitment and loyalty he has always shown to this club.

“The board has also agreed to the appointment of Zinedine Zidane as the new coach of Real Madrid with immediate effect for the remainder of the season and the next three, until June 30, 2022.”

(AFP)

Real Madrid sensationally knocked out of Champions League by Ajax

Title holders Real Madrid were sensationally knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday after being thrashed 4-1 at home by an outstanding Ajax Amsterdam.

Ajax overturned a first leg deficit to reach the quarter finals 5-3 on aggregate.

Moroccan midfielder Hakim Ziyech fired Ajax into a shock seventh minute lead after a lay off from the outstanding Dusan Tadic, who also provided the pass for David Neres to double the Dutch side’s advantage in the 18th.

Madrid, who were missing inspirational captain Sergio Ramos through suspension and hit the woodwork twice in the first half, came out stronger after the interval.

The champions were however dealt a fatal blow when Serbia international Tadic crowned his sensational display by hammering into the top corner in the 62nd minute.

Ajax celebrate Real Madrid's ouster at the Bernabeu
Ajax celebrate Real Madrid’s ouster at the Bernabeu

Substitute Marco Asensio gave Madrid a glimmer of hope by striking back but it was quickly extinguished by a breathtaking free kick from Lasse Schone, condemning Real to a fourth consecutive home defeat in all competitions.

Things got worse for the hosts, who had won the last three Champions League titles in a row, when Nacho was sent off in stoppage time for two bookings.

Ajax, who have won the trophy four times, most recently in 1995, reached the last eight of Europe’s top competition for the first time since 2003.

Thirteen-times winners Madrid, who have lifted the trophy in four of the last five years, and had reached at least the semi-finals for the last eight seasons, suffered their earliest elimination since 2010.

Madrid, who had suffered consecutive home defeats to Barcelona in the run up to the game and are an embarrassing 12 points behind the Catalans in La Liga, endured rotten fortune throughout the game, losing Lucas Vazquez and livewire Brazilian teenager Vinicius Junior to injury in the first half.

The night could have gone very differently had Madrid defender Raphael Varane headed under the crossbar instead of against it in the fifth minute, moments before Ziyech scored.

Ajax had Madrid on the ropes after the second goal and should have further increased their advantage, as Neres chipped wide when clean through against Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois.

The Belgian later leapt across his goal to parry a shot from Ziyech, and used his body to thwart Tadic.

He made some more impressive saves in the second half but was powerless to stop Tadic’s thunderbolt and was caught out by Schone’s free kick, which looked to be a cross but went straight in.

Real substitute Gareth Bale blasted against the near post in the first half and suffered a painful end to the match.

The Wales forward was forced to stay on the pitch after appearing to injure his ankle late on as coach Santiago Solari had used all three substitutes.

‘Sala, pilot didn’t have a licence’

The pilot of the plane that crashed with Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala on board did not have a licence for commercial flights, investigators say.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed David Ibbotson held a private pilot’s licence.

Its interim report said he could only fly passengers in the EU on a cost sharing basis, not for reward.

Cardiff City said it had “grave concerns” and questions over the validity of the pilot’s licence.

Investigators have not yet been able to establish what arrangement Mr Ibbotson had with Sala, and the status of the 59-year-old’s licence at the time of the crash on January 21 will form part of the AAIB’s investigations.

Sala was found in the wreckage of the Piper Malibu N264DB, which was found on the seabed 13 days after it vanished over the English Channel near Guernse

BREAKING: Anthony Joshua to fight Jarrell Miller in USA on June 1

British Nigerian heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles against Jarrell Miller in his US debut at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1.

The 29-year-old last fought in September at Wembley, stopping Russia’s Alexander Povetkin in seven rounds.

“It has been an honour and a blessing to fight at some of the best venues in the world at home in the UK, not least Wembley Stadium, but the time has come to head across the Atlantic and defend my Heavyweight titles in the USA,” said Joshua.

(AFP)

Court jails Mourinho for one year for tax evasion in Spain

Former Manchester United Manager Jose Mourinho, would be coughing out 3.3 million euros (2.8 million pounds), to avoid the confines of the prison wall, no thanks to tax evasion.

In what would have seen him spend one year in prison, Mourinho, on Tuesday, accepted to pay the fine instead for defrauding the Spanish tax system.

The filing said the tax ministry and Mourinho’s defence team had agreed to exchange the 12-month prison sentence with a daily fine of 250 euros for 24 months, equivalent to 182,500 euros, as under Spanish law jail terms under two years can be served under probation.

The court filing said Mourinho leased his image rights to companies based in the British Virgin Islands and Ireland in 2004 but left those earnings out of his tax returns from 2011 and 2012.

When he was coach of Real Madrid and a fiscal resident in Spain, “with the aim of obtaining illicit profits”.

As well as the one-year prison sentence, Mourinho has been fined 1.9 million euros, 60 per cent of the amount defrauded, as well as 121,764 euros in interest.

The 56-year-old and his representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mourinho is one of the most successful coaches in modern European soccer, winning league titles with Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Porto.

He also won the Champions League in 2004 with Porto and in 2010 with Inter Milan.

He was sacked in December, 2018 by Manchester United after the Premier League club, who won the last of their record 20 top flight league titles in 2013, endured their worst start to a season for 28 years.

 

I pick players by size of penis, says female German football coach

 

The first woman to coach a football club in Germany’s top five divisions has put a journalist in his place by joking that she selects her line-up based on her players’ manhoods.

Imke Wubbenhorst was appointed as head coach of fifth-tier outfit BV Cloppenburg in December after half a season leading their women’s team.

In an interview with German newspaper Welt, she was ready with a witty retort to a poorly judged question.

Asked if her players should cover themselves up before she came into the changing room, she replied: “Of course not. I’m a professional – I pick the team on penis size.”

Mourinho free for Real return as United pay compensation – Reports

Jose Mourinho is available for a dramatic return to Real Madrid after Manchester United paid him a reported £15 million ($19 million) in compensation following his sacking last month, according to British media on Thursday.

The Daily Mail reports that a source close to Mourinho — whose contract was due to run till the end of the 2019/20 campaign with the option of an extra season — has revealed that compensation has been paid.

“There are no issues over Jose’s contract with Manchester United. Everything has been sorted,” the newspaper reports the source as saying.

“Jose is able to take on another job right now, but is in no rush.

“He is very relaxed about it and would be happy to wait until the end of the season if he needs to.”

The Sun reports that United agreed to the payment after his disappointing two-and-a-half-year stint at Old Trafford following a meeting between Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes and United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

The pay-out leaves the 55-year-old Portuguese free to be considered for Madrid if the club decide to dismiss under-pressure coach Santiago Solari.

Mourinho’s time at Real between 2010-2013 — which brought a league title and a Spanish Cup but saw them largely play second fiddle to Barcelona — ended as it did at United and Chelsea, with bad results and discord in the dressing room.

However, Real president Florentino Perez remains a fan and with the club 10 points behind La Liga leaders Barca and outside the Champions League places, Solari is under intense scrutiny.

“There has been no contact, but they did get in touch with Jose after (Julen) Lopetegui was dismissed (in late October),” the Mail reports the source as saying.

“He told them he was the manager of Manchester United and totally committed to the club.”

AFP