Keita, Salah goals help Liverpool beat Salzburg to top UCL Group E

Liverpool beat Salzburg 2-0 to advance as Group E winners, with Salah adding to midfielder Naby Keita’s opener after rounding opposition goalkeeper Cican Stankovic.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp praised Mohamed Salah for showing self-belief after he spurned several straightforward chances before scoring from a tight angle to help the defending champions reach the Champions League knockout stages on Tuesday.





Liverpool beat Salzburg 2-0 to advance as Group E winners, with Salah adding to midfielder Naby Keita’s opener after rounding opposition goalkeeper Cican Stankovic.



“He played really well but didn’t score in the situations we expect him usually to score, but staying on track and making such a decisive and very difficult finish, that probably says much more about him than all of the other goals he has scored,” said Klopp.



“Staying concentrated, belief in the next moment, it was brilliant. A very, very difficult goal but a sensational finish.”



Salah’s goal was his 11th for Liverpool this season and took him to 20 Champions League goals for the club.



Liverpool next host basement-side Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.



REUTERS

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Drogba wins prestigious UEFA President's Award

Drogba won the 2012 Champions League as part of a glittering career with Chelsea, in which he scored 164 goals in 381 appearances in all competitions and lifted four Premier League titles

Didier Drogba has been named as the recepient of the 2020 UEFA President's Award.

The former Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker was hailed as a "pioneer" by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

"Didier is a hero to millions of football fans for his achievements throughout his glittering playing career," Ceferin said via a UEFA statement.

"I will remember him as a player for his skill, strength and intelligence, but above all for his insatiable appetite to succeed – a trait which is just as present in his desire to help others off the field of play."

Drogba won the 2012 Champions League as part of a glittering career with Chelsea, in which he scored 164 goals in 381 appearances in all competitions and lifted four Premier League titles.

The former Ivory Coast international also scored his country's first goal at a World Cup finals in 2006 and played at a further two tournaments.

Drogba, who retired in 2018 after a final season with Phoenix Rising, has been running a charitable foundation that has helped to build schools for disadvantaged children.

He has also been studying for UEFA's Executive Master for International Players (MIP) programme.

"To have won a Champions League, to have played and scored for my country at a World Cup – these are things I could only have dreamed of when I was a child," Drogba said.

Previous winners of the UEFA President's Award include Bobby Charlton, Eusebio, Raymond Kopa, Johan Cruyff, Francesco Totti, David Beckham and Eric Cantona.

Egypt's Mayar Sherif loses close Roland Garros match in historic debut

She is the first-ever Egyptian female tennis player to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.

Egypt's Mayar Sherif lost 2-1 on Tuesday in the first stage of the Grand Slam competition Rolan Garros to world number 4 Karolina Pliskova after a close match.

Despite the defeat, she reached a historic level.

She is the first-ever Egyptian female tennis player to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.

She won the first set (7-6) before losing the next two sets (6-2) (6-4).

On Wednesday, she became the first Egyptian female to win a Grand Slam match after overcoming Colombian teenager Maria Camila Osorio Serrano.

She is also the country's first female tennis player to make it into the Olympic games.

"It's been very good, such a good feeling to be here, to compete here, to compete out in the stadium of Philippe Chatrier today. It was an amazing feeling. I cannot describe it. It just gave me so much energy," she told a press conference.

Due to her historic achievement, she was applauded by Liverpool star Mo Salah on Twitter.

"I am inspired because he's one of the best football players in the world, and to see someone very successful supporting other successful people in his country, it just gives you some energy just to know that there are good people out there and people who are already successful are willing to support you," she said.

Senegalese allege racism in Diack corruption verdict

Dakar residents alleged racism and said Wednesday’s verdict by a Paris court was unjust.

Senegal and the sporting world has been shaken after the former head of the world athletics body, Lamine Diack, was found guilty of corruption by a Paris court.

Residents in Dakar alleged racism and said Wednesday's verdict by a Paris court was unjust.

"As a Senegalese, I think it was an injustice to condemn him. African people are tired because if Lamine Diack was a white person, he would not be sued, arrested," said Cheriphe Toure.

"It is not normal, he is a Senegalese, he is about 80 years old and they want to put him in prison, he is tired. The trial (against Diack) is not a real trial, it's just politics."

Lamine, an 87-year-old Senegalese, was charged for his role in a scheme that allowed Russian athletes to pay bribes to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping after they paid bribes.

Prosecutors said Diack solicited $5.5 million in bribes and paid off other officials at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to help with the cover-up.

The court handed Diack a four-year prison sentence, two years of which are suspended and a fine of $590,000.

He was also ordered to pay €5 million in damages to World Athletics (formerly IAAF) with his son and co-accused, Papa Massata Diack.

From 1999-2015 Diack was the head of the IAAF and was influential in the world of Olympic sports.

Diack's lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

"I think if the law is valid in France, it will be overturned because it's really unfair," Abdoulaye Diagne, Coordinator of the support committee for Lamine Diack.

Africans Marking Football Around the Globe

A brief spotlight on some notable African players making an impact on international football.

Riyad Mahrez, hailing from Algeria - the Manchester City star has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the club’s spokesperson. Although asymptomatic, he is currently self-isolating.

The 29-year old 2016 Best African Player titleholder, is due to begin the Premier League season with the team's first fixture on September 21st. As yet, it is still unclear as to when he contracted the virus and whether he will be able to play.

Ansu Fati, the football prodigy born in Guinea Bissau, broke a 95-year record after only 311 days - as at just 17 years old he has become the youngest ever goal-scorer of the Spanish National Team.

The next Lionel Messi?

He made his historical mark in the winning 4 nil match against Ukraine in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.

After he became Barcelona’s youngest goalscorer in La Liga last season and the youngest to ever score in the European Champions League, he is viewed by many as the next Lionel Messi.

Cedric Bakambu continues to shine in China. The Congolese striker added a new goal to his 2020 collection a week after scoring 4 goals in a single game.

Despite a 2-goal lead against Wuhan Zall, his team Beijing Guoan had to concede a 2-2 draw. This was thanks to a late equaliser from the other African star of the league, Ivorian striker, Jean Evrard Kouassi.

Drogba’s FIF Presidential Candidacy Bid Rejected

Didier Drogba has been announced unsuccessful at filing a FIF presidential candidacy bid.

Access Denied

International football star, Didier Drogba, received some bad news on Thursday when the Electoral Commission of the Ivorian Soccer Federation (FIF) rejected his candidacy for the presidency of the federation. "The electoral commission (...) rejects the candidacy of Mr. Drogba Tébily Didier Yves Tébily," reads a section of Article 5 of the negative decision of the commission.

Rejected but with the possibility to appeal

This rejection was based on criticisms of the former striker for several eligibility requirement breaches and highlights the challenges the star faced in trying to establish himself within the Ivorian football industry in spite of his international status, athletic track record and personal wealth — and beyond just being a player on the field.

Eligibility Requirements

Drogba, who was partly trained in France and once played for European clubs, Chelsea and Marseille, only managed to obtain sponsorship of two first division clubs — one short of the three required.

Although he does, in fact, have three club sponsors on file, the third technically did not count as it came by way of the vice-president and not the president himself who gave his support to the president of the League, Sory Diabaté (who boasts the support of six Division 1 clubs).

Interest groups also must follow the same rules as each candidate is required to obtain sponsorship of at least one of five in particular. Drogba was unable to garner support from neither the Alumni Association nor the Ivorian Players Association.

Likewise, on file, he did have the support of the association of referees (AMAF). However, it was a similar situation of falling short by a technicality as "the sponsorship" was from a person "who does not have the capacity to legally commit the AMAF," according to the electoral commission.

Public and Peer Opinion

One of the most famous and celebrated public Ivorian personalities, Didier Drogba, has been a treasure to the country's national football team and has received from many of his former teammates and peers such as Eugène Diomande, the Yaya and Kolo Touré brothers, Aruna Dindane and many others.

Many fans and peers still support Drogba

On the other hand, some of his other industry colleagues have shown support for Idriss Diallo, the former 3rd vice-president of the Fif (supported in particular by the current vice-president of the Fif), such as Cyril Domoraud, Bonaventure Kalou or Ahmed Ouattara.
Still more colleagues such as Didier Zokora, Youssouf Fofana and Abdoulaye Traore (known as Ben Badi) supported the president of the League, Sory Diabaté.

The Ivorian football icon has five days to make an appeal to the governing commission.