Russia stun Spain 4-3 on penalties to reach World Cup quarters

Russia’s goalkeeper saved Koke’s and Iago Aspas’ spot kicks after both teams had scored two apiece in Russia’s first ever World Cup penalty shootout, to set up a last eight clash with either Cro

Hosts Russia beat Spain 4-3 on penalties thanks to two saves by their goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev on Sunday to advance to the World Cup quarter-finals and send thousands of ecstatic Russians to the streets to celebrate.



The 32-year-old keeper saved Koke’s and Iago Aspas’ spot kicks after both teams had scored two apiece in Russia’s first ever World Cup penalty shootout, to set up a last eight clash with either Croatia, who also edged out Denmark in a penalty shootout later on Sunday.



World Cup knockouts: Teams hope against dreaded penalty shootout



Putin leads gov’t support for team



With Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev watching from the stands, Russia’s qualification triggered a wave of enthusiasm for the host nation as thousands celebrated in the capital’s iconic Red Square and beyond.



“Players will not do things just because the coach says so. They have to feel it and tonight they did it,” said Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov.



“To be a strong team is one thing, but you have to be the best on the pitch. Tonight, we were that team at the right place at the right time,” added the coach, who had received a phone call from President Vladimir Putin a few hours before the game.



It may have been a dry 120 minutes but there was high drama in the shootout for the 78,000 spectators at Luzhniki Stadium, with all four Russian penalty-takers keeping their cool and Muscovite Akinfeev doing well to deny Koke’s effort.



Akinfeev, who started his professional career by saving a spot kick in his first ever match, then kicked Aspas’ penalty high and wide to trigger wild celebrations.



“In the second half, we were trying to defend. We were hoping for penalties and that’s what happened, thank God,” the keeper said.



Spain’s painful elimination



It was a painful World Cup exit for Spain and coach Fernando Hierro, who replaced Julen Lopetegui, fired on the eve of the tournament after accepting Real Madrid’s offer to be their manager.



“There is a lot of pain in the delegation, the players, the coaching staff,”, Hierro told reporters. “We had great hopes for this World Cup and it was not to be.



“There are 15 players who have given everything, I have absolutely no complaint. This is football. We had more possession, got to their area much more. We understand that in these moments you have to be effective.”



How the game unfolded



Spain, who have never beaten a host at World Cups or Euros, went ahead after 12 minutes when Sergei Ignashevich bundled into Ramos at the far post, knocking a free kick in with his heel for the 10th own goal of the tournament.



The 2010 world champions controlled the game with their slick passing but failed to add to their lead as the Russians defended with discipline.



Russia also were toothless up front until Gerard Pique’s handball gave them a chance to level with a penalty in the 41st minute.



Forward Artem Dzyuba buried it for his third goal of the tournament to awaken the subdued crowd.



Despite 75 percent possession and more than 1,000 passes, Spain’s famed tiki-taka got them nowhere and they had to wait until the 85th minute to test Akinfeev with a low drive from substitute Andres Iniesta.



Having long run out of steam and with several players cramping, Russia were reduced to desperately defending in extra time.



Akinfeev came to the rescue once again to deny Rodrigo after his fine sprint before becoming a national hero by saving the two spot kicks to send the hosts into the last eight and his fellow Russians to the streets to celebrate.



Guide to the World Cup knockout stage: Meet the 16 contenders

South Africa beat Argentina in friendly at Pretoria

South Africa have an embarrassment of riches on the right wing with Nkosi and Cheslin Kolbe, who was rested for this match, bidding to start against New Zealand in Japan on September 21 in their World

Sibusiso Nkosi scored two brilliant tries as South Africa beat Argentina 24-18 on Saturday in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Pretoria.

The winger struck in each half for the Springboks, who found the going much tougher than last weekend when they hammered the Pumas by 33 points in Salta to win the Rugby Championship.

South Africa have an embarrassment of riches on the right wing with Nkosi and Cheslin Kolbe, who was rested for this match, bidding to start against New Zealand in Japan on September 21 in their World Cup opener.

All the other South African points at Loftus Versfeld came from fly-half Elton Jantjies, who kicked a conversion and four penalties.

Forwards Guido Petti and skipper Pablo Matera each scored a try for Argentina. Joaquin Diaz Bonilla kicked a conversion and a penalty and Benjamin Urdapilleta a penalty.

South Africa skipper and flanker Siya Kolisi showed no ill effects from a knee injury sustained last May before coming off after 53 minutes of his first international appearance this season.

Coach Rassie Erasmus wanted Kolisi to concentrate on his personal performance so he did not restore the captaincy. Instead veteran hooker Schalk Brits became, at 38 the second oldest Springbok to lead the team.

Although Argentina suffered a ninth consecutive loss, there was encouragement for coach Mario Ledesma from a much improved scrummaging performance, that won several penalties.

The Pumas thought they had taken the lead with three minutes left when debutant Lucas Mensa touched down, but the try was disallowed for obstruction by fellow centre Jeronimo de la Fuente.

South Africa started with an entirely different team from the one that crushed Argentina 46-13 last weekend in Salta to win the Rugby Championship for the first time. Argentina made 10 changes after being humiliated at home.

Springboks flanker Marcell Coetzee was off on 17 minutes and could not return after failing a head injury assessment test.

South Africa dominated territory and possession, but had to wait 20 minutes before being rewarded when Jantjies kicked a 22-metre penalty from in front of the posts.

Argentina had their first scoring chance seven minutes later. Diaz Bonilla succeeded with a more difficult penalty kick than that of Jantjies.

A stop-start half was crying out for a try. It finally arrived on 32 minutes when slick handling allowed Nkosi to step inside one opponent before holding off two others to score.

Jantjies struck a post with his conversion attempt leaving South Africa with an 8-3 advantage that did not adequately reflect their superiority.

That lead evaporated in additional time at the end of the half when Petti intercepted a pass from scrum-half Cobus Reinach and, showing amazing pace for a lock, scored between the posts.

Bonilla converted and the Pumas led 10-8 at the break despite being on the back foot for much of the opening 40 minutes.

The highlight of the second half was the second Nkosi try on 48 minutes, which gave the Springboks a lead they never surrendered.

Seemingly hemmed in, he beat three Pumas and then dived over Sebastian Cancelliere to raise his Test try tally to seven since debuting last season.

FIFA bans former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia for life following a match fixing probe

The case is the latest to emerge from FIFA’s long-running investigation into the activities of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who FIFA has called a « known match fixer » and who has admitted such activ

Former Nigeria national team coach Samson Siasia has been banned from the game for life following a match-fixing probe by world governing body FIFA.

FIFA said in a statement on Friday (August 16) that the adjudicatory chamber of their independent Ethics Committee found that Siasia was “guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

The 51-year-old Siasia played 51 times as a striker for the Nigerian national team and later coached various national youth sides before a spell as senior coach in 2016.

The case is the latest to emerge from FIFA’s long-running investigation into the activities of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who FIFA has called a “known match fixer” and who has admitted such activity in several interviews.

FIFA said that he was banned for life “from all football-related activities that is administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.”

Siasia has also been fined $51,000.

Ethiopia U-15 make history with CECAFA tourney in Eritrea

Whiles it will be the first major tournament Eritrea will be hosting, there is history being made by the Ethiopian lads in town for the competition.

Eritrea is hosting ten other countries for the Council for East and Central African Football Associations, CECAFA, under 15 championships.

The tournament kicked off today, August 16 and is expected to end in early September. Whiles it will be the first major tournament Eritrea will be hosting, there is history being made by the Ethiopian lads in town for the competition.

They will be the first Ethiopian team to play in Asmara in over two decades. They get the feat after a friendly match planned for Asmara between the two senior sides failed to hold last year.

There are three groups from the draw that was held in Asmara earlier this month.Most of the teams are neighbours of Eritrea along with the East African sides like Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

According to CECAFA General Secretary, Nicholas Musonye, the aim of the tournament is to develop talents at the grassroot level which is the basic stage in the development of a player.

The result of draw is as follows:

Group A – Eritrea, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia

Group B – Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan

Group C – Tanzania, Sudan, Djibouti 0

International friendly: Nigeria squad against Ukraine announced

Copyright -AFCON 2019: Nigeria
Nigeria have revealed their squad for the international friendly against Ukraine in Dnipro Arena on Tuesday,September 10th,2019. In fact, midfielder John Ogu and goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi were among the 23 players called up by Gernot Rohr for the Super Eagles’ international friendly with the National Team of Ukraine. Coach Gernot Rohr is also without retired Nigerian stars John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo, however Maduka Okoyer Fortuna Dusseldorf goalkeeper, and Joe Aribo, Glasgow Rangers midfielder, were called up by the coach. Tyronne Ebuehi, who missed the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt due to injury, has been recalled by boss Rohr after recovery. Nigeria squad: Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC), Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany) Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy), Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Benfica, Portugal), Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal), William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy), Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England), Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain), Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany), Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (Rotherham United, England) Midfielders: Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England), Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England), Joe Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland) Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia), Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France), Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain), Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco, France), Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France), Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland, Denmark), Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)

Sundowns Coach Pitso takes the blame for dropped points

Sundowns-Chippa Copyright -Sundowns via Twitter
Following the 1-1 draw between Mamelodi Sundowns and Chippa United in their Absa Premiership tie at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has declared that he takes the full responsibility for losing the two points. Indeed, Pitso revealed that dropping two points is a great disappointment to the team and that his mistakes were the reason for the draw, especially when he chose to bring on attacker Phakamani Mahlambi. “Obviously we are disappointed because I think we dropped two points. I think it was my fault, I should have sealed the game in the last three minutes, we should have used experience like we usually do it. But I opted to go in the last three minutes for Phakamani as an attacker, instead of maybe doing a sub that will keep the result,” Pitso Mosimane said. “It’s two points gone, but I guess maybe the game led me and deceived me because I could see we can score the second goal, but forgetting there’s two three minutes to go. We became a little bit greedy. Against SuperSport we scored a little bit late, so we thought maybe we could steal it like that. But it’s okay, lessons learnt. The game always teaches me and humbles me.”