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Ligue 1: Osimhen emerges best African player in France

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Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen, has won the Marc-Vivien Foé RFI-France 24 Prize for best African player in the French Ligue 1, the French football championship for the 2019-2020 season.

The runners up are the Algerian forward Islam Slimani (Monaco) and the Moroccan defender Yunis Abdelhamid (Stade Rennais).

The organisers of the award said Osimhen was chosen by a jury of sport journalists specializing in French and African Football.

“He was included in a list of 11 players drafted by RFI’s and France 24’s sports services. They had at heart to highlights this year’s season, which had been full of astonishing performances by African players, before being stopped on March 13 because of the coronavirus crisis.

“This edition of the Marc-Vivien Foé Prize celebrates football, while supporters are temporarily unable to watch or attend games, and the achievements of African players in Ligue 1, some of whom could change championship at the end of the season,” a statement announcing his emergence read.

Osimhen arrived in Ligue 1 in 2019 to replace Nicolas Pépé who left for Arsenal F.C. He quickly became one of the biggest scorers of the French championship.

With 13 goals and 4 assists in 27 games, the Nigerian is amongst the best players of Ligue 1.

At 21, the forward, trained in Lagos, has already played in Germany (VfL Wolfsburg), Belgium (Charleroi), and is now a player of choice in Christophe Galtier’s team.

Osimhen is the fifth Lille player awarded best African player in Ligue 1 after Gervinho (2010, 2011), Vincent Enyeama (2014), Sofiane Boufal (2016) and Nicolas Pépé (2019).

“Since 2011, the best African player in Ligue 1 trophy is named after Marc-Vivien Foé, to honour the Cameroonian player who tragically passed during a game at the Gerland stadium in Lyon on June 26 2003.

“The award which is named after the late Cameroonian midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe is organised by Radio France International and France 24,” the statement added.

Osimhen beats a fellow Nigeria, Moses Simon, and eight other African stars to the prestigious award.

The 21-year-old is the second Nigerian to win the award after Vincent Enyeama picked up the prize in 2014.

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NIGERIA

Rodgers slams ‘poor’ Iheanacho

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Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has slammed striker Kelechi Iheanacho for his below performance  after  the Foxes were out-foxed in Sunday’s 4-1 thrashing by Bournemouth even as he ruled the substitution of the Nigerian  as tactical error.

Iheanacho, who had been heavily involved in Jamie Vardy’s opener, was withdrawn at half-time at the Vitality Stadium, with Rodgers tweaking his system to bring on Dennis Praet.

“(Iheanacho) wasn’t having one of his better games,” said Rodgers in his post-match press conference. “The issue for us defensively was on the side of the pitch, because there was a lot of space for Wilf and Youri to cover.

“So we pushed Ayo on, he was playing well, and added an extra midfielder in to help cover; but the defeat wasn’t tactical, it was about the spirit.”

He added: “I didn’t see it (the defeat) coming. We didn’t have personality in the second half.

Rodgers however charged his wards to rise to the challenge when they take on Sheffield United on Thursday.

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Michael Obafemi dents Man Utd’s top-four hopes

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Manchester United missed the chance to go third in the Premier League as they hosted Southampton on Monday night.

Anthony Martial appeared to secure Manchester United a win over Southampton, but a last-gasp Michael Obafemi equalizer secured Southampton a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men went into the contest in fine form with four consecutive victories but struggled to control proceedings against resilient Saints.

Southampton pressed high all through the match which led to the visitors taking an early lead through Stuart Armstrong but United hit back, Anthony Martial teeing up Marcus Rashford for the equalizer before scoring his 50th Premier League goal to put the hosts in front.

United had chances to increase their lead but failed with Martial and Rashford missing key chances.

However, Obafemi scored from close range right near the end, leaving the Red Devils fifth in the table.

Manchester United can still achieve their Champions League target – they go to fourth-placed Leicester City on the final day of the season – but this result is a major blow for Solskjaer.

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Real Madrid may be crowned La Liga champions on Thursday

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Real Madrid needs just one more win to be crowned 2019/2020 La Liga Champions, after holding off aggressive Granada, to secure a vital 2-1 win away.

The victory restored the table-toppers four-point lead over Barcelona, setting up for them the chance to be crowned LaLiga champions on Thursday if they beat visiting Villarreal.

If they were able to see off Villarreal, Madrid would win just their second La Liga title in eight seasons and their 34th overall.

The victory over Granada at Los Carmenes on Monday was hard-fought and hard-won.

Goals from Ferland Mendy – his first for the club – and Karim Benzema gave Madrid a first-half advantage.

Mendy slammed home a brilliant finish from a tight angle to become the 21st Madrid player to score in LaLiga this season.

Benzema increased his top-flight tally this term to 19 as he made it 2-0.

Although Darwin Machis pulled one back five minutes into the second half, Madrid survived a couple of late scares to make it nine straight victories and edge closer to LaLiga’s title.

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