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Liverpool Wins Club World Cup

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Roberto Firmino was again the hero for Liverpool as the forward’s extra-time goal allowed Jurgen Klopp’s side to beat Flamengo 1-0 in the Club World Cup final in Doha on Saturday and lift the trophy for the first time.

Firmino was picked out by Sadio Mane and waited for goalkeeper Diego Alves to commit before slotting low into the net in the 99th minute of an absorbing contest at the Khalifa International Stadium.It was the moment that finally punctured the hopes of the Brazilian side and their vibrant support, after Liverpool had been denied a penalty by VAR at the end of normal time.The Qatari referee initially gave a spot-kick for a foul on Mane by Rafinha on the way into the box, but changed his mind following a lengthy review, forcing the contest into an extra 30 minutes.Still, the European champions had enough to come out on top, with Firmino repeating his semi-final heroics, when he scored an injury-time goal to secure victory against Monterrey of Mexico.The win allows Liverpool to complete a fabulous year with a third piece of silverware to go with the Champions League and UEFA Supercup.Having earned the title of world champions, if Klopp’s team can see out their huge lead at the top of the Premier League this season, they will have a case to be remembered as the finest side in the illustrious history of the club.Flamengo had been hoping to repeat their win over Liverpool in the old Intercontinental Cup back in 1981 and thereby become the first non-European winners of the Club World Cup since fellow Brazilians Corinthians beat Chelsea in 2012.They fell short, but they certainly gave the Premier League leaders a game in what was their last outing of a long season.

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– Van Dijk back, Firmino hits post –

Klopp had welcomed back Virgil van Dijk after the inspirational Dutchman sat out Wednesday’s semi-final due to illness.That allowed skipper Jordan Henderson to return to his usual midfield berth, while Firmino, Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold were all recalled after starting on the bench against the Mexicans.Firmino, Naby Keita and Alexander-Arnold all came close for Liverpool in the first six minutes as they came flying out of the traps.Fielding the same team that started their semi-final win over Al Hilal, the Brazilian and South American champions gradually settled into the game, spurred on by their raucous travelling support.Bruno Henrique, the star of their semi-final victory, had their best opportunity in the first half, coming inside from the left to meet a long ball forward by goalkeeper Alves before seeing his shot deflected past.The Rio giants, with veteran Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus on the touchline, matched the European champions for much of the first half but were lucky not to fall behind at the beginning of the second period.Less than two minutes after the restart, Firmino controlled Henderson’s ball forward and sent a shot off the inside of the post before seeing it rebound away.However, Liverpool also needed goalkeeper Alisson to come to the rescue with a fine stop from a Gabriel Barbosa strike, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then went off injured as extra time began to loom.Then Alves stretched high to his left to tip a net-bound Henderson shot from 25 yards over the bar before, with the match in injury time, the English side thought they had a penalty for Rafinha’s tackle on Mane.However, referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim dramatically cancelled the decision after coming across to review the footage on a pitchside monitor.Liverpool finally found a way through nine minutes into the first half of extra time though, with Mane finding Firmino after being pushed wide of goal by Rafinha.Firmino made no mistake, and Flamengo were unable to respond.AFP

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Argentine football ‘lord’, Maradona is dead

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Argentine football legend, Diego Maradona has died of cardiac arrest at the age of 60.

Maradona’s spokesman confirmed the tragic story on Wednesday.

It will be recalled that the Gimnasia coach had been hospitalised at the start of November, days after celebrating the landmark birthday, after complaining of low spirits and fatigue. 

Tests at the La Plata clinic revealed a blood clot on the brain, which doctors later revealed was operated on successfully. 

Maradona was subsequently released from hospital as an outpatient to continue his convalescence, which he carried out in his dwelling in a private neighbourhood near Tigre, northern Buenos Aires. 

Unfortunately, on Wednesday morning he suffered cardiac arrest, and paramedics at the scene failed to revive him. 

Details later…

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3SC, Crown FC are coming back stronger – Oyo sports commissioner assures

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Oyo State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Seun Fakorede on Tuesday reassured football fans in the  state that the Shooting Stars Sporting Club popularly known as 3SC, and Crown FC of Ogbomoso are coming back stronger.

The Commissioner also added that he was sure that the clubs will perform excellently well and secure promotion back to the elite stage in the Nigerian football league.

Fakorede who gave the assurance in Ibadan, the state capital while featuring on Parrot Xtra Hour on Radio also  informed that Governor Seyi Makinde   has allocated a total sum of about five and a half billion naira which he regarded as a modest cost for the remodeling of the popular Lekan Salami Stadium Adamasingba, Ibadan, to meet international standards while promising to give facelifts to all other sections in the stadium.

He maintained that the present administration is committed to improving the economic infrastructure of the state and eradicate unemployment among youths in the State.

According to him, the governor  is working tirelessly to revamp all the sectors of the state as he  has given the approval of 500 million naira as a starter fund for youths’ empowerment in the state while engaging about 5000 youths to be employed by the state’s teaching service commission.

He also appealed for patience from Oyo youths on the issue of the dilapidated structures at the Ososami youth center.

“We are actually rehabilitating; we can’t possibly do everything at once. We have decided to put them in phases and fortunately, Ososami youth center is part of the project to enjoy the first phase of renovation”, he said.

Fakorede further assured that concerted efforts are being put in place by the various concerned ministries to see that youths and children roaming the street are catered for, while emphasizing that a lot of work still should be done to arrest the ugly situation of children roaming the streets.

The Commissioner, however charged Oyo youths not to be intimidated by any obstacle that might confront them as it is a “stepping stone to greatness”.

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Maradona to remain in hospital for treatment after surgery, says Doctor

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Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona is to remain in hospital for several more days to undergo treatment following surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain, his doctor said Thursday.

“We saw that in the postoperative phase Diego had episodes of confusion,” Leopoldo Luque told reporters.

Therapists treating Maradona had linked the behaviour to withdrawal symptoms and the necessary treatment would last “a few days,” he said.

Luque did not provide details, but Maradona has a long history of drug and alcohol addiction.

Although he has publicly said he no longer uses cocaine, friends and media reports have suggested he remains addicted to alcohol.

At a press conference outside the private clinic in Buenos Aires where surgeons spent 80 minutes removing the clot on Tuesday night, Luque took pains to present an upbeat assessment of the 60-year-old’s overall condition.

“Diego is doing well. The CT scan came out well. We were even dancing. Yes, we danced!” the doctor said.

The doctor said Maradona “agrees” with the diagnosis and would remain in the clinic.

Earlier Thursday, he said doctors were happy with the former player’s condition: “He can walk, talk to me….It’s very early this, but the recovery is excellent.”

World Cup winner Maradona had been taken to hospital in La Plata — where he is the coach of top-flight side Gimnasia y Esgrima — on Monday for a series of tests after feeling unwell.

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A scan revealed the blood clot, and on Tuesday he was transferred to the clinic in a northern neighborhood of the capital.

Fans have flocked to the clinic to leave banners showing the star in his prime and messages of support for the ailing icon.

Alongside Brazil’s Pele, who turned 80 last month, Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

– ‘Depressed’ –
Maradona, who turned 60 on Friday, has suffered ill health before. He has survived two heart attacks, and also contracted hepatitis and underwent gastric bypass surgery.

Prior to falling ill, Maradona had been depressed, his lawyer Matias Morla said on Wednesday.

The famously fast-living icon had only been able to spend half an hour at his own birthday celebration at his team’s training ground on Friday, when he had difficulty walking.

“He was behaving strangely. He was very depressed and spoke about dead relatives that he missed,” said Morla.

He said Maradona was “very worried” about the surgery and praised Luque, adding that “if he hadn’t detected the clot, Maradona’s fate would have been different.”

Luque insisted on Tuesday that the procedure was “a routine operation.”

 

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