Stand-in goalkeeper Adrian was the hero as his save from Tammy Abraham allowed Liverpool to beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties and win the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday after a richly entertaining match in Istanbul finished 2-2 at the end of extra time.
Every penalty in the shoot-out had been successful before Mohamed Salah stepped up to convert Liverpool’s fifth kick at the home of Besiktas. Substitute Abraham then had his effort saved by Adrian, the summer signing only playing in the absence of the injured Allison Becker.
It is Liverpool’s fourth Super Cup victory, with their last coming in 2005 on the back of their memorable Champions League triumph, also in Istanbul.
They have now won 13 European trophies overall, and how their supporters would love to come back to the banks of the Bosphorus for the final of this season’s Champions League.
Sadio Mane had earlier been Liverpool’s star, cancelling out Olivier Giroud’s first-half strike to ensure the match ended 1-1 in 90 minutes, and then putting Jurgen Klopp’s team in front on 95 minutes.
But it was perhaps inevitable that French referee Stephanie Frappart would play a role in the outcome of the game.
The first woman to take charge of a major men’s match in European competition, Frappart gave Chelsea a penalty when Abraham went down under contact from Adrian. Jorginho — his name unfortunately wrongly spelled on the back of his shirt — netted the spot-kick.
He also scored in the shoot-out, but there would be no first trophy as Chelsea coach for Frank Lampard, who lost the Super Cup twice with the club as a player, including a defeat on penalties against Bayern Munich in 2013.
Lampard has stated a willingness to give youth a chance this season, although here he left Mason Mount and Abraham — aged just 20 and 21 respectively — on the bench.
Instead N’Golo Kante was deemed fit to play after a summer plagued by injury problems, while Giroud came in and Christian Pulisic made his full debut. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first start for Liverpool in 16 months after recovering from a serious knee injury.
The England midfielder released Salah for an early chance only for the Egyptian’s effort to be saved down low by Kepa Arrizabalaga. However, he generally struggled to make an impact on the left flank and was replaced at half-time by Roberto Firmino.
Chelsea had enjoyed the better of the opening 45 minutes, with Pedro Rodriguez crashing a shot off the bar midway through the first half before Adrian saved at the feet of Mateo Kovacic.
The opener arrived in the 36th minute, with Kante finding Pulisic and the American drawing several red shirts towards him before releasing Giroud to score first-time.
Shortly after that, Pulisic thought he had made it 2-0, but his fine finish was disallowed for offside by Frappart.
The introduction of Firmino helped change things completely at the start of the second half, though, with Liverpool needing little more than two minutes to draw level.
The Brazilian knocked the ball into the path of Mane, who scrambled home from close range despite Kepa getting a glove to it.
Kepa fared far better in the 75th minute, blocking Salah’s shot following Jordan Henderson’s corner and then reacting brilliantly to turn Virgil van Dijk’s follow-up onto the woodwork.
Brought on from the bench along with Abraham, Mount briefly thought he had restored Chelsea’s lead late on but his crisp low strike was disallowed.
On into extra time they went and, to the delight of the crowd, who were mostly supporting the European champions, Liverpool went 2-1 up thanks to that same combination.
Mane found Firmino near the byline and then latched onto the Brazilian’s cutback and fired home off the underside of the bar.
But, in the 101st minute of this match, Jorginho converted from the spot to bring back the possibility of a penalty shoot-out.
Having conceded that spot-kick, Adrian later produced a firm hand to deny Mount and was at it again as he denied Abraham to secure victory for his team.
Man Utd Sign Odion Ighalo On Loan
Manchester United have signed former Watford striker Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua on loan until the end of the season.
The deal to bring the 30-year-old Nigeria international to Old Trafford contains no option to buy.
Ighalo, who is still in China but is expected to fly to the UK in the next few days, scored 39 goals in 99 matches for Watford between 2014 and 2017.
He then moved to the Chinese Super League, first with Changchun Yatai.
After two seasons he moved to Shanghai Shenhua and has scored 10 times in 19 games.
His form for Nigeria has been eye-catching, finishing as top scorer in African Cup of Nations qualifying with seven goals, before scoring five at the tournament during the summer.
Sadio Mane Crowned African Player Of The Year
Senegalese striker and Liverpool star Sadio Mane has been crowned as the 2019 African Player of the Year.
The 27-year old Senegalese striker claimed the top prize for the first time on Tuesday at the 2019 CAF Awards ceremony held in Egypt.
Mane beat his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah of Egypt who won the award the last two years, as well as Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City).
However, neither Salah nor Mahrez attended the event.
Giving his acceptance speech, Mane said, “I am really happy and at the same time I am really proud to win this award. It’s a big day for me.”
According to CAF statistics, the Senegalese scored 34 goals and made 12 assists in 61 appearances last year.
In the female category, Super Falcons’ Captain Asisat Oshoala was named as the 2019 African Women’s Player of the Year.
Oshoala, who plays for Spanish side Barcelona, beat Ajara Nchout of Cameroon and South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana, who was crowned in Senegal last year to claim the title.
It is the fourth time the 25-year-old is being crowned the best African female footballer.
She won the award in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and was also among the final three in 2018 but lost to her South African rival Kgatlana.
Shortly after she was announced as the winner, Oshoala took to Twitter to thank her family and friends, as well as her fans and colleagues locally and internationally for their support.
Grateful to be African Women’s Player of the year for the 4th time. Thank God, my Family, Friends and Fans for the support. Big shoutout to my club , my management , team mates at both national team and club level and of course thanks to @CAF_Online for the opportunity ❤️❤️🙏🏾
— ASISAT M.O.N (@AsisatOshoala) January 7, 2020
Other male awards were claimed by Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi, Algerian Youcef Belaili for African Interclubs Player of the Year and Algeria’s national team.
The female awardees were South African coach Desiree Ellis, and Cameroon’s women national team.
The award for the youth category was given to Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi of Borussia Dortmund.
The Egyptian Football Association won the Federation of the Year award.
Ejike Ugbaoja Bags Recognition Award
NBA Super Star Ejike Ugboaja , bags an award of recognition from KWARARAFA REPORTERS.
The award is in recognition of his many philanthropy works ,especially in the aspect of scholarship to the less privilege in nigeria.
in a short interview after the award presentation, Ugboaja said as a young boy growing up in kaduna some one help him to pay his school fees as his parent couldn’t afford to see him through school .
Also speaking Further he said God miraculously made it possible for him to become an international NBA super star and so all he wants to do is to give back to the society by rendering the same help he got while growing up as a less privilege.
Ejike Christopher Ugboaja was born on the 28th of May, 1985 in Kaduna State, Nigeria. The youngest of six children, he was born to the family of late Chief Benjamin Onyemachi Ugboaja and Chief Mrs Christy Ugboaja. Ejike attended primary school at St. Augustine L.E.A. in Tudunwada, Kaduna State. He then went on to attend secondary education at Government College Kaduna. In 2002, Ejike enrolled at Ahmedu Bello University in Zaria, where he was a student until 2006. Ejike’s basketball career started with the Youth Movement Christian Association in 1999, from which he was selected to represent Kaduna State at the National Sports Festival in Ibadan 2001. His performance at the Ibadan games earned him a place on one of the perennial powerhouse basketball clubs of Nigeria, the Yelwa Hawks. Ejike became an All-Star during the 2001-2002 Premier League season. During this time, Ejike also represented Ahmedu Bello University in the Nigerian University Games (NUGA), and West African University Games, where the university basketball team came out as Tournament Champions in 2003 and 2004.
Ejike is known for his rebounding ability, but it was his scoring ability that catapulted him into an opportunity with Premier League giants Union Bank Basketball Club in 2004. He averaged 25 points and 15 rebounds per game in the Nigerian Premier League with the Bankers. In 2006, Ejike’s biggest dream came true when he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 55th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. Ejike is the only player in history to be drafted directly from Africa.
Since the beginning of his basketball career, Ejike has been a standout member of the Nigerian National Team. Over the past decade, Ejike has played for his country nearly every summer. He represented Nigeria at the 2002 U-18 African Championships in Egypt, the 2003 U-18 World Championships in Greece, the 2005 U-21 World Championships in Argentina, and the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Since 2007, Ejike has been a member of Nigeria’s Senior National Team, competing at the highest international level. In 2011, Ejike and the Nigerian senior national team competed for a bid to the 2012 Olympics in London, where they participated.
Upon being drafted by the Cavaliers in 2006, Ejike’s love for his country and desire to help younger generations inspired him to start the Ejike Ugboaja Foundation.
The Ejike Ugobaja Foundation is committed to providing improved life opportunities for up and coming generations of Nigerians to help them achieve success through education and athletics.
The Ejike Ugobaja Foundation serves as a mentor and charitable source of financial support for aspiring Nigerian student-athletes.
Credit : Abel Ogwu
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