AFCON 2021 qualifier: Osimhen, Kalu fire Eagles past Squirrels

first_imgRelatedPosts Napoli Coach: Osimhen young lad with old brain Super Eagles stars model new national team jersey Super Eagles soar on FIFA ranking Goals from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu were all the Super Eagles needed to sail past the Squirrels of Benin in the AFCON 2021 qualifier opening group game at the Goodwill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Wednesday. The Nigerian side came from behind to beat Benin 2-1 to top Group L, while Sierra Leone and Lesotho shared spoils in Freetown. Nigeria suffered a blow after just three minutes in when sloppy defending allowed Stephane Sessegnon beat Daniel Akpeyi to put the visitors ahead. Nigeria levelled scores from the spot, after Ola Aina was hacked down in the vital area. Osimhen stepped up and sent Fabien Farnolle the wrong way. The Nigerian lads upped their ante after the restart and sustained pressure on the opposition before Kalu beat the goalkeeper with a low strike into the bottom left corner in the 63rd minute. The Squirrels, however, nearly grabbed an equaliser late on when Jordel Dossou pranced through the Nigerian defence and crashed a powerful shot off the under side of the crossbar. At the other end, Farnolle also palmed away a sizzling drive from Alex Iwobi in the closing stages as Nigeria opened their qualifying adventure with a victory.Tags: AFCON 2021alex iwobiSamuel KaluSuper EaglesVictor Osimhenlast_img read more

Men’s tennis seeking key wins against OSU, PSU

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s tennis team looks to bounce back from their slump this weekend on a road trip out east to Ohio State and Penn State. The team has dropped five straight meets and will need back-to-back wins to climb back into the Big Ten conference race.Wisconsin (10-7, 1-4 Big Ten) will face No. 5 Ohio State (20-2, 5-0 Big Ten) Friday and Penn State (7-11, 1-4 Big Ten) Sunday.Standing in the way Friday is an Ohio State program that hasn’t lost a home meet since 2003. The Buckeyes team will be ranked fifth in the nation going into this weekend while riding an 11-match win streak.“We just got to go out there and play loose, play confident and hopefully be able to compete,” head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. “That is the biggest thing we have been working on as of late.”Picking up a single point in this matchup will be no easy feat, however. The Badgers have been struggling in recent weeks and with five nationally-ranked opponents on the Ohio State roster – Peter Kobelt, Blaz Rola, Connor Smith, Chris Diaz and Devin McCarthy – Wisconsin could be in for a long day. However, the coaches seem confident that if the players focus, they can play well and maybe pick up a win or two.“As far as singles goes,” assistant coach Joe Bates explained, “they just have to focus on themselves and the task at hand. If they can keep it close early and find a way to get into the match they will always have a chance.”As long as the Badgers singles play continues to struggle, the doubles point becomes even more important. However, this is a tall order for a young UW team as all three of Ohio State’s doubles pairs are nationally ranked – with Peter Kobelt/Connor Smith No. 13, Devin McCarthy/Ille Van Engelen No. 27 and Blaz Rola/Kevin Metka No. 57.“It is going to be important for us to get the doubles point,” Bates said. “I think we realistically can, it is going to be difficult, but there is no reason if we play the way we have been that we couldn’t get the point.”On top of difficult doubles matchups, the Badger number one doubles team could be missing senior Billy Bertha who is struggling with a flare up of his reoccurring back injury. Bertha didn’t practice Tuesday and his return to the court this weekend is questionable. The 6-foot-5 senior is 8-7 this year in doubles play with three different partners.“I am going in for some cortisone shots later in the week,” Bertha said. “Hopefully I will be able to play this weekend, but it is really still up in the air right now.”The last time Bertha missed a doubles match was March 9 against Western Illinois.Wisconsin’s best chance for a win this weekend comes when they visit Penn State on Sunday. Penn State is 1-4 in Big Ten play this season and has struggled in doubles play all year. The team is also coming off a close 4-3 loss to No. 57 Nebraska.“What we really want to do is go out there and try to get some momentum,” Van Emburgh said. “We are going to be looking to play a good match against Ohio State, and we want to take the positives from there and bring that into Penn State.”Despite the recent slump in singles play, the Badgers seem fairly confident that they can get back on track this weekend with a win at Penn State. The team has had historical success against the Nittany Lions, taking home victories the last few years and is hoping to continue that run with hard work and good tennis.“They have a better team than ever this year,” Bates said. “But we seem to play pretty well against them. All we have to do is start with the doubles point and fight and grit for a couple singles wins.”last_img read more