Welcome to a brand new Thursday – the last day before the weekend action begins again. Football never sleeps. It is a day that sums up the mid-week activities.
Nominees for the PFA player of the year was released yesterday. Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil was among the 6 nominees. Others are Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kante, Kane and Dimitri Payet. It was surprising not to see Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin in the young player section which had Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Ross Barkeley, Jack Butland and Philip Coutinho. Any Nigerian ever in the nominees?
Barcelona were knocked out of UEFA Champions League after a 2-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the return leg of the quarterfinals. The first leg ended 2-1 in favour of the Catalians but MSN failed to deliver in Madrid. This can be described as a tactical masterpiece by Diego Simeone over two legs despite playing most of the 1st leg with 10 men.
Atletico Madrid’s was a like a victory for football. Previous champions league games involving Barcelona had always had one or two funny decisions. You could still ask why Iniesta was not sent off – last man.
Bayern Munich moved to the semifinal with a 2-2 draw in Benfica with goals from Vidal and Muller. They join Manchester City who saw off Zlatan’s PSG and Real Madrid – hattrick from Ronaldo against Wolfsburg. Watch out for the draws.
In the Nigeria Professional Football League, Okiki Afolabi scored a late winner as Sunshine Stars defeated Champions Enyimba FC 2-1. The Owena Waves are now out of the relegation zone for the first time since the beginning of the season. Enyimba have now lost 4 in 7 games this season. It took 28 games to lose 4 games last season. An ThatEnyimbaFan’s post about the game is
down up and it seems officiating in Akure was nothing to write about.
In the other NPFL game, NasarawaUnited defeated Giwa FC 3-1 in Makurdi. Today, Warri Wolves will host unbeaten Abia Warriors in a rescheduled game.
While the show of shame continues in the glass house of the Nigeria Football Federation, the Super Falcons qualified for the 12th Africa Women Cup of Nations with a 2-0 (3-1 aggregate) win over Senegal. Their reward was a paltry N10,000 (~$50) to each of the ladies compared to the male team (~$4,000) who failed to qualify for the AFCON. Gross inequality.
We will look more into female football in subsequent posts.