FT: Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid; Benzema, Vinicius Jr & Valverde on targets as Los Blancos reach Super Cup Final, De Jong & Fati respond for the Catalans

After 120 minutes of action, Real Madrid march on to the Final of the Spanish Super Cup where they will face the winner between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.

END OF SECOND HALF IN EXTRA TIME AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid

SECOND HALF IN EXTRA TIME UNDERWAY AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid

END OF FIRST HALF IN EXTRA TIME AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid

98′ MIN: Fede Valverde restores the lead for Madrid. It is a combination from substitutes Rodrygo and Valverde himself.

GOOOAAALLL!!! Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid

EXTRA TIME AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid

After regulation time, it’s finished 2-2 between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Both teams are now observing the customary break period before the commencement of extra time.

END OF REGULATION TIME AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid

83′ MIN: Super sub Ansu Fati draws the Catalans level. Jordi Alba with the assist. GAME ON!!!

GOOOAAALLLL!!! Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid (A. Fati)

72′ MIN: Karim Benzema restores the lead for Real Madrid

GOOOOOAAALLL!!! Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid (K. Benzema)

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid

HALF-TIME AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid

STATS: Luuk de Jong has scored in his last three games for Barcelona.

41′ MIN: Luuk de Jong who is having a great run at the moment, levels things up for the Blaugrana albeit fortuitously.

GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!! Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid (L. De Jong)

25′ MIN: Vinicius Junior bursts through and blasts the ball into the back of the net to give Los Blancos the lead, off an assist by Karim Benzema.

GOOOAAALLLL!!! Barcelona 0-1 Real Madrid (V. Junior)

KICK-OFF AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 0-0 Real Madrid

Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has fielded a strong side which has the usual suspects in Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr., Luka Modric and Casemiro. Surely, the superior squad quality should see Los Blancos through this one.

Coach Xavi Hernandez has handed a debut appearance to new signing from Manchester City Ferran Torres, as Luuk de Jong continues to start following his recent run of form while Memphis Depay settles for a place on the bench.

Greetings soccer lovers…welcome to our LIVE coverage of the El Grand Clasico between Catalonian outfit FC Barcelona and capital side Real Madrid set to go down at the King Fahd Stadium in Saudi Arabia. It is the first of two semi-final matches in this season’s Spanish Super Cup, with Atletico Madrid also scheduled to play Athletic Club Bilbao in the competition on Thursday.

FT: Tottenham Hotspurs 0-1 Chelsea; First half goal from Rudiger seals victory for Blues! VAR drama for Spurs

FULL TIME

Chelsea are through to yet another FINAL! The Blues are coming to Wembley. The game ends 3-0

Game interrupted

There’s a pause in play at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for an incident in the stand.

No Goal for KANE

Kane is a denied a goal after he was ruled offside by VAR. The drama at the Tottenham stadium is unparalleled

Second Half

We are back for the second half of the Carabao Cup semifinal between Tottenham vs Chelsea. 45 minutes left for Spurs to equalise or for the Blues to enter the FINAL!

Inter 1-1 Juventus

In Italy, Juve and Inter are slugging it outbfor a winner.

McKennie opened the scoring. Alvaro Morata found Weston McKennie inside the Inter box and the USA international headed past Samir Handanovic.

Lautaro Martinez pulled Inter level. The Argentine striker sent it into the top corner from a penalty after Mattia De Sciglio brought down Daniele Doveri in the box.

Spiderman is in the building

Half-time

That was an intense first half! Chelsea leading 3-0 on aggregate.

NO PENALTY

The penalty decision has been checked by VAR. No penalty – a Spurs free-kick has been awarded instead.

Penalty for SPURS

Penalty awarded to Tottenham. Hojbjerg is tripped by Rudiger outside the box and then appears to clip his own heels just inside it. VAR is checking it though.

Mountain for Spurs to climb

Fantastic Antonio!

Gooaaaal Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea take the lead! Is it all over already? Antonio Rudiger heads in from a corner. Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea (0-3 agg)

Rudiger causing trouble!

A couple of early Chelsea chances…Rudiger’s long passes from deep are causing problems.

It is basic stuff, but enough to open up the Spurs defence twice in the last couple of minutes.

Kickoff!

We are underway! Can Spurs overturn the 2-0 deficit or will Chelsea stroll to the final? We would find out at the end of this game!

It is a feast of pure and unadulterated football as London shakes to the core with Tottenham taking on bitter rivals Chelsea in the return leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal.

Team News

Son OUT due to injury, Kane & Moura in starting XI. Werner & Lukaku lead the line for the Blues.

LIVE: Barcelona vs Real Madrid; Ferran Torres set to make debut for the Catalans, Depay BENCHED; Benzema & Vinicius Jr START for Los Blancos; Follow all the updates>>>

END OF SECOND HALF IN EXTRA TIME AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid

SECOND HALF IN EXTRA TIME UNDERWAY AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid

END OF FIRST HALF IN EXTRA TIME AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid

98′ MIN: Fede Valverde restores the lead for Madrid. It is a combination from substitutes Rodrygo and Valverde himself.

GOOOAAALLL!!! Barcelona 2-3 Real Madrid

EXTRA TIME AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid

After regulation time, it’s finished 2-2 between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Both teams are now observing the customary break period before the commencement of extra time.

END OF REGULATION TIME AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid

83′ MIN: Super sub Ansu Fati draws the Catalans level. Jordi Alba with the assist. GAME ON!!!

GOOOAAALLLL!!! Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid (A. Fati)

72′ MIN: Karim Benzema restores the lead for Real Madrid

GOOOOOAAALLL!!! Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid (K. Benzema)

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid

HALF-TIME AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid

STATS: Luuk de Jong has scored in his last three games for Barcelona.

41′ MIN: Luuk de Jong who is having a great run at the moment, levels things up for the Blaugrana albeit fortuitously.

GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!! Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid (L. De Jong)

25′ MIN: Vinicius Junior bursts through and blasts the ball into the back of the net to give Los Blancos the lead, off an assist by Karim Benzema.

GOOOAAALLLL!!! Barcelona 0-1 Real Madrid (V. Junior)

KICK-OFF AT THE KING FAHD STADIUM IN SAUDI ARABIA: Barcelona 0-0 Real Madrid

Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has fielded a strong side which has the usual suspects in Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr., Luka Modric and Casemiro. Surely, the superior squad quality should see Los Blancos through this one.

Coach Xavi Hernandez has handed a debut appearance to new signing from Manchester City Ferran Torres, as Luuk de Jong continues to start following his recent run of form while Memphis Depay settles for a place on the bench.

Greetings soccer lovers…welcome to our LIVE coverage of the El Grand Clasico between Catalonian outfit FC Barcelona and capital side Real Madrid set to go down at the King Fahd Stadium in Saudi Arabia. It is the first of two semi-final matches in this season’s Spanish Super Cup, with Atletico Madrid also scheduled to play Athletic Club Bilbao in the competition on Thursday.

FT: Tunisia 0-1 Mali; Penalty from Kone enough to SEE OFF the Carthage Eagles as Khazri MISSES late PENALTY

Absolute shame and embarrassment as the match between Tunisia and Mali was set to be completed, as both sides were called out in order to conclude the tie. Surprisingly, it was the fourth official who would have taken charge of the match upon resumption and he added five minutes as injury time but Tunisia ceded the match by refusing to come out of the tunnel.

Hmmm, what an encounter! Ibrahima Kone’s penalty wins it for the Malians but trust me…Tunisia will be LIVID following the referee’s below par handling of the game. The referee HAD ENDED the game well before time in the 85th minute, before continuing only for him to finally blow his whistle after 89 minutes and 47 seconds, which sparked protests from the Tunisians. Surely, the referee’s handling of this game has cast a doubt on the quality of officiating on the continent and also the AFCON as a whole. He simply sparked unnecessary controversy over what should not be in the first place.

FULL-TIME AT THE LIMBE STADIUM: Tunisia 0-1 Mali

RED CARD TO MALI: Substitute E.B. Toure is SENT OFF, after being on the pitch for only six minutes.

PENALTY MISSED!!! By Wahbi Khazri

PENALTY!!! To Tunisia

48′ MIN: Ibrahima Kone buries the ball into the back of the net from twelve yards to give the Malians the lead.

GOOOOAAAALLLL!!! Tunisia 0-1 Mali (I. Kone)

PENALTY!!! To Mali

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY AT THE LIMBE STADIUM: Tunisia 0-0 Mali

All square at the break between the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia and the Eagles of Mali.

HALF-TIME AT THE LIMBE STADIUM: Tunisia 0-0 Mali

KICK-OFF AT THE LIMBE STADIUM: Tunisia 0-0 Mali

The starting XI of both teams, ahead of their clash in Limbe.

Our feature match will see us focus on Tunisia vs Mali at the Limbe stadium. The Carthage Eagles have been some kind of an underachiever on the continent and would want to make their mark at the tournament. Mali on the other hand, boasts of what it takes to inflict damage on their Northern African counterparts.

Action on Tuesday only produced one goal out of three matches, as Kelechi Iheanacho’s first half effort proved more than enough to see Nigeria beat pre-tournament favourites Egypt 1-0. Other fixtures saw Sudan play out a goalless draw with Guinea Bissau, while defending champions Algeria were held to a stalemate by Sierra Leone.

Hello and welcome to Day Four of Apex Footballs LIVE coverage of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. Wednesday’s fixture schedule at the competition will see 2004 champions Tunisia take on Mali, Equatorial Guinea will face Ivory Coast while Mauritania will tackle debutants The Gambia.

FT: Nigeria 1-0 Egypt; First half strike from Iheanacho SEALS the three points for the Super Eagles

Watch the match HIGHLIGHT

Many thanks for being with us on this LIVE coverage between Nigeria and Egypt, which has been the best game of the tournament thus far. Until next time, stay safe!

The Super Eagles begin their quest to win a fourth Africa Cup of Nations title with a comfortable 1-0 victory over Egypt, in their opening group D clash. Leicester City attacker Kelechi Iheanacho’s effort in the first half was more than enough to give the team all three points. Iheanacho was voted the Man-of-the-Match, following his fine displays capped with a super goal.

FULL-TIME IN GAROUA: Nigeria 1-0 Egypt

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY IN GAROUA: Nigeria 1-0 Egypt

HALF-TIME IN GAROUA: Nigeria 1-0 Egypt

30′ MIN: Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho gifts the Super Eagles the lead, with a sublime effort.

GOOOOAAALLL!!! Nigeria 1-0 Egypt (K. Iheanacho)

KICK-OFF IN GAROUA: Nigeria 0-0 Egypt

Coach Augustine Eguavoen has handed a start to in-form Union Berlin striker Taiwo Awoniyi, while regular faces Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho are also in the line-up. Egypt manager Carlos Quieroz has named fearsome attacker Mo Salah, as well as Premier League stars Trezeguet and Mohamed Elneny in his Starting XI.

Both sides have met 18 times previously – with Nigeria amassing eight wins, Egypt has five victories, while the other five ties have ended in draws. Though, the Pharaohs are the favourites to edge this one as they boast of one of the world’s best players in Mo Salah, while Kelechi Iheanacho will be one of the leading lights for the Super Eagles.

This titanic clash between the continent’s heavyweights is one most football lovers will definitely not want to miss, as it promises to be a feisty encounter.

Hello soccer lovers! Welcome to our second match coverage of the day at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. West African giants and three-time winners Nigeria will battle it out against the all-time record holders Egypt in an epic contest.

LIVE: Nigeria vs Egypt; Leicester duo Iheanacho & Ndidi START for Super Eagles; Salah, Elneny & Trezeguet in Pharaohs Starting XI; Follow the action>>>

FULL-TIME IN GAROUA: Nigeria 1-0 Egypt

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY IN GAROUA: Nigeria 1-0 Egypt

HALF-TIME IN GAROUA: Nigeria 1-0 Egypt

30′ MIN: Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho gifts the Super Eagles the lead, with a sublime effort.

GOOOOAAALLL!!! Nigeria 1-0 Egypt (K. Iheanacho)

KICK-OFF IN GAROUA: Nigeria 0-0 Egypt

Coach Augustine Eguavoen has handed a start to in-form Union Berlin striker Taiwo Awoniyi, while regular faces Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho are also in the line-up. Egypt manager Carlos Quieroz has named fearsome attacker Mo Salah, as well as Premier League stars Trezeguet and Mohamed Elneny in his Starting XI.

Both sides have met 18 times previously – with Nigeria amassing eight wins, Egypt has five victories, while the other five ties have ended in draws. Though, the Pharaohs are the favourites to edge this one as they boast of one of the world’s best players in Mo Salah, while Kelechi Iheanacho will be one of the leading lights for the Super Eagles.

This titanic clash between the continent’s heavyweights is one most football lovers will definitely not want to miss, as it promises to be a feisty encounter.

Hello soccer lovers! Welcome to our second match coverage of the day at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. West African giants and three-time winners Nigeria will battle it out against the all-time record holders Egypt in an epic contest.

FT: Algeria 0-0 Sierra Leone; Leone Stars HOLD Desert Foxes to a barren draw

Great performance from the Leone Stars who will take pride in earning their first point at the AFCON since they last appeared in 1996. Goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara has been voted the Man-of-the-Match.

FULL-TIME AT THE JAPOMA STADIUM: Algeria 0-0 Sierra Leone

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY AT THE JAPOMA STADIUM: Algeria 0-0 Sierra Leone

HALF-TIME AT THE JAPOMA STADIUM: Algeria 0-0 Sierra Leone

KICK-OFF AT THE JAPOMA STADIUM: Algeria 0-0 Sierra Leone

Both sides have named their Starting XI for the encounter at the Japoma Stadium. Algeria have the mercurial Riyad Mahrez leading the team as well as Islam Slimani, Sofiane Feghouli and Yacine Brahimi. For the Leone Stars, they have the experience of striker Kei Kamara to rely upon.

The Leone Stars on the other hand, will be looking to make history in what is only their third appearance at the AFCON Finals. They have been to the competition twice – in 1994 and in 1996, but failed to get out of the group on both occasions. Sierra Leone will be hoping to make it third time lucky but face a daunting task against the continent’s best-ranked team.

Our feature match is the tie involving two-time winners and reigning champions Algeria taking on Sierra Leone at the Japoma Stadium. The Desert Foxes are heavily tipped to not just win today’s match but go all the way to retain the title they won at the last edition in Egypt in 2019.

We hope to see loads of goals in today’s matches, as all four fixtures yesterday finished with a 1-0 scoreline. Morocco pipped Ghana 1-0, debutants Comoros lost 0-1 to Gabon, Senegal overcame Zimbabwe 1-0, while Guinea saw off Malawi 1-0.

Good day soccer-loving fans, you are welcome to Apex Football’s Day Three coverage of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournament currently holding in Cameroon. Today’s fixture schedule will see three games go down between defending champions Algeria vs Sierra Leone, three-time winners Nigeria and all-time record holders Egypt and Sudan taking on Guinea Bissau.

Turkey international Ahmet Yılmaz Calik has died aged 27 in a car crash

The Konyaspor centre-back was pronounced dead at the scene after losing control of his vehicle on a motorway around 9am on Tuesday morning.

Calik was the only person involved in the accident, which has sent shock waves through Turkish football.

The former Galatasaray defender made eight caps for his country after rising through the youth ranks.

Konyaspor tweeted: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our football player Ahmet Calik, who has won the love of our fans and our city since the first day he came to our Konyaspor.

“Condolences to all of us, especially to the family of our football player Ahmet Calik.”

AFCON 2021: How Nigeria can cage Salah & the Pharaohs of Egypt; Exclusive opinion & game preview

One of the most anticipated fixtures of the African Cup of Nations 2021 is upon us! It is a clash between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Pharaohs of Egypt. This rivalry has been on for 52 YEARS! Yes, you read that right.

Both teams first met back in 1960 in a friendly match which ended 2-1 in favour of the Super Eagles. Nigeria enters this tournament with hopes of getting a fourth AFCON trophy while Egypt looks to increase their tally to eight.

A lot has been said on how the Egyptian team would piggyback on Mohammed Salah all the way to the final but this would be the greatest undoing for the Pharaohs and the Super Eagles would be the first team to give them a reality check.

Date, kick-off time and venue

Nigeria vs Egypt is scheduled for a 4pm GMT kick-off on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.

The match will take place at the Stade Omnisport de Garoua in Garoua, northern Cameroon.

Super Eagles vs Pharaohs – records

Egypt swept the stakes at the first two editions of Africa’s flagship football competition, in 1957 and 1959, and then won on home soil in 1986 and in Burkina Faso 12 years later, before a hat-trick of consecutive titles in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Nigeria soared to glory on home soil in 1980, won in Tunisia in 1994 and overturned bookmakers’ predictions to triumph in South Africa nine years ago.

In all other confrontations at the Africa Cup of Nations, the Eagles have had the upper hand.

On their march to victory in 1980, the Eagles sailed past the Pharaohs 1-0 in a group phase clash in Ibadan, and four years later, following a pulsating 2-2 draw in a semi-final match in Bouake (Cote d’Ivoire), Nigeria won on penalties to reach the final against Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions.

In 1990, a lone goal by Rashidi Yekini consigned the Pharaohs to defeat in a group phase match in Algiers, and in 1994, both teams battled to a scoreless draw at the Stade Chadli Zouiten in Tunis.

Sensational Salah

The star man for the Pharaohs, and the star man for the whole tournament. Liverpool’s in-form forward is heads and shoulders above the others at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with 16 strikes, and Egypt has every chance of winning AFCON with this man in their side.

Even if Salah is not on top form, his presence will strike fear into opponents and they will be focused on shackling him in most games. Salah has 45 goals from 74 caps and will be looking to make strides towards more of his country’s record books.

How Nigeria can cage Salah

Unlike his club side, the Pharaohs do not boast of assist gurus like Trent Alexander Arnold. So Salah would have to drop deep a lot to get the ball. Now, this is where Leicester City man, Wilfred Ndidi would come into play.

Ndidi would be charged with the responsibility of breaking down plays from the middle of the park, what better way to do that than to hold the pacey Liverpool forward hostage.

Some pundits might opine that focusing so much on Salah would make Nigeria vulnerable to attacks from other players like Stuttgart’s Omar Marmoush. However, Augustine Eguavoen would have pacy wingers like Ola Aina to patrol the left-wing.

Midfield Battle

We would be entertained by a midfield battle between Mohamed Elneny and Wilfred Ndidi. It would be interesting to see who wins the midfield because that might influence the outcome of the game.

Prediction

The game is a tough one to call with bookmakers in favour of Egypt. But we might see a 2-1 victory in favour of the Super Eagles.

FT: Man United 1-0 Aston Villa, Scot McTominay goal the difference at Old Trafford as United move to the next round

FT: Man Utd 1-0 Aston Villa

Scott McTominay’s goal in the eighth minute is enough to see Man Utd through.

Aston Villa had an equaliser chalked off after a lengthy VAR review.

No goal! Man U 1-0 Aston Villa

Danny Ings thought he had drawn Aston Villa level but VAR, after multiple checks, chalks it off.

Second Half

The players are out on the field for the second half! Will United maintain this lead or will Aston Villa pull a surprise?

Lindelof goof

A Victor Lindelof howler almost led to a Villa goal, but Watkins’ effort rattled the bar.

Halftime

The first half comes to an end with the Red Devils leading and on their way to the fourth round. Will it remain like this in the second half?

Midfield Battle

McGinn’s presence is allowing Villa to outnumber United in midfield (predictably) and they are still having some joy when United fail to move the ball quickly enough in the transitions.

Rangnick just gave Greenwood some instructions and Wan-Bissaka has had to sit back down as they see if Dalot can soldier on. Villa will be gutted they are still behind and Gerrard has looked especially rueful at the excellent chances they have passed up.

Fernandes is offering urgency but he is not mucking in enough when the ball goes past him and neither are Rashford or Greenwood often enough. Some of the lateral passing has been egregious.

Goal! Manchester United 1-0 Aston Villa

United take the lead! Fred whips in a delightful cross and Scott McTominay guides his header nicely into the corner.

Kick Off!

We are underway at Old Trafford!

Team News

Ralf Rangnick rests RONALDO and SANCHO for tonight’s game. Greenwood and Cavani are deployed upfront and Bruno Fernandes is skipper for the night.

Manchester United welcomes Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa to Old Trafford in the FA Cup tonight.

Ralf Rangnick’s side lost 1-0 to Wolves in the Premier League last week. United have struggled for form all season and performances are yet to improve following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking and Rangnick’s interim appointment.

However, the FA Cup could offer United a chance to kickstart their campaign and the opportunity to build some confidence.

United last won the FA Cup at Wembley under Louis Van Gaal in 2016 thanks to Jesse Lingard’s extra-time goal against Crystal Palace and the club last won a trophy in 2017. United will be hoping to end that trophy drought this year by winning the FA Cup again.

Villa has enjoyed a change in fortunes since Steven Gerrard’s appointment and they will be tricky opposition, though.