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Champions League: Barcelona’s gameplan against Liverpool revealed

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Champions League: Barcelona hammer Man Utd, Ajax dump Juventus out

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Barcelona midfielder, Ivan Rakitic has revealed their gameplan against Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League semi final clash on Wednesday.

The Croat said his side knows exactly what to expect from Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Liverpool have scored 18 goals in their last six games, including a 6-1 aggregate thrashing of Porto in the quarter-final ahead of their trip to Camp Nou.

Rakitic had played against Klopp’s teams during his time playing for Schalke in the German Bundesliga.

And the midfielder admits Barcelona cannot allow the Liverpool forward line to start wreaking havoc.

Talking about Klopp, Rakitic told Echo, “I really, really respect him as a coach.

“I loved playing against his teams.

“He has always had really organised, really tight teams. You can see they are perfect in every detail.

“He has made his teams improve. You can clearly see what he’s doing and the way it works.

“It’s going to be complicated to defend against them. They have really good players up front, so we will have to do everything together.

“We need to stop them early, we shouldn’t let them run at our spaces, so we have to take the pace of the game into our hands and keep them away from our goal.

“Every team has a different style of play. We can’t really compared what they do every week in England with what we do in our league.

“They are a really well organised team, and we know what they are going to try to play – we don’t need to explain now how Salah and company play. Everybody knows that quite well.

“Virgil van Dijk is one of the best central defenders in the world and we know Liverpool’s defence is very strong and they don’t leave many spaces.

“We want to cause them more trouble tomorrow than they’ve had in previous games this season.

“We have to prepare our game and have confidence in our chances. We are playing against one of the best teams in Europe, but I’d rather talk about us showing the way we play and try to make them think of how they can compare with us, rather than the other way around.”

Liverpool have never been eliminated from European competition by Barcelona with the Reds unbeaten in four trips to Camp Nou and the only English team to win there.

And Rakitic added, “The most important thing is we play our match like we always do. It will be very important to score and go out there (to Anfield) with a clean sheet.

“We’re going to play with plenty of confidence and try to keep our heads clear. They can hurt us, of course. We know we will have to be at 100% to beat Liverpool. We have to be at our best level if we want to do that.

“We will go out there to try and score but we mustn’t lose our heads. We have to be very tight and play very tight in the same way we have in the last few weeks.

“The perfect scenario is to score as many goals as possible and not allow danger at the back and keep a clean sheet.”



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Buhari appoints Amokachi as SA on sports

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Buhari appoints Amokachi as SA on sports

Former Super Eagles player and Nigerian Football Ambassador, Daniel Amokachi, has been appointed as Special Assistant on Sports to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I am pleased to inform you that Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has approved your appointment as Special Assistant on Sports,” the appointment letter dated August 17, 2020, and signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr. Boss Mustapha, reads in part.

As special assistant on sports, Amokachi is expected to advise the President on all sports matters.

The former Everton of England forward, who was earlier in the year named Nigeria’s Football Ambassador, is expected to mentor youngsters and promote the game at the grassroots.

Nicknamed “The Bull”, Amokachi began his career in Kaduna with Ranchers Bees Football Club of Kaduna, played for Club Brugge of Belgium, Besiktas of Turkey, Everton of England and Colorado Rapids.

He played in two World Cup finals, USA 1994 and France 1998. He was a member of Nigeria’s 1994 African Cup of Nations winning team and won the 2013 edition in South Africa as assistant to the late Coach Stephen Keshi.

Amockachi also won Gold with team Nigeria in the Football event of the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.

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Tennis: Djokovic confirms US Open participation

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Tennis: Djokovic confirms US Open participation

Novak Djokovic confirmed on Thursday he will play at the US Open, ending speculation about his presence at the first Grand Slam tournament since the season restarted following the coronavirus-enforced shutdown.

“I’m happy to confirm that I’ll participate at #CincyTennis and #USOpen this year,” the 33-year-old world number one tweeted.

“It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on many sides, but the prospect of competing again makes me really excited,” added the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

The US Open gets underway behind closed doors in New York on Monday August 31, with Djokovic arriving in the United States on Saturday to tune up in the Western and Southern Open, which is normally played in Cincinnati but has been moved to New York this year.

His decision to take part is a major boost for the US Open after a host of headline names pulled out.

Djokovic makes his competitive return after being heavily criticized for hosting a charity tennis event in the Balkans in June at which he and a raft of players tested positive for COVID-19.

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Sam Okwaraji: NFF begins process to retire Eagles No.6 jersey

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Sam Okwaraji: NFF begins process to retire Eagles No.6 jersey

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is pondering a move to retire the Super Eagles No.6 jersey previously worn by the late Sam Okwaraji, The PUNCH reports.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick made this known during an interview on a radio programme Sports Salsa, which was aired on Kennis 104.1 FM on Wednesday.

Okwaraji died of congestive heart failure minutes after he slumped during a 1990 World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Angola on August 12, 1989, inside the main-bowl of the National Stadium, Lagos.

The game ended 1-0 in favour of the Eagles.

“Someone made a proposal about retiring the jersey (No.6) at the start of the year and I think it is not too much for us to do that,” Pinnick said.

“I will forward the proposal to the executive committee for implementation because it has been said already. So, we will see how we can retire that shirt in honour of a great patriot (Samuel) Okwaraji.

“His (Okwaraji) death was very tragic because he was a player who showed dexterity, professionalism and maturity each time he played for the Eagles.”

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