Real Madrid hit hard in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals, winning 3-1 on their turf against Liverpool, as they did in their last meeting in 2018 in final of the competition. Zinédine Zidane’s men logically dominated their evening opponent, who made too many defensive errors at this level of the competition.
Vinicius JR: 9/10
When he sets out to become efficient, Vinicius Jr shows that he can be a very good player. Author of a double tonight, he hurt the defense of the Reds thanks to his sharp calls and his liveliness. His 1st goal shows all his technical qualities and his coolness in the face of goal. Less influential late in the game, Vinicius Jr becomes the youngest player in Madrid history to score a brace in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Toni Kroos: 8/10
The German midfielder has shown that he is not yet at the end of the race in Madrid. With Modric, he reigned supreme over the midfield and caused the Liverpool rear guard to suffer cruelly with his long openings. One of them allows to offer the goal to Vinicius Jr full axis. Another forced Alexander Arnold to make a big mistake, allowing Asensio to double the bet.
Luka Modric: 7.5 / 10
He too has shown that he is still one of the very best midfielders in the world. Often fair, his understanding with Toni Kroos is perfect. A big defensive activity also tonight. He serves Vinicius for Madrid’s 3rd goal in the second half.
👎🏻 The Flops:
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 4/10
The English side has dropped this season like his team. Not very effective offensively, he is the author of a big mistake on Madrid’s second goal by wanting to serve his goalkeeper with the head. He also did not help his two central defenders by being often taken behind his back.
The Brazilian goalkeeper is having a very complicated season, this was confirmed tonight. The mustache goalkeeper is not exempt from all reproaches on Asensio’s goal. Despite the error of his defender, he is too easily lobbed by the Spaniard. He is even more at fault on the third base where his hand is not firm enough to counter Vinicius’ shot.
Liverpool central defense: 2/10
A revamped and inexperienced hinge, Liverpool could fear the worst and it happened. Indeed, Kabak and Phillips lived a nightmare against Real Madrid. Caught several times behind their backs, they repeatedly missed raises. With a central hinge of this level, Liverpool cannot claim to be much better in the competition.
Liverpool have two faces this season and they had the bad one tonight. Real Madrid have logically punished the reigning English champions with a perfect tactical shot. Salah’s goal still gives the Reds hope for the second leg, but Zizou’s men look much stronger in this confrontation. The return match will obviously be to follow, next Wednesday.
Tyson Fury calls off all-British title fight with Anthony Joshua
British heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has called off his intended fight with British-Nigerian boxer Anthony Joshua after he failed to make the deadline set by The Gypsy King.
Joshua had earlier agreed to terms to fight Fury in December after the latter gave him a title shot following Joshua’s loss to Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk in their title rematch last month.
Joshua assured that he would sign the contract on Sunday in order to make the fight happen, stating that his lawyers are handlers of the contract.
However, Fury gave Joshua a self-issued ultimatum of 5:00 p.m. on Monday to sign the contract otherwise he would pull out of the fight.
Joshua and his camp failed to sign the contract before the deadline and the WBC champion subsequently announced that the chance of the all-British heavyweight fight happening was over.
“It’s official. D Day has come and gone. It’s gone past 5 pm Monday, no contract has been signed. It’s officially over for Joshua. He’s now out in the cold with the wolfpack. Forget about it. Idiot. Coward!,” Fury said on his instagram story.
He added: “I always knew you didn’t have the minerals to fight the Gypsy King. Good luck with your career, and your life.”
Fury immediately announced that he is looking forward to fighting former WBA heavyweight champion Mahmoud Charr next.
“Looking forward to fighting a man who wants to fight & has fire & desire. fought some of the best fighters & now stepping up again! get in there charr,” he said.
At the time of filing this report, Neither Joshua nor his camp has responded to the latest development.
Enyimba announce signing of Chigozie, Cooper from Sunshine Stars
Enyimba have completed the signing of defender Chigozie Chilekwu and midfielder Ikenna Cooper from Sunshine Stars on a permanent deal.
Both players arrived from the Sunshine Stars after impressive performances with the Owena Whales during the 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League season.
They have passed their medical test at Enyimba and both subsequently penned two-year contracts with the People’s Elephant.
“Cooper joins on a two-years deal and arrives with valuable top level experience having also previously featured for FC Ifeanyi Uba and Heartland FC.
“A commanding player with exquisite box-to-box qualities, Cooper is expected to bring balance and grit to an already competitive midfield setup.
“Chilekwu, meanwhile, arrives to fill in at leftback following the departures of Daniel Darkwah and Emmanuel Ampiah, and has penned a two-years deal.
“The 26-years-old provides versatility as he can also operate comfortably as a wing forward and in central midfield,” the club statement read on Monday.
Cooper and Chigozie are the latest additions to Enyimba’s shopping spree in the ongoing transfer window, following the recent acquisition of Sunday Okereke, Moses Omoduemuke, Ademola Adebambo and Elijah Akanni.
The acquisitions became paramount after the eight-time Nigeria league champions lost eight of their key players including team’s captain Austin Oladapo.
Oladapo joined TP Mazembe of Congo, while the Top Scorer in the 2021/22 NPFL season Victor Mbaoma switched to MC Algiers of Algeria.
Djokovic complains about nagging wrist, eyes ATP Finals
Novak Djokovic on Monday said he was bothered by a wrist problem during the Laver Cup in London, and his lengthy absence from the Tour recently could be the reason.
“I have been struggling with my right wrist for the last four, five days, to be honest. I have been keeping it under control,” Djokovic told reporters.
The three-day tournament in London’s O2 Arena was Djokovic’s first event since the Serb won his 21st Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in early July.
He had missed the North American hardcourt swing and the U.S. Open due to COVID-19 vaccination.
But he produced a dazzling performance on his return to the Tour on Saturday by winning his singles and doubles matches.
However, he lost to Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime on the final day of the competition on Sunday.
“The two matches of Saturday probably had an effect. Sunday was not easy. I couldn’t serve as fast or as accurately as I would like to. That has affected the whole game,” he said.
Djokovic said qualifying for November’s ATP Finals in Turin remained his goal.
He will play a tournament in Tel Aviv this week, followed by an event in Kazakhstan next week and then the Paris Masters at the end of October.
His Wimbledon victory guarantees him a spot in the Tour-ending finals if he remains ranked in the world’s top 20.
Djokovic, currently ranked seventh, said the wrist issue could be due to a combination of factors.
“Could be (the effect of) not playing matches almost three months, and then conditions here are such that the balls are really big and slow,” he said. “You always have to generate a lot of wrist action and speed, which could be the case why I have been feeling soreness.”
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