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Rangnick’s expected arrival at Man Utd ‘not good news’ for rivals – Klopp

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Ralf Rangnick’s expected arrival at arch-rivals Manchester United is “not good news for other teams” due to his vast experience and ability to organise teams.

Klopp’s fellow German is set to be installed as United interim manager until the end of the season following last week’s sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a terrible run of results.

Rangnick, the former Hoffenheim, Schalke and RB Leipzig boss, is credited with influencing the pressing style of Klopp and Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

“Unfortunately a good coach is coming to England, that’s how it is, to Manchester United,” Klopp said on Friday on the eve of Liverpool’s match against Southampton.

“Ralf is obviously a really experienced manager. He built most famously two clubs from nowhere to proper threats and forces in Germany with Hoffenheim and Leipzig.

“United will be organised on the pitch, we should realise that — that’s obviously not good news for other teams.”

Rangnick’s legal representative earlier confirmed to AFP subsidiary SID that the final points of a deal to take the current head of sports and development at Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow to Old Trafford were being finalised.

According to reports, Rangnick, 63, is poised to sign a deal until May 2022 and then work as a consultant at United for two further years.

United are planning to make a permanent appointment at the end of the campaign, with Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino strongly linked with the job.

Michael Carrick took charge of the team for Tuesday’s Champions League win at Villarreal, which secured progress to the knockout stage, and is also preparing the squad for Sunday’s daunting fixture at Premier League leaders Chelsea.

The former United midfielder refused to be drawn on the reports that Rangnick is poised to take charge.

“From my point of view there’s a lot of speculation and reports, but as I’m sitting here now I’m preparing the team for the game,” Carrick said.

“My head’s in the game. I haven’t got any more news to share with you on that front. I’m just looking forward to getting down to London to play against Chelsea.”

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Whoever comes in, Carrick believes the misfiring United squad can quickly adapt to a change in style.

“I think you can get ideas across quite quickly. History shows that,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s not just about ideas, it’s just a different voice, a freshness, and history proves that for whatever reason. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes not so well.”

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Real Madrid defeat Athletic Bilbao to win Spanish Super Cup

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Real Madrid won the Spanish Super Cup by beating Athletic Bilbao 2-0 on Sunday as Luka Modric and a Karim Benzema penalty secured a comfortable victory in Saudi Arabia.

Modric’s curling finish towards the end of the first half and Benzema’s strike early in the second sealed the win for Madrid, who claimed their first trophy in Carlo Ancelotti’s second spell as coach.

Athletic had beaten LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid to reach the final but were well beaten at the King Fahd Stadium by a slick, organised Real Madrid side, that have now lost only once in 20 matches.

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They had brief hope in the 87th minute when they were awarded a penalty and Eder Militao was sent off, but Raul Garcia missed and Madrid’s win was safe.

Ancelotti’s side face Elche on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey and Paris Saint-Germain next month in the last 16 of the Champions League.

In LaLiga, they are five points clear at the top of the table.

Modric continued his brilliant form by scoring the opener, a goal that makes him the oldest goalscorer in Spanish Super Cup history at 36.

Marcelo, meanwhile, came on for the last few minutes, before lifting his 23rd trophy at Real Madrid, equalling the haul of the legendary Paco Gento as the most successful player in the club’s history.

Ancelotti now has five trophies as Real Madrid coach, adding a Spanish Super Cup to the Copa del Rey, Champions League, Uefa Super Cup and Club World Cup he won during his first spell.

The Spanish Super Cup stayed in Spain in 2021 because of the pandemic but has returned to Saudi Arabia as part of an agreement until 2029 that will earn the Spanish football federation around €30 million a year.

Objections from players and coaches have been noticeably muted but Athletic Bilbao’s Raul Garcia spoke out last week. He said moving a Spanish tournament 7 000 kilometres away was symptomatic of the authorities “forgetting the basics of football”.

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Read Also: AFCON: Tunisia bounces back, brushes aside Mauritania 4-0

Criticism has been more forthright from human rights groups like Amnesty International, who have accused the federation of failing to support “harassed and persecuted women in Saudi Arabia” and of collaborating in Saudi “image-washing”.

Athletic’s Inaki Williams and Oihan Sancet looked dangerous early on, with Williams wanting a penalty when the ball struck the sliding David Alaba on the hand but referee Cesar Soto was not interested.

Despite Vinicius Junior’s imperious form in recent weeks, Madrid’s greatest threat came down the opposite side, through Rodrygo.

The first warning came when Kroos pinged the ball out to the Brazilian, who dropped it inside for Benzema and the striker’s curling shot flew just wide of Unai Simon’s far post.

The opener took a similar route, even if it started with Thibaut Courtois, who played out to Toni Kroos. Under pressure, Kroos found Casemiro and the ball shuffled along, through Modric and out right.

Rodrygo drove past two Athletic defenders afraid to challenge in the box and by the time Dani Garcia slid to block, it was too late, Rodrygo toeing the ball inside to Modric, who whipped the ball first time into the corner.

Seven minutes into the second half, it was two, as Yeray Alvarez leapt to block Benzema”s shot, stopping the ball with his outstretched right arm. The referee checked the monitor and gave the penalty, which Benzema fired left and in.

Hope for Athletic came late, and briefly, in the 87th minute, when Militao was sent off for blocking another Raul Garcia header towards goal and Athletic were awarded a penalty. But Raul Garcia missed, his drive down the middle met by the left foot of Courtois.

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BREAKING: Equatorial Guinea stun holders Algeria in AFCON clash

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Reigning champions Algeria are in danger of an early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations after a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of outsiders Equatorial Guinea in Douala on Sunday.

Esteban Obiang’s 70th-minute goal gave Equatorial Guinea the victory and brought Algeria’s 35-game unbeaten record crashing to an end.

The 2019 Cup of Nations winners could only draw 0-0 with Sierra Leone in their opening game in Cameroon and are now left needing to beat Ivory Coast in their final Group E outing on Thursday if they are to advance to the last 16.

The Ivorians, who were last continental champions in 2015, were held 2-2 by Sierra Leone earlier and the group remains wide open but with Algeria bottom on just one point.

Meanwhile an Equatorial Guinea side ranked 114th in the world and 28th in Africa are now well placed to reach the knockout stages for the third time.

The two previous occasions came when they were hosting the tournament, in 2012 and in 2015, but this time many of the fans in the crowd of almost 12,000 in Douala were supporting the ‘National Thunder’.

Equatoguinean capital Malabo, on the island of Bioko, is a short hop over the Gulf of Guinea from Cameroon’s economic capital.

Few of their fans could have foreseen this result against an Algerian side captained by Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez and almost entirely the same as that which won the 2019 AFCON final against Senegal.

Yet Algeria struggled to break down the opposition defence, while both Baghdad Bounedjah in the first half and Youcef Belaili late on had goals disallowed for offside.

The outstanding Iban Edu Salvador came close from long range for Equatorial Guinea in the first half and also created a chance that Luis Nlavo could not finish shortly after the break.

They again came close on a breakaway midway through the second half but it was from the corner that followed that their goal arrived – the delivery from the left was flicked on to the back post where the Spanish-born Obiang tucked it in before running to celebrate with the crowd.

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PCN applauds Bina foundation on blind powerlifting trials

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Paralympic Committee Nigeria (PCN) has commended BINA Foundation for the successful conduct of the First Blind Powerlifting and Bench Press Trials in Nigeria.
Deputy Secretary of PCN, Dr. Sunday Odion, gave commendation while giving his closing remarks at the three-day trials held at the National Stadium Surulere Lagos from 11 to 13 January 2022.
The President and founder of BINA Foundation, Lady Ifeoma Atuegwu has expressed her satisfaction on the outcome of the trials where lifters that would represent Nigeria at the First IBSA Powerlifting/Bench Press World Cup and 2nd Africa Continental Poweifting/ Bench Press Championship held in Alexandria, Egypt in March 2022 were identified. Adding that those who excelled at the trials would be made public by the time the technical committee completes their job.

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Atuegwu who was ably represented by the president of Nigeria Para-Athletics Federation, Hon (Dr). Amobi Chikwendu, a Director in BINA, thanked all those who contributed in making the event a success especially, the programme coordinator, Barr. Silver Ezeikpe Chinedu and a host of others.
She promised to provide more platforms like this that would Nigeria physically challenged athletes the opportunities to express their God-given talents having done the same for Blind Football.
She commended the minister of Sports, Sunday Dare and the Enugu State Government for their supporting role while pleading with the corporate organisation to join the crusade of uplifting special sports in the country.

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