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UCL: Man Utd’s youngsters held by Young Boys

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Mason Greenwood opened the scoring for Manchester United against Young Boys

Manchester United were held 1-1 by Young Boys on Wednesday as interim boss Ralf Rangnick blooded a host of youngsters in the Champions League.

With United already assured of top spot in Group F, Rangnick rested all of his key players, making 11 changes from the side that beat Crystal Palace in the first game of his reign.

Mason Greenwood gave a disjointed United the perfect start, but Fabian Rieder’s long-range strike just before half-time earned a point for the visitors, which was not enough to keep alive their chances of dropping into the Europa League.

Greenwood, 20, was the senior member of a front three also featuring 19-year-olds Amad Diallo and Anthony Elanga.

Rangnick comes with a reputation for trusting youth. He got an early taste of Greenwood’s predatory instincts as the striker acrobatically fired home Luke Shaw’s low cross just nine minutes in.

Juan Mata, a Spanish veteran at the other end of his career, was handed just his second start of the season.

Mata should have doubled United’s lead when he fired too close to Guillaume Faivre after more excellent work by Greenwood.

United fans have been clamouring for Donny Van de Beek to be given a regular run in the starting line-up in recent weeks.

The Dutchman was consistently overlooked by the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but he did little to force his way into Rangnick’s plans with an error for the equaliser.

Van de Beek’s intended pass for Aaron Wan-Bissaka was intercepted by Rieder, who then fired into the top corner.

Young Boys’ win over United on the opening night of the group had the Red Devils sweating over their progress. They needed a barrage of late goals to take 10 points from their games with Atalanta and Villarreal.

The Swiss champions pressed after the break in search of another famous victory that would have kept alive their hopes of finishing third and reaching the Europa League knockout stages, depending on the result when Atalanta and Villarreal face off in a rescheduled clash on Thursday.

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Rangnick showed his priorities were getting as many of his squad time on the field as possible with his substitutions. The German handed a club debut to third-choice goalkeeper Tom Heaton at the age of 35 and brought on three more teenagers Teden Mengi, Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage, son of former Wales international Robbie Savage.

Elanga had the best chance to win the game on the counter-attack from Mata’s unselfish pass, but the Swedish under-21 international could not beat Faivre with a weak finish.

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Floorball Association targets schools for development

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Floorball players and officials

Chieftains of the Floorball Association said their main target this year is to spread the gospel of Floorball to schools for effective development of the Sport.

To this end, the Association said they will start combing schools in order to fish out hidden talents and nuture them to limelight.

This was disclosed by the Secretary General of the Association, Mr. Henry Oluoma at their maiden event held at the Floorball court of the National Institute for Sports, Lagos on Wednesday January 26, 2022.

Germany based Floorball administrator said this action was the fallout of the world body’s meeting held in December where they had vivid discussions on how to move Floorball forward in Africa and he was given the mandate to ensure that the sport grows beyond it’s present position in Nigeria and the entire continent.

Based on this, Mr. Henry Oluoma hinted that some companies in Germany have promised to support the course by donating Floorball equipment to Nigeria to aid the speedy development of the game.

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I’m in Denmark to improve myself, says youthful Mukairu

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Paul.Mukairu

Nigerian striker, Paul Mukairu, has expressed his excitement after his ₦900million move to former champions .of Denmark FC Copenhagen.

The 22-year-old winger dumped Turkish side Antalyaspor after three years with the former Turkish champions.

Mukairu has seen his reputation rise tremendously since he joined Antalyaspor in 2019. Within four months of his arrival in Turkey, he made it to the Antalyaspor first team, scoring three goals and assisting one in his first season.

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He spent last season on loan at Belgian Jupiler League side Anderlecht, where he scored two goals and assisted four in 23 league appearances.

Before his departure to Copenhagen, Mukairu had already scored three goals in 20 appearances for the Scorpions this season.

The Abuja-born forward is a quick player, and although he is a winger, he can play as a striker.

The pacy forward was all smiles at his unveiling and expressed his happiness whilst stating his readiness to become better at his new club.

“I feel very happy to be here, the welcome was really nice, it was amazing. I’m so happy to be in this great club.” He told Copenhagen TV.

“I have a lot to learn, and here is a good place to improve myself with the people surrounding me”, he added.

The 22-year-old is yet to make an appearance for the Super Eagles, but if he can continue with his eye-catching displays at his new side, it would only be a matter of time before it happens.

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Arsenal gave me a ‘good slap’, says Saliba

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Saliba

William Saliba has revealed how he was given a rude awakening on his arrival at Arsenal back in July 2019.

The French defender joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne for around £27million.

But he is yet to play for the senior side and last summer was shipped off to Marseille on loan.

Now the 20-year-old has admitted his time in the reserves was like a ‘slap in the face’ and hasn’t ruled out a permanent move away from the Emirates.

He told RMC: “Before going to Arsenal, I said to myself I was going to play, I was sure, I was wondering who I would play alongside.

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“I arrive, I play zero matches. I played for the U23s. That gave me a good slap.

“Things go so fast in football. I don’t want to think about the future. I am going to give my all. Then there will be discussions in summer.”

Reports earlier this month suggested Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was preparing to give Saliba a chance in the senior squad next season.

The centre-back has turned in a string of impressive performances to propel Marseille to third in the Ligue 1 table.

According to L’Equipe, Arsenal are set to reject l‘OM’s attempts to make the deal permanent in the summer.

On his progress, Arteta said earlier this season: “I know that sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money that the club has spent trying to bring him in, to send him on loan.

“But a lot of things have happened to him, he’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough.”

 

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