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  • UEFA Champions League Results – Collated
  • Juventus’ forward from Argentina Paulo Dybala (C) speaks with Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group D football match Juventus Barcelona on November 22, 2017 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Barcelona advanced to the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday after clinching top spot in Group D following a 0-0 draw against Juventus in Turin. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

    UEFA Champions League results on Wednesday:

    Group A

    At Moscow

    CSKA Moscow (RUS) 2 (Schennikov 13, Jardel 56-og) Benfica (POR) 0

    At Basel, Switzerland

    Basel (SUI) 1 (Lang 89) Manchester United (ENG) 0

    Group B

    At Brussels

    Anderlecht (BEL) 1 (Hanni 63) Bayern Munich (GER) 2 (Lewandowski 51, Tolisso 77)

    At Paris

    Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) 7 (Neymar 9, 22, Cavani 29, 79, Mbappe 35, Verratti 75, Alves 80) Celtic (SCO) 1 (Dembele 1)

    Group C

    At Baku

    Qarabag (AZE) 0 Chelsea (ENG) 4 (Hazard 21-pen, Willian 36, 85, Fabregas 73-pen)

    At Madrid

    Atletico Madrid (ESP) 2 (Griezmann 69, Gameiro 85) Roma (ITA) 0

    Group D

    At Turin, Italy

    Juventus (ITA) 0 Barcelona (ESP) 0

    At Lisbon

    Sporting Lisbon (POR) 3 (Dost 40, 66, Cesar 43) Olympiakos (GRE) 1 (Odjidja 86)

    Played Tuesday

    Group E

    At Seville, Spain

    Sevilla (ESP) 3 (Ben Yedder 51, 60-pen, Pizarro 90+3) Liverpool (ENG) 3 (Firmino 2, 30, Mane 22)

    At Moscow

    Spartak Moscow (RUS) 1 (Ze Luis 82) Maribor (SLO) 1 (Mesanovic 90+2)

    Group F

    At Manchester, England

    Manchester City (ENG) 1 (Sterling 88) Feyenoord (NED) 0

    At Naples, Italy

    Napoli (ITA) 3 (Insigne 56, Zielinski 81, Mertens 83) Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 0

    Group G

    At Istanbul, Turkey

    Besiktas (TUR) 1 (Talisca 41) Porto (POR) 1 (Felipe 29)

    At Monaco

    Monaco (FRA) 1 (Falcao 43) RB Leipzig (GER) 4 (Jemerson 6-og, Werner 9, 31-pen, Keita 45)

    Group H

    At Dortmund, Germany

    Borussia Dortmund (GER) 1 (Aubameyang 31) Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) 2 (Kane 49, Son 76)

    At Nicosia

    APOEL (CYP) 0 Real Madrid (ESP) 6 (Modric 23, Benzema 39, 45+1, Nacho 41, Ronaldo 49, 54)

    AFP

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  • Griezmann Stunner Keeps Atletico Alive In Champions League
  • Atletico Madrid’s Kevin Gameiro (C) celebrates with Antoine Griezmann (R) and Saul Niguez after scoring his team’s second goal during the football match against AS Roma at the Wanda Metropolitan Stadium in Madrid on November 22, 2017. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

    Atletico Madrid kept their slim chances of Champions League progress alive as Antoine Griezmann snapped an eight-game goal drought in spectacular fashion with an overhead kick to help see off Roma 2-0 on Wednesday.

    Kevin Gameiro added a second five minutes from time for Atletico, who still need Roma to drop points at home to Azerbaijani champions Qarabag and beat the already-qualified Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on December 5 to reach the last 16.

    However, the relief around the Wanda Metropolitano was palpable as Atletico at least ended a five-game winless streak at their new 68,000-capacity home.

    Twice finalists in the past four seasons, Atletico’s remote chances of reaching the last 16 took another blow before kick-off as Chelsea swept aside 10-man Qarabag 4-0 in Baku to secure their place in the knockout phase.

    The English champions are now also in pole position to go through as group winners on 10 points with Roma on eight and Atletico two points further adrift.

    Atletico’s poor prospects seemed to be reflected in coach Diego Simeone’s team selection.

    The Argentine surprisingly left stalwarts Diego Godin and Gabi on the bench, whilst Argentine midfielder Augusto Fernandez made just his third start in a year after a serious of injury problems.

    However, despite a far from full stadium, those that did make it to the game showed their support for the under-fire Griezmann, who was jeered off by some supporters in Saturday’s goalless Madrid derby, by chanting his name from the start.

    As they have for much of this season, Atletico lacked inspiration before half-time and, even when they did put the ball in the net, didn’t have luck on their side.

    Fernandez’s deflected effort looped into the far corner four minutes before the break, but Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers controversially ruled the goal out for a handball as the Argentine controlled before shooting.

    Simeone showed some attacking intent early in the second half as he sacrificed Fernandez for the more forward-thinking Angel Correa.

    However, Atletico were nearly undone at the other end in bizarre circumstances when Radja Nainggolan’s mishit cross came off Jan Oblak’s near post with the surprised Slovenian scrambling back to cover his goal.

    Correa’s presence paid off though, as he was key to Griezmann’s moment of magic 21 minutes from time.

    The Argentine stretched to loft a cross from the byline to the back post, where the ball found Griezmann unmarked and ready to contort his body and smash home a spectacular overhead opener.

    Atletico could have had a second moment later on the counter-attack when Roma keeper Alisson got down well low to his right to deny Fernando Torres.

    However, the hosts’ task was eased seven minutes from time when Bruno Peres was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Filipe Luis.

    And two minutes later Gameiro made the game safe when he raced onto Griezmann’s pass and rounded Alisson before calmly slotting home from a narrow-angle as Atletico scored twice in a match for the first time in two months and gave themselves a chance of salvation at Chelsea next month.

    AFP

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  • Barcelona Qualify For Champions League Last 16
  • Juventus’ midfielder from Italy Claudio Marchisio fights for the ball with Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match Juventus Barcelona on November 22, 2017 at the Juventus stadium in Turin.
    Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

    Barcelona advanced to the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday after clinching top spot in Group D following a 0-0 draw against Juventus in Turin.

    Last season’s finalists Juventus remain second in the group, a point ahead of third-place Sporting Lisbon, and can secure their qualification with victory at Olympiakos on December 5.

    Details to follow…

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  • PSG Crush Celtic To Advance In Champions League
  • Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the Champions League football match against Glasgow Celtic in Paris on November 22, 2017. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

    Neymar was back in the mood with the Brazilian scoring twice to set up Paris Saint-Germain’s comeback from behind as they hammered a shellshocked Celtic 7-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday.

    Moussa Dembele had put the visitors ahead inside a minute at the Parc des Princes, but Neymar’s brace soon turned the game around and both Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe added goals of their own before the interval.

    Marco Verratti made it five with quarter of an hour left, before Cavani got his second and a sensational Dani Alves hit wrapped up the French giants’ biggest win in the competition.

    Already through to the last 16 before this game, they will look to clinch top spot in Group B ahead of Bayern Munich when they travel to Germany for their final game next month.

    Bayern won 2-1 at Anderlecht on Wednesday, while PSG remain on course to finish with maximum points in the section having already set a new record for goals in the group stage with 24.

    Celtic, who were already eliminated, will at least secure the consolation of a Europa League spot in the New Year as long as they avoid a heavy defeat at home to Anderlecht in their next outing.

    They had suffered their heaviest ever home defeat in Europe when they last faced PSG in September, losing 5-0. They had also only ever managed just two wins in 29 previous away games in the group stage, and yet they stunned their hosts by going ahead with just 58 seconds played.

    Alves gave away a corner before Paris had even made it out of their own half and Olivier Ntcham’s low delivery was then swept home by Dembele, the highly-rated France under-21 striker who was on PSG’s books as a youngster.

    That scuppered PSG’s hopes of becoming the first side to complete the group phase without conceding a goal, but quickly the Scottish side were wondering if they had scored too soon.

    Neymar’s form has dipped over the last six weeks, and yet the Brazilian led the turnaround in stunning style. He levelled in the ninth minute with a low finish into the far corner from a tight angle following an Adrien Rabiot pass.

    And he scored again midway through the first half with a low strike beyond Craig Gordon after a one-two with Marco Verratti.

    That was a sixth goal in five Champions League outings this season for the world’s most expensive player, and it was also the seventh time he had found the net against Celtic.

    He loves playing against the Scottish side and he claimed an assist as it became 3-1 just before the half-hour, using his shoulder to help an Alves ball across the face of goal for Cavani to turn in.

    Poor Celtic defending contributed to PSG getting their fourth before the interval, as they failed to deal with a Neymar free-kick into the box and Mbappe fired in.

    The Ligue 1 leaders had taken their took their foot off the gas after the break but they rounded out their win with three more goals late on.

    Celtic lost 7-0 to Neymar’s Barcelona in this competition last season and this turned into a similar hiding as Verratti made it five before Cavani volleyed in the sixth, his 21st of the season.

    The best was saved for last as Alves made it seven with a quite stunning effort from 22 yards that arced into the top-left corner of the net.

    AFP

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  • Whistle-blowers Going Insane Not FG’s Business, Pay Them – Ogundamisi
  • Whistle-blowers Going Insane Not FG’s Business, Pay Them – Ogundamisi
    Kayode Ogundamisi

     

    A political analyst has asked the Federal Government to fulfil its promise to whistle-blowers who have contributed to the fight against corruption by exposing Nigerians in possession of looted funds and assets.

    Mr Kayode Ogundamisi, who said this on Wednesday, also faulted claims that the whistle-blowers were being enlightened on the benefits and dangers of owning huge sum of money as a reward.

    “If you’ve promised you are going to pay people five per cent of recovered loots, just let it be – let people have access to that money,” he said during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

    “If they want to go insane after they get the money, that’s their business; they’ve got family members and they’ve got enough money to take care of themselves. I have also suggested that the issue of whistle-blowing should not be restricted to Nigeria – a lot of the loots are in the diaspora.”

    Ogundamisi also commended the progress recorded so far in President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war.

    He, however, said every activity must be made transparent, stressing that the recovered loots belong to Nigerians who he said deserved the right to monitor how the recovered monies were spent.

    “I think we should first commend this government for taking a very serious look into this issue of corruption in the country and we should also commend them for saying ‘we’ve recovered this and that’.

    “But what we actually need to take on now is to be transparent about the amount of money they’ve recovered and what they have done with what they have recovered so far, who is keeping what, what agency is in charge of those recovered loots,” he said.

    The political analyst further recommended that the money should be used to develop various sectors, especially education and health among others.

    He also warned against saving such money or for future use, saying the fact that the present government has demonstrated its zero tolerance for corruption does not mean subsequent administrations would sustain the campaign.

    He said: “It is important to have an account for these loots and also divert the money to quality education, provide security for the people, medical and healthcare system and Buhari’s government should not make the mistake of saving this money.”

    On the committee inaugurated by President Buhari to audit recovered loots, Ogundamisi said: “I think we should commend the president that he is actually creating an account and a committee that should look into it, but it must be transparent and accessible to the Nigerian people.”

    “I think it’s high time they created a website that everyone in Nigeria can go to; this money belongs to the Nigerian people and we should be able to see what is coming into the coffers of government.

    “That will encourage whistle-blowers to actually blow more whistle – I think it is high time Nigerians have access (to recovered loots) so that they can have an image of how bad things are,” he added.

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  • Russia At UN Says Open To New Syria Chemical Weapons Probe
  • Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad during a meeting in Sochi on November 20, 2017. Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Syrian counterpart for “fight against terrorism” the Kremlin said on November 21, 2017.  Mikhail KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP

    After vetoing the renewal of a UN-led probe into chemical attacks in Syria, Russia on Wednesday said it was open to establishing a new panel to investigate the use of toxic gases in the six-year war.

    Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters that the “JIM is dead,” referring to the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) that shut down on Friday after two years of work to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

    “We are ready to talk about establishing, creating a new mechanism that would replace the JIM and do the work in a truly professional, objective and unbiased manner,” Nebenzia said following a closed-door Security Council meeting.

    Russia last week used its veto power twice to block the renewal of the JIM, which last month concluded that the Syrian air force dropped sarin on the opposition-held village of Khan Sheikhun, killing scores of people.

    The April 4 attack triggered global outrage as images of dying children were shown worldwide, prompting the United States to launch missile strikes on a Syrian air base days later.

    Russia has rejected the findings, saying the investigation was flawed because the experts did not travel to Khan Sheikhun and relied on witnesses that it says were linked to the opposition of President Bashar al-Assad.

    Nebenzia said the “JIM has discredited itself completely. It cannot continue in the present form.”

    The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is set to present several other reports from its fact-finding missions in Syria which are looking into the use of chemical weapons.

    A recent OPCW report has concluded that sarin was used in another incident on March 30 in the village of Latamneh and is currently before the council.

    “Even if we don’t have a JIM, we require something whose job it is to look at those reports from the OPCW and to determine which of the parties in Syria is responsible for each use of chemical weapons,” said British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft this week.

    “This is a crucial building block towards accountability,” he said.

    The United States has accused Russia of shutting down the JIM with its veto to protect its Syrian ally.

    US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Friday after the Russian veto that “Russia will not agree to any mechanism that might shine a spotlight on the use of chemical weapons by its ally, the Syrian regime.

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  • Germany Releases Six Syrians Suspected Of Terror Plot
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks after exploratory talks on forming a new government broke down on November 19, 2017 in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

    Six Syrian refugees arrested in Germany on suspicion of preparing a terror attack on behalf of Islamic State were freed Wednesday because of a lack of evidence, a prosecutor said.

    The suspects, aged 20 to 28, were detained in dawn raids Tuesday that saw 500 police officers swoop on residences in the cities of Kassel, Essen, Hanover and Leipzig.

    Media reports said they were believed to be targeting a Christmas market.

    But the Frankfurt public prosecutor said there was “insufficient evidence” they were preparing an attack or were in any way linked to IS, a spokesman told AFP.

    The six arrived in Germany between December 2014 and September 2015 at the height of a refugee crisis which has seen Germany take in 1.2 million people in the past two years.

    German authorities have been on heightened alert since IS claimed a lorry assault on a Berlin Christmas market last December which killed 12 people.

    Earlier this year a man who had had an asylum claim rejected by Germany stabbed one person to death at a supermarket and injured six others in a suspected jihadist assault.

    And German police last month arrested a 19-year-old Syrian suspected of preparing a “serious” Islamist-motivated bomb attack.

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  • Rwanda Offers To Take In Africans Abused In Libya
  • Rwanda’s President, Kagame

    Rwanda is willing to provide refuge to as many as 30,000 African migrants suffering abuse and slave-like conditions in Libya, the foreign minister told AFP Wednesday.

    “Rwanda is currently under discussions… to see how we can help in welcoming migrants held captive in Libya,” said Louise Mushikiwabo. “It has just been decided so numbers and means are still under discussion but Rwanda estimates the number to be welcomed around 30,000,” she said, adding that this figure “is not confirmed yet but an estimation”.

    The African Union (AU) added its voice to the outrage that greeted footage last week of African migrants being auctioned at a “slave market” in Libya, and on Tuesday AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat called on African countries to help.

    “I appeal to all member states of the African Union, the African private sector and African citizens to make financial contributions to help alleviate the suffering of African migrants in Libya,” Faki said Tuesday. “I urge member states that have logistical means to make them available to facilitate the evacuation of African migrants who wish to leave Libya.”

    Earlier Wednesday Mushikiwabo tweeted in response: “For Africans being sold in Libya: Rwanda is small, but we will find some space!”

    Mushikiwabo told AFP that, “Rwanda, like the rest of the world, was horrified by the images of the tragedy currently unfolding in Libya, where African men, women and children who were on the road to exile, have been held and turned into slaves.”

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  • On Vacation, Trump Again Feuds With NFL And The Big Baller
  • US President Donald Trump pardons the turkey, Drumstick, as his son Barron (R) looks on during the turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC on November 21, 2017. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

    President Donald Trump enjoys playing golf — but his favorite contact sport is Twitter.

    And though Trump is an avowed sports fan, athletes are among his preferred opponents on his now 280-character bullhorn.

    Since entering the White House, Trump has tangled with American football players and basketball superstars in a series of recurring feuds.

    “Great disrespect!” he barked at the NFL’s Marshawn Lynch, who protested during the US national anthem at a game in Mexico.

    As for LaVar Ball, the Los Angeles entrepreneur with three basketball prodigy sons who calls himself the “Big Baller” — and whose middle child LiAngelo was arrested in China for shoplifting — Trump labeled him an “Ungrateful fool!”

    Some critics have criticized Trump’s repeated attacks for alleged racial overtones; others say it’s just part of his no-holds-barred style — and totally in character for the outspoken former television reality star.

    – ‘Disrespectful’ protests or free speech? –
    Trump, whose own efforts to buy a National Football League team were rebuffed three years ago, has urged NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who stages a protest during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

    Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protests by kneeling during the anthem last year to draw attention to police brutality and racial injustice.

    Trump insists that the protests are “disrespectful” to the anthem, flag and country, and his call for a boycott of the league has drawn some support.

    In September, the president again courted controversy, this time with the National Basketball Association (NBA) — popular not only in the US but worldwide.

    He withdrew a White House invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors after star guard Stephen Curry, a critic of Trump’s policies, said he was reluctant to make the traditional visit.

    And now, Trump’s latest sports foil? Ball.

    Trump has blasted the outspoken father for not adequately thanking him for helping get LiAngelo returned to the United States from China, where he was arrested along with two UCLA teammates for shoplifting designer sunglasses.

    “It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME,” Trump tweeted Wednesday from his Thanksgiving vacation in Florida.

    – ‘Ungrateful fool!’ –

    “LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair,” Trump added in a reference to the flamboyant, electric-haired boxing promoter.

    “Just think LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you,” Trump continued.

    “But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China,” Trump said, before calling the Ball patriarch an “Ungrateful fool!” in a parting shot.

    After a brief lull, Trump also returned this week to his war of words with the NFL over protesting players.

    Lynch “stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem,” Trump tweeted on Monday.

    “Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down,” he tweeted.

    Trump also went after the NFL again on Wednesday following a report the league may keep teams in the locker room next season during the playing of the national anthem.

    “That’s almost as bad as kneeling!” he tweeted. “When will the highly paid Commissioner finally get tough and smart? This issue is killing your league!”

    Most of the NFL players who have taken part in the protests are African-American, and Trump’s repeated attacks against them have drawn sharp fire.

    “Donald Trump’s favorite sport is attacking black athletes on Twitter,” Tommy Vietor, a former National Security Council spokesman for President Barack Obama, tweeted on Wednesday.

    After the Warriors were disinvited to the White House, NBA superstar LeBron James took to Twitter to call Trump a “bum.”

    “@StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up!” James tweeted.

    James, who campaigned for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, went on to accuse Trump of using sports to divide Americans.

    “For him to try to use this platform to try to divide us even more is not something I can stand for and is not something I can be quiet about,” the Cleveland Cavaliers star added.

    Jemele Hill, a host on the ESPN sports channel, went so far as to brand Trump a “white supremacist,” prompting the White House to call for her firing and Trump to attack her personally.

    James may be Trump’s most prominent critic in the NBA but he is far from the only one.

    Two NBA coaches — Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Steve Kerr of the Warriors — have been biting in their criticism of Trump but have yet to be the target of his Twitter ire.

    Popovich blasted Trump last month as a “soulless coward” who was “unfit intellectually, emotionally and psychologically” to be in the White House.

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  • 2019 Elections: The Buhari I Know Will Want A Normal Process – Tinubu
  • 2019 Elections: The Buhari I Know Will Want A Normal Process – Tinubu
    File photo

     

    The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, says President Muhammadu Buhari will not support any form of imposition of candidates within the party.

    Tinubu said this on Wednesday during an interview with reporters in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

    READ ALSO: Okorocha Says No Automatic Ticket For Buhari

    He was reacting to the controversies that have accompanied insinuations that Buhari might be imposed on other APC candidates to contest the presidential election in 2019.

    “Buhari will want a normal process; the Buhari that I know. Who says he will lose at any convention?” the APC leader questioned.

    He, however, said the APC would not be contravening any law of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) if the National Executive Council of the party decided to endorse President Buhari as its sole candidate.

    Tinubu said: “If the national body of the party, the NEC, and all of us as members, now get together and endorse him as our single candidate, we will not be violating INEC regulations; we will not be violating our own constitution.

    “What you are hearing is just a campaign by other people who might like to do so. Buhari has not excluded anybody, and he has not infringed on anybody’s ambition if there is.”

    Although the President is yet to declare whether he would contest or not, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha had earlier said there was no automatic ticket for any candidate of the APC during the general elections.

    Addressing State House correspondents after meeting with the President on November 2, Okorocha said Buhari would have to go through the procedure provided by the Constitution to emerge the party’s candidate.

    “We won’t allow imposition of candidates, it must be democratically done. If President Buhari will lead the ship in 2019, it must be democratically done – and I say democratically, transparently,” he had said.

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