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EPL: Arsenal Begin Season on Winning Note, Beat Palace 2-0

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Arsenal opened the Premier League season with a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Friday, thanks to Gabriel Martinelli’s first-half header and Marc Guehi own goal at Selhurst Park.

The Gunners avoided a repeat of their 2-0 defeat at Brentford on the opening night of last year’s season for a perfect start as they aim to reach the Champions League for the first time in seven years.

Arsenal ensured there was no repeat of their disastrous start to last season as Mikel Arteta’s men saw off Crystal Palace to open the 30th season of the Premier League.

The Gunners were beaten 2-0 at Brentford on the opening night of last year’s season, which triggered their worst start to a league campaign for 67 years.

But they backed up their blistering pre-season form as Gabriel Martinelli’s first-half header and a late Marc Guehi own goal made amends for a 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park in April.

That defeat sparked a run of five defeats in the final 10 games of the season to cost Arsenal a place in the Premier League top four for a sixth straight year.

But the board has kept faith with Arteta and backed the Spaniard with over £100 million to spend in the transfer market.

Gabriel Jesus’ arrival to fill the need for a centre-forward has been Arsenal’s marquee signing of the summer and the Brazilian nearly marked his debut in style after just four minutes.

Jesus slalomed through the centre of the Palace defence and when his initial effort was blocked, Martinelli should have done better than slot the rebound wide of the target.

The visitors were utterly dominant in the opening quarter, but it took a set-piece to make the breakthrough.

Another debutant Oleksandr Zinchenko nodded a corner back across goal and Martinelli’s header had just enough power to beat Vicente Guaita.

Palace had suffered a far more problematic pre-season with a number of key players left at home during a tour of Australia due to their coronavirus vaccination status.

The Eagles took half an hour to find their feet, but will be disappointed not to have at least taken a point once they got to the tempo of the game.

Arsenal were guilty of causing their own problems in raising the Palace fans from their slumber as a clearance from Aaron Ramsdale was charged down and fortunately for the England goalkeeper rebounded to one of his own defenders.

Ramsdale made amends before the break with a fine stop to deny Odsonne Edouard’s header levelling before the French striker had another effort deflected inches over the bar.

Palace penned Arteta’s men back in the second period, but again failed to take their chances when they came along.

Eberechi Eze was the most guilty as he fired tamely into Ramsdale’s body with just the Arsenal number one to beat.

Arsenal had barely even threatened on the counter-attack in the second half, but got lucky to give themselves breathing space for the final five minutes.

Bukayo Saka’s driven cross caught his England teammate Guehi off guard as the Palace centre-back’s header flew into his own net.

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Adeleke Wins As Court Strikes Out Ineligibility Suit

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Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday struck out a suit seeking nullification of submission of name of Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke as the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the recent July 16 election.

The judge struck down the suit on the ground that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the case.

The plaintiff in the suit, Awoyemi Oluwatayo Lukman had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, PDP and Adeleke before the court seeking order to void and set aside the submission of Adeleke’s name to INEC on ground of alleged unlawful action.

The grouse of the plaintiff was that Adeleke’s name was hurriedly submitted by PDP on March 11 as against between March 14 to 18 as contained in the INEC guidelines.

Adeleke’s name having not been submitted within the period fixed by INEC, the plaintiff asked the court to declare the submission, illegal, unlawful, null and void and be set aside.

He claimed that INEC must be bound by its official guidelines and that anything done outside the guidelines is against the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.

However, in his judgment, Justice Obiora Egwuatu struck out the suit on the ground that the said Awoyemi Oluwatayo Lukman lacked locus standi to have instituted the case.

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Falconets Beat Canada 3-1, Set to Meet Holland in Quarter Final

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Nigeria’s U-20 girls, Falconets, set a World Cup group stage perfect record for themselves after beating Canada 3-1 in Alajuela on Thursday morning to finish with a perfect nine points out of nine in Group C.

Head Coach, Chris Musa, said before the encounter that his girls would seek to win even as a quarter-final ticket was already in the bag, in order to sustain their winning mentality following hard-fought victories over France and Korea Republic.

That was exactly what the Falconets did.
Africa’s best team conceded their first goal of the competition in an accidental manner, following goalkeeper Omini Oyono’s poor management of a backpass from Jumoke Alani that granted Kala Novak a fortuitous goal in less than two minutes.

“It was great for us to come back from that setback, and also conceding first in the tournament. We showed character and spirit, and that would be huge for us going forward in the competition,” Musa said after the match.

Midfield impresario Esther Onyenezide, whose vicious curling shot earned all three points against Korea Republic to send the Falconets into the last eight on Monday morning, scored from the penalty spot in the 24th minute to pull the Falconets level. Defender Mia Pante had handled the ball from a Blessing Okpe shot in the box.

The Falconets looked composed and surefooted in the middle with the return of Deborah Abiodun, who sat out the encounter with the Koreans, and Chiamaka Okwuchukwu also played an inspired game after starting for the first time in the tournament. Her firm header from a Blessing Okpe cross in the 15th minute missed narrowly.

Onyenezide shot Nigeria ahead, also from the spot, in the 32nd minute minute, after Simi Awujo’s dangerous play against Mercy Idoko, as the latter went for a header from Rofiat Imuran’s inswinger, was penalised.

In the added time of first period, Idoko came close to scoring her first goal of the tournament, but her touch from another Imuran inswinger kissed the upright.

In the second half, the Falconets added pace and brilliant use of space to their game, and it was no surprise when Imuran, again with a visionary cross, set up substitute Chioma Olise for Nigeria’s third goal.

Their imperial campaign in the group stage earns the Falconets a quarter-final date with the Netherlands in Alajuela as from 1am on Monday (Nigeria time).

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Supporters Throng Obasanjo’s Residence As Tinubu Visits Former President

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Scores of supporters of the All Progressives Congress in Ogun State, Wednesday, stormed the residence of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in Abeokuta as the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu visited the former President.

Tinubu arrived at the Penthouse of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, in his chopper at about 1:09pm in company of some party leaders.

He was received by Governor Dapo Abiodun, former Governor Gbenga Daniel, his predecessor, Segun Osoba, and other Ogun State government functionaries.

They have all gone into a meeting with the president.

The meeting was believed to be in connection with ambition of Tinubu in the coming elections.

Our correspondent reports that the duo had not been seen together since 2015 when he escorted the then APC candidate, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to Obasanjo’s residence.

He was also at the 78th birthday of the former President held at Abeokuta in March, 2015.

The two of them have since kept their distances as Obasanjo withdrew his support for Buhari and the APC, which he supported to power by tearing his card as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party.

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