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I Don’t Know How My Players Did It – Klopp Confesses

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he was “overwhelmed” and saw his players in tears after they completed the biggest Champions League semi-final comeback to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate.

The Reds lost the first leg 3-0 but doubles from GeorginioWijnaldum and DivockOrigi at Anfield took them into a final against Ajax or Tottenham.

“If I have to describe this club then it’s a big heart and tonight it was pounding like crazy,” he said.

“You could hear it all over the world.”

Klopp was almost giddy in his BT Sport interview, checking it was past the watershed before swearing and saying he was happy to pay a fine.

“The whole game was too much,” he said. “Winning is difficult but with a clean sheet, I don’t know how they did it.”

“It means so much to all of us. There are more important things in the world. But creating this emotional atmosphere together is so special. It’s all about the players.

“The mix of potential and unbelievable heart is just a mix I never saw before. It shows what’s possible in football. It’s so nice.”

It is the first time since 1986 – when Barcelona knocked out Gothenburg in the old European Cup – that a team have recovered a three-goal first-leg deficit to win a semi-final in this competition.

“I said to the boys before ‘I don’t think it’s possible but because it’s you I think we have a chance’ – they are really mentality giants. It’s unbelievable,” Klopp added.

“After the season we played, the games we had, the injuries we had now in this moment, if you go out there and ask who bet a penny on us, I don’t think you would find a lot of people.

“We know this club is the mix of atmosphere, emotion, desire and football quality. Cut off one and it doesn’t work.”

Klopp won two Bundesliga titles and a German Cup with Borussia Dortmund but since 2012 has lost two Champions League finals, one Europa League final, two German Cups and a Carabao Cup final.

“I know what people say about me and losing finals, that’s absolutely right,” said Klopp, who guided the five-time European champions to last season’s final, which they lost to Real Madrid. “But it’s the fourth final in that time as well we are in, that’s pretty special already.

“Last year we really felt we have to go back – we cannot let it stand like this, that’s not possible. Now we get another chance and we will go for that, of course.

“I’m not sure if it will happen again because it’s so special. When I saw the boys after the game and saw the tears in their eyes, that’s football. This club touches you like crazy, it’s like you feel much more than others in these moments.”

Wijnaldum said his team had showed “everything is possible in football”.

The midfielder replaced the injured Andy Robertson at half-time and scored twice, with Origi getting the winner.

“After the game in Spain we were confident we could score four and win 4-0,” he said.

“People outside doubted us. They thought we couldn’t do it. But once again we showed everything is possible in football.

“I was really angry that the manager put me on the bench. I just tried to help my team, I’m happy I could do that with two goals.”

The final is in Madrid on 1 June and will be the first since 2013 without a Spanish side involved – that after a run of seven finalists from that country in the past five seasons.

“Who’s going to the final? We are,” said Liverpool left-back Robertson, when asked about a running battle he had with former Reds striker Luis Suarez, whose kick injured the Scot and led to his half-time substitution. “That’s all that matters. Gini went on [for me] and scored two. I don’t care right now.”

Robertson also said this unlikely victory can help his side as they attempt to win the Premier League title on Sunday. They need to beat Wolves and hope leaders Manchester City drop points at Brighton to win their first league title since 1990.

“Fingers crossed,” he said. “We go to Sunday full of energy. It’s out of our hands but we’ve seen stranger things happen. Especially tonight.”

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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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