Tottenham were beaten for the first time at their new stadium as Michail Antonio fired West Ham to a surprise 1-0 victory over their London rivals on Saturday.
But Antonio’s clinical second half strike ended that run as the West Ham winger became the first visiting player to score in the plush arena.
Third placed Tottenham’s second defeat in their last three Premier League games put a dent in their bid to finish in the top four.
They hold a three-point lead over fourth placed Chelsea and are four points ahead of fifth placed Arsenal, with both team in action on Sunday.
It was a frustrating warm-up for Tottenham’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Ajax in north London on Tuesday.
Pochettino had insisted Tottenham’s first European semi-final since the 1984 UEFA Cup was less significant than their top four challenge.
But the Tottenham manager’s team selection told a different story.
Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen was absent with a reported injury as Pochettino made four changes, including resting Kieran Tripper, Victor Wanyama and Fernando Llorente.
Pochettino revealed this week that injured striker Harry Kane hopes to be fit for the Champions League final if Tottenham make it and the England captain was watching from the stands as his club’s unbeaten start in the new stadium came to an end.
– Growing in confidence –
With Son Heung-min suspended for the Ajax first leg, Pochettino had no reason to rest the South Korea forward against the Hammers and he was swiftly into the action as he raced away for a shot that cleared the bar.
Son should have done better on that occasion and he fluffed his lines again with a low shot that was too close to Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianski after Dele Alli’s pass gave him a clear sight of goal.
West Ham finally broke out of their own half when Ryan Fredericks tested Hugo Lloris from long-range, but Tottenham remained on top as Lucas Moura drilled just wide of the far post.
A flowing Tottenham move unlocked the West Ham defence and Son’s blocked effort dropped perfectly for Christian Eriksen, but the Dane smashed his close-range shot straight at Fabianski.
Tottenham found it tougher to maintain any momentum in the second half, with Son’s unsuccessful penalty appeal, after being bundled over by Arthur Masuaku, made more in hope than expectation.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team were growing in confidence and they ended Tottenham’s unblemished record in their new arena in the 67th minute.
Marko Arnautovic chipped a superb pass towards Antonio and the winger controlled on his chest in the six-yard box before blasting a powerful finish past Lloris.
Celebrating with a bizarre bouncing motion, Antonio staged a joyous jig in front of the West Ham fans and he almost had them on their feet again in the closing minutes when his shot was pushed over by Lloris.
Tottenham looked tired in the closing stages, but they could have denied West Ham their first away win of 2019 when Vincent Janssen’s stoppage-time header was cleared off the line by Fabian Balbuena.
Super Eagles to Play Tunisia As AFCON 2021 Enters Knockout Stage
The Super Eagles of Nigeria will face the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) round of 16 fixtures.
The mouth-watering clash was announced on Thursday night following Tunisia’s 1-0 loss to the Gambia — which consigned the North Africans to qualify as one of four best third-placed teams in the group stage.
Nigeria had finished top of Group D after winning all three of its group stage matches.
The tie against Tunisia is expected to be a repeat of the bronze medal match at AFCON 2019 in Egypt where Odion Ighalo’s goal confirmed the Super Eagles’ third place.
It is also a reunion for Austin Eguavoen, Super Eagles interim coach, who faced Tunisia at the quarter-finals stage at AFCON 2006 in Egypt. Nigeria won 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to advance into the semi-finals.
In other pairings, Cameroon, AFCON hosts, will face Comoros, tournament debutants, while Burkina Faso will play the Gambia, another debutant nation.
Two giants will also clash as Ivory Coast will slug it out with the Pharaohs of Egypt in a repeat of the 2006 AFCON final. Egypt, the then hosts, had won the clash 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw to deny the star-studded Ivorian team.
The round of 16 ties will begin on Sunday, January 23, with Nigeria’s tie against Tunisia one of two matches for the day.
AFCON ROUND OF 16 FIXTURES
- Nigeria vs Tunisia
- Ivory Coast vs Egypt
- Burkina Faso vs Gabon
- Morocco vs Malawi
- Senegal vs Cape Verde
- Cameron vs Comoros
- Mali vs Equatorial Guinea
- Guinea vs Gambia
IPOB Faults Army, Says We Have No Camps in Ihiala, Criminals Not IPOB Members
The Indigenous People of Biafra has said that it does not have any camp in Lilu, Ihiala in Anambra State. The group claimed that they were not militants or criminals, hence do not operate in hidden camps.
The army, had, on Tuesday, through its spokesman, said it dislodged the camps of IPOB and Eastern Security Networks in Lilu, Ihiala.
However, in a statement on Wednesday, the IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said that the security agencies only unleashed cruelty on the people living in those communities claiming they were members of IPOB and ESN.
Powerful stated that if criminals take refuge in any community in Biafra land, that doesn’t make them IPOB members or ESN operatives.
He said, “We have also not said there are no more criminal gangs in Biafra land just like every other country even in the advanced western nations. But we won’t accept the tagging of every criminal element found in Biafra as an IPOB member or ESN operative.
“Recall that some of these criminals were already mentioned by IPOB leadership sometime during a broadcast. These hoodlums were a creation of wicked politicians in their desperation to discredit IPOB and ESN.”
The group claimed that the Nigeria Army, Police and DSS keeps dishing out falsehoods against IPOB and ESN by tagging those criminals they arrested as IPOB and ESN members.
It said the so-called camp where these said criminals were arrested does not belong to ESN, “They should stop lying against us,” Powerful said.
The statement further reads, “In Orsumoghu, Nnewi South, Lilu Orsumenyi of Ihiala LGA of Anambra State these criminals whose names are Emmanuel aka (Obereagu), Innocent Obiekee from Isingwu Orsumoghu, Izuchukwu from Amaduru Orsumoghu, Ofordie aka Baby, are the ones impersonating ESN/IPOB members using ESN name to commit crimes against the people of these communities they are not ESN members, the communities involved should use their vigilante group and stop them, ESN will help them too.
“In Orlu, Imo State, these criminals whose names are Agu, 50, Vice, Ojoo are the ones impersonating ESN/IPOB members to demonise IPOB and ESN members, they are sponsored by Hope Uzodinma and his co-travellers and traitors to demonise IPOB and ESN members in Imo State.
“They and their gang are collecting illegal levies at the Eke-Ututu market in the name of ESN when they are neither ESN operatives nor IPOB family members.
“The people are collecting proceeds from innocent communities. Collecting N5,000 from Orlu people in the name of ESN. These names mentioned or listed in this press statement have been declared Persona Non-Grata in Biafraland and they remain so. People must stop giving them money they are not ESN operatives and not IPOB volunteers.
“They have been kidnapping people, snatching cars and raping our women in our territory. IPOB volunteers and ESN operatives have also been making efforts to apprehend these agents of sorrow. We cannot watch these beasts created and sponsored by Hope Uzodinma, his masters in Miyeti Allah and their co-travellers destroy Biafra land.
The statement continues, “Again, ESN does not write letters to people or make calls to people requesting funds, funds for what we ask? IPOB and ESN have no dealings with such evil activities of these criminals who are now on the ESN watchlist. Be warned and stop giving them money in the name of ESN or IPOB volunteers.”
Eguavoen Will Only Earn Bonus, Won’t Earn Salary, Says NFF
Interim coach Austin Eguavoen will be entitled to only win bonuses as the Super Eagles gaffer at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Eguavoen was appointed on a short-term deal after the Nigeria Football Federation sacked Gernot Rohr in December.
Rohr was Nigeria’s longest-serving manager after taking charge in August 2016, but had his contract terminated after leading the Eagles to the 2022 World Cup qualifying play-offs and sealing a spot at the Nations Cup in Cameroon.
The Franco-German also led Nigeria to the 2018 World Cup and guided the team to third-place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
“Eguavoen is on the payroll of the NFF and he won’t be entitled to salary for the role he is playing as an interim coach of the team,” President of the NFF Amaju Pinnick stated recently on Arise TV.
“He will be entitled to the winning bonuses as the team progress at the tournament.”
Eguavoen has already won his opening two group games at the tournament which has sealed their place in the round of 16 in the competition