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West Ham Sting Spurs in New Stadium

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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.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side had won all four matches at their new £1 billion Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

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.

AFP.

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Travel Agent Scams Cristiano Ronaldo of £250,000, Jailed

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A travel agent, named Maria Silvia scammed Manchester United striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, out of £250,000 (about N140 million) after the football star entrusted her with his credit cards and pin.

The 53-year-old travel agent also scammed Ronaldo’s super-agent Jorge Mendes of £14,000 and Manchester United winger, Nani, of over £1,500.

Due to her wrongdoing, Silvia got a four-year suspended prison sentence on Sunday after being earlier convicted by a Porto criminal court in 2017.

It was also revealed that Ronaldo was targeted for three years between February 2007 and July 2010.

The paper read, “Afterwards the travel agent had to plug the hole in the firm’s accounts. She, therefore, began to bill those trips to Cristiano Ronaldo, who had an account at Geostar and for practical reasons, handed the agent a virtual credit card and pin code. It was a green route to taking money out.”

Quoting a renowned Portuguese daily Jornal de Noticias, Sun Sports reported that the 36-year-old Ronaldo submitted a statement to the police after flying to the court to meet up with his lawyer.

The travel agent, who currently works as a cleaner, was first interrogated in 2011 before her eventual sentence on Sunday, September 19, 2021.

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I am Getting Better, Says Hospitalised Pele

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Brazilian football legend Pele said Sunday he is “punching the air” to celebrate “every better day” after the 80-year-old suffered his latest health scare.

“As you can see, I’m punching the air in celebration of every better day,” Pele wrote on Instagram beside a photograph of him sitting in a hospital chair, watched over by two medical staff.

The three-time World Cup winner was Friday briefly transferred back to an intensive care unit at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, where he underwent surgery earlier this month, after suffering breathing difficulties.

“A good mood is the best medicine and I have plenty of that. It couldn’t be different,” he added Sunday.

“I have received so much affection that my heart is full of gratitude. Thanks to all the amazing staff at Albert Einstein Hospital!”

His condition had been described as stable.

Pele’s daughter Kely Nascimento also posted a photo of herself next to her father in the hospital on Friday, seeking to cheer up his fans.

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We Won’t Accept Second Position in 2023 – NEF

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The Northern Elders Forum has said the north was in the process of rebuilding itself and was not prepared to play second fiddle in a nation where it clearly enjoys numerical strength.

Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said this while delivering a keynote address at the maiden Maitama Sule Lecture Series organized by the students’ wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups, held at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, on Saturday.

He said, “We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before whether we are President or Vice President, we will lead Nigeria. We have the majority of the votes and democracy says vote whom you want.

“Why should we accept a second class position when we know we can buy a form and contest for first class and we will win?

“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited leadership and being honest is not being stupid.

“The North has pride; we are humble enough to know that we are going to run Nigeria with other people but we are not going to pay a second fiddle to anybody. We may not have the most robust economy, there are people who are trying to strangulate us even more than we are being strangled.

“We are ready for this. We will consider every economic adversity, challenge. We will fix the Northern economy and we are the only one who can fix this Northern economy. For that reason, we are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the North and we will rebuild the North from 2023.

“Whether the North holds power in 2023 or not anybody who wants to break up in this country will say so, they are just looking for excuses. This is democracy. If they don’t like what Nigeria is, they will say they want to break up from this country, we don’t pay attention to those people, we are focused on the fact that we are running a democratic system.

The NEF’s spokesman added, “If the majority of Nigeria voters vote for a candidate from the North and he becomes the President and somebody doesn’t want to live under the Nigeria President, the person can leave.”

The Punch

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