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first_img Nigeria’s return to summit of African football now certain with defeat of LibyaDuro IkhazuagbeSuper Eagles moved to the top of Group E of the AFCON 2019 qualifiers last night after defeating Libya 3-2 in Sfax, Tunisia.Changchun Yatai forward in the Chinese Super League, Odion Jude Ighalo scored a brace with stand-in Captain, Ahmed Musa, providing the other goal to shoot Nigeria close to qualifying for the AFCON 2019 to be hosted by Cameroon. Odion Ighalo scored two goals in Nigeria’s 3-2 defeat of Libya in an AFCON 2019 qualifier in Sfax, Tunisia Tuesday Nigeria is now leading the group on nine points from four matches while former leader South Africa held to a draw by Seychelles is second on eight points. Libya with four points is third with the Indian Island nation in the rear on one point. Eagles next opponent in the series are the Bafana Bafana on November 16 in Johannesburg.With five goals from two matches against Libya, Ighalo has redeemed his image in the estimation of Nigerian football fans who criticized his poor form at the World Cup in Russia last JulyThe former Watford forward fired Nigeria in front in the 14th minute, with a sublime pass from Ahmed Musa.Musa who now plys his trade in Saudi Arabia doubled the lead in the 17th minute, when he was set up by the same Ighalo and he had to do a little more to go through the Libyan defence before he got his goal.However, the Libyans who didn’t want to go down without a fight pulled back a goal in the 35th minute when Leon Balogun failed to cut off the danger and Mohamed Zeibiaa profited by heading the ball beyond the reach of Francis Uzoho.Ahmed Ben Ali who all through the game was a problem to the Nigerian backline drew Libya level late in the second half.The Mediterranean Knights came out firing in all cylinders looking for the winner to restore their hope of making it to AFCON 2019 in Cameroon.Ighalo however did not allow that to happen as he restored Nigeria’s lead in the 81st minute and took the game beyond the reach of the hosts. He has now scored six goals to lead the goals charts in the AFCON qualifiers.Eagles starting XI (4-2-3-1): Francis Uzoho – Jamilu Collins, Ola Aina, Leon Balogun, William Ekong – Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo – Ahmed Musa (captain), Alex Iwobi, Samuel Kalu – Odion IghaloGROUP E STANDINGP W D L GD PTSNigeria 4 3 – 1 6 9S’Africa 4 2 2 – 8 8Libya 4 1 2 1 -1 4Seychelles 4 0 1 3 -3 1Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

first_imgWill Bryant’s message have more of a lasting impact?“It can. But it’s something you have to focus on every day,” Bass said. “You can’t just say it one time and then let that be that.” Russell, Randle and Clarkson have shown steady progress offensively. Yet, the Lakers have not become satisfied with their defense. Russell and Randle have also weathered frustration over serving in a reserve role in the past month. “You have to get used to it. From AAU to high school to college, it’s different from the NBA,” said Bass, a 10-year veteran. “You have to adjust a lot faster and have to grow up a lot faster. You have to be held accountable.”Though Bryant has averaged only 15.8 points on a career-low 34.7 percent shooting, he has tried to hold his teammates accountable. Bryant mostly provided positive reinforcement before Saturday’s speech. After experiencing Bryant’s tough love last season that included a profanity-laced tirade during a practice, Clarkson openly wondered how the Lakers’ current team will handle his feedback.“Some guys shut down and some guys come in here and work,” Clarkson said. “It’s a two-way street. Which one you going to pick? Shut down or come in and work?” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error To the Lakers, the words sounded honest, critical and constructive as Kobe Bryant spoke. Following the team’s loss Saturday in Portland, Bryant unloaded a season-long buildup of frustration with the Lakers’ losing, their development and their attitude. “Don’t blame it on anybody else,” Lakers coach Byron Scott recalled Bryant saying. “You can’t blame it on the schemes or you’re not getting the minutes, touches or anything like that. His message was, ‘You have to compete every night.’”Lakers rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. described Bryant’s post-game critique as “a very heartfelt passionate speech.” Lakers forward Brandon Bass said “he was cool with it.” Scott believed all of Bryant’s teammates “took it the right way.” And Scott predicted this could mark a turning point, even if the Lakers (9-37) enter Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks (25-21) at Staples Center far removed from the playoff picture.center_img “It’ll give them a wake-up call and it lets them know you have a lot of work to do,” Scott said. “You’re nowhere near where you think you are.” But the main characters surrounding Bryant’s blistering critique did not address the issue. Bryant did not speak to reporters on Monday, since he missed practice for maintenance purposes. Although he responded to the question in a friendly manner, Bryant declined to confirm or deny what he said to the Los Angeles News Group on Saturday night. After Bryant singled them out by name in front of the team, neither rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell nor second-year forward Julius Randle spoke to reporters Monday. The Lakers quickly mentioned both players already had previously scheduled appointments.“It’s definitely frustrating. But you have to want to change it,” Lakers second-year guard Jordan Clarkson said. “If we want to carry the franchise, we have to figure out a way to change it.”Nance Jr. said that already started in Monday’s practice, where the players followed through on their vow to improve their defensive communication. After all, part of Bryant’s frustration stemmed from the Lakers not following through on their game plan to trap Portland guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who combined for 64 points. last_img read more