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Nigerian Striker, Umar Sadiq Undergoes Knee Surgery, Might Miss The Remainder Of The Season



Umar Sodiq
Sodiq was part of the Nigerian side that clinched a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics. Twitter@NGSuperEagles.


Super Eagles and Real Sociedad striker Umar Sadiq has undergone a successful knee operation, his club announced on Thursday.

The operation to repair the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee was performed by Dr Mikel Sanchez in Gasteiz. He will remain in the hospital until Friday or Saturday depending on his evolution.

Sadiq who joined Real Sociedad from another Spanish La Liga side, UD Almeria for a club record 20 million Euros, plus six million in potential add-ons on transfer deadline day injured his knee against Getafe in a Spanish La Liga match-day 5 clash on September 11.

His unfortunate injury which will likely keep him out of action for the rest of the season because of a lengthy post-surgery recovery time (8 to 12 months) has led to an outpouring of support from the football family with messages of encouragement on social media.

The 25-year-old bought to replace Alexander Isak following his own record transfer to Newcastle United made a scoring debut for Sociedad on September 3, bagging the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid after coming off the bench in the second half less than 48 hours after his move from Almeria where he had scored two goals in three games to start the season.

He made his first start for Sociedad as they stunned Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford in their group e opening match of the UEFA Europa League on September 8, before sustaining the injury that will now see him miss out on the Super Eagles squad for the international friendly against Algeria on September 27.

Sodiq will also miss the prestige friendly against Portugal at the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon on Thursday, November 17.

The striker joined UD Almeria in the Segunda division on October 5th, 2020 for nine million Euros from Partizan Belgrade and helped them gain promotion last season, scoring 18 goals and providing 12 assists in 36 league games. Overall, he recorded 43 goals and 19 assists in 84 games across all competitions for Almeria.

While playing for Partizan in the Super Liga Srbije, he scored 23 goals and provided 19 assists in 52 games. He joined them initially on loan on July 2nd, 2019 from Italian Serie A side, A.S Roma before making the move permanent on January 30th, 2020 for two million Euros.

Sadiq started his career with Abuja college before moving to Spezia youth in 2013 and then graduating to their U-19 side a year later. His performances for Spezia caught the eyes of Roma scouts which led to a loan move to Rome in 2015 before a permanent transfer in 2016.

Sadiq also had several loan spells at Serie A sides, Bologna and Torino, NAC Breda in the Dutch Eredivisie, Scottish Giants, Rangers as well as Perugia in the Italian Serie B.


Nigerian Striker Umar Sadiq lays on the pitch after injuring his right knee in a match-day 5 clash against Getafe in the Spanish La Liga. Pic credit: @RealSociedad 


At international level, Sadiq played for Nigeria’s under 23 national team at the Rio 2016 Olympics, helping the country clinch bronze before stepping up to the Super Eagles at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon in January. He scored against Guinea-Bissau in the last group stage game.

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Eagles Depart Abuja For AFCON Qualifier




The Super Eagles of Nigeria will depart Abuja today (Sunday) for Guinea-Bissau for the away leg of their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against the Wild Dogs on Monday, March 27.


The Eagles were dealt a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of the underdogs at the Moshood Abiola stadium in Abuja on Friday.


According to a statement released to the press by the Nigeria Football Federation, the Nigeria delegation to Monday’s match in Bissau will depart from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 7am on Sunday aboard a chartered flight.


The return leg of the fixture will be played at the Estadio 24 de Setembro and is scheduled to begin by 6pm (Nigeria time).

Meanwhile, team captain Ahmed Musa apologized to the NFF and Nigerians for the defeat and assured fans that the players are ready to redeem themselves in the return match.

NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau announced on Saturday while speaking to the Eagles that total commitment to the national team will now be a key factor, apart from competence and current form, for any football player who wishes to wear the nation’s jersey at any level.


“Let us be very clear about one thing: no player will ever be encouraged against his wish to wear Nigeria’s colours at any time. If an invitation is extended to you at any time but you are not physically, psychologically or mentally up to it, you are free to decline.

“Nigeria demands good performances and positive results from any of the teams going forward. I was sorely disappointed by your performance against Guinea Bissau and I know that Nigerians at home and in the diaspora are more than disappointed. Things must change starting with the return match in Guinea Bissau on Monday. Our country is too big to be getting these poor results at international level.

“Total commitment that we can see in your body language and output will now be a key factor in who wears Nigeria’s jerseys. If some players are not ready to give their all at a particular time, others will be and will deliver for our country,” a disappointed Gusau said.


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Barcelona Face Real Madrid In Copa Clasico Semi Final




A wounded Barcelona face Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on Thursday hunting for a Clasico win to make coach Xavi Hernandez’s gamble at a critical moment of the season pay off.


Despite missing injured duo Pedri and Ousmane Dembele, Xavi rested other important players in the 1-0 defeat by Almeria on Sunday, prioritising the Clasico cup clash and spurning the chance to stretch their league lead to 10 points on Madrid.


Adding to Barca’s unease ahead of the Clasico, top scorer Robert Lewandowski has suffered a hamstring strain and is set to miss out, although Ansu Fati is poised to return.


Delivering what Xavi described as the “worst performance of the season” at Almeria, Barcelona suffered their second consecutive defeat after they were knocked out of the Europa League by Manchester United at Old Trafford.


A third defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu could send the team into a spiral, with their seven-point La Liga lead strong but not unassailable.


The Catalans visit the Santiago Bernabeu a day after Osasuna welcome Athletic Bilbao to El Sadar in the other Copa del Rey semi-final first leg.


“We have to change our mindset if we want to win the league and the cup,” warned Xavi after El Bilal Toure’s goal inflicted only their second Liga defeat of the season.

We have no excuse, we didn’t show the desire to play, intensity, that is what worries me the most.


“You can slip up, but you have to show passion and desire and in the first half we lacked that.”


Anything other than a good result in the capital will raise further questions about the coach’s decision to rest Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Raphinha and Alejandro Balde against Almeria.


– Instant results –


Xavi has said if his team win La Liga but not the Copa del Rey it would still count as a good season, with the Spanish Super Cup already in the bag.

However, losing this double-header against their arch-rivals would allow further doubts about the project to creep in, fuelling Xavi’s detractors after spending big last summer.


Barcelona brought in several players, including striker Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich as well as Kounde and Raphinha, and the outlay they made and the financial maneuvering they did to get the transfers through demands instant results.

Real Madrid saw their disappointing derby draw against Atletico on Saturday transformed into a better result by Barcelona’s stumble.


With one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals after an emphatic 5-2 win over Liverpool at Anfield, Carlo Ancelotti’s side can turn their attention to getting revenge after their Spanish Super Cup humbling.


Barcelona ran out emphatic 3-1 winners in Saudi Arabia in January as they won the first trophy of the Xavi era.

On that day, the Catalans, desperate to end their silverware drought, seemed far more up for the fight than Madrid but the Copa del Rey is a different story.


The last time Madrid lifted the trophy was a 3-1 win over Barcelona in 2014 final at Mestalla when Gareth Bale scored a magnificent solo goal.


Los Blancos are without injured trio David Alaba, Rodrygo and Ferland Mendy.


“Now the Cup is the most important thing because it’s the next game and we are very close to a title,” said Carlo Ancelotti after Madrid’s derby draw.

“We’re 270 minutes away from winning a title.”

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Chelsea Continue Poor Form With Home Loss To Southampton




Chelsea continued with their poor form this season after a 1-0 loss to Southampton at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday. 

The Blues’ best effort at finding the net was from substitute Raheem Sterling, and it was hacked away from under the bar by Armel Bella-Kotchap.


That came after a difficult first half for the home team who struggled to stamp their authority on the game.


It ended in painful circumstances for them as James Ward-Prowse gave Southampton the lead in added time, curling a free-kick from the edge of the box beyond the reach of Kepa Arrizabalaga and into the bottom corner.

Chelsea tried to fight back after the break, with substitute Sterling and Noni Madueke threatening from wide, but couldn’t find a way past the Saints defence in an increasingly frustrating second half, which was halted for a long time as Cesar Azpilicueta received treatment after catching a boot in the face.


The Chelsea skipper would later leave the pitch on a stretcher, and ended in acrimonious circumstances with a flurry of bookings as tempers flared.


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