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Manchester City 6-3 RB Leipzig: Jack Grealish scores on his Champions League debut as Pep Guardiola’s side win thriller

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They are in revered company, Manchester City. Only a finite number of teams can score six and leave disappointed with what transpired.

The positive bits are that Jack Grealish is off the mark in Europe – a stunning goal it was too – and that this could end up representing an important victory over opposition who pose the most direct threat to City’s progression from this group.

Kevin De Bruyne started for the first time this season, Phil Foden managed his first minutes. City recorded a 50th Champions League victory, with only Real Madrid having reached that milestone quicker in the history of the competition.

The really positive aspect was that Paris Saint-Germain dropped two points in Bruges so maybe nit-picking City’s errors after a game they eventually won is a bit much.

But that is what Guardiola will be doing privately, focused on the big picture. RB Leipzig were never really out of the game despite conceding half a dozen – Christopher Nkunku finishing with a super hat-trick – and that will worry Guardiola, whose ongoing disagreements with Riyad Mahrez on the touchline drew fascination.

And this was not the Leipzig we have become accustom, not the semi-finalists of 2020. They have lost three of their opening four Bundesliga matches. They lost their manager and two best players to Bayern Munich over the summer. That speaks to a worrying monopoly in Germany. A debate for another day perhaps.

Guardiola praised the ‘young, aggressive’ visitors rather than criticising his own team. There instead came a veiled dig at absent supporters. 

‘We scored 16 goals in the last three games here,’ he said. ‘I’d like more people to come on Saturday. We will be tired. Southampton are so dangerous. I invite all our people to come at 3pm to watch our game.’

Rather than empty seats, the debate here is whether City can get away with playing glorified basketball in the Parc des Princes in a fortnight’s time. The smart money is that they cannot. PSG might well fancy themselves to avenge last season’s semi-final defeat, particularly armed with Lionel Messi and their other Galactico free transfers.  

This was the strange aspect of Wednesday night: Guardiola’s prolonged, often inevitable, success at City is built on structural control, defensive awareness. 

That went missing for 90 minutes and it will agitate him ahead of the Premier League’s return at the weekend. The absence of both Aymeric Laporte and John Stones should not to act as absolute mitigation.

It was all a bit lapse. Nathan Ake scored early doors – his thumping header a product of Grealish’s arcing corner and a free run at his marker – before later forming one-quarter of City’s porous back line.

When Nordi Mukiele headed a comical own goal on 28 minutes, looking every bit the man who actually meant to convert De Bruyne’s delicious cross, the game appeared dead.

City were moving the ball crisply by that point but had not been. 

The opener came from a set piece but owed much to City’s sharpness in midfield, an urgency that had lacked. Guardiola had appeared a picture of exasperation and after Oleksandr Zinchenko and Rodri cleverly – and quickly – worked angles in midfield to open the game in the build-up to winning that corner, their manager threw his arms out as if to say, “finally”.

Then the teams started trading blows. Nkunku managed to wriggle free of Ake to head in just before the break, only for Lukas Klostermann to handle inside the box and Mahrez dispatched the penalty with no fuss. Perhaps he was just happy to find himself a distance away from the manager.

City were 3-1 ahead at the break but then slipped back into difficulty five minutes after half-time. Again, it came amid defensive confusion. Again, it was Nkunku. The striker nestled himself between Dias and Ake – who are not exactly familiar playing alongside each other – and planted a header into Ederson’s near post.

Andre Silva and Ferran Torres both had the ball in the net, although both adjudged offside after being allowed to carry on by linesmen told to keep their flags down no matter how obvious the infringement.

Grealish seemed to have sealed it on 56 minutes. He had beavered away all evening – City’s best player – and deserved to cap that with a goal. Dias hooked a clearance high into the sky and the £100million record signing scampered off, intent on inflicting damage. He stood up Tyler Adams, shifting possession away from his marker, and curled high into the far corner.

That is what they bought him for and Grealish is already becoming a favourite around these parts. ‘I loved it,’ Grealish said. ‘I’ve been waiting a while. The past few weeks, I couldn’t wait for this game. It’s a great night.’ 

Leipzig were still allowed to keep going on the break regardless. Nkunku broke clear and took Leipzig to within one as he steered his memorable hat-trick into Ederson’s far corner. 

At that point – for two minutes between minutes 73 and 75 – Leipzig probed an improbable point.

Joao Cancelo had other ideas, though, hitting back almost immediately by screeching home a fifth on the edge of the box. Nerves were settled by that point – even more so when the returning Angelino was sent off for a second yellow. 

There remained time for substitute Gabriel Jesus to add a sixth and, on paper, this all looked rather comfortable for a team with designs of finally lifting this trophy. Paper sometimes lies.

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Sheikh Zakzaky meets survivors of 2015 clash

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The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has met with survivors of the December 2015 clash between soldiers and members of the movement.

Zakzaky also met with the families of those killed in the clash.

A Kaduna State High Court had on July 28, 2021, discharged and acquitted the Sheikh and his wife, Zeenat who had been standing trial on eight counts of charges bordering on alleged criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide.

However speaking in Abuja, according to a release made available to Daily Trust, the Sheikh used the opportunity to condole with them over the losses of their loved ones.

He urged them to always remember the persecution and hardships meted out to Imam Hussein (AS) when the dreaded army of Yazid besieged and massacre them.

He alluded to his visitors that no sacrifice is too high when it comes to the path of Allah.

Sheikh Zakzaky also apologised for having to invite some of them, instead of going to their houses to condole them.

“Due to the injuries we sustained during the military attack on us, we still carry bullet fragments in our bodies, and there is no way we can meet up with all the victims and the survivors of the brutal military onslaught against us in December 2015,” he added.

Zakzaky then prayed to Almighty Allah to give the families of the martyrs the fortitude to bear the irreparable losses they suffered and prayed that Allah accept the martyrdom of those killed.

Responding, Dr. Isa Waziri Gwantu, who said he lost four of his children during the Zaria incident, expressed gratitude to the Sheikh for inviting them to meet him in such a difficult circumstance and reiterated their resolve to never abandon the right path being championed by the sheikh.

Hajiya Jummai Karofi, who said he lost five children, said, “I would like the killers of my children to know that what they did to them would never scare us away from Sheikh Zakzaky and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, in fact, they are ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice in defense of Islam.”

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PHOTOS: Fani-Kayode dines at residence of another Buhari’s Minister

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Since Thursday when his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was made public, Femi Fan-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation, has been under fire.

From Social media to traditional media, the former critic of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party, has been lampooned.

But FFK has waved critics aside, sharing pictures of his visit to the residences of key APC figures.

On Saturday, he released pictures of his visit to Ali Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, whom he had labelled a terrorist and asked Buhari to sack a few months ago.

While the dust raised by the post is yet to settle, Fani-Kayode released fresh pictures of his visit to the residence of George Akume, Minister of Special Duties.

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Armed gang invade Lagos streets, injure many, loot shops

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Mushin area of Lagos State was yesterday, thrown into commotion as some armed gang invaded some streets, inflicting injuries on residents and destroying property worth millions of naira.

It was gathered one person died in the mayhem that forced churches within the affected communities to close for fear of being attacked.

Information had it that a notorious armed robber was arrested sometime by the police and was transferred to Abuja. But his release was allegedly facilitated by some big shots he worked for.

After his release, his loyalists from the Idi-Araba area of the state reportedly invaded some areas of Mushin to attack some persons whom they accused of being the cause of his arrest. The areas affected were Alafia, Daniel and Morgan.

A resident, who simply gave his name as Mitchy, explained that “the fight has been going on since midnight (Saturday)and the perpetrators came from Idi-Araba. This has been happening for almost six months. But last night and today’s(Sunday) were the most violent.

“Surprisingly, the armed thugs were teenagers between 16 and 19 years. They looted people’s shops and carted away goods. They were armed with machetes, guns and bottles.

“Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Alafia junction and Christ Gospel Apostolic Church on Da-Silva street could not conduct Sunday service.”

It was gathered teams of policemen from the Tactical Unit of the Lagos State Police Command were ordered by the Commissioner of Police, CP Odumosu to contain the situation.

When contacted, the command spokesman, CSP Ade Ajisebutu, said 15 suspects had been arrested in connection with the clash. He said axes, cutlasses and expended cartridges were recovered in the process.

According to Ajisebutu, “Normalcy has returned to the area. CP Odumosu has assured residents to go about their lawful businesses. At the end of an investigation, the suspects will be charged to court.”

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