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Mane, Hakimi take Senegal and Morocco into AFCON quarter-finals

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Achraf Hakimi scored a brilliant free kick to send Morocco through to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations with a win over Malawi.

Gabadinho Mhango gave outsiders Malawi, playing their first-ever knockout game at the tournament, a shock early lead on Tuesday with a stunning goal from 40 metres at Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium.

But Youssef En-Nesyri headed Morocco level in first-half stoppage time before Hakimi drilled in the winner on 70 minutes to set up a meeting with Egypt or Ivory Coast in the last-eight.

“When you win, you get respect,” said Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic. “Malawi scored a fantastic goal. I think we played really well in the first half, unfortunately, we lacked efficiency. We had around 10 chances you can’t miss.

“But I was always confident. The team was upset but I knew at some point we would score a second goal. We controlled the match and we more than deserve to qualify.”

Morocco’s quarter-final tie was due to take place at Olembe Stadium in Yaounde but will be moved after a fatal crush outside the ground on Monday which killed eight people and injured 38.

Also on Tuesday, Senegal followed Morocco into the quarterfinals after beating nine-man Cape Verde 2-0 in Bafoussam.

Josimar “Vozinha” Dias raced out of his area and tried to head a ball clear with Sadio Mane chasing it down.

The players’ heads clashed badly as they leaped in the air and Vozinha clearly sustained a concussion as he tried to get up afterward and ended up staggering around.

Vozinha left on a stretcher and was not around to see the red card referee Lahlou Benbraham held up for him.

Mane was allowed to continue after he hit the ground face first following the collision. He rolled over and lay still on his back for a moment, clearly dazed, possibly with a concussion.

He dragged himself to his feet and scored less than 10 minutes later in the 63rd minute.

Bamba Dieng, who replaced Mane, added a second goal two minutes into added time after a breakaway left a single Cape Verde defender facing two Senegalese attackers.

Senegal, seeking to win the flagship African competition for the first time after twice finishing runners-up, will meet Mali or Equatorial Guinea on Sunday in the quarter-finals.

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Juventus give Arsenal three players in exchange deal for Giorgio Chiellini’s replacement

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Juventus are so desperate to land defender, Gabriel Magalhaes this summer and will offer Arsenal three players, according to Corriere dello Sport.

The Old Lady have identified Gabriel as a possible successor to Giorgio Chiellini, who will leave Turin this summer, and are keen to reach a quick agreement with Arsenal.

It is understood that the three players Juventus will offer Arsenal to force the deal for their 24-year-old centre-back are Arthur Melo, Weston McKennie and Moise Kean.

The report added that Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini has travelled to London for talks with Arsenal over a deal for Gabriel.

Juventus are in the market to replace Chiellini, who is leaving the Serie A giants this summer after 17 years.

However, it’s claimed that Arsenal are demanding at least £42.4million for Gabriel.

Gabriel joined the Gunners from Lille in a £27million deal in 2020.

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EPL: Man Utd warn Barcelona over De Jong transfer

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Manchester United have made it clear to Barcelona, they will not meet their £70 million asking price for Frenkie De Jong, according to Daily Mail.

The Premier League side are keen on signing De Jong, as Paul Pogba is set to leave on a free transfer this summer.

The Barca midfielder has already been identified by incoming manager, Erik Ten Hag, as a potential option having already managed him at Ajax.

Barcelona are open to a deal, as they are also seeking funds to put together a deal for Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

However, United have informed the LaLiga club that they do not want to spend a significant part of their summer budget on signing De Jong.

Barca are looking to recoup the £65 million they spent on signing the 25-year-old from Ajax in 2019.

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Aubameyang announces retirement

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Gabon and Barcelona striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, on Wednesday, announced his retirement from international football.

Aubameyang has decided to focus on his club career.

The former Arsenal captain represented his nation for over ten years and also wore the captain’s armband

The 32-year-old appeared 72 times for Gabon, scoring 30 goals.

In a letter to the Gabonese FA, Aubameyang wrote, according to Mundo Deportivo: “After 13 [thirteen] years of pride in representing my country, I announce that I’m ending my international career.

“I would like to thank the Gabonese people and all those who have supported me in the good and the bad times.

“Sharing it with all the people was an unforgettable moment. I thank our President, his Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba who has always supported the Panthers and has always worked for football to evolve in our country.

“I would also like to thank all my coaches, staff and the players that I have come across during this career.

“Finally, I thank my father who gave me the desire to do like him, hoping to have made him proud by wearing our colours.”

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