Golden Eaglets Walk Tight Rope with Draw against Ghana

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UNDER17 WAFU B TOURNAMENT

Nigeria’s poor run in age grade football continued yesterday as the Golden Eaglets failed to beat Ghana’s Black Starlets to pave way for their qualification for the WAFU B ticket to the U-17 AFCON.

After the Fatai Amos’s lads were beaten by Côte d’Ivoire in their opening Group B game in Lome, the five-time world champions were expected to pick their maximum points but that failed to materialize as the Ghanaians battled Eaglets to a one-all draw.

Joseph Arumala gave Nigeria the lead from the spot 13 minutes from time after Abdullahi Ahmed was fouled in the box.

The Black Starlets were awarded a penalty after Eaglets goalkeeper Destiny Emuwahen committed a foul inside the box.

The penalty was coolly converted six minutes from time.

The Eaglets will now have to wait for the result between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire on Tuesday to know if they have not been eliminated.

La Liga: Messi, Griezmann Brilliant against Granada

Lionel Messi is back in form and Barcelona are finding their feet after a 4-0 demolition of Granada on Saturday put them within four points of the top of La Liga.

Messi scored twice to make it four goals in three matches since the turn of the year and his resurgence has coincided with an upturn for the team too, this victory Barca’s third on the bounce.

It puts them in sight of league leaders Atletico Madrid, even if Diego Simeone’s side now have three games in hand.

Atletico’s match against Athletic Bilbao earlier on Saturday was postponed due to the snowstorm that has engulfed Spain this weekend.

Messi’s double, the second a sweetly-struck free-kick, came between two strikes from Antoine Griezmann, who is also enjoying a revival after a disappointing 18 months at Camp Nou.

Some had wondered if Messi would ever get back to his best following an underwhelming start to the season but his latest contribution makes him the league’s top scorer on 11 goals.

After attempting to leave Barcelona last summer, the 33-year-old’s recovery always felt dependent on him rediscovering his own motivation and focus.

But Barca coach Ronald Koeman deserves credit for the rejuvenation of players like Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong, all of whom have improved significantly in recent matches.