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Nigeria draws with Greece in Intl friendly Nigeria played out a 0-0 draw with Greece in the international friendly game played in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the PPL Park, Chester, Pennsylvania. Nigeria dominated possession in the opening minutes, with Emmanuel Emenike winning a corner-kick in the 3rd minute although nothing came off it. Emenike and Ogenyi Onazi were the standout players for the Super Eagles who looked comfortable on the ball but were however unable to find space to move around the Greeks who looked solid at the back. Greece threatened with a series of crosses into the Nigerian box in the 8th minute, but the Nigerian defense repelled the threat. Victor Moses won a free-kick at the edge of the Greek box, but again, nothing came off it as Nigeria continued to move the ball around their zone but failed to genuinely threaten the Greek’s goal, as Odemwingie shot wide from 35-yards in the 16th minute. Greece finally began to find their rhythm with a series of forays into the Nigerian half. However at the other end , a find save from Glykos in the 25th minute prevented Ahmed Musa from giving Nigeria the lead with a long range effort which went into the bottom right corner. Karagounis responded for Greece with a similar effort, but he sent his shot wide. Fetfatzidiz forced a terrific save from Enyeama as the Greeks continued to pile pressure and impose themselves, as Nigeria struggled to get control of the ball. Emenike was caught offside and Onazi forced anther save from Glykos in the 37th minute. But Nigeria were dealt a blow when when Echiejile suffered what looked like a serious hamstring injury and had to be replaced by Kunle Odunlami in the 41st minute. Nigeria made changes at the break, with Okechukwu Uchebo and Joseph Yobo coming on in place of Ahmed Musa and Godfrey Oboabona respectively. The second half continued in pretty much the same fashion as the first, as Emenike intercepted a misplaced pass by the Greeks, but failed to make the opportunity count as a result of poor communication with Uchebo. The game remained a ding-dong affair between the two sides who clashed in the group stage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Nigeria had a genuine penalty appeal turned down by the referee in the 63rd minute as replays confirmed that Victor Moses was fouled inside the box by a Greek defender. Nigeria continued to struggle with the possession of the ball in midfield as Mikel Obi and Onazi weren’t looking very sharp as they were outplayed in midfield by Greeks who continued to attack but were let down by the inaccuracy of their passing and shooting. Uche Nwofor came on for Emenike in the 76th minute, but it was Enyeama who that was kept on active duty by the Greeks as he denied Giorgios Samaras who shot from close range in the 83rdminute and later stopped the rebound header from Kostas Mitroglou. At the other end however, Onazi forced a fine save from the Greek goalkeeper with a long range effort, as the game remained goalless after 90 minutes. LINE-UPS:Nigeria XI: Enyeama (c), Oboabona, Omeruo, Echiejile, Ambrose; Onazi, Mikel; Musa, Moses; Odemwingie; Emenike. Greece XI: Glykos; Vyntra, Tzavellas, Moras, Manolas; Samaris, Karagounis, Tachtsidis; Fetfatzidis, Gekas, Christodoulopoulos. (kickoffnigeria)   Scolari says team can play much better Brazil coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari believes his side can still play much better following a 4-0 win against Panama in Goiania last night. Neymar, Dani Alves, Hulk and Willian found the back of the net in Brazil’s second last warm-up match before kicking off the World Cup against Croatia on June 12. “I still have concerns, but not at the same level I had on Sunday,” Scolari said after the match. “We did not allow our opponents the opportunity to counter-attack and that is what I need to see because our team has the quality to score one or two goals. “If we do not allow our opponents easy counter-attacks we have a chance to win games by even by more. We improved, but we still have a long way to go.” Brazil in Group A along with Mexico, Cameroon and Croatia. (kickoffnigeria)   England practising penalties ahead World Cup – Gerard England captain Steven Gerard has revealed the squad have been practising penalties “a lot” but insists they will not become obsessed with spot kicks. Of England’s last 10 major tournaments, six have ended in a penalty shootout. Continue reading the main story “A penalty shootout is a more pressurised situation than a penalty in a league game” Steven Gerrard England captain Gerrard missed a penalty in the quarter-finals against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup, but scored in a shootout defeat by Italy at Euro 2012. “I understand the fixation because we’ve failed in a few but don’t get carried away with it,” said Gerrard. England last won a penalty shootout at a major tournament at Euro 96, when they beat Spain. Sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters, who made his name with the British Olympic cycling team and has also worked with both Liverpool and former world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, will help the squad with mental preparation in Brazil. “We are going to practise penalties a lot, but it is a difficult situation to put into words and describe it. There is a lot of pressure,” added Gerrard on BBC Radio 5 live’s sport special on penalty shootouts. “You have an awful lot more time to think about your penalty, and what is at stake is a lot bigger. “A penalty shootout is a more pressurised situation than any one penalty in a league game.” (BBC Sports)     Borini plots return to Liverpool next season On-loan Sunderland striker Fabio Borini is planning on making a return to Anfield next season and is keen to rejoin the Reds according to his agent. The 23-year-old netted 12 goals in his loan spell with the Black Cats, playing a crucial role in their survival in the Premier League this season. With his parent club Liverpool securing the services of Ricky Lambert, many believe Borini would seek another loan move away from Anfield, yet the player’s agent has revealed the complete opposite. “Does Lambert’s arrival close the door on Fabio Borini? No, I don’t think so,” Borini’s agent Marco De Marchi told tuttomercatoweb.com. “We have received no communications in that regard. In this last season, Fabio gave a considerable contribution towards keeping Sunderland up. “He was praised by everyone, especially by the Liverpool manager [Brendan] Rodgers. “So, after his holidays he will go back to Liverpool to prepare for the new season wearing the shirt of this historic club.” De Marchi said his player is keen to leave his mark at Liverpool, and add to the mere 2 goals in 20 appearances he has made thus far for the club. “He wants to compete with everyone and be an extra resource for the coach and the team,” said the agent. “Borini could be of use to any team, but no-one has contacted us and his desire is to show what he’s got at Liverpool.” (kickoffnigeria)   Fluminense extends kit supply agreement with Adidas Top-tier Brazilian soccer side, Fluminense has extended its kit supply agreement with Adidas to 2018 from March 2015 when the existing contract was due to expire. While financial terms were not released, Brazilian sports business news outlet Máquina do Esporte reports that the value of the deal has jumped from nine million Brazilian reals per year under the previous agreement to around 17 million (US$7.4 million). Though there is likely to be an outright cash component to the deal, the total fee is said to be dependent on a number of variables such as performance bonuses, sales royalties and marketing budget. “We increased the variables,” confirmed Peter Siemsen, the president of Rio-based Fluminense. “We have to work together to achieve goals, and this is very good for both sides. It is a ‘win-win’ situation.” Nine games into the current Campeonato Brasileiro Série A season, Fluminense currently sit second in the league table, three points behind leaders Cruzeiro. Adidas has supplied Fluminense’s kits since 1996. The German brand’s new deal with the club comes after it agreed a deal with Fluminense’s cross-city rivals Flamengo in December 2012. (goal.com)   Laporte feels flattered by Barcelona and Bayern links The youngster is flattered by reports linking him with the Blaugrana and the Bavarians but pointed out that he has a contract until 2018. Athletic Bilbao centre-back Aymeric Laporte has been buoyed by reports linking him with Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The 20-year-old made 35 Liga appearances last season and has developed into one of the most promising central defenders in the Primera Division. Laporte’s impressive form for Athletic has allegedly attracted the interest of both Barca and Bayern, with the former said to be keen on signing the youngster as a replacement for Carles Puyol, who has already confirmed he is leaving Camp Nou this summer. Laporte freely admits that he is flattered to be linked with such high-profile clubs, and to be touted as a potential successor to such an iconic defender. “It is impressive that Barcelona and Bayern have been interested in me. It is the fruit of my hard work but I think you have to take a certain lightness because it does not correspond to a reality,” Laporte told French newspaper L’Equipe. “If you say tomorrow ‘You’re going to replace Carles Puyol,’ how do you respond? “When you talk about Puyol you speak of a myth of football. At Barcelona, in recent years, he has won almost everything. He is a dream. He is the envy of all. “Bayern are also one of the biggest teams in the world, but I repeat that I am under contract with Athletic until 2018.” Should Barcelona or Bayern fail to prize Laporte away from Athletic this summer, the centre-back will still get to compete in the Champions League after the San Mames side qualified for Europe’s top competition with a fourth-place finish in La Liga last term. But when asked whether it would be a disappointment to stay with Athletic next season, Laporte said: “No, if anything it would be a great team. “To play in one of the best Championships in the world is already very nice.” (goal.com)    

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