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Copa Del Rey: Real Madrid pull epic comeback to beat Villarreal

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Real Madrid produced a stunning comeback from two goals down to beat Villarreal 3-2 on Thursday and book their place in the Spanish Cup quarter-finals.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will hope the victory is a turning point after struggling in 2023. They were soundly beaten by rivals Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final last Sunday.

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Los Blancos seemed poised to suffer cup elimination on Thursday, after Etienne Capoue and Samuel Chukwueze struck in the first half for the hosts.

However goals by Vinicius Junior, Eder Militao and Dani Ceballos after the break turned the last-16 clash on its head and sent Madrid, who last won the trophy in 2014, through.

Villarreal, who impressed while beating Madrid in La Liga earlier in January, started brilliantly, Capoue lashing home a stunning strike from Gerard Moreno’s flick into his path.

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Quique Setien’s side had won six of their last seven games and drawn the other and they played with confidence in the first half.

By contrast, Madrid looked chastened after their recent results and the early goal conceded.

The hosts doubled their lead at the Estadio de la Ceramica just before half-time, with Chukwueze providing the finishing touch to a flowing team move.

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Ancelotti responded by bringing on Ceballos and Marco Asensio and the changes paid instant dividends.

Ceballos set up Vinicius to pull the first back for Madrid and it put the wind in their sails.

Asensio drilled a low free-kick under the wall but Filip Jorgensen was equal to it as Los Blancos strained for the equaliser.

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The Danish stopper then parried Karim Benzema’s header moments later, but Militao pounced on the rebound to level.

With the clock ticking towards extra-time Ceballos struck with a low effort from the edge of the box, set up by Asensio, to complete the rescue mission.

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UCL: PSG suffer major blow ahead Bayern Munich clash

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Paris Saint-Germain have suffered a major injury blow ahead of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg tie with Bayern Munich on February 14.

PSG on Thursday confirmed that their key player Kylian Mbappé is set to miss three weeks of action, meaning that the forward will miss their Champions League clash against Bayern Munich, which takes place in just 12 days’ time.

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Mbappe suffered a thigh injury during PSG’s 3-1 victory over Montpellier on Wednesday.

The France international was seen hobbling through the mixed zone after the match.

“After undergoing tests, Kylian Mbappé suffered an injury to the left thigh at the level of the femoral biceps.

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“He is expected to be out of action for three weeks,” PSG’s statement read.

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U-20 AFCON: Flying Eagles tackles Zambia in friendly match

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Egypt-bound Nigeria and Zambia U20 teams have been scheduled to clash in a prestige encounter at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium on Friday evening, in what promises to be a fierce encounter with both gearing up for the Africa U20 Cup of Nations starting in the North African nation in a fortnight.

Zambian U20 team, Junior Chipolopolo arrive at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja…on Thursday (2/2/2023)
A 35-man delegation of the Zambian 2017 Africa U20 Cup of Nations champions landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Thursday afternoon, aboard an Ethiopian Airline flight from Addis Ababa. The delegation included 23 players and 12 officials.

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They will confront the Flying Eagles, seven-time champions of Africa, at the main bowl of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium from 4pm on Friday.

Champions of the WAFU B U20 Championship held in Niger Republic in May 2022, the Flying Eagles have been drawn to play hosts Egypt, Senegal and Mozambique in Group A of the Africa U20 Cup of Nations taking place 18th February – 12th March this year.

Zambia won the 2017 Africa U20 Cup of Nations which they hosted, and then reached the quarter-finals of the FIFA U20 World Cup in Korea Republic the same year, before losing to Italy after extra time in Suwon.

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In Egypt, Zambia will be up against Tunisia, Benin Republic and The Gambia in Group C, while Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo battle things out in Group B.

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Police in UK drop attempted rape charge against Man Utd star Greenwood

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By Francesca Iwambe

Charges of attempted rape and assault against Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood have been dropped by prosecutors, British police said on Thursday.

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The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material coming to light were factors in their decision to stop the case against the 21-year-old.

Greater Manchester Police said it was “only fair” that they announce that Greenwood, who was arrested in January last year, would no longer face criminal proceedings “given the significant media coverage of this case”.

The striker originally faced one count of attempted rape, one count of controlling and coercive behaviour and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, all against the same complainant.

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“In this case a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.

“In these circumstances, we are under a duty to stop the case.”
Greenwood, who has played 129 times for United, scoring 35 goals, last played for United against West Ham in January last year.

“Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this,” said chief superintendent Michaela Kerr.

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“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage, and that this decision has not been taken lightly.

“Despite the media and public’s interest in this case, we have decided not to comment on it in any further detail.

Greenwood, a product of United’s academy, and once considered one of English football’s brightest prospects, made his senior debut for the Red Devils in a Champions League victory at Paris Saint-Germain in March 2019.

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He signed a new contract at United in February 2021 that runs until at least 2025.

The forward made his England debut against Iceland in September 2020, but he and Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden were sent home after breaching the team’s coronavirus guidelines.

Nike suspended and later terminated its sponsorship deal with the player, while Electronic Arts confirmed his removal from active squads on its FIFA 22 game following his arrest.

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