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Osimhen, Lorenzo Score As Napoli See Off Salernitana

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Napoli further extended their grip on the Serie A title race on Saturday by beating local rivals Salernitana 2-0 to temporarily move 12 points ahead of the chasing pack.

Goals from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Victor Osimhen immediately either side of half-time made sure that Napoli will be at least nine points clear at the halfway point of the season after a straight-forward win in soaking Salerno.

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Luciano Spalletti’s side now have to wait until their closest rivals AC Milan take on Champions League-chasing Lazio in Rome on Tuesday to know just how far in front they will be after collecting 50 points in 19 matches.

That is a remarkable return for a club which allowed important players to leave in the summer and whose fans were in open revolt against owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.

“We’ve had a great first half of the season. We lost so many big players in the close season but managed to bring together a new group which has started really strongly,” Di Lorenzo told DAZN.

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Inter Milan are a further point behind their city rivals and will move provisionally into second place if they beat Empoli on Monday.

Napoli do not have to worry about Juventus who had been ahead of Inter on goal difference but were docked 15 points on Friday for illicit use of transfers to boost their balance sheet.

Save the ruling being overturned on appeal later this year, Juve are out of the race, making Napoli’s bid for a first league crown since 1990 that much simpler.

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– Once in a lifetime –
“We know we have a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we need to work with that in mind,” said Spalletti.

“Our attitude has to be not to waste the chances we have.”

Salernitana are winless in seven matches and sit 16th on 18 points, six in front of Verona who are just inside the relegation zone after beating Lecce 2-0 to continue their recovery under new coach Marco Zaffaroni.

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Salernitana were also playing under a new manager of sorts as Davide Nicola took his place on the bench at the Stadio Arechi after being sacked on Monday and then brought back in less than 48 hours later.

Nicola’s team huffed and puffed but once Di Lorenzo broke their resistance with a precision finish from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s low pass in first-half stoppage time there was only going to be one winner.

Napoli made the short trip to Salerno without Khvicha Kvaratskhelia who usually flanks Osimhen, but the Nigeria forward is in unstoppable form and netted his league-leading 13th of the season two minutes after the break.

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Kvaratskhelia’s replacement Eljif Elmas cut inside and then let off a low shot which bounced back off the post and straight to Osimhen, who gobbled up the chance to double Napoli’s lead.

Napoli had one scare with seven minutes remaining when Alex Meret did superbly well to tip Krzysztof Piatek’s low drive onto the post, and that save made sure of a potentially huge three points for a team who are seemingly having everything their way.

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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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