UC Sampdoria v Juventus - Serie A

Ghana secures spot in African World Cup qualifying playoff

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The Ghanians booked their ticket into the knockout round of Africa’s World Cup qualifying with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Zambia.

Young Spartak Moscow striker Abdul Waris headed in the opener for Ghana in the 17th minute on a volleyed cross from John Boye.

The winner came from Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah (pictured, playing with Juventus) after 60 minutes when the 24-year-old decided to blast a shot from ridiculously long range, finding the bottom right corner.

Zambia, the winners of the 2012 African Nations Cup, grabbed a consolation in the 77th minute via Nathan Sinkala, but they could not overcome the Black Stars who have secured the Group D and now have a chance to make their third straight World Cup.

In the African format, ten groups of four make up the tables, and each group winner advances to a knockout match for five spots.  Also already through are Bob Bradley’s Egypt, Algeria and Ivory Coast.

Most of the final round of games are set to be played tomorrow.  Ethiopia and Congo would go through with wins.  The winners of Senegal vs. Uganda, Nigeria vs. Malawi, and Tunisia vs. Cape Verde Islands all go through as well.

Here are the goals from Ghana’s win:

Newcastle’s Krul on crutches after injury in Dutch win

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Tim Krul of Newcastle United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.

Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.

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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.

Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.

The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.

McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.