Leon Balogun

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Africa Cup of Nations last 16 preview: Salah, Mane on collision course?

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The group stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations has been low-scoring, so we’ll be hoping for some early goals to open up play for the many electric stars of Africa.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t seen the big names find the score sheet, as Mohamed Salah of Liverpool and host nation Egypt has two goals — as many as anyone in the tournament — the same amount as club teammate Sadio Mane.

[ MORE: JPW’s Round of 16 predictions ]

The Reds may be on a collision course for Cairo on July 19, with Senegal the 22nd ranked team in the world via FIFA and Egypt hosting the tournament.

All five of the nations to qualify for the 2018 World Cup remain alive, with three in the top of the bracket and two in the bottom.

The 32nd edition of the competition could see a rematch of the 31st final in the quarterfinals, but it will require Cameroon emerging from a massive Round of 16 meeting with Nigeria.

Should they do so, and the hosts beat South Africa, the rematch will arrive on Wednesday in Cairo.

The Cameroon-Nigeria match may be topped by one in the upper half of the bracket, as Ghana looks to reassert itself as a power by knocking of Tunisia. The Black Stars missed out on the 2018 World Cup, and the winner is arguably a favorite to reach the final.

Premier League talents on show

Senegal – Mane (Liverpool), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Everton), Cheikhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace)

Morocco – Romain Saiss (Wolves)

Democratic Republic of Congo – Arthur Masuaku (West Ham)

Ghana – Christian Atsu (Newcastle), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace)

Mali – Moussa Djenepo (Southampton)

Ivory Coast – Serge Aurier (Spurs), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Jonathan Kodija (Aston Villa)

Algeria – Riyad Mahrez (Man City), Islam Slimani (Leicester)

Guinea – Naby Keita (Liverpool)

Nigeria – Leon Balogun (Brighton), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester), Henry Onyekuru (Everton).

Cameroon – Gaetan Bong (Brighton),

Egypt – Salah (Liverpool), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa)

Round of 16 schedule

Uganda v. Senegal – July 5
Morocco v. Benin – July 5

Madagascar v. Democratic Republic of Congo – July 7
Ghana v. Tunisia – July 8

Mali v. Ivory Coast – July 8
Algeria v. Guinea – July 7

Nigeria v. Cameroon – July 6
Egypt v. South Africa – July 6

Nigeria upset by Madagascar in final AFCON group stage match

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With a spot in the knockout stage already confirmed but the group not yet secured, Nigeria had a dud against Madagascar, falling 2-0 in a performance that highlighted the team’s inability to handle a quality counter-press.

Nigeria held 61% possession throughout the match and worked 12 total shots but only put one on target as they struggled with Madagascar’s defensive shape and pressure that forced them into constant turnovers.

Madagascar, meanwhile, continued its dream start to its first ever Africa Cup of Nations, finishing group stage play top of Group B unbeaten with two wins and a draw, having conceded just once through the three matches against Nigeria, Burundi, and Guinea. The squad features hardly any players from recognizable European clubs compared to other more favorited squads in the competition like Nigeria, Egypt, and Senegal among others, but has played with cohesion and togetherness.

They got the opener off a bad Nigeria mistake on the high press, with William Troost-Ekong playing a dangerous centering pass to fellow defender Leon Balogun right in front of net, picked off by Lalaina Nomenjanahary who scored in the 13th minute. Madagascar doubled the lead after halftime through winger Carolus Andriamatsinoro who delivered a 53rd-minute free-kick that took an enormous deflection off the hip of a leaping substitute Ndidi and fell to the far post, clipping the woodwork and finding the back of the net.

Nigeria boss Thomas Dennerby sat a number of first-team players with the knockout stage spot clinched, leaving Alex Iwobi, Wilfried Ndidi, and Kenneth Omeruo. The replacements couldn’t compete, and Nigeria fell to second in the group, still qualifying for the knockout stage but now forced to play another group stage runner-up instead of matching up with a third-place qualifier.

Hazard runs Chelsea past Brighton

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  • Goal, assist for Hazard
  • Pedro scores
  • March pulls one back

Eden Hazard had a goal and an assist in the first half as Chelsea beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 on Sunday at the Amex Stadium.

Pedro scored Chelsea’s other goal as the Blues go fourth with 37 points, two back of Spurs.

Solly March nabbed Brighton’s marker, as the Seagulls are 13th with 21 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

David Luiz‘s early free kick sailed to Mat Ryan, as Chelsea issued the first test of the day.

Anthony Knockaert drew a foul in the 8th minute to set up a right-flank free kick, but it didn’t get past the first defender on the line.

Willian slipped Marcos Alonso through for a chance that led to a free kick in the 15th minute, but Willian’s effort hit the wall.

Chelsea went ahead soon after, Pedro at the back post to slam a well-slid Eden Hazard pass into the goal.

Brighton struggled to gather itself together, though Solly March forced Kepa Arrizabalaga into a save around the half-hour mark.

Willian picked off a Leon Balogun entry pass, and immediately sent Hazard through 1v1 with Ryan. The Belgian rolled a smooth effort past the keeper, and it was 2-0 in the 33rd.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

A mess in the Brighton box just after halftime led to a desperate and acrobatic kick from Pedro flying over the frame.

Alonso then hit the bar in the 63rd.

Brighton pulled to within one. Two minutes after threatening the Chelsea goal, March was a flash quicker than David Luiz to react to a bouncing ball across the box.

10-man Brighton cruises past Palace in M23 Derby

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  • Murray scores from spot
  • Duffy sent off for head butt
  • Brighton scores twice more after red card
  • Milivojevic scores Palace PK

Brighton and Hove Albion went down a man, and then increased their lead by two in an eventual 3-1 win over Crystal Palace in an M23 Derby at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.

Brighton moves into 10th with the win, behind Leicester City on goal differential. Glenn Murray, Leon Balogun, and Florin Andone scored for the Seagulls.

Luka Milivojevic scored Palace’s goal, as the Eagles sink below idle Newcastle United, with 12 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Patrick Van Aanholt cut a cross back toward Andros Townsend in the 16th minute, but the Englishman’s headed effort zipped wide of the near post.

James McArthur conceded a penalty to the hosts, and Murray banged home his effort in the 24th minute.

Brighton wanted another penalty, but ended up down a man as it awaited a corner kick when Shane Duffy head-butted Van Aanholt. Kevin Friend spotted it, and sent Duffy off the pitch.

The Seagulls’ 29th minute lead would require quite a bit of work, but first it got a boost. Substitute Balogun, only on in the wake of the red card, lashed side volley home from the partially cleared corner kick.

And if you’ll believe it, the 10-men Gulls took a 3-0 lead when Andone chased down a loose ball and worked James Tomkins before finishing with his left peg. He might still be running.

Balogun gave a goal back in the second half with a takedown of Wilfried Zaha in the box. Milivojevic converted the penalty.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Watch Live: Liverpool v. Brighton

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Liverpool host Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) as Jurgen Klopp‘s side aim to keep up their 100 percent record to start the season.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

The Reds have won their first two games, scoring six times and conceding none with Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson monsters in defense and the usual suspects clinical up top.

As for Brighton, they beat Manchester United 3-2 last weekend and Chris Hughton‘s side will fancy themselves as the underdogs.

In team news Liverpool remain unchanged for the third-straight game.

Brighton bring in Leon Balogun and Yves Bissouma for their first Premier League starts.


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