Everton added another key piece to its Top Six hunt with the addition of Nigerian winger Alex Iwobi from Arsenal.
The deal is for a rumored $46 million, which is nice for Arsenal, and the Toffees will love the addition of another electric dribbler with pace to burn.
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Iwobi had six goals and nine assists for the Gunners last season, and played in each of Nigeria’s seven matches at the Africa Cup of Nations. The Super Eagles veteran has 36 caps and six goals.
“It was important for me to have one more quality option for our attacking positions to add to what we have with Richarlison, Bernard and Theo Walcott.
“Alex fits exactly the profile of player I want in my model. He is hungry to join Everton and take the next step in his career, to help us compete with the strongest teams in the league and reach his potential at our club.”
This is a nice move for the Toffees, who have the attacking depth to make the Europa League via the league or cup route.
After two years of not qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria completed its run at the tournament as the third best team in Africa.
The Super Eagles defeated, Tunisia, 1-0, in Cairo, Egypt in the third-place game. Former Watford forward Odion Ighalo scored his tournament-leading fifth goal in just the third minute.
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Ighalo took advantage of a terrific cross from Jamilu Collins and a mistake between Tunisia’s Moez Ben Cherifia in goal and centerback Yassine Meriah. Ben Cherifia parried the cross away but Meriah ended up right next to Ben Cherifia and the ball deflected off Meriah towards Ighalo. Ighalo was quickest to the ball and toe-poked it home for the early goal.
Both teams had chances to score later in the match, but they lacked the finishing touch. Ferjani Sassi put a shot just wide for Tunisia, while Wilfried Ndidi skied a chance of his own.
Nigeria could have made it 2-0 if not for a great save late from Ben Cherifia. A free kick from Samuel Kalu in the 90th minute was tipped just over the bar by Ben Cherifia, a highlight save but one that was a bit too late for Tunisia.
Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi started and went the full 90 as a support striker. He’ll likely get a few weeks off before joining up with the rest of Arsenal for the tail-end of preseason, and he’ll likely miss the first few weeks of the Premier League season due to the late finish for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Three wins from AFCON glory, eight teams take their next steps in quarterfinal play at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt on Wednesday and Thursday.
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Benin and Madagascar are barely inside the world’s Top 100 in Elo Ratings, but they are still alive. Does that end here?
Senegal v. Benin — Noon ET Wednesday
Benin made it to this round by tying every group stage match and then using penalty kicks to beat favored Morocco. Simply put: they are survivors. It’ll take more than that against Sadio Mane and Senegal, one the favorites to lift a trophy this summer.
Nigeria v. South Africa — 3 p.m. ET Wednesday
Finally out of their scoring doldrums, the Super Eagles outlasted Cameroon in a 3-2 thriller and now face a South Africa side which stunned Mohamed Salah and hosts Egypt. Bafana Bafana has only allowed two goals in four tournament matches, but Nigeria will put that to the test with Golden Boot co-leader Odion Ighalo.
Ivory Coast v. Algeria — Noon ET Thursday
Wilfried Zaha may not know where he’ll be playing club ball next season, but it hasn’t stopped him from leading Les Elephants in scoring with two goals. Meeting Riyad Mahrez and Algeria will be a major challenge up north.
Madagascar v. Tunisia — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Two sides who earned their quarterfinal berths by going perfect from the penalty spot against more celebrated competition (Madagascar defeated Democratic Republic of Congo, while Tunisia beat Ghana). Tunisia will be heavily favored to take the next step.
CAIRO (AP) Defending champion Cameroon is out of the African Cup of Nations after losing 3-2 to Nigeria in a wild last-16 game on Saturday.
Nigeria scored first before Cameroon replied with two goals in three minutes at the end of the first half to lead 2-1. Nigeria then did the same to go ahead again with two goals in a three-minute spell after halftime.
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Odion Ighalo scored two of Nigeria’s goals and Alex Iwobi snatched the winner in the 66th minute to put the 2013 champion into the quarterfinals, where they’ll play the winner of the Egypt-South Africa game.
Cameroon’s exit is a major disappointment for the high-profile coaching team of former Netherlands internationals Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert appointed to lead the team’s title defense.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
- Iwobi scores within three minutes
- Sokratis sent off after second yellow
- Bourigeaud scores terrific equalizer
- Monreal own goal puts Rennes in front
Benjamin Bourigeaud and Ismaila Sarr scored and Arsenal conceded an own goal in a soft 3-1 loss to Stade Rennes at Rhazoan Park in the first leg of the Europa League’s Round of 16 on Thursday.
Alex Iwobi scored what could be a critical away goal should Arsenal regroup for Thursday’s second leg at the Emirates Stadium.
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It started so well, with Iwobi’s mishit cross skipping off the post and into the goal following a 1-2 with Nacho Monreal in the 4th minute.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos then saw yellow for a foul on the edge of the area, a precursor to his sending off under 10 minutes later.
Hatem Ben Arfa sent Ismaila Sarr toward Sokratis, and the Greek defender took down the young Senegalese striker for his second yellow.
That’s when Rennes struck, with Bourigeaud collecting a free kick rebound off the wall and sending a beauty past Petr Cech.
Beauty may be an understatement.
Monreal turned a Mehdi Zeffane cross into his own goal to give Rennes its first lead of the afternoon.
James Lea Siliki completed the scoring with a cross that Sarr turned beyond Cech with a strong header.