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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Defending Champions Zambia Crash Out as Nigeria Set a Giants Date with Cote d’Ivoire

Africa Cup of Nations reigning champions the Chipolopolo of Zambia became the first defending champions to be bundled out at the group stages since Tunisia in 1992.

Herve Renard’s side bowed out of the competition after mustering a disappointing 0-0 draw against lowly Burkina Faso who surprisingly topped the Group C ahead of Nigeria.

The Chipolopolo needed a win to guarantee their progress to the quarterfinals but were restricted by a stubborn Stallions defence as they drew their third game in a row. 

Nigeria grabbed the runners up spot in the group thanks a 2-0 win over Ethiopia. The Super Eagles secured the vital win courtesy of two penalties in the last ten minutes of the game from Victor Moses.

With time ticking, Stephen Keshi’s side looked on course of crashing out before Moses was brought down in the penalty box by Walyas Antelopes’ defender Alula Girma. The Chelsea winger stepped forward and converted the spot kick to the relief of the increasingly frustrated Nigerian fans. The West Africans had conceded two late goals in their draws against Burkina Faso and Zambia and it could have been a case of déjà vu hadn’t Vincent Enyeama pulled a stunning save barely three minutes later from a Said Saladin effort.

A quick counter-attack by the 1994 champions resulted in Moses being fouled in the box again this time by Ethiopia custodian Sasay Bancha who got sent off after picking his second yellow card. With all substitutions made, the East Africans fielded an outfield player in goal and Moses made no mistake from 12 yards converting low and into the net to make it 2-0 and kill the game.

It was surprising to see Nigerian players not pressing for more goals which could have secured them top spot on goal difference and thus seen them avoid Didier Drogba-led Cote d’Ivoire in the quarters. Burkina Faso will face Togo or Tunisia in their quarterfinal match. The last matches in the group stages will see Algeria tackle Ivory Coast who have already qualified while Togo and Tunisia clash in a winner-takes-all showdown.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Introducing Philippe Coutinho Correia - The Samba Sensation

Was born Philippe Coutinho Correia on June 12th 1992 in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil

 He came through the youth system of4-time Brasileiro champions Vasco da Gama

At 5 ft 8 in, he plays as an attacking midfielder with dribbling, good vision, two quick feet and speed his main strengths. He can also play as an attacker or as a left winger

Italian side Inter Milan signed him from Vasco at the age of 16, for €4 million in 2008 but he stayed with the Brazilian club on loan until he turned 18 years in 2010.

He officially became Inter player in July 2010 when former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was in charge of the Italian giants

He made his official debut for Inter in a 2-0 defeat in the UEFA Super Cup final against Atletico Madrid in August 2010

He would however have to wait until May 2011 for his first goal which came when he curled home a free-kick which helped Inter beat Fiorentina 3-1. He would go on to score 3 goals in 28 games for the Nerazzurri.

He was loaned out to Catalan side Espanyol at the end of January 2012 making 16 appearances and scoring 5 goals under the tutelage of current Southampton coach Mauricio Pochettino. Coutinho returned to Inter in May 2012 where he played 11 games before he was sold.

He played for both Brazil U17 and U20 teams scoring a cumulative 6 goals in 15 appearances in both age groups. He played a key part in the Brazilian team that won the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2010. His three goals in five matches helped Brazil win the South American Under-17 Football Championship in 2009 in Chile

He made his first senior appearance in a Brazil shirt on 7 October 2010 in a friendly match against Iran

And That's thesteifmastertake!!