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    El-Clasico: Everything You Need To Know About The Messi/Ronaldo Battle

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    WITH OUR RESIDENT EXPERT AND TIPSTER: OMULANGIRA KUSSAM KALEMA


    SPANISH LA LIGA
    3:00 Real Madrid vs Barcelona – 2/over/gg
    6:15 Valencia vs Villarreal – 1/over/gg
    8:30 Deportivo La Coruna vs Celta Vigo – 2/over

     

    Real Madrid realistically need to end Barcelona‘s 24-match unbeaten run to maintain hopes of retaining their La Liga title when Spanish football’s two behemoths meet in El Clasico on today.
    Barca lead fourth-placed Madrid by 11 points at the top of the table, albeit Real do have a game in hand.
    However, it was at the Santiago Bernabeu that Barca last tasted defeat in August as Real cruised to a 5-1 aggregate win in the Spanish Super Cup.
    Barca have overcome Neymar’s departure with relative ease thanks to left-back Jordi Alba’s return to form, in large part caused by the Brazilian’s absence on the left side of Barca’s attack.
    “I have a lot more room to go forward and in all honesty for me it is much better,” admitted the Spanish international.
    Lionel Messi has also benefited with three of Alba’s six assists this season setting up the Argentine.
    The Alba-Messi connection also gave Barca a famous 3-2 win as Messi scored with the last kick of the ball at the Bernabeu in April when Neymar was suspended.
    Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal has played just five games since September due to a long-term virus and a lack of cover offered by Madrid’s narrow four-man midfield could give Alba plenty of space to exploit.

    ‘BBC’ FINALLY FIT TO RETURN?
    Madrid’s famed ‘BBC’ front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have yet to play a single minute of action together this season, largely due to Bale’s injury problems.
    However, the Welshman scored on his return to action to help Real win the Club World Cup last week leaving Zinedine Zidane spoilt for choice with his starting line-up.
    Zidane is expected to stay loyal to the side that started the Champions League final in May with Bale only featuring from the bench.
    Yet, the pace offered by Bale and Marco Asensio, who has scored in his last three matches against Barca, could prove decisive in the second-half.

    RONALDO AND SUAREZ BACK IN FORM
    Between them Ronaldo and Barca’s Luis Suarez had a pitiful return of a combined four goals in La Liga until mid-November as age appeared to be taking hold of both now in their 30s.
    However, Ronaldo and Suarez now look like their old selves to add plenty more firepower to a fixture never short on goals.
    Ronaldo has eight in his last seven games, including the winner in the Club World Cup final last weekend.
    Suarez, meanwhile is now La Liga’s joint third highest scorer thanks to six in his last five league games.

    IS BARCA’S NEW DEFENCE FOR REAL?
    Ernesto Valverde’s version of Barca may lack the same spark as those coached by Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique over the past decade, but the results are just as good thanks to an exceptionally mean defence backed up by the brilliance of Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal.
    Valverde’s men have kept 17 clean sheets and conceded only eight goals in total on their 24-game unbeaten run.
    The real test, though, comes at the Bernabeu, especially with Thomas Vermaelen expected to deputise for the injured Samuel Umtiti at centre-back.
    Barca have kept just one clean sheet against Madrid in their last 24 meetings.

    BRAZILIAN BRUTE FORCE
    Of all the stars on show, Brazilian international duo Casemiro and Paulinho may not be the most pleasing on the eye but both bring a physical edge to the midfield battle that make them vital components to their respective sides.
    Casemiro is Madrid’s destroyer who creates the platform for Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Isco to create.
    However, he will have to keep a close eye on his compatriot, whose ability to time his runs into the opposition area has seen him register six goals in 15 La Liga appearances and quickly quieten the critics who questioned his 40 million euro signing from Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.

    PREMIERSHIP PREVIEW
    12:30 Everton vs Chelsea-over/gg
    6:00 Man City vs Bournemouth-1/gg
    6:00 Southampton vs Huddersfield-1/gg
    6:00 Stoke vs West Brom-over/gg
    6:00 Swansea vs Crystal Palace-2/gg
    6:00 West Ham vs Newcastle-1X/over
    6:00 Burnley – Tottenham-2/over
    10:45 Leicester – Man United-X/over/gg

    Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah grabbed his 15th Premier League goal of the season on Friday in his side’s absorbing 3-3 draw with Arsenal.

    The Egyptian continued his sensational recent form, putting his team in complete control of the contest at 2-0. However, Arsenal stormed back in the second period to go 3-2 ahead—netting three goals in five minutes—before Roberto Firmino netted an equaliser.

    Salah is now three goals ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, who will be keen to close the gap against Burnley on today.
    The second game of Week 19 will see an improving Everton side take on Chelsea, although one team will be without their scorer-in-chief.

    Indeed, Morata picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign in midweek against Bournemouth, meaning he will sit this one. Meanwhile, for the Toffees, Rooney is in exceptional form having returned to Goodison Park from Manchester United in the summer.

    The man currently trailing Salah in the race for the golden boot is Kane and he will be desperate to find his shooting boots again after feeding off scraps in the 4-1 loss to Manchester City last weekend. Burnley have proven to be obdurate opponents this season, though.
    City have a trio of scorers in the hunt for the prize in Aguero, Sterling and Jesus, all of whom will be hopeful of adding more against a struggling Bournemouth team.

    Few would’ve anticipated Sterling to be so high up at this point in the season, but he’s found a brilliant potency in front of goal.

    Elsewhere, Lukaku is beginning to rediscover his edge for United after something of a lean spell. The Belgian has grabbed two goals in his last two games and will want to extend his run against Leicester City.

    Italian Serie A
    2:30 Lazio vs Crotone – 1
    5:00 Udinese vs Verona – 1
    5:00 Napoli vs Sampdoria -1/gg
    5:00 Genoa vs Benevento – over/gg
    5:00 SPAL 2013 vs Torino – gg
    5:00 Sassuolo vs Inter – 2/gg
    8:00 AC Milan vs Atalanta -1/over
    10:45 Juventus vs Roma -over/gg

    English Championship
    6:00 Bolton vs Cardiff
    6:00 Reading vs Burton
    6:00 Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Ipswich
    6:00 Fulham vs Barnsley
    6:00 Queens Park Rangers vs Bristol City
    6:00 Preston vs Nottingham Forest
    6:00 Sunderland vs Birmingham
    6:00 Leeds vs Hull
    6:00 Derby vs Millwall
    6:00 Sheffield Wednesday vs Middlesbrough
    8:30 Aston Villa vs Sheffield United

    Dutch Eredivisie
    8:30 NAC Breda vs FC Utrecht
    9:45 PSV Eindhoven vs Vitesse
    9:45 AZ Alkmaar vs SC Heerenveen
    10:45 Excelsior vs Twente
    Sunday
    2:30 FC Groningen vs Sparta Rotterdam
    4:30 VVV-Venlo vs Heracles
    4:30 Ajax vs Willem II
    6:45 Feyenoord vs Roda

    Turkey Super Lig
    2:00 Bursaspor vs Genclerbirligi
    4:30 Sivasspor vs Besiktas
    7:30 Konyaspor vs Fenerbahce
    Sunday
    2:00 Kayserispor vs Yeni Malatyaspor
    2:00 Karabukspor vs Trabzonspor
    4:30 Kasimpasa vs Istanbul Basaksehir
    7:30 Galatasaray vs Goztepe

    As usual, we end with our two tables of the top 20 teams in Europe and the top ten players in Europe.

    TABLE FOR THE TOP 20 TEAMS IN EUROPE

    TABLE FOR THE TOP 10 TEAMS IN EUROPE

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    NEWS

    She Cranes Star Nuba Reveals Why She Decided To Play For Uganda Not South Sudan; Why She Regrets Giving Birth Early…

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    She Cranes player Mary Nuba

    Born in South Sudan but grew in Uganda, that’s the story of the She Cranes goal shooter Mary Nuba Cholhok who was voted as the best shooter in the just concluded Fast5 Series tournament which was held in New Zealand.

    Uganda emerged in fifth position in the tournament. theGrapevine had a chance to talk to Nuba before she went back to England for her professional career.

    Grapevine: Why did you decide to play for Uganda and not for your native country South Sudan?

    Nuba: South Sudan is still lagging behind in Netball and I’m getting old, that’s why I decided to play for Uganda’s She Cranes.

    Grapevine: What challenges have you faced so far in your career?

    Nuba: Thinking about my five-year baby who stays in Uganda yet I’m in England playing for my professional club.

    Grapevine: Then what about your husband [the baby’s father] ?

    Nuba: I’m not married, though I gave birth.

    Mary Nuba was awarded Fans player of the Fast5 Series tournament

    Grapevine: How did you manage giving birth and playing Netball?

    Nuba: I realized that later that I made a mistake of getting pregnant. But I stood on my feet, forgot all the past and decided to move on with my child and my career.

    Grapevine: How do you manage those good performances?

    Nuba: I work very hard ever day in order to achieve my goals.

    Grapevine: Where do you see She Cranes in four years to come?

    Nuba: I see She Cranes winning the Netball World cup because we have good players who are still young.

    Grapevine: Tell us about the best game in your career?

    Nuba: When we defeated South Africa in the Common Wealth games in Birmingham.

    Grapevine: Who’s your role model in the game of Netball?

    Nuba: Peace Proscovia because of the way she managed to lift her life from a poor background. She is now superstar in the game.

     

     

    By Juma Ali

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    MIRACLE: All She Cranes Players Return After Incidents Of Players Disappearing While On Duty Abroad…

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    She Cranes players and one of the start player Goal Shooter Mary Cholhok Nuba

    It was a miracle this time around after all the She Cranes players returned from New Zealand.

    It has been a habit for some Netball players to escape when the team travels for international tournaments.

    Just last month, two She Cranes players; Nakanyike Shakira, who was a Police Player and Rose Namutebi, who was a KCCA Player, disappeared in UK, during She Cranes international friendlies.

    The disappearance of these two players followed the disappearance of centre Player, Halimah Nakachwa, who disappeared in UK, in 2017 during another international friendly in UK.

    However, this time around, all the nine players who went for the first five series tournament in New Zealand, where She Cranes emerged fifth, after wining three games and losing three games, all returned with the team.

    National players disappearing while on duty abroad is also a habit in other sports disciplines like; boxing, table tennis, Rugby among others.

     

    By Juma Ali

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    NEWS

    It’s Time For Golola To Rest: I’m Going To Punch Him Into Retirement – General Fungu Vows…

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    Moses Golola (L) and General Fungu (R)

    General Hamza Fungu has vowed to fight Moses Golola and send him into retirement come 26th December. 2022.

    Fungu said this during the launch at Akamwesi gardens today.

    Uganda’s middle weight kick boxing champion, Golola Moses is set to face his former trainer, General Hamza Fungu on bixing day at Akamwesi shopping mail gardens.

    Golola, who is known for his many words said that he has beaten many fighters who were better than Fungu, “now look at this piglet, I’m going to show him why I’m called Golola Moses ‘of Uganda ‘  and I call upon Ugandans to come and be witnesses on that day.”

    Though Golola said that he signed a contract which allows both fighters to fight until one gets tired, officials in charge of organizing the show said they will fight K-1 style for five rounds.

    Grapevine had a chance to sit down with Golola’s challenger General Fungu and and this is what he had to say;

    theGrapevine: How are you prepared for this fight?

    Fungu: I’m well prepared but they have also given us enough time. So, I’m going to prepare more.

    theGrapevine: Why, among fighters did you choose Golola?

    Fungu: I have been asking to fight Golola for the last five years but he has been dodging me. He one time asked for 20,000 dollars to fight me.

    theGrapevine: Why do you think he accepted this time around?

    Fungu: I think this time, he has been given a lot of money.

    theGrapevine: Which tactics are you going to use to defeat Golola?

    Fungu : Golola has words but I have the tactics which will defeat Golola.

    theGrapevine: Many people have come out to challenge Golola but he finally wins?

    Fungu : He has been favoured many times.

    theGrapevine: Is it true that the contract you signed for the fight allows you to fight until one of you gets tired?

    Fungu : The contract is a disadvantage to Golola not me because I was born a fighter.

    theGrapevine: What next after this fight?

    Fungu : After this fight, I will fight three more three bouts and retire.

     

    By Juma Ali

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