• Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

Pick of the week: Kings of Europe crowned champion for the 15th time, kingsMen finishes on the podium in BAL 2024, as the French open top four seed female players reach R16 for the first time.

The excitement was palpable as it was a feast of sporting spectacles this week from the world of football to unlimited sports.

There’s nothing quite like the sweet, scented smell of success in the UEFA Champions League. After taking in the scene from the festivities, it is clear that Madrid’s continental glory certainly gives oxygen to the fact that they are the kings of Europe.

The kings of Europe, Real Madrid, were crowned champions for the 15th time at Wembley after the second-half goals from Dani Cavarjal and Vinicius Junior. Madrid has needed four comebacks along the way, including against Munich in the semi-finals and a penalty shoot-out victory over Man City. What’s more, the odds were against Dortmund but no one could question their route to the finals as they had crossed different oceans, from the group of death they were placed in, but missed moments in the first half of the final match cost them. For Cavarjal, kroos, Luka Modric and Nacho it’s a remarkable sixth Champions League with Madrid while Carlo Ancelotti has now won the trophy for the fifth time as a head coach and for Jude Bellingham, this might be the first of more to come.

In the Europa Conference League finals, the match-up between Olympiakos and Fiorentina was high in intensity and physicality but poor in front of the goal. The game seemed to be heading toward a penalty shoot-out, but El Kaabi got a goal in which players and fans had to nervously wait for a VAR check for offside before the goal was eventually awarded. The result meant it was a second consecutive defeat for Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League finals who got to this season’s final unbeaten. On the other hand, Olympiakos became the first Greek club side to win a European trophy.

In Germany, many were in disbelief as Bayern signed a three-year deal with Vincent Kompany. The Belgian succeeds Thomas Tuchel after Burnley and Bayern agreed a compensation fee believed to be £10.2m. Bayern Munich will be Vincent Kompany’s third managerial position after spells at Anderlecht and Burnley.

Barcelona also appointed Hansi Flick as their new boss on a two-year contract. Flick, who was dismissed by Germany in September following a 4-1 friendly defeat to Japan on the back of the group stage exit at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, takes over Hernandez who was sacked last week. Flick already acknowledges that his philosophy is in line with the club and thinks to win titles with the club. However, Xavi warned his successor to be prepared to suffer in the job.

In women’s football, women’s Super League champion Chelsea appointed former Lyon boss Sonia Bompastor as their new manager on a four-year deal.

She succeeds Emma Hayes, who left for the United States women’s national team. With Bompastors pedigree, it’s safe to say that the Chelsea women’s football club is in good hands as she hopes to continue with the legacy Hayes has built. Lyons assistant coaches Camille Abily and Theo Rivrin will join Bompastor at Chelsea.

On the courts of the Basketball African League 2024, It was a double celebration for the Rivers Hoopers. First, they defeated Cape Town Tigers 80-57 at the BK Arena, Kigali, Rwanda, to finish on the podium in third place for the BAL season 4. The Cape Town Tigers played without their leading scorers and looked like they had not caused an upset against the top seed FUS Rabat in the quarter-finals. Eventually, they  ended the BAL season with a 2-6 mark.

The Kingsmen dominated the game and ended with as many as 28 points leading to close their 2024 BAL season with a 6-4 mark. Coach Ogoh Odaudu also won the 2024 BAL Coach of the Year while Kelvin Amayo and Devine Eke were top performers in the third-place game.

Elsewhere, the 2024 NBA finals matchup is set, and the Dallas Mavericks will face the Boston Celtics for this year’s title. Both teams won their conferences this week. The Celtics swept sixth-seed Indiana Pacers to win the East before the Mavericks eliminated the Timberwolves in five games. Either the Celtics or Mavericks will win their first title in 10 years, and game one is set for Thursday, 6th June 2024.

In boxing, truly the Undisputed heavyweight world champion might only reign supreme for a short spell.
Tyson Fury’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk will now take place on the 21st of December in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s chair of general entertainment authority has announced.

Before the fight, it was well-publicised that the Fury-Usyk contract included a rematch clause that both fighters signed.  So, the world awaits another historical fight in boxing at the end of the year.

In tennis, the French Open stopped fans from drinking alcohol in the stands in other to end unruly behaviours. While it will be banned in the stands, it will continue to be available on the concourse and around the ground. All these announcements by the tournament director Amelie Mauresmo come after David Goffin had chewing gum spat at him during a game, and Iga Swiatek had to plead with the fans to to be quiet during breakpoints.

In the main events of the French Open, Rolland Garros, Aryna Sabalaneka, Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina are the top four seeded players who have all reached the R16 for the first time since 2013. But, World no.1 Iga Swiatek moved from the R16 into the Quarterfinals of the French Open after winning against Anastasia Potapova 6-0 6-0. Meanwhile, the title defence is still alive for Novak Djokovic as he claimed his 369th Grand Slam match victory to move level with Roger Federer at the top of the all-time- list

The tracks were busy with Grand Prix from the Catalunya GP in MotoGP to the Monaco GP in F1. On the MotoGP tracks two-time defending world champion, Francesco Bagnaia went on to secure his third victory, where he crashed out during the sprint race. Martin, who had been leading the race, was overtaked by Bagnaia at turn five in lap 20 to close in on the championship leader to 39 points and Marc Marquez who came second in the sprint finished third in the main race and also third in the championship table two points behind Bagnaia.

In F1, it was another shocking finish for Max Verstappen, who finished sixth in between George Rusell in fifth and Lewis Hamilton in seventh, reducing his championship, lead over Lerclerc to, 31 points. Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc won his first Monaco Grand Prix on home soil after a huge crash on the opening lap between Kevin Magnussen, Sergio Perez, and Nico Hulkenberg saw the race stopped.

Last week, the head coach of the Super Eagles Finidi George released a 23-man list for his first assignment after being unveiled as the coach of the team earlier in May. However, the list is still undergoing changes with Napoli-based Victor Osimhen ruled out with injury. He has been replaced by the Enugu Rangers left back, Kenneth Igboke, making it three NPFL players on the list.  Nathan Tella, who was excused to attend to family issues, has been replaced with Olawoyin Ibrahim.

Nevertheless, the Super Eagles camp for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and the Benin Republic will be opened on Monday 3rd of June 2024 and their first game will be at the Godswill Akapbio Stadium Uyo by June 7th before travelling to Ivory Coast to take on Benin Republic on the 10th of June.

Join us next week to relive the excitement and drama in the world of sports.

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