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Who are the early favorites to win the NFL rushing title?

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Answers demanded after Nigeria’s disappointing 2026 FIFA World Cup outing



Nigeria’s sports ministry has demanded an explanation for the country’s poor 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, labelling it “unacceptable” after a 2-1 defeat by Benin left the Super Eagles winless from their opening four games.

Following draws with Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa, Monday’s result means Nigeria sit fifth in Group C with three points from a possible 12.

Only the group winners are guaranteed a place at the World Cup finals, which will be jointly hosted by the USA, Canada, and Mexico.

“Our supporters are passionate and devoted,” senator John Owan Enoh, minister of sports development, said in a statement.

“They deserve an explanation for why our national team has not been performing to the expected standards since after the last Africa Cup of Nations.

“The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) must provide a comprehensive technical report explaining the reasons behind this poor showing and give cause why there mustn’t be consequences.

“The recent results are unacceptable.”

Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, losing on away goals to Ghana in the play-offs, but did reach the final of this year’s Nations Cup under former boss Jose Peseiro, losing to hosts Ivory Coast.

Finidi George was appointed as Peseiro’s replacement in April but failed to lift the team’s performances against South Africa and Benin.

The Super Eagles have failed to win any of their past seven World Cup qualifiers dating back to November 2021 – a time when Gernot Rohr, now coach of Benin, was in charge.

The game against Benin, which was played in neutral Ivory Coast, got off to an inauspicious start for Nigeria when the the wrong national anthem was played.

Two weeks ago, President Bola Tinubu made a controversial decision to revert to the nation’s former anthem, but organisers in Abidjan clearly missed the memo.

The NFF expressed its displeasure at the mistake and threatened not to take the field for the second period until the correct anthem was played.

Raphael Onyedika had put the Super Eagles ahead after 27 minutes but goals from Jodel Dossou and Steve Mounie gave Benin the advantage at the break.

Having returned to Nigeria on Tuesday, the team put out a statement on social media, admitting they were “unhappy about the way the two games panned out” and promising to “fight hard till the end” of the qualifying campaign.

One factor in the squad’s underperformance could be the absence of star striker Victor Osimhen, who has missed all four Group C games so far with injury.

Yet, even without the reigning African Footballer of the Year, the Nigeria squad boasts enough attacking talent to have found the net more than four times in as many outings.

African World Cup qualifiers are set to resume in March next year, with 2025 Nations Cup qualifiers scheduled to be held in September, October and November.

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French Open: Carlos Alcaraz wins first Roland Garros trophy, trouncing Alexander Zverev



Alcaraz has won his maiden French Open title, defeating Alexander Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. He battled Zverev’s blistering serve and powerful volleys, but he mainly battled himself. He played sloppy tennis at times, giving away points with double faults and missing easy shots, but overcame his own demons as well as Zverev to take home his third Grand Slam title.

After the first set, it felt like the match was Alcaraz’s to win. He had bullied Zverev around the court, sending him running and exploiting his energy level; unlike Alcaraz, Zverev had spent nearly 20 hours on the court coming into the final and was not as fresh as you’d want to be.

But then in the second set, Alcaraz’s energy began to lag. He became wild and undisciplined, and Zverev took advantage. He finally experienced some sustained success against Alcaraz and took a 4-2 lead. Alcaraz looked like he was ready to take control again, but he couldn’t find any consistency. His second double fault put Zverev up 5-2, and a quick game later it was 6-2 and Zverev had evened up the score.

The third set was a roller coaster. Alcaraz took an early 2-1 lead, then found his second wind while tied 2-2 in the third set. Zverev took a second to do what he does best (complain to the chair umpire about any perceived slight or disadvantage), and from that moment, Alcaraz was back in the game. He was cheering and jumping and smiling again. As he’s told the media in the past, you have to enjoy the suffering in tennis, and that’s what Alcaraz does best.

But it didn’t last. Up 5-2 and just one game from taking a 2-1 lead, Alcaraz became sloppy and Zverev came roaring back. He won five straight games to win the third set 7-5. Now Alcaraz was playing from behind.

But that just gave Alcaraz a new challenge to handle. And he thrived. He rolled through the fourth set, coming close to bageling Zverev but managing to win 6-1 — even with a medical timeout to tend to his sore thigh. There were no shortcuts through this match. The only way to win was to play all five sets.

And that’s just what he did. Zverev won the first game but otherwise came out very flat. Alcaraz, six years Zverev’s junior, came out bouncing, and it reflected in how he played. He cut down the unforced errors, became very disciplined, and rode that all the way to victory.

With this win (and the withdrawal of Novak Djokovic), Alcaraz will move up from No. 3 in the world to No. 2. Jannik Sinner, who lost to Alcaraz in the semifinals, will move up from No. 2 to No. 1. Djokovic will slide from 1 down to 3, while Zverev’s loss in the final will keep him steady at No. 4.

Alcaraz now has three quarters of a career Grand Slam, needing only the Australian Open to claim titles in all four majors.

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OMG: Ronaldo in tears as Al-Nassr lose King’s Cup final



Cristiano Ronaldo was reduced to tears after his Al-Nassr side lost the King’s Cup final to rivals Al-Hilal on Friday night in a game with three red cards.

The former Manchester United forward collapsed to his knees as nine-man Al-Hilal won 5-4 on a penalty shootout, with the score 1-1 after extra time in Jeddah.

The 39-year-old, who set a new Saudi Pro League scoring record with 35 goals, was consoled as he was led off the pitch and sat on the bench in tears.

The Portugal captain has scored 58 goals in 64 games for Al-Nassr since joining on a free transfer in January 2023 after leaving United, but finishes the season without a trophy.

His only piece of silverware in Saudi is last year’s Arab Club Champions Cup win.

After former Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves missed the first penalty for Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal, former United defender Alex Telles also missed.

The teams then scored their next four penalties, including Ronaldo, before goalkeeper Yassine Bounou saved Al-Nassr’s final spot-kicks as Al-Hilal sealed a domestic double.

Former Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic opened the scoring for Al-Hilal in the seventh minute before goalkeeper David Ospina was sent off in the 56th minute.

Ayman Yahya scored a late equaliser to send the game to extra time in between red cards for Al-Hilal’s Ali Al-Bulayhi and Kalidou Koulibaly.

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