FIFA have ordered the Senegalese Football Federation to play a competitive match behind closed doors and fined them $180,000 after a series of incidents in March's World Cup qualifier against Egypt, including the use of laser pens to target Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

After Egypt and Senegal each claimed 1-0 home wins in their two-legged play-off for World Cup qualification, Salah was targeted by a number of laser pens as he missed his penalty in the decisive shoot-out in Dakar, which Senegal went on to win.

Egypt lodged a complaint after their defeat, which came little over a month after the Pharaohs had lost the Africa Cup of Nations final on penalties to the same opponents, also claiming Salah was subject to racist abuse and their team bus targeted by missiles before the game.

Just as he did in February's Africa Cup of Nations final, Salah's Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane netted the winning spot-kick to hand Senegal a place at the Qatar World Cup.

Now, FIFA's disciplinary committee has punished the African champions for a series of offences, including a "failure to implement existing safety rules and failure to ensure that law and order are maintained in the stadium."

Senegal have also been punished for an "invasion of the field of play, throwing of objects, lighting of fireworks, use of laser pointers and use of objects to transmit a message that is not appropriate for a sports event."

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Football Federation have also been ordered to play a match behind closed doors, and received a fine of $154,000, after a pitch invasion that followed their away-goals elimination against Ghana in Abuja.

Senegal will be making their third appearance at the FIFA World Cup later this year, and will kick the tournament off when they face the Netherlands in Group A on November 21 – the first time since 1954 where the tournament's opening match doesn’t involve either the hosts or the defending champions.

Furious Nigeria supporters stormed the pitch at the National Stadium in Lagos after rivals Ghana sealed a World Cup spot at the expense of the Super Eagles.

Arsenal's Thomas Partey opened the scoring in the 10th minute for Ghana, before William Troost-Ekong levelled from the penalty spot for the hosts midway through the first half.

Nigeria could not find a crucial second goal, however, with Otto Addo's Ghana side holding on for the 1-1 draw, to progress to Qatar 2022 via away goals after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

The result sparked ugly scenes inside the stadium, with videos on social media showing supporters leaving their seats and smashing equipment at the side of the pitch.

There was heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt after they suffered another dramatic penalty shoot-out defeat to Senegal.

Hosts Senegan recovered from a 1-0 first-leg deficit to beat Egypt by the same margin at the Abdoulaye Wade Stadium, before Salah, with dozens of laser pens seemingly pointing at his face, fired Egypt's first penalty of the shoot-out over the bar.

Mostafa Mohamed later failed with the visitors' fourth kick, allowing Salah’s Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane to slam his penalty past Mohamed El Shenawy and seal Senegal's progress, in a repeat of February's Africa Cup of Nations final triumph.

"We try our best but today was not enough," he wrote. "To all my players and my staff, [I give] my recognition and humble thank you.

"You will be always in my heart. It was my privilege to work and be helped by such dedicated and capable professionals and wonderful friends."

There was stunning late drama in Bilda as Karl Toko Ekambi scored late in extra time to seal a 2-1 win for visitors Cameroon against Algeria, the Indomitable Lions progressing to Qatar via away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

Algeria thought they had sealed a place at the World Cup when Ahmed Touba cancelled out Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's opener with two minutes remaining in extra time, but there was just enough time left for Ekambi to seal the most dramatic of victories.

Morocco also booked their place in Friday's World Cup draw with an emphatic 4-1 win over Democratic Republic of Congo. A brace from Azzedine Ounahi, as well as goals from Tarik Tissoudali and Achraf Hakimi, sealed a 5-2 aggregate win over DR Congo, who scored a late consolation through Ben Malango.

Meanwhile, a 0-0 draw for Tunisia against Mali was enough to see the former seal their own place in Qatar after they managed a 1-0 win in the first leg.

Youssef Msakni sent a COVID-hit Tunisia into the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals with a 1-0 victory over Nigeria, who finished the game with 10 men. 

Tunisia scraped through the group stage and were without head coach Mondher Kebaier and a number of players for the last-16 clash on Sunday after an outbreak of coronavirus in their camp. 

However, they still managed to book a date with Burkina Faso, who overcame Gabon on penalties earlier in the day, in the next round. 

Montassar Talbi had the only shot on target in a dour first half in Garoua, but Msakni's low drive skidded off the turf and into the top-right corner off Maduka Okoye's glove within two minutes of the restart. 

Nigeria were reduced to 10 men in the 66th minute when substitute Alex Iwobi – who had only been on the pitch for seven minutes – had a booking upgraded to a straight red card after referee Maguette Ndiaye reviewed video footage of his tackle on Msakni 

The Super Eagles upped their game as they chased an equaliser, but Moses Simon was unable to beat Bechir Ben Said and Umar Sadiq missed the target in stoppage time as they exited the tournament.

By Sunday evening in Cameroon, the first two quarter-finalists at the Africa Cup of Nations will be known.

Burkina Faso should start as slight favourites against Gabon, chiefly due to their win when the teams met ahead of the tournament.

Nigeria will then be expected to overcome a Tunisia side who qualified for the last-16 stage via the back door.

Burkina Faso v Gabon (16:00 GMT)

Burkina Faso rather scrambled through the group stage, losing their opener to the hosts before winning 1-0 against Cape Verde and drawing 1-1 with Ethiopia.

They were runners-up in 2013 and finished third in 2017, so this is far from uncharted territory and a 3-0 win over Gabon in a warm-up game for this tournament at the start of January may be a guide of what to expect from this tussle in Limbe.

Midfielder Adama Guira is urging caution though, telling the Sidwaya newspaper: "A lot of things have changed on the Gabonese side after this friendly match. Their last outing against Morocco attests to this. They are a very good team."

Gabon were unbeaten in the group stage, despite the disruption of losing captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and midfielder Mario Lemina after brushes with COVID-19. A win over the Comoros was consolidated by draws with Ghana and Morocco.

That pre-tournament loss to the Stallions might be a factor, but Gabon are unbeaten in their previous two AFCON meetings with Sunday's opponents – both having taken place in the group stages (2-0 in 2015 and 1-1 in 2017).

One to watch: Guelor Kanga (Gabon)

Red Star Belgrade attacking midfielder Kanga has been a livewire for Gabon so far in the tournament, with a team-high eight shots and five chances created (one assist). It earned him a place among the substitutes in the tournament's official best team of the group stage.

 

Nigeria v Tunisia (19:00 GMT)

Nigeria have two players in the group stage's best XI, with centre-back William Troost-Ekong and forward Moses Simon both earning plaudits for their early performances.

Augustine Eguavoen's team were the only side with a 100 per cent winning record in the groups, and now they tackle a Tunisia outfit who only edged through as one of the best third-placed teams, having lost twice already.

These sides are meeting for the sixth time at the Africa Cup of Nations and Tunisia's only successful AFCON meeting with Nigeria came in 2004, when they progressed via penalties in the semi-finals, going on to win the competition.

Nigeria have won 12 of their last 14 AFCON games (L2), and they start this game as hot favourites.

Nigeria have had more different scorers (6) than any other team so far at this year's tournament, with Kelechi Iheanacho, Simon, Simon Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi, Troost-Ekong and Umar Sadiq each scoring once.

One to watch: Kelechi Iheanacho

The Leicester City striker has one goal and one assist so far, creating a team-high six chances. Such evidence points to him being a likely menace to the Tunisian defence.

 

Nigeria rounded off an impressive performance in the Africa Cup of Nations group stages with a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau.

Already assured of their place in the last 16, the Super Eagles moved into the knockouts as Group D winners with a 100 per cent record after making it three wins from three on Wednesday.

Umar Sadiq broke the deadlock with his first international goal in the 56th minute, given the simple task of tapping in a superb low cross from Kelechi Iheanacho, who moments earlier had forced Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Maurice Gomis to turn over the crossbar with an audacious effort from more than 40 yards.

Captain William Troost-Ekong made sure of victory 15 minutes from time, prodding into an empty net on the rebound after the excellent Moses Simon had jinked past several defenders and rattled the bar with a fierce strike.

Troost-Ekong looked to have been denied by the offside flag, but a lengthy VAR review concluded with the award of a goal that put the game beyond doubt.

Guinea-Bissau rarely threatened a response, and head home having failed to score for a competition record seventh consecutive AFCON game.

Wednesday's action at the Africa Cup of Nations sees Group D conclude with two heavyweights seemingly set for the knockout phase.

Egypt certainly have not been without their critics in this tournament, with the performances turned in by Carlos Queiroz's men far from spectacular, but they remain on the brink of progression.

Assuming they get the job done, they will join Nigeria in the next round after the Super Eagles won both of their first two matches.

The two giants of AFCON football will be expected to prevail on Wednesday.

Guinea-Bissau v Nigeria (19:00 GMT)

Considering Nigeria have come into this tournament essentially under the guidance of a caretaker manager in Augustine Eguavoen, the Nigerian Football Federation's technical director, they have made a very solid start.

They head into matchday three with six points from two games and have the chance to win all three first-round matches for the first time since 2006.

Nigeria will be massive favourites as well. Guinea-Bissau have never won an AFCON game in eight attempts, with only Benin (14), Mozambique (12) and Namibia (nine) playing more tournament matches without a single success.

Their issue this time around has been an obvious wastefulness in front of goal, failing to score from 16 shots that convert to an expected goals (xG) total of 2.2 – if they are goalless in this game, Guinea-Bissau will become the first team in AFCON history to go seven successive matches without scoring.

One to watch: Taiwo Awoniyi (Nigeria)

Union Berlin forward Awoniyi may be a relatively new face at international level, but he has looked a prominent threat for Nigeria. His nine shots over the first two games was more than twice as many as any other Super Eagles player, while his 14 touches in the opposition's box is also the most of anyone in the squad. Still, one goal from 2.4 xG suggests he could sharpen up a little.

 

Egypt v Sudan (19:00 GMT)

A point will be enough for the Pharaohs to follow Nigeria into the knockouts, though their defeat to Eguavoen's men means second place is the best they can hope for.

Egypt have looked every inch a side reliant on Mohamed Salah in this tournament, with his goal against Guinea-Bissau last time out breathing some life into their campaign.

While a draw will be enough for them, in reality only a win over Sudan will satisfy the expectations of supporters.

Sudan's xG total (1.25) and xGA (expected goals against) of 3.17 are the worst of the four teams in Group D, and Egypt will hope to capitalise on their lack of defensive solidity and attacking threat.

One to watch: Ali Achrine (Sudan)

If Sudan are to stand any chance of beating Egypt and potentially going through to the knockout phase, goalkeeper Achrine will surely need to be in inspired form.

 

Nigeria confirmed their place in the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations with a routine 3-1 win over Sudan in Group D.

First-half goals from Samuel Chukwueze and Taiwo Awoniyi put the Super Eagles on their way, before Moses Simon added a third after the break.

Nigeria shipped a consolation goal, courtesy of Walieldin Khidir's penalty, but could now be crowned Group D winners with a match to spare, depending on Egypt's result against Guinea-Bissau.

Nigeria took less than five minutes to make the breakthrough, with Chukwueze finishing coolly after a long throw was hurled into the Sudan penalty area before Union Berlin forward Awoniyi deflected in a rebound from Kelechi Iheanacho's free-kick.

Having flown out of the traps in the first half, Nigeria did likewise in the second, with Nantes attacker Simon, who was lively throughout, volleying home.

Khidir fired home from the spot after a VAR check penalised Ola Aina's clumsy challenge on Mustafa Karshoum.

After beating Mohammed Salah's Egypt in their opening game, Nigeria have now won their opening two matches at two consecutive Cup of Nations tournaments for the first time ever, while Sudan have won just one of their last 15 Africa Cup of Nations games, a run stretching back to 1972.

The Africa Cup of Nations continues on Saturday with two mouthwatering games from Group D.

After 10 of the first 14 games of this year's competition finished 1-0, it was a nice change of pace that none of the four clashes on Friday did, but all four of the teams playing on Saturday would no doubt happily take a 1-0 in their favour.

Nigeria will be looking to follow up their impressive opening 1-0 win (naturally) against Egypt when they face Sudan, while Mohamed Salah and the Pharaohs will be aiming to bounce back against Guinea-Bissau.

Nigeria v Sudan

These two nations are meeting for the third time at the Africa Cup of Nations, but it will be their first encounter at the tournament for 46 years. Sudan won the first match 4-0 in the 1963 group phase, while Nigeria won 1-0 in 1976.

The Super Eagles will be looking to continue their impressive AFCON record in recent times, having won 10 of their last 12 games (L2), keeping six clean sheets.

Following a goalless draw in their opening match against Guinea-Bissau, Sudan have now managed just one win in their last 14 AFCON games (D6 L7), dating back to the 1972 tournament.

After scoring the only goal of the game against Egypt, and in his very first Africa Cup of Nations game, Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho could become the first Nigerian player to net in his first two AFCON appearances since Emmanuel Emenike in January 2013.       

One to watch: Samuel Chukwueze

The Villarreal winger made four key passes against Egypt, more than twice as many as anyone else in the game. The 22-year-old has two goals and an assist from 12 appearances this season in LaLiga, as well as averaging one chance created per game.

Guinea-Bissau v Egypt

This will be the first AFCON encounter between Guinea-Bissau and Egypt, but neither side come into it with anything like good form.

Guinea-Bissau remain winless in their seven matches at AFCON (D3 L4) and could become the seventh side not to win any of their first eight matches in the competition after Angola, Benin, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia and Uganda.

Egypt have lost two consecutive AFCON games for the first time since 2002. In fact, they have lost three of their last six in the competition, more than in their previous 29 combined (W21 D6 L2).

Guinea-Bissau have failed to score in five consecutive AFCON games. The only side to ever go six without scoring in the competition was Kenya in 1990.

One to watch: Mohamed Salah

Salah seems like the obvious pick but then the Liverpool star has scored 16 goals in the Premier League this season, six more than anyone else, and will no doubt want to improve on the solitary shot he managed against Nigeria.

Nigeria were deserved 1-0 winners in their heavyweight Group D opener with Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, with Mohamed Salah unable to inspire the record seven-time champions.

Carlos Queiroz's side were second best for virtually the entire game but especially the first half, when they found themselves trailing to Kelechi Iheanacho's wonderstrike.

The Leicester City striker was afforded time to take a touch just inside the box, but there was little Mohamed El-Shenawy could do about the finish as Iheanacho rifled into the top-right corner as the ball sat up nicely for him.

The lively Taiwo Awoniyi thought he had made it 2-0 early in the second half, but his header was adjudged to have been saved right on the line.

A poor touch then robbed Iheanacho of the chance to slot into an empty net, before the quiet Salah was crowded out just in time as he got a feeble shot away in a rare sighting of goal for Egypt.

Egypt will now be playing catch-up on matchday two as they face Guinea-Bissau. Nigeria could potentially secure passage to the knockouts against Sudan.

 

Tuesday will be a day of contrasts as defending champions Algeria begin their Africa Cup of Nations title defence against a Sierra Leone side returning to the competition after a 26-year absence.

Algeria will be unequivocal favourites as they look to begin Group E in positive fashion, with Djamel Belmadi's men unbeaten in 34 competitive matches.

Their success in last month's Arab Cup contributed to that run and provided part of their squad with a solid period of preparation.

But the biggest game of the day will take place between Group D rivals Nigeria and Egypt, who will both be hoping to make early statements in their respective title bids.

Algeria v Sierra Leone (13:00 GMT)

It is déjà vu for Sierra Leone, as they faced Algeria – their only previous AFCON meeting – when they last qualified for the competition back in 1996.

But AFCON stalwarts Algeria will be massive favourites here as they begin their 19th participation in the tournament, aiming to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since Egypt's three in a row between 2006 and 2010.

Few will envy the task on Sierra Leone's hands, with Algeria having scored more goals (19) in qualifying than any of the 24 teams in Cameroon.

If they avoid defeat on Tuesday, Algeria will beat their previous best unbeaten run (eight matches) at the AFCON.

One to watch: Said Benrahma (Algeria)

The Fennec Foxes' squad is packed full of experience and quality, with as many as five players boasting double-figures for international goals. West Ham star Benrahma is yet to establish himself among their key players, but this season has found another level in the Premier League, his nine non-penalty goal involvements being bettered by only seven forwards.

 

Nigeria v Egypt (16:00 GMT)

On paper, Group D looks very tough to call – this encounter could at least give us an idea of who is likeliest to finish top.

Either way, this is a proper heavyweight duel between two of the AFCON's most-recognisable nations.

This will be Egypt's 25th appearance at the AFCON, more than any other country, and they are aiming to win it for a record-extending eighth success.

But Nigeria's pedigree is similarly impressive given the fact they have reached the semi-finals in 14 of the previous 16 tournaments.

If they do emerge victorious on Tuesday, it will end Egypt's 16-match group stage unbeaten run, which dates back to 2004.

One to watch: Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

Obvious? Perhaps. Justified? Absolutely. Many would argue Salah has been the best player in the world over the past year, and so he has high expectations to meet here. No other player in Carlos Queiroz's squad has more than seven international goals and despite only being 29, he's at least four years older than any other forward in the selection – and let us not forget, he already has 25 Premier League goal involvements this term, 12 more than anyone else.

 

Sudan v Guinea-Bissau (19:00 GMT)

Sudan will be hoping it is a happy return to Africa's biggest tournament as they prepare for a first outing since the 2012 edition.

Ending a run of no clean sheets in the competition since beating Ghana 2-0 in the 1970 final would certainly go along way to giving them a platform to build on over the next month.

Since that success 52 years ago, Sudan have only picked up three wins from a possible 13, but they will not head into the fixture scared of Guinea-Bissau, even though they lost to them 4-2 as recently as September.

Baciro Cande's men have finished bottom in each of their previous two AFCON appearances and go into this game without a goal in 437 minutes in the competition, the worst goalless run of this year's participants.

One to watch: Mohamed Abdelrahman (Sudan)

The Falcons of Jediane will be pinning most of their hopes on striker Abdelrahman, who scored a third of their nine goals in the qualification campaign.

Claudio Ranieri dismissed claims that Watford have disrespected the African Cup of Nations after Emmanuel Dennis was omitted from the Nigeria squad.

Dennis was added to Nigeria's squad in December after initially being left off a 37-man list submitted by former coach Gernot Rohr for the tournament.

That list, though, changed again on Friday as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) released a statement confirming Dennis had been excused from participating as his club side Watford are "baring fangs".

Ranieri previously stated on Wednesday that Dennis' late call-up was in the Premier League's hands, but has responded to Nigeria's claims by insisting his side have done no wrong.

Asked whether Watford had disrespected AFCON, Ranieri said: "No. They have a lot of players and they changed the manager.

"We were ready. We know we were ready to give them players, but they didn't do this.

"The two boards spoke and then for me it is okay. I am only the manager, only the coach, and I accept everything. Now I speak with [Dennis], but of course he wanted to go and play. But also he wants to help Watford.

"I accept the decision of the board and the Nigeria team. We respect everybody. I knew they were speaking, the [Watford] board and the Nigeria board. I accept every decision they find. For me, it is finished."

The news of Dennis' omission will please Watford supporters, given the forward has either scored or assisted 59 per cent of Watford's 22 league goals this campaign.

In fact, only Mohamed Salah (24) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than Dennis (13 – eight goals, five assists).

Nigeria will also be without Napoli forward Victor Osimhen who was not named in Augustine Eguavoen's squad.

Osimhen suffered a series of facial injuries following a clash of heads with Inter defender Milan Skriniar before the striker tested positive for COVID-19, which subsequently rules him out of the tournament due to travel complications.

The competition gets underway on January 9, with Nigeria opening their campaign against Salah's Egypt two days later.

Napoli star Victor Osimhen will miss the Africa Cup of Nations after undergoing surgery on broken bones in his face.

The forward was hurt in a clash of heads with Inter defender Milan Skriniar as the Nerazzurri ended leaders Napoli's unbeaten start to the Serie A season on Sunday.

He was substituted in the 55th minute and taken for tests, which the club later confirmed had revealed "multiple displaced fractures of the left orbit and cheekbone".

Osimhen had an operation on Tuesday that included the fitting of titanium plates and screws.

The club confirmed he will be out of action for three months, meaning he will play no part in Nigeria's AFCON campaign in Cameroon, with the tournament beginning on January 9.

Osimhen is Napoli's leading goalscorer in 2021-22, with five in Serie A and four in the Europa League.

He scored seven times in September alone, a tally matched only by Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema across Europe's top five leagues.

Only Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland was younger than Osimhen, who turns 23 next month, among players in the top five leagues to score 10 or more goals in both 2019-20 and 2020-21.

 

 

Holders Algeria have been grouped alongside two-time winners Ivory Coast following the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations draw ceremony held in Yaounde on Tuesday.

The delayed event, which will be hosted in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, features 24 teams for the second time with six groups of four.

Algeria, who triumphed in Egypt in 2019, are alongside 1992 and 2015 winners Ivory Coast as well as Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea in Group E.

Hosts Cameroon will open the tournament in Group A, where they were drawn alongside Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Cape Verde.

Record seven-time winners Egypt, who last lifted the title in 2010, are grouped with three-time champions Nigeria, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau in Group D.

Arsenal team-mates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey will face off in Group C with Gabon and Ghana alongside first-timers Comoros and top seeds Morocco.

Debutants Gambia are alongside Tunisia, Mali and Mauritania in Group F, while 2019 runners-up Senegal are in Group B with Zimbabwe, Guinea and Malawi.

Africa Cup of Nations draw:

Group A: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde

Group B: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi

Group C: Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon

Group D: Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau

Group E: Algeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast

Group F: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia

The Czech Republic were no match for the United States as Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant starred in a 119-84 romp.

Team USA's emphatic victory sealed their place in the quarter-finals as the second-placed side in Group A and ensured they will not face one of the pool winners.

Durant put up 23 points and six assists, overturning an early deficit, while Tatum led the team with 27 points, including five three-pointers.

Team USA's 20 threes represented the fourth time they have managed as many in an Olympic game,  also doing so against Argentina in 2012 (20), Lithuania in 2004 (21) and Nigeria in 2012 (29).

Due to the margin of defeat, the Czechs – who threatened an upset before falling away dramatically – will not progress into the next round as one of the best third-placed sides.

ROTATION GAME

France were able to rest some star names as they progressed. Les Bleus had won their opening two games and completed a clean sweep in Group A with a 79-62 victory over Iran.

Only one player – Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot – played more than 20 minutes, with star men Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert given limited game time.

Nando De Colo enjoyed a highly efficient cameo in his 15 minutes on court, scoring 10 points on 100 per cent shooting while adding five rebounds and five assists.

Iran talisman Hamed Haddadi finished off his Olympic campaign with an 18-point showing, but it was not enough to keep his team in the tournament.

France have already beaten the United States, but Fournier dismissed the suggestion they are gold medal favourites.

"To be honest, I'm not even focused on the gold medal, just the quarter-finals," he said. "Any team that we are going to play there will have its strengths and weaknesses, but I can't tell you who I would prefer there because we don't even know who's going to be there."

AUSTRALIA CLAIM TOP SPOT

Patty Mills scored five threes in a haul of 24 points as he led Australia to an 89-76 victory over Germany.

The Boomers needed victory to secure first place in Group B and they did so with a 13-point margin to ensure they will be seeded in the quarter-final draw on Sunday.

Despite defeat, Germany will go through as one of the best third-placed teams.

Mills is heading into unrestricted free agency in the NBA, but his sole focus is on propelling Australia towards a medal.

"This is a lifetime of work in a matter of a couple of weeks. I'm making sure there are no distractions for me or my team-mates," he said.

MANNION SEALS FOURTH-QUARTER FIGHTBACK

Italy clinched a spot in the last eight by overturning an eight-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to beat Nigeria 80-71 in Group B.

Nico Mannion scored 14 points in 16 minutes, including a vital late effort from deep to help seal Italy's comeback success as Nigeria ended winless following a 24-8 fourth quarter.

"I think everybody is surprised with the way he's playing, he's showing everybody that he's a great player. Also, he's only 20 years old," Achille Polonara said of Golden State Warriors guard Mannion.

"I hope that he can help us like this in the next game, too. He's a great guy, he's very happy to stay with us, and we're very happy to have him."

Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended after a positive test for human growth hormone. She was due to run in the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters at the Olympics on Saturday.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said Okagbare tested positive in an out-of-competition test on July 19. The AIU says it was only informed of the finding on Friday, after Okagbare had already run in the 100-meter heats at the Tokyo Games.

The AIU informed Okagbare of the finding and her provisional suspension on Saturday morning.

Okagbare won her heat in 11.05 seconds at the Olympic Stadium to progress to the semis.

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