Basketball

THE BIG 5: Ronaldo at United, Messi at PSG, Nigeria at the Paralympics and Afrobasket all feature

The good, the bad, the ugly – All Baller Zone every new week, highlights the five stories from the world of sports that dominated the headlines the most throughout the weekend.

This week, we cast our minds back to historic stories surrounding football’s greats, Messi and Ronaldo, Nigeria’s performances at the Tokyo Paralympics and the AfroBasket Championship, and Arsenal’s horrific loss in the English Premier League.

5: ANOTHER HOME: History For Messi As PSG Win 2-0

It was a historic moment for Lionel Messi on Sunday as he made his Paris Saint-Germain debut after replacing Neymar in their 2-0 victory at Stade de Reims in the French Ligue 1. Kylian Mbappe scored both goals for PSG.

It was the very first time the Argentine would be seen in a different club shirt having previously spent all his career at Barcelona. PSG’s boss, Mauricio Pochettino however, denied the world the chance to see the Messi-Mbappe-Neymar trident as he brought the Argentine on after 65 minutes to replace Neymar.

4: ULTIMATE SEARCH: D’Tigers Lose 68-77 To Cote d’Ivoire As Quarter-Finals Ticket Hang On Uganda Game

An unwanted 68-77 loss to Côte d’Ivoire in the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket on Sunday, cost Nigeria’s men’s basketball national team, D’Tigers an automatic quarterfinal ticket – a defeat that means the D’Tigers would have to prove again that they do need the ticket, but this time, against Uganda.

Mike Brown’s side who are defending champions will be expected to head for the drawing board and fix their shooting – an accuracy requirement which cost them in their group C decider against a better Ivorian side. A better play, however, against Group D’s third-placed team would be enough to secure the D’Tigers a quarterfinal ticket.

3: BAD, WORSE, WORST: Arsenal Sinks To Bottom Of EPL Following 5-0 City Bashing

Things went from bad to worse for 13-time English football champions Arsenal on Saturday after they were thrashed 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium, leading them to the bottom of the Premier League table – their third consecutive loss.

It was quite a disappointing start to the season as the Gunners who had notably lost 2-0 to newly-promoted club Brentford in the season opener, and then 2-1 to city rivals Chelsea in their second game, failed in all attempts to prevent the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Ferran Torres (2), Gabriel Jesus and Rodri from scoring.

2: GOLD, GOLD, GOLD: Oluwafemiayo In Class Of Her Own, Sets New World Record At Tokyo Paralympics

It was a world record-breaking feat for Team Nigeria early on Monday morning after Folashade Oluwafemiayo got the country’s third gold medal at the ongoing Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

The best lift of 152kg in the Women’s 86kg Powerlifting event, simply showed Oluwafemiayo was in a class of her own as she had also held the previous World Record mark of 150.5kg – one she set at the World Cup in Manchester, United kingdom five months ago. Nigeria has at the games, won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

1: ‘HE’S BACK’: Man United Announces Return of Cristiano Ronaldo

The biggest news on Friday and perhaps the biggest of the entire weekend had Manchester United officially confirm that they had reached an agreement with Juventus for their former player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Although the transfer at the time was subject to agreement of personal terms, visa and medical, it sent many into ecstasy with fans in a carnival mood, celebrating the imminent arrival of one of their greatest.

Friday’s biggest news story in world sport also saw an unprecedented load being placed on Man United’s official ticketing website, leading to a crash. Man Utd’s announcement tweet of Ronaldo also broke Messi’s announcement tweet by PSG, having hit 331,400 RTs in the first 10 minutes, unlike PSG’s whose own peaked at 257,500 RTs.

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