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Ferran Torres double sweeps Spain past Italy and into Nations League final

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Ferran Torres

Ferran Torres double sweeps Spain past Italy and into Nations League final

So this is how it feels. After three years in charge, having claimed a European Championship and set a new world record, Roberto Mancini finally tasted defeat. After 37 games unbeaten going back to Portugal in September 2018, Italy lost at last. Two first-half goals from Manchester City’s Ferran Torres set Spain on course for a win at San Siro and Sunday’s Nations League final against France or Belgium on this same stage. “Historic,” midfielder Koke called it.

It is not the same, sure, but it was revenge of sorts. Defeated in a semi-final at Wembley, Spain beat Italy back in their own home. Mancini had reminded people that Spain were the team they had most struggled with and it had to happen sometime, somewhere, but few expected it here and now. Luis Enrique’s side came with injuries and absences, debates raging, and with teenagers too, the 18-year-old Yeremi Pino and 17-year-old Gavi making their debuts. Yet, if they were assisted by Leonardo Bonucci’s red card just before half-time, they were superb.

They were also built in the image their manager – often questioned, often proven right – had demanded. “We’re going to go out there and attack because we don’t know how to do anything else,” Luis Enrique had said. The risks remained, he knew, and to start with Italy’s press laid a trap that Spain fell into. Three times they lost the ball in compromising positions in the opening six minutes, Unai Simón having to make a sharp save from Federico Chiesa’s and then an easier one from Nicolò Barella.

Spain’s manager is nothing if not stubborn, though. Bold too, shown by the inclusion of Gavi, who has played only 279 senior minutes in La Liga. The teenager and his new teammates started to get a hold of the game, and soon they were flowing. They took the lead early, Marcos Alonso finding Mikel Oyarzabal on 15 minutes. His wonderful cross found Torres. Leaping, he guided a side-footed volley into the corner.

Time to take the word “false” out of his job description: Torres is running at better than a goal every other game for Spain. That was his 11th international goal in his 21st game. Just before half time he had his 12th.

By then, Alonso’s shot had slipped through Gianluigi Donnarumma’s hands and against the post at one end, while a cleverly disguised Federico Bernardeschi shot was pushed against the post at the other. More important were the moments when Lorenzo Insigne missed a clear chance alone by the penalty spot on 34 minutes, and when Bonucci led with his arm on Sergio Busquets 10 minutes later, earning a second yellow card. That the balance had tilted was confirmed when a wonderful move involving Alonso, Pablo Sarabia and Oyarzabal set up Torres to head the second.

Torres only lasted four minutes of the second half, replaced by another teenager in Yeremi Pino, who was introduced as Torres made his way to the bench where ice was applied, but his job was done and Spain dominated still. Oyarzabal, outstanding throughout, had a shot blocked and then provided for Koke to have a go before Pino stood up a lovely cross from which he nodded just past the post.

Pino was making his debut and making the most of it, providing incision. He was enjoying himself on the right, teeing up Alonso with a brilliant pass that left the Chelsea full-back alone in the area only for Donnarumma to save.

That kept Italy in it and they weren’t going to give up their record easily. A break eight minutes from time made a match of it, Pau Torres making an error from a Spain corner and Chiesa running half the length of the pitch to lay on an easy finish for Lorenzo Pellegrini and set up a tense finale, but the end eventually came, three long years later.

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Reps To Investigate Subsidy Regime From 2017 To 2021

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Reps To Investigate Subsidy Regime From 2017 To 2021

The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the petroleum products subsidy regime from 2017 to 2021.

The resolution followed a motion by Honourable Sergius Ogun who stated that component costs in the petroleum products subsidy value chain claimed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is highly over-bloated while the transfer pump price per litre, used by the NNPC in relation to Petroleum Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC), is underquoted.

The lawmaker described this as fraudulent while also expressing worry that the subsidy regime has been used by the NNPC and other critical stakeholders to subvert the nation’s crude oil revenue to the tune of over $10 billion.

The committee is to report back to the House within eight weeks for further legislative action.

Wednesday’s move by the lawmaker came on the same day that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mele Kyari ruled out the possibility of a subsidy for diesel.

He made the comments while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Downstream, alongside the CEO of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed, among others.

“In our country today, we do not produce AGO and we regret that our refineries are not working,” he said. “Are we doing anything about it? Yes. I have heard the honourable members lamenting; yes, they (the refineries) are not working.

“This is the truth. I don’t want to bore you with why they are not working, but they are not working; I admit they are not working but we regret it. I will invite this committee at your convenience to join us to see how much work we have done to get them back to work, but they will not come back tomorrow.

“They will not! You cannot start it tomorrow. We regret this; we regret this situation, and we are doing everything possible. As a matter of fact, we have decided to do a quick fix for the Warri refinery. The reason is very simple: we don’t even want to go the long route of doing comprehensive turnaround maintenance because we are concerned.”

 

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2023: Presidency Must Return To Southern Nigeria, Fayose Insists

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2023: Presidency Must Return To Southern Nigeria, Fayose Insists

A former governor of Ekiti State Ayodele Fayose has insisted that the southern part of Nigeria must produce the country’s president in 2023.

Fayose, a two-time governor under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said this in a series of tweets on his official handle on Wednesday, pinning his argument on the party’s constitution.

“The PDP Constitution provides for a rotational Presidency. Section 3(c) provides that the Party shall pursue its aims & objectives by “adhering to the policy of the rotation & zoning of Party & Public elective offices in pursuance of the principle of equity, justice, and fairness’,” Fayose maintained.

“The current President of Nigeria is a 2-term Northern Presidency, thus implying that it MUST be a Southern Presidency in 2023 or NOTHING. Awa ‘South’ lo kan’. Nigerians should await details soon.”

Fayose, who contested the PDP presidential primary, lost out to former Vice President Atiku Abukar in the exercise held earlier this month.

He has been one of the strong advocates for a power shift to southern Nigeria despite the party Atiku from the northern region, as the party’s flagbearer.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who also lost in the exercise, had campaigned, among others, based on a power shift to the south.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), however, is fielding a southerner – Bola Tinubu – as its presidential candidate to honour the power-sharing deal called zoning between the north and south.

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Senate confirms Buhari’s ministerial nominees

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Senate confirms Buhari’s ministerial nominees

The senate has confirmed seven persons nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari for ministerial positions.

The upper legislative chamber confirmed the nominees on Wednesday after they were screened by the “committee of the whole” chaired by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

The ministers-designate will replace those who resigned to pursue political bids.

Rotimi Amaechi, Ogbonnaya Onu, Godswill Akpabio and Emeka Nwajiuba are some of the ministers who resigned to pursue presidential bids.

The ministers confirmed on Wednesday are Henry Ikoh (Abia), Umana Okon Umana (Akwa Ibom), Ekuma Joseph (Ebonyi), Goodluck Nana Obia (Imo), Umar Ibrahim Yakub (Kano), Ademola Adewole Adegorioye (Ondo), and Odo Udi (Rivers).

During screening, Ikoh said as a way of tackling employment in the country, “technical” graduates can be job creators.

“On the unemployment situation, we need more technical graduates to do most of the things we are doing right now. If you are a technical graduate, you can employ yourself and employ others,” he said.

On his part, Umana said the country could boost its foreign exchange earnings with its free trade zones.

“On the issue of how to boost foreign exchange, I want to say that even the free zones platform is a veritable platform for this,” he said.

“The free zone is a platform that can drive production because when you produce for export, you earn foreign exchange.”

Nakama said the federal government must be ready to make some compromise to end the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

“On tackling the issue of ASUU, my answer is that there will be leave of compromise. Government and ASUU will have to come to a compromise and through this, we will able to solve these incessant strikes once and for all,” he said.

The remaining four nominees were asked to “take a bow and go” on the grounds of their experience.

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