The next six days will feature so much talk of historic comebacks in Camp Nou, but the tone of this tie is really the most predictable and routine of Barcelona victories. A 1-0 home defeat for Manchester United, that was secured by a goal that required another look, will not warrant many rewatches as regards entertainment. The aggressive edge apart, it felt so much more like a mundane Spanish league win rather than one of the most famous of Champions League pairings. Barcelona just did enough, because United could not do much.
That, in a different way, was another reality check for this new regime. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lost his fourth game in five – and sixth in all – because his side were just up against a much better team, who themselves didn’t actually look that good. They didn’t really look like favourites.
Whether that was because they didn’t need to be will be a bigger question if Barca go on and seal qualification in the second leg as anyone would expect. Sometimes, too, such sides just do what they must and occasional lulls to conserve energy are natural. But if that’s what it was it makes it all the more underwhelming. It wasn’t exactly a statement performance at one of Europe’s great stadiums.
It certainly didn’t have the epic feel of the Paris Saint-Germain tie, even the first leg. That in itself may be worse for United.
This was a game where they were just slowly smothered, rather than so suddenly stunned as against PSG. It’s going to be hard to lift themselves from something so lifeless. But will the same be true of Barca?
It was a bad game, and a mediocre performance from the Spanish champions, with even a bruised Leo Messi barely raising his level.
He was of course still central to the game’s decisive moment, as was an old Old Trafford antagonist in Luis Suarez.
There was at least something a little special about that.
The officials may have needed a second look at the goal, but Messi didn’t need any look at all to create it. After Sergio Busquets had played the ball through, the Argentine’s touch took him wide and facing away from goal. Without even glancing up once, however, Messi instinctively knew where Suarez was and lofted a luscious cross onto his head. The Uruguayan headed it back across goal and in, off Luke Shaw.
When the linesman’s flag went up, so did the heckles, as Old Trafford absolutely revelled in taunting the former Liverpool player for celebrating too early.
That in itself was too early. Referee Gianluca Rocchi went to VAR and the goal was predictably given. Suarez was now revelling in it, and it was impossible not to imagine the mischievous figure within the Uruguayan enjoyed the way it played out all the more. That was probably sweeter for him than getting credited with what ultimately went down as an own goal.
There was an edge to the game beyond Suarez, though. Both Ashley Young and Busquets were lucky not to get booked early on, and luckier not to get sent off as the game went on further, with the Barca midfielder really guilty of a series of yellow-card offences.
Chris Smalling’s challenge on Messi wasn’t that, but it did help contribute to the sense of aggression in the game. The centre-half shoulder-barged the playmaker as he leapt for an aerial ball, with his flailing hand then catching Messi’s face to draw blood.
Smalling had said “bring it on” as regards the challenge of facing the Argentine before the match, only to then bring it himself.
The great problem for United, though, was that they needed to bring the game to Barca so much more… but couldn’t.
Against a side of such quality – and especially such quality in possession – Solskjaer inevitably set up to play on the counter, but the Spanish champions just didn’t offer them the space to do that. That is because, under Ernesto Valverde, they are a much more controlled side; much more minimalist.
Hence they give up so few goals, because it’s not always due to the quality of their defending. They did have a lot of sloppy moments, that were covered up by their ability to then cover space and then kill a passage of play with their passing.
Barca do have a fair few weaknesses for tournament favourites. United just didn’t have the attacking strength to really punish them.
Their attackers, and especially Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku, were dependent on scraps and long shots.
It was little surprise that Solskjaer eventually removed Lukaku for someone who could create something out of little in a dribbler like Anthony Martial. The further problem was United were barely getting “little”.
Paul Pogba – on a supposed audition for Real Madrid against their great rivals – meanwhile barely did anything at all.
United were just well short of Barca’s quality.
That was the basic story of this game.
It right now doesn’t feel like it is going to be a tie that adds to the lore of United. It didn’t really add to the reputation of this Barca, either.
It’s going to need a significant electrical charge for any of that to change in the second leg.
The site of United’s most famous win now feels set up for one of their most underwhelming eliminations.
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – President Omar al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan with an iron fist for 30 years, was on Thursday overthrown in a coup by the armed forces which announced a two-year period of military rule to be followed by elections.
In an address on state television, Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf said Bashir, 75, was under arrest in a “safe place” and a military council was now running the country.
Seated on a gold-upholstered armchair, Auf announced a three-month state of emergency, a nationwide ceasefire and the suspension of the constitution. He also said Sudan’s air space would be closed for 24 hours and border crossings shut until further notice.
Sudanese sources told Reuters that Bashir was at the presidential residence under “heavy guard”. A son of Sadiq al-Mahdi, the head of the country’s main opposition Umma Party, told al-Hadath TV that Bashir was being held with “a number of leaders of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group”.
Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague and is facing an arrest warrant over allegations of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003 and led to death of an estimated 300,000 people.
The downfall of Bashir follows the toppling this month of Algerian strongman Abdelaziz Bouteflika, also following mass protests after three decades in power.
MILITARY RULE AGAIN?
Names of Bashir’s possible successors that have been circulating include the defence Minister, an ex-military intelligence chief, also an Islamist, and former army chief of staff Emad al-Din Adawi.
Adawi is said to be favoured by regional neighbours at odds with Bashir over his Islamist leanings.
Thousands of people flocked to an anti-government protest outside the defence ministry on Thursday, while huge crowds took to the streets in central Khartoum, dancing and shouting anti-Bashir slogans. Protesters chanted: “It has fallen, we won.”
Demonstrators called for a civilian government and said they would not accept an administration led by military and security figures, or by Bashir’s aides.
Omar Saleh Sennar, a senior member of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, one of the main protest groups, said it expected to negotiate with the military over a transfer of power.
“We will only accept a transitional civilian government,” Sennar told Reuters.
Kamal Omar, 38, another demonstrator, said: “We will continue our sit-in until we prevail.”
Some demonstrators, who have rallied against Bashir since Dec. 19, said they feared the delay would allow him to go into exile.
Troops deployed around the defence ministry and on major roads and bridges in the capital.
Soldiers stormed the headquarters of Bashir’s Islamic Movement, the main component of the ruling National Congress Party. Protesters also attacked the offices of Sudan’s intelligence and security service in the eastern cities of Port Sudan and Kassala on Thursday, witnesses said.
The security service earlier announced the release of all political prisoners.
Bashir, a former paratrooper who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1989, has been a divisive figure who has managed his way through one internal crisis after another while withstanding attempts by the West to weaken him.
Sudan has suffered prolonged periods of isolation since 1993, when the United States added Bashir’s government to its list of terrorism sponsors for harbouring Islamist militants. Washington followed up with sanctions four years later.
The latest crisis has escalated since the weekend, when thousands of demonstrators began camping out outside the defence ministry compound, where Bashir’s residence is located.
Clashes erupted on Tuesday between soldiers trying to protect the protesters and intelligence and security personnel trying to disperse them. At least 11 people died, including six members of the armed forces, the information minister said, citing a police report.
Since December, Sudan has been rocked by persistent protests sparked by the government’s attempt to raise the price of bread, and an economic crisis that has led to fuel and cash shortages.
A baby with DNA from three people has been born in Greece following a controversial fertility treatment.
The baby boy, weighing 2.9kg (6lb), was born on Tuesday and both he and his mother, who is 32, are said to be in good health.
The doctors behind the treatment, from Greece and Spain, say it marks a historic advance – it is the first time an IVF technique involving DNA from three people has been used with the aim of addressing fertility problems.
But UK experts criticised the decision to proceed with the treatment, which they said was not backed by evidence and involved unjustifiable risks.
The experimental IVF treatment, known as mitochondrial donation, involves using an egg from the mother, sperm from the father and another egg from a female donor.
The vast majority of a person’s genes – about 99.8% – are found on the 23 pairs of chromosomes that sit inside the nucleus in each cell in the body, and in the IVF procedure this DNA comes from the two parents.
However, a tiny proportion of genetic material also resides in a cell’s mitochondria, small structures that act as the cell’s batteries and float around freely in the cell body. In mitochondrial donation, the mother’s mitochondria are removed from her egg and replaced by a donor’s.
The treatment was originally developed as a treatment that could prevent women with debilitating or even fatal mitochondrial diseases from passing them on to their children.
The treatment was made legal in the UK in 2015, but so far no other country has introduced laws to permit the technique. There is only one known instance of the technique being applied clinically, in which a family from Jordan were treated by US doctors at a Mexican clinic, prompting controversy.
The doctors behind the latest treatment claim that mitochondria also play a role in successful pregnancy and suggest that the technique could be applied more broadly as a fertility treatment. The 32-year old woman in the latest case had previously undergone four unsuccessful rounds of IVF.
Nuno Costa-Borges, the Spanish embryologist who collaborated with the Institute of Life clinic in Greece, where the treatment took place, said it could help “countless women” to become mothers and described the advance as a revolution in fertility treatments.
However, others said these claims were entirely untested.
Tim Child, an associate professor at the University of Oxford and the medical director of the Fertility Partnership, said: “The risks of the technique aren’t entirely known, though may be considered acceptable if being used to treat mitochondrial disease, but not in this situation.
“The patient may have conceived even if a further standard IVF cycle had been used. Without a proper well designed study, with the use of controls, it is not possible to say whether this technique has benefitted the patient.”
A spokeswoman for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the UK fertility regulator, said that in the UK each application for treatment is considered on an individual basis and only for patients who have a very high risk of having a child with a life-threatening mitochondrial disease. “There is limited evidence on risks and success rates, and it should only be used cautiously in cases where alternative treatments would be of little or no benefit,” she added.
The trend of present realities in the Nigerian society always forced someone to have a deep breathe considering series of societal values that have gone down the drain.
Nowadays,it takes a lot of boldness and thinking for anyone to really convince the Millenia about the necessity of education in their journey to greatness.
In a situation whereby the society we live in abhors and praised to high heaven characters who are uneducated accompanied with the fact that it is some of these uneducated personalities that determines what is happening in the society makes it more frustrating.
It happened sometimes ago that one of the popular Road Transport Workers Chairman throw a jab at the Nigeria Education system claiming that the work of an ‘agbero’ is also a professional job like every other professional job being studied in every other Nigerian schools is a confirmation of the evil that has bedevilled the entirety of the Nigerian educational system.
No doubt about it,a monetized society can never appreciate any good thing that quality education can offer.
A society that believed in extreme accumulation of wealth without any traceable source of income will end up like the Nigerian society whereby no one gives a damn about the beauty of working hard to achieve a feat.
The evil of a negative society has eaten deep into every fabrics of the Nigerian existence to the point that promotion and appraisal in many corporate entity is no longer by merit but it has been subjected to dirty approaches that might be beyond what a sane human mind can comprehend.
This makes someone to keep asking series of questions that boils down to the fate of those who are educated when the economy of the entire nation has been sold of to Asian Tigers that has little or no respect to academic achievements.
Not that some of the educated can be shielded from blame due to the fact that many educated ones can not stand their feet to defend what they studied in school because it has gotten to the point that Masters degree holders in this part of the world have become a show of disgrace.
It is appalling and mind-blowing that this is happening in our time but it will be more disheartening for the coming generation because someone could easily observed that the crop of young minds around gives no damn about being serious with their academic achievements.
Can we blame them?
It will be a sin to blame them when some of their uncles and aunties that finished from one higher institution or the other are busy wandering around looking for what to do.The lucky ones among them are busy teaching in the classroom whereby they are being given paenuts as take home pay.
A situation whereby the shout of skills acquisition is on a top gear is quite insulting whereby a MSc holders are being seen frying chin-chin and puff puff makes it more discouraging due to the fact that the contributions of this form of endeavour is too low to add value to the person involved and the GDP of the Nigerian economy.
If at all skills acquisition is the alternative for unemployment,many of the skills being portrayed as a source of employment is too low for what a nation that is bothered about the development of its economy and citizenry should be dashing out as a source of livelihood in Nigeria.
Hence,with all these,it is impossible for any sane mind to rely on whatever is being thrown out as a benefit of education considering the rigours that young Nigerian pass through while in school.
The uncertainty of dreams and visions being fulfilled through the accumulation of academic certification is a mirage in Nigeria now. It is another means of becoming perpetually miserable for the rest of someone’s life.
The reality of the Nigerian society is discouraging.
In conclusion, what defines aberration is when the society of the educated is being governed by the uneducated. It will trigger confusion and a dampened spirit will be the order of the day.
What a pity.
Featured Image sent by Olalekan–Adedeji– Stylomedia
A high school principal has died donating bone marrow to someone in need.
Derrick Nelson, 44, the principal of Westfield High School in Westfield, New Jersey, died April 8 after falling to into a coma during a procedure to donate bone marrow to a 14-year-old boy in France, Nelson’s father told ABC News. He did not give further details.
“He was the greatest,” Willie Nelson, 82, told ABC News. He added that the family doesn’t know the exact cause of death, but was told Derrick may have suffered a heart attack.
Westfield Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Dolan said in a statement that she has talked with students, parents, teachers, counselors and nurses, who all shared stories of how Nelson had helped them.
“Many of us are struggling with this loss. But we are committed to continuing Dr. Nelson’s legacy,” Dolan wrote. “We will set high standards for ourselves as Dr. Nelson set for himself. And, as Dr. Nelson has done, we will think less of ourselves and more of others around us. He has taught us many lessons.”
Westfield, New Jersey, Mayor Shelley Brindle also released a statement mourning Nelson’s death.
“This is a tremendous loss for our community, and I know that our children, and we as parents, will struggle with coming to terms with this over the coming days and weeks,” Brindle wrote. “He was a man of immense character and kindness, and his legacy will live on in the generations of students whose lives he touched.”
Derrick Nelson joined Westfield Public Schools in 2010 as the assistant principal of Roosevelt Intermediate School. He then served as assistant principal and principal at Westfield High School — a school with over 1,800 students, according to the school district.
Nelson, who was born and raised in New Jersey, earned a doctorate in Education Administration from Seton Hall University. He also served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve for more than two decades, including a stint in the Middle East, according to Westfield Public Schools.
Nelson leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter.