Ambitious Al-Nassr raid Premier League for Nigeria star

Ahmed Musa has signed a four-year contract with Al-Nassr. (AFP)
Updated 03 August 2018

Ambitious Al-Nassr raid Premier League for Nigeria star

  • Ahmed Musa becomes most expensive signing in Saudi Pro League history
  • He joins World Cup stars Amrabat, Ramos and Jones at the Riyadh club

Al-Nassr have smashed a Saudi Pro League record to sign Nigeria international Ahmed Musa.
The Riyadh club announced they have recruited the 25-year-old forward on a four-year deal after agreeing a fee with Premier League club Leicester City. Although the fee is undisclosed, respected website document the fee at €16.5 million ($19.14 million), which would eclipse the €10.24 million Al-Ahli paid for Djaniny last month.
It is easily an Al-Nassr club-record buy, beating the €9.8 million Al-Nassr paid Al-Ettifaq for Saudi Arabia international Yahia Al-Shehri in 2013.

Leicester paid CSKA Moscow a club-record £16.6 million ($21.4 million) for Musa in 2016 and even though he scored two goals in 21 games for the Premier League club, they were seeking to recoup their outlay on the forward and turned down a bid of £12 million last month.
Musa added to his value by scoring both goals for Nigeria in their World Cup win over Iceland in Russia.
He joins a remodelled Al-Nassr squad that has been boosted by the arrival of other World Cup participants Nordin Amrabat, Christian Ramos and Brad Jones.
The four summer signings reflect Al-Nassr’s bid to kick-on from their third-place finish last season and mount a challenge to Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal. Jose Daniel Carreno’s also have a two-legged playoff match to qualify for the Asian Champions League on the horizon.

Al-Nassr’s top five most expensive signings

Ahmed Musa £14.85m
Yahia Al-Shehri £8.82m
Nordin Amrabat £7.65m
Naif Hazazi £6.12m
Hernane £4.77m

Chile open Copa America title defense with win over Japan

Updated 45 min 49 sec ago

Chile open Copa America title defense with win over Japan

  • The victory moved Chile to the top of Group C along with Uruguay
  • Japan, playing as a Copa America guest for the second time

SAO PAULO: Chile’s experienced Copa America team proved too good for Japan’s young squad.

The two-time defending champions opened their Copa America campaign with a 4-0 win over the Asian guests on Monday, with Eduardo Vargas scoring a pair of goals to become Chile’s all-time leading scorer in the South American competition.

Erick Pulgar and Alexis Sanchez also scored for the titleholders, which are trying to become the first nation to win three straight Copa titles since Argentina in the late 1940s. Vargas scored twice in the second half to reach 12 goals with Chile in the tournament, two more than Enrique Hormazabal.

The victory moved Chile to the top of Group C along with Uruguay, which opened with a 4-0 win over Ecuador on Sunday.

“Chile has players who are very experienced, who know each other very well,” Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda said. “The challenge today was to avoid a bad debut. We were humble and entered with our feet on the ground. We were playing against a team that was very competitive in all sectors.”

Japan, playing as a Copa America guest for the second time, brought to Brazil a young squad focused on the Olympic tournament at home next year. The Japanese youngsters struggled against the veteran Chilean squad which was in control from the start at the Morumbi Stadium.

Chile won the last two editions of the Copa America, beating Argentina in penalty shootouts in the final both in 2015 and 2016. Argentina is the only team to have won three consecutive South American titles, from 1945-47.

Boosted by most of the 23,253 fans at the Morumbi, Chile created most of the significant chances.

After Pulgar headed in a corner-kick cross by Charles Aranguiz in the 41st minute, Vargas added to the lead with a shot from outside the area in the 54th after a pass by Mauricio Isla.

Sanchez found the net with a header in the 82nd, and Vargas closed the scoring about a minute later with a long lob shot over goalkeeper Keisuke Osako as he charged from his net.

It was a good opening match for Sanchez after a difficult season with Manchester United.

“I was coming off a difficult month-and-a-half,” said the 30-year-old Sanchez, who injured his ankle late in the season. “I struggled in the first 45 minutes, I felt tired, but I improved in the second half.”

Rueda, debuting with Chile in an official tournament, has been gradually revamping the squad since he took over in 2018. Among the veterans back from the team’s recent triumphs were Vargas, Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, who also had a good opener.

Japan last played in the Copa America in 1999, when it was eliminated in the group stage. Among the youngsters in Brazil was Takefusa Kubo, the 18-year-old who has joined Real Madrid’s “B” team for next season. He played from the start and was a threat for Japan in attack. He got an ovation from the crowd at the Morumbi after getting past a defender with a ball through his legs about 10 minutes into the match. He nearly scored after a nifty move past a defender inside the area in the 65th, but his shot hit the outside of the net. Japan had a few good chances to get on the board toward the end of the game but could not capitalize on them.