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Inter Miami coach Tata Martino yet to determine if Messi and Busquets will play on Friday

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Inter Miami coach Tata Martino yet to determine if Messi and Busquets will play on Friday

Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets may not start on Friday, but they will likely play in Inter Miami’s League Cup encounter against Cruz Azul, according to coach Tata Martino, who spoke to Argentina’s “ESPN Ftbol 12” on Wednesday.

“From what I’ve seen so far, they’re going to be fit to play, and it’s likely that they’ll be there on Friday,” Martino added. “We’ll have to decide whether they’ll start or come in at halftime, but as far as I’m concerned, Leo and Busi can both play [on Friday].”

Messi and Busquets finished their first training session with the MLS team on Tuesday, but it wasn’t until Wednesday that Martino addressed their health for this match against Cruz Azul, a highly tough Liga MX side.

Despite the absence of guarantees, supporters went out to buy tickets for the game, which ranged in price from $275 to $19,000.

Messi, the World Cup winner and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner signed a 212-year deal for $50-$60 million per year three days ago.

Despite all of Messi’s laurels, Martino believes the Argentina captain is not in Miami to relax and will remain a hard opponent.

“What has not changed is his desire to continue competing and winning,” Martino said. “I think it shows a very salient trait Leo has as a football player. His perpetual desire to compete and win. I think that winning the World Cup took a great weight off his back.

“But someone I admire a lot told me that he is coming to MLS carrying an empty suitcase but without all the pressure he had in Barcelona in 2010-2011 or the pressure of the national team. Now, I think I am going to find a very competitive version of him because he has the need to win wearing this shirt now because he has not won here yet.”

Inter Miami hasn’t won an MLS match in more than two months, going 0-8-3 since beating the New England Revolution on May 13, making the playoffs a distant chance.

However, Friday’s Leagues Cup match between MLS and Liga MX teams in Mexico provides an opportunity for Inter Miami to get back on track.

Cruz Azul, which entered the game with a 0-0-3 record in Liga MX, is the current side in crisis in Mexican football, having scored only one goal in 270+ minutes of play in the Apertura.

This article relied on information from The Associated Press.

ESPN is the source.

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Laryea Kingston relishes AFCON qualification for U-17 team

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Kingston, a former Ghana international, expressed his excitement in leading the squad to the 2025 African Cup of Nations.

Laryea Kingston, Black Starlets coach, has emphasised the team’s primary objective of qualifying for the 2025 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after missing the previous two championships.

Ghana’s U-17 team progressed to the 2018 WAFU Zone B Championship semifinals on Tuesday evening at the University of Ghana Sports Stadium, defeating Benin 2-0.

Mark Mensah Kagawa and Theophilus Ayamga scored goals to help Ghana’s U-17 squad clinch Group A unbeaten.

Kingston, a former Ghana international, expressed his excitement in leading the squad to the 2025 African Cup of Nations.

“Since 2017, Ghanaians have missed the quality of our teams from the 1991 to 2001 eras when we had strong squads. Qualification for this team would be incredible. For me, it would be the greatest joy.

“Ghanaians are eagerly awaiting this. They have put in a lot of effort for us to succeed. It’s been challenging because other countries are also developing, but I believe we are on the right path. We take it one day at a time.

“Now that we are in the semifinals, my technical team and I will prepare for any team we face on Saturday. We will be ready for any opponent,” he added.

Ghana will face the second-placed team in Group B on Saturday. The WAFU Zone B Championship finalists will qualify for the U-17 AFCON.

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Man City win historic fourth English title in a row, with Foden scoring twice

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City escaped a late scare after VAR ruled West Ham's second goal out for handball. Nonetheless, their success was never in doubt. The victory brought the club's league record to 19 victories and four draws since their previous setback at Aston Villa on December 6. City has now won six of the last seven Premier League championships. Last season, they joined Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United in winning the Premier League for the third consecutive year. Guardiola's club has now accomplished what no other men's team has since the formation of the English league in 1888, 136 years ago.

Imperious Manchester City defeated West Ham 3-1 at Etihad Stadium, becoming the first team to win the English league title four years in a row.

With City needing a victory to ensure they could hold off Arsenal, who started the final day two points behind but with a higher goal differential, Phil Foden put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead after only two minutes.

The England star scored another before halftime, and while Mohammed Kudus drew one back, midfielder Rodri restored the home side’s two-goal lead with a strike from the edge of the box after 59 minutes.

City escaped a late scare after VAR ruled West Ham’s second goal out for handball.

Nonetheless, their success was never in doubt.

The victory brought the club’s league record to 19 victories and four draws since their previous setback at Aston Villa on December 6.

City has now won six of the last seven Premier League championships. Last season, they joined Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United in winning the Premier League for the third consecutive year.

Guardiola’s club has now accomplished what no other men’s team has since the formation of the English league in 1888, 136 years ago.

They will meet Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium on May 25th, looking to become the first team to clinch the domestic double in consecutive seasons.

It has been 15 months since City was slammed with 115 Premier League accusations for suspected financial irregularities, which they strenuously dispute. Earlier this season, Everton and Nottingham Forest were both penalised and deducted points for violating profit and sustainability regulations. However, there has been no news on when City’s case would be heard.

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Usyk Stuns Fury to Become Undisputed Heavyweight Champion

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The rematch, tentatively scheduled for October, promises to be another epic encounter between two of the world's top heavyweights. For now, however, Usyk can bask in the glory of his hard-fought win and celebrate his newfound status as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world

In a thrilling showdown at the Kingdom Arena — Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oleksandr Usyk pulled off a stunning upset against Tyson Fury, winning by split decision to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

The Ukrainian boxer, who remained unbeaten with a record of 22-0, inflicted the first defeat of Fury’s professional career, handing the British fighter his first loss in 34 fights. The judges’ scorecards read 115-112, 113-114, and 114-113 in favour of Usyk, who has been crowned the new champion in front of a packed crowd.

The fight was a closely contested affair, with both fighters giving it their all in a gruelling 12-round battle. Usyk’s superior footwork and hand speed allowed him to outmanoeuvre Fury, landing several crucial shots throughout the fight. The turning point came in the ninth round when Usyk sent Fury crashing to the canvas with a devastating left hook.

Fury, known for his incredible resilience, managed to get back to his feet and continue fighting, but Usyk’s momentum had already shifted the tide of the fight in his favour. Despite Fury’s valiant efforts in the final rounds, Usyk’s early lead proved insurmountable, and he was declared the winner by split decision.

“This is the greatest moment of my life,” an emotional Usyk said in the post-fight interview. “I want to thank my team, my family, and my country for their unwavering support. I proved tonight that I am the best heavyweight in the world, and I will do everything to remain champion for a long time.”

Fury, disappointed in defeat, disputed Usyk’s performance, saying, “I believe I won that fight. He won a few rounds but I won the majority. We both put on a good fight. We’ll be back, we’ve got a rematch clause. I believe I won that fight but I’m not going to sit here, cry and make excuses.”

Usyk’s victory marks a historic moment in boxing, as he becomes the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999. The win also sets up a potential rematch with Fury, which is already generating significant buzz in the boxing community.

The rematch, tentatively scheduled for October, promises to be another epic encounter between two of the world’s top heavyweights. For now, however, Usyk can bask in the glory of his hard-fought win and celebrate his newfound status as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

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