Brescia are set to terminate Mario Balotelli’s contract after the Italy striker failed to return to training ahead of Serie A’s restart this month, Italian media reported on Saturday.
The 29-year-old Balotelli signed a three-year contract with his hometown club last year after they earned promotion to the top flight for the first time since 2011.
Balotelli has earned a reputation as a troublemaker during his career.
It was a career in which he has played for Inter Milan, Manchester City, AC Milan, Liverpool, Nice and Olympique de Marseille, and won 36 international caps.
A television station had reported that Balotelli was involved in a row with Brescia president Massimo Cellino.
This was after the striker did not return to training when COVID-19 restrictions were eased in the country.
The report said Balotelli was offered a consensual termination, which he refused, and the club then sent a letter to his lawyer saying his contract would be ended.
Balotelli has scored five league goals in 19 appearances this season for a struggling Brescia side who are bottom of the league standings.
They are nine points from the safety zone with 12 games left.https://nnn.ng/brescia-to-terminate-balotellis-contract-for-missing-training/
Aguero could be out of action until November, Guardiola says
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero could miss the first two months of the 2020/2021 English Premier League (EPL) season, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.
Guardiola said this was because Aguero was yet to train with the club since suffering a knee injury in June.
The Argentine was sidelined for the last 12 matches of Manchester City’s 2019/2020 campaign, including their two UEFA Champions League fixtures in August.
Guardiola said the 32-year-old may not be fit until November.
“We knew the injury was difficult,” Guardiola said.
“He still hasn’t had one training session with us and Sergio is not a guy who regains his physical condition quickly.
“He has been out for a long time. So, maybe in one or two months he will be ready.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Whirlwind Bayern Munich dismantle Schalke 8-0 in season opener
Treble winners Bayern Munich crushed Schalke 04 8-0 with a hat-trick from Serge Gnabry and a superb debut from Leroy Sane on Friday.
It was a sensational start to the new Bundesliga season and the win sent an ominous warning to potential challengers.
Also, it was the biggest opening win in Bundesliga history.
Bayern Munich showed they had lost none of the sharpness which helped them to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy less than a month ago in dominant fashion.
Gnabry grabbed his first goal for the hosts with a fine turn and shot in the fourth minute in what turned out to be a one-sided affair.
It stretched Bayern Munich’s unbeaten run to 31 games this year, having now won the last 22 matches in a row.
Schalke 04, without a league win in 17 consecutive matches since January, were helpless against Bayern Munich’s lightning-quick game.
Leon Goretzka found plenty of space to drive a low shot past goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann in the 19th minute.
“You can see that the team was already strong last season,” said Sane, who joined from Manchester City. “The team is still hungry in spite of winning the treble last season and to have such a start is outstanding.”
Bayern Munich finished their season in August when they added the Champions League to their Bundesliga and German Cup titles and then had only a short preparation for the new season.
Last season’s top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski found the net with a 31st minute penalty kick to become the first player to score in 10 successive appearances against the same Bundesliga opponents.
Gnabry then scored twice from Sane’s assists in the 47th and 59th before Thomas Mueller made it half a dozen after Lewandowski set him up with an impressive rabona kick.
Sane then capped his superb Bayern Munich debut with a fine finish from a counter attack in an empty Allianz Arena.
This was after the city had banned spectators due to rising coronavirus infection numbers in the region.
A little later substitute Jamal Musiala drilled in goal number eight to become the youngest ever Bayern Munich goalscorer in the league at 17 years old.
The result piled more pressure on already-embattled Schalke 04 coach David Wagner, who has been under intense scrutiny during their winless run this year.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
1,000 fans at Italian Open better than none, says Djokovic
World number one Novak Djokovic on Friday welcomed the Italian Government’s decision to allow up to 1,000 spectators for the final two days of the Italian Open in Rome.
Professional sports events in Italy have been played without fans since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said fans would be allowed to attend the closing stages of the tournament on Sunday and Monday.
Apart from the tennis masters, two Serie A matches this weekend and the Formula One race at Imola in November are also set to allow up to 1,000 spectators.
“I hope that is true. If we are going to have 1,000 people, it is better than no people.
“We all miss the fans; part of our professional careers in sport is playing in front of them and for them as well.
“I am really glad that that is going to happen,” Djokovic told reporters after he advanced to the quarter-finals with a 7-6(7) 6-3 victory over fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic.
Djokovic also said he hoped the matches would be played on centre court as he preferred the surface on the main court at the Foro Italico.
“I heard also they are considering to use Pietrangeli or NextGen court for semi-finals and finals.
“I hope it is not the case, because the quality of the clay and quality of the centre court is, in my opinion, much better than the other courts,” he said.
Djokovic will take on German Dominik Koepfer, who ended Italian teenager, Lorenzo Musetti’s dream run with a 6-4 6-0 win.
Musetti, 18, had beaten Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in the first two rounds.
Second seed Rafa Nadal, seeking his 10th title in Rome, also advanced with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Dusan Lajovic to set up a clash with Argentine Diego Schwartzman.
In the women’s field, top seeds – Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova – moved into the quarter-finals with straight sets victories while Yulia Putintseva beat Kazakh compatriot Elena Rybakina 4-6 7-6(3) 6-2. (Reuters/ NAN)
Edited By: Ijeoma Popoola
NIMR unveils COVID-19 molecular testing kit
Speaking at the unveiling, Prof. Babatunde Salako, Director General of NIMR, said the equipment was developed to ease the challenges posed by the current method which required heavy laboratory and expensive equipment to function.
“As a foremost research institute in Nigeria with a mandate to conduct research into diseases of public health importance like COVID-19 pandemic which at present a difficult management challenge for scientists.
“While no effective vaccine has been develop till date, case detection remains the surest way of controlling the pandemic.
“Seeing that molecular laboratories remain limited in number and remote areas are at disadvantaged in getting tested and limited testing centres.
“Our researchers once again swung into action to develop a point of care molecular test for COVID-19 to ease the challenges of getting a molecular laboratory which requires huge fund.
“The Isothemal used for our point of care testing cost 9500 dollars which is cheaper than the regular real time PCR equipment which cost about 100,000 dollars.
“This test reagent can be produced in country with 80 per cent to 90 per cent locally sourced material,” he said.
According to him, a NIMR research team, led by Dr Chika Onwuamah, a Senior Research Scientist, developed a molecular test for coronavirus that gives test result in less than 40 minutes.
He thanked Fate Foundation, for supporting the research with N20million through its Fate Philanthropy Coalition for COVID-19 Support.
“We are very grateful for the support given to the institute to develop the assay which is not only first of its kind in the country but also in Africa.
“The objective of the grant was to develop a fast multiplex isothermal assay for SARS-CoV-2 while we also designed and evaluated primers and probes for multiplex.
“Work is currently ongoing on a simple release reagent to simplify the RNA extraction step and the assay development procedure involve both bioinformatic analysis designing the primers and probes.
“To date we have a working assay guaranted to test 100 copies/ml of SARs-CoV-2 RNA, as we continue to improve on the detection limit,” he said.
“SIMA works at one temperature and that is why it is called isothermal which makes it far cheaper and faster,” he said.
On the duration of the research, the Senior Researcher said the project started around May, noting that there was a bit delay due to COVID-19 induced lockdown.
Onwuamah, however, called for more support to aid scientists in the country to carryout research work on public health emergency such as COVID-19.
“Support for scientists in Nigeria need to be strong because we have a lot to give but the enabling environment is not visible.
” This research work cost close to N10million before we arrive here and it is a continuous thing because we have to keep improving on what we have developed,” he said.
Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, Executive Director of Fate Foundation, said the foundation established the support fund to assist the ongoing national and local efforts to strengthen public health infrastructure.
Adeyemi said the focus was to key into government effort to properly equip and support public health facilities and frontline health workers.
“This foundation was founded 20 years ago by Fola Ade with a goal to enable aspiring and emerging Nigerians to excel in their prospective fields.
“The foundation have supported in the fight against the ravishing pandemic through our various programmes and with the support of 61 individual donors and institute.
“We are happy to be part of this huge research development that will go a long way to ease some of the present challenges in the fight against the virus,” she said.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi