Wednesday's action at the Africa Cup of Nations sees Group D conclude with two heavyweights seemingly set for the knockout phase.

Egypt certainly have not been without their critics in this tournament, with the performances turned in by Carlos Queiroz's men far from spectacular, but they remain on the brink of progression.

Assuming they get the job done, they will join Nigeria in the next round after the Super Eagles won both of their first two matches.

The two giants of AFCON football will be expected to prevail on Wednesday.

Guinea-Bissau v Nigeria (19:00 GMT)

Considering Nigeria have come into this tournament essentially under the guidance of a caretaker manager in Augustine Eguavoen, the Nigerian Football Federation's technical director, they have made a very solid start.

They head into matchday three with six points from two games and have the chance to win all three first-round matches for the first time since 2006.

Nigeria will be massive favourites as well. Guinea-Bissau have never won an AFCON game in eight attempts, with only Benin (14), Mozambique (12) and Namibia (nine) playing more tournament matches without a single success.

Their issue this time around has been an obvious wastefulness in front of goal, failing to score from 16 shots that convert to an expected goals (xG) total of 2.2 – if they are goalless in this game, Guinea-Bissau will become the first team in AFCON history to go seven successive matches without scoring.

One to watch: Taiwo Awoniyi (Nigeria)

Union Berlin forward Awoniyi may be a relatively new face at international level, but he has looked a prominent threat for Nigeria. His nine shots over the first two games was more than twice as many as any other Super Eagles player, while his 14 touches in the opposition's box is also the most of anyone in the squad. Still, one goal from 2.4 xG suggests he could sharpen up a little.

 

Egypt v Sudan (19:00 GMT)

A point will be enough for the Pharaohs to follow Nigeria into the knockouts, though their defeat to Eguavoen's men means second place is the best they can hope for.

Egypt have looked every inch a side reliant on Mohamed Salah in this tournament, with his goal against Guinea-Bissau last time out breathing some life into their campaign.

While a draw will be enough for them, in reality only a win over Sudan will satisfy the expectations of supporters.

Sudan's xG total (1.25) and xGA (expected goals against) of 3.17 are the worst of the four teams in Group D, and Egypt will hope to capitalise on their lack of defensive solidity and attacking threat.

One to watch: Ali Achrine (Sudan)

If Sudan are to stand any chance of beating Egypt and potentially going through to the knockout phase, goalkeeper Achrine will surely need to be in inspired form.

 

Sead Kolasinac has joined Marseille on a free transfer after the defender was released by Arsenal.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina international left the Gunners on Tuesday, having reached an agreement to terminate his contract.

Kolasinac had fallen out of favour at the Premier League club and returned to Schalke on loan last season.

The 28-year-old is on the move again, joining Ligue 1 side Marseille on a deal until the end of the next campaign.

Kolasinac made 118 appearances for Arsenal following his switch from Schalke in June 2017, but only played for Mikel Arteta's men five times this season.

He becomes Marseille's second signing of the January transfer window following the arrival of striker Cedric Bakambu from Beijing Guoan.

Guinea faced an anxious wait but will still qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 despite suffering a shock 2-1 defeat to Zimbabwe at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.

Kaba Diawara's side started their final Group B match with one foot seemingly in the knockout stage, but Zimbabwe pulled off an upset to end their 14-match winless run in Yaounde on Tuesday.

Guinea then had to wait for confirmation that Sengal and Malawi had drawn 0-0 in the other game before being sure of their place in the next stage.

As a result, Senegal finished top of the group, meaning they will play one of the best third-placed teams, while Malawi finish third behind Guinea by virtue of an earlier defeat to them.

Captain Knowledge Musona rose unmarked to open the scoring for Zimbabwe - with no chance of qualifying after losing their two other games - after 26 minutes, heading home Never Tigere's cross from six yards out.

Kudakwashe Mahachi doubled Zimbabwe's lead two minutes before half-time, with goalkeeper Aly Keita badly at fault as he failed to keep out the midfielder's shot from outside the penalty area.

Guinea looked a totally different side after the break and Naby Keita halved the deficit four minutes into the second half, bursting forward and unleashing a rasping left-foot strike from outside the box that flew into the far corner of the net.

Zimbabwe came under increasing pressure but held on for their first AFCON win since 2006, while Syli Nationale will need to improve markedly to make an impact in the knockout stages.

Senegal secured their spot in the knockout phase of the Africa Cup of Nations as Group B winners after a late penalty reprieve saw them draw 0-0 with Malawi.

The Teranga Lions came into the tournament as one of the favourites, and while they progress to the next stage at the top of their group with five points, it was by no means convincing.

Malawi looked to carry the greater threat in the first half, with Gabadinho Mhango seeing a couple of long-range efforts go close.

Senegal did at least test Charles Thom in the Malawi goal early in the second half, with Abdou Diallo's header tipped just over, though it was hardly a sign of imminent domination.  

Malawi then looked set to take the lead with 15 minutes left when Bouna Sarr conceded a penalty for appearing to foul Gomezgani Chirwa, but the decision was overturned after a VAR check, much to the Flames' fury.

As a result, Senegal finished top of the group, meaning they will play one of the best third-placed teams, while Malawi finish third behind Guinea by virtue of an earlier defeat to them.

Guinea face an anxious wait to discover if they will qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 after suffering a shock 2-1 defeat to Zimbabwe at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.

Kaba Diawara's side started their final Group B match with one foot seemingly in the knockout stage, but Zimbabwe pulled off an upset to end their 14-match winless run in Yaounde on Tuesday.

Captain Knowledge Musona rose unmarked to open the scoring for Zimbabwe - with no chance of qualifying after losing their two other games - after 26 minutes, heading home Never Tigere's cross from six yards out.

Kudakwashe Mahachi doubled Zimbabwe's lead two minutes before half-time, with goalkeeper Aly Keita badly at fault as he failed to keep out the midfielder's shot from outside the penalty area.

Guinea looked a totally different side after the break and Naby Keita halved the deficit four minutes into the second half, bursting forward and unleashing a rasping left-foot strike from outside the box that flew into the far corner of the net.

Zimbabwe came under increasing pressure but held on for their first AFCON win since 2006, while Syli Nationale.will have to wait to learn if they will qualify as one of the best third-placed finishers after Senegal and Malawi drew 0-0 to finish top and second respectively.

Nick Kyrgios compared the crowd during his Australian Open first-round win to a zoo as fans copied a famous Cristiano Ronaldo celebration at almost every point.

Cries of 'siuu' could be heard throughout much of the home favourite's straight-sets victory over Liam Broady, his first match since a Laver Cup defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas in September.

The shouts were apparently mimicking Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo's famous goal celebration.

There were similar incidents during Andy Murray's battling five-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili, as the five-time finalist won his first match at the Melbourne major since 2017.

The raucous crowds caused confusion as many observers wondered if Murray and Kyrgios were being booed on court, despite each player also enjoying huge support.

Kyrgios later explained he was not surprised to hear the noise from the stands but was taken aback by how long they persisted.

"It's just a stupid, f***, I can't believe they did it so much," he said after his 6-4 6-4 6-3 victory on John Cain Arena. "They were doing some Ronaldo thing. Ronaldo does it every time he scores.

"It's like... I thought they were going to do it for like 10 minutes. They did it for two and a half hours, like, every point. I don't know why. It was a zoo out there."

Murray had wondered if the crowd was turning on him during his epic 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 victory because he had been targeted during his practice session on Monday.

"Initially, I thought it was [booing] because there were some people booing during my practice yesterday," he said. "I have no idea what for! 

"But then, after a few times, it was like, no, they're doing that, I think it's like 'Siuu' or something that Ronaldo does when he scores. And, yeah, it was incredibly irritating!"

Kyrgios produced some superb if often unorthodox tennis as he booked a second-round clash with world number two Daniil Medvedev, who is the highest-ranked male in the draw following the refusal to allow Novak Djokovic to compete.

The 26-year-old would like to return to John Cain to aid his chances of improving his record against the Russian to 3-0.

"It's going to be a hell of an experience for me," he said. "He's probably 'the' best player in the world at the moment. So I'm pretty excited, I'm excited for that moment. That's why I play the game.

"I feel like those matches still excite me, to go out there and play the best in the world. That was always something I wanted to prove to people that someone like me could do, win those matches.

"I'm not going to go into it with a lot of expectation. I'm going to go out there, have some fun, play my game. I have a pretty set-in-stone game plan of what I need to do to have success.

"As I said, he's probably the best player in the world, he does everything extremely well. He's a hard worker, ticks all the boxes. I'm not going to even think about that now. To play it on John Cain would be – I'm just going to call it the Kyrgios Court – would be fun."

Barcelona remain determined to strengthen their squad despite financial constraints and could be ready to move for Adama Traore.

It appears the Wolves winger may be sold this month as Bruno Lage's men have already secured a potential replacement.

Any Barca deal would be complicated by interest from Tottenham, however – assuming they are prepared to match Wolves' demands.


TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM, BARCELONA ON ALERT AS WOLVES READY TO SELL TRAORE

Adama Traore could leave Wolves in January, and Barcelona and Tottenham are both interested in the winger, according to the Daily Star.

Wolves have previously insisted they want to keep the Spain international, but Monday's signing of Portugal Under-21s international Chiquinho could open the door for Traore's exit.

Spurs are keen but their proposed loan until the end of the season is not something Bruno Lage's side are prepared to accept, as they are holding out for a £25million sale.

Barca have been linked with the 25-year-old but they must be careful of their spending due to their financial problems.


ROUND-UP

Barcelona are determined to bring in a striker this month and Alvaro Morata remains the top target, according to Marca. However, negotiations with Juventus have proved difficult.

– It appears Dusan Vlahovic may not be leaving Fiorentina yet after all. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Arsenal and Juventus target will be kept until the end of the season.

Manchester United have turned their attention to signing John McGinn from Aston Villa, but not until the close-season, the Telegraph says.

– Meanwhile, United striker Anthony Martial does not want to join another English club, leaving BarcaJuventus and Sevilla as his main options, Fabrizio Romano reports.

– Newcastle United's bid to sign a new centre-back took a blow as Monaco rejected their £33.4m (€40m) bid for Benoit Badiashile, L'Equipe claims.

– A striker is also on Newcastle's shopping list and they have launched a £25m (€30m) offer for Atalanta's Duvan Zapata, the Daily Record says.

Stefano Pioli has revealed the referee apologised after ruling out what should have been a valid Milan goal in Monday's defeat to Spezia.

The Rossoneri slumped to a shock 2-1 loss as Emmanuel Gyasi scored with almost the final kick of a thriller at San Siro.

Title rivals Inter drew 0-0 with Atalanta on Sunday, but Milan failed to claim a win that would have sent them to the Serie A summit.

The hosts dominated the first half and took a deserved lead through Rafael Leao, just after Theo Hernandez had missed a penalty.

Yet their profligacy cost them in the second half when Kevin Agudelo equalised.

 

Milan were then left furious as Junior Messias' fine late effort was struck off due to a premature whistle from referee Marco Serra, who had blown up for a foul on Ante Rebic.

Serra appeared to realise his mistake, though that did nothing to appease Milan, who subsequently hit the bar through Zlatan Ibrahimovic only for Gyasi to snatch a last-gasp winner on the counter.

While Pioli was keen to point out the official's error, he acknowledged Milan did not control the game well enough.

"I tried to calm my players down, but I didn't manage as Spezia's goal proves," he told DAZN.

"We knew it was an injustice, we have ourselves to blame, but we share responsibility with the referee.

"I am sorry to say that. He even apologised, maybe that wasn't even a fault. It's a shame.

"However, we should have scored more goals in the first half. It's a bad night and we must react now."

 

Milan had 25 attempts in total, with eight on target. It was the most shots they have managed in a Serie A defeat since December 2017 against Verona (31).

Leao was a standout performer with four shots and as many key passes, while Ibrahimovic, making his 150th league appearance for the club, had a team-leading eight efforts.

"We could have won the game, somehow we lost," said Pioli, whose side finished the match with an expected goals (xG) value of 2.5.

"We knew we had a good chance, Leao's goal should have given us self-confidence, we failed to seal a win that we strongly wanted, but the season is still long."

Milan remain second, two points behind Inter and one ahead of Napoli in third, with Juventus next up on Sunday.

Robert Lewandowski won the men's FIFA Best award for the second year running at a ceremony at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich on Monday.

The Bayern Munich striker beat fellow nominees Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah to the award, having also won it the last time it was up for grabs in December 2020.

Lewandowski scored 58 goals in 47 games in all competitions in 2021, which included breaking two long-standing records previously held by the legendary German striker Gerd Muller. He bagged 41 goals in a single Bundesliga season for Bayern, and 43 Bundesliga goals in a calendar year.

The Pole has scored 34 goals in 27 games so far this season, including nine in the Champions League group stage.

 

The 33-year-old was presented the award in Munich surrounded by Bayern's chief executive officer Oliver Kahn, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

"Thank you very much. I am very honoured to win this trophy," he said upon receiving the award. "I feel very proud, very happy. This trophy also belongs to my team-mates and my coaches."

Lewandowski was also asked about breaking the records of Muller, who passed away in August last year at the age of 75.

"I never dreamed I could break [Muller's] records, to score 41 goals in 29 games, if you asked me a few years ago if this was possible I would tell you 'no'.

"But now he's not with us anymore, and these old records that I broke, I also say to him 'thank you' because he had so many records and for us, the next generation players, that was like the next step. To try to break these records and I did, so I am very honoured and very proud of this as well."

Milan slumped to a shock 2-1 defeat to Spezia as Emmanuel Gyasi scored with almost the final kick of a thriller at San Siro.

Title rivals Inter drew 0-0 with Atalanta on Sunday, but Milan could not take advantage the following day as Spezia came from behind in incredible fashion.

Rafael Leao put Milan ahead after Theo Hernandez's penalty miss, but Kevin Agudelo levelled midway through the second half.

Milan were furious when Junior Messias' fine late effort was struck off due to a premature whistle from the referee, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic then hitting the crossbar.

And Gyasi had the final say, slotting home in the 96th minute to sensationally earn Spezia's first league win at San Siro.

Sevilla have slammed Real Betis players for appearing to mock the head injury suffered by Joan Jordan when hit by an object thrown from the stands in their contentious Copa del Rey clash.

As Betis players celebrated Nabil Fekir's equaliser at the Benito Villamarin on Saturday, an object – seemingly a long strip of plastic – was thrown from a home section behind the goal and struck Jordan right in front of referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea.

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui called his players over as Jordan received medical attention on the touchline, and Bengoetxea subsequently ushered the teams off the pitch – many Betis players remained pitchside until the match was eventually suspended.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) arranged for the remaining 51 minutes to be played behind closed doors on Sunday despite Sevilla protesting the game should not be allowed to go ahead without Jordan, who was unavailable after being sent to hospital to be kept under medical supervision. Betis went on to win 2-1.

After the initial incident, several Betis players took to social media to openly accuse Jordan and Sevilla of milking the situation; Cristian Tello posted a video of the Sevilla midfielder defiantly slapping his own face in the direction of the home fans, which Willian Jose shared alongside several clown emojis.

Tello claimed Sevilla did not want to play, while Victor Camarasa accused Lopetegui of encouraging Jordan to exaggerate his condition – but Andres Guardado has attracted the most attention.

Following the victory on Sunday, Mexican veteran Guardado was caught on camera appearing to mock Jordan's injury by hitting himself on the head with a bottle and theatrically throwing himself to the floor.

He claimed that "at no time was I making fun of the act suffered by Jordan", but Sevilla have been left feeling "alone" in their attempts to ensure derby tension is only felt on the pitch.

"Sevilla strongly condemns the humiliation and attacks on honour suffered by our player Joan Jordan and the lack of respect towards our coach, Julen Lopetegui, about whom unsubstantiated comments have been made based on self-serving speculation," a statement read.

"The reality is that Jordan received the impact of an object thrown from one of the stands occupied by Real Betis fans during last Saturday's Copa del Rey derby, played at the Benito Villamarin.

"No one should ignore the objective data. Jordan was attacked, was treated in a hospital, had to rest at home due to medical prescription and was unable to play in the resumption of the game.

"The victim is Jordan. There is never room for mockery with a victim or comments to divert attention from what happened, a very serious incident.

"In this sense, Sevilla considers certain behaviour by some members of Real Betis towards Joan Jordan, Julen Lopetegui and the Sevilla fans to be unfortunate and unacceptable, seriously compromising the healthy rivalry that is generally experienced in the city of Seville.

"Sevilla believes that sports institutions and those who make them up must be the first to promote the values ​​of respect and tolerance that are intrinsic to sport.

"Sevilla will continue working to reduce the tension and working so that the tension in the derbies is experienced only and exclusively within the field of play, although we feel alone in this mission."

Three of the pre-tournament Africa Cup of Nations favourites conclude their group stage fixtures on Tuesday, though one of them is in a tricky situation.

Senegal are on track to qualify from Group B, while Morocco have so far handled the potentially difficult Group C rather well – the same cannot be said for Ghana.

Luckily for the Black Stars, they have arguably – on paper at least – their easiest game of the group stage to look forward to as they bid to avoid falling at the first hurdle for only the second time this century.

Malawi v Senegal (16:00 GMT)

Just by beating Zimbabwe 2-1 thanks to a brace from the excellent Gabadinho Mhango, Malawi have arguably already compounded expectations at this year's tournament.

That was only their second ever win at the AFCON and it ensured they go into Tuesday with a real chance of qualification, either automatically or as one of the four best third-placed teams.

But Senegal still have a lot to play for themselves, with Aliou Cisse's men tied on four points with Guinea.

While that could be enough to take them through anyway, failing to top this group will not be a good look for the team many considered favourites to lift the trophy.

One to watch: Gabadinho Mhango (Malawi)

While Senegal undoubtedly possess the stronger squad, Orlando Pirates striker Mhango really caught the eye last time out with a couple of well-taken goals. One more will make him Malawi's all-time top scorer in the AFCON.

 

Zimbabwe v Guinea (16:00 GMT)

A wonderful opportunity awaits Guinea here, with the Syli Nationale knowing they will win the group as long as they better Senegal's result.

Their 0-0 draw with the Teranga Lions was a decent outcome and means they are one of just three teams still to concede a goal – though goalkeeper Aly Keita's tournament-best record of 2.4 goals prevented may have something to do with that.

They face a Zimbabwe side with only pride to play for having lost each of their first two games, though the omens are not great for Guinea: the Warriors' only previous AFCON wins have been in their final group matches (in 2004 and 2006).

 

One to watch: Mohamed Bayo (Guinea)

Despite their chances being worth 2.98 in terms of expected goals (xG), Guinea have only netted once. That 1.98 non-penalty xG underperformance is the second-worst at the tournament. Bayo arrived in Cameroon in good form – they will hope he can inspire an improvement where it matters most.

 

Gabon v Morocco (19:00 GMT)

As one of only three teams to win both of their first two games this year, Morocco are already assured of a place in the next round – they just need to seal top spot now.

The Atlas Lions are already on their longest unbeaten run at the AFCON (six matches) since going 11 without defeat in the 1970s, and they also boast the best xG (5.3) and xGA (0.5) records of the teams to play twice, evidence of how effective they have been at both ends of the pitch.

But Gabon, who confirmed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina have returned to their clubs for medical reasons, are aiming to go unbeaten in a second success group stage campaign for the first time, with a point likely good enough to send them through.

One to watch: Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco)

It has been a frustrating season so far for Sevilla striker En-Nesyri, who has missed prolonged periods through injury and then saw his penalty saved against Comoros. His 25-minute cameo then was his first appearance in the tournament. With qualification already assured, they might opt to build up his fitness for the knockouts with a start against Gabon.

 

Ghana v Comoros (19:00 GMT)

Ghana were held to a 1-1 draw by Gabon last time out, a match that was marred by ugly scenes at full-time after a late equaliser denied them victory. It culminated in a red card for Benjamin Tetteh after he punched an opponent in the face.

Having also lost to Morocco on matchday one, Ghana now need a win to have any hope of progressing – even then, it may not be enough.

If Ghana do not win, it will be the first time they have ever failed to win a single group game in 22 appearances at the tournament.

It would also be their first failure to get out of the group since 2006. Much is at stake.

One to watch: Andre Ayew (Ghana)

While Ghana have some very talented young players in their squad, their qualification hopes are looking a little desperate – they need their experienced stars to take the lead here. Andre Ayew and his brother Jordan are obviously the focus here, given that nine (70 per cent) of Ghana's previous 13 AFCON goals have been scored by the siblings (Andre is on five, Jordan on four).

 

Burkina Faso clinched a place in the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Ethiopia in their Group A finale.

Finalists in 2013, Burkina Faso do not look like threatening to go that far on this evidence, with Ethiopia unfortunate not to claim all three points.

Ethiopia striker Getaneh Kebede saw a bending effort kept out of the top-left corner by Sofiane Ouedraogo in the 10th minute.

They had four shots on target in the first half but it was Burkina Faso who had the only one to find the net, Cyrille Bayala lofting over Teklemariam Shanko after latching on to Adama Guira's superb chipped pass in the 24th minute.

Kebede was then denied again by Ouedraogo from close range, but he eventually got his reward for an impressive performance from the penalty spot.

Steeve Yago was adjudged by the VAR to have handled a free-kick in the area and Kebede coolly stroked into the bottom-left corner from 12 yards seven minutes into the second half.

But the draw proved enough to send Burkina Faso through as Cape Verde – whom they beat in their previous encounter – also drew 1-1 with group winners Cameroon. Ethiopia go home with just a point to their name from only their second AFCON appearance since 1982.

Africa Cup of Nations hosts Cameroon are through to the knockout phase as Group A winners despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Cape Verde, who may well join them in the next round.

Cameroon had already been assured of a place in the knockouts after winning their first two games but they were unable to finish Group A with a spotless record.

It looked like they might when Vincent Aboubakar scored yet again to take his tournament tally to five in three games, the striker finding the bottom-right corner from the edge of the box in the 39th minute.

But the Blue Sharks levelled with what proved to be their only shot of the second half just after the break, and it was a stunner.

Garry Rodrigues met Kenny Rocha Santos' cut-back with a cheeky back-heeled finish past Andre Onana.

That goal keeps Cape Verde's hopes of progression alive – they finish the group behind Cameroon and Burkina Faso but stand a good chance of taking one of the knockout places awarded to the four best third-placed teams.

Samuel Umtiti has fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot just a week after agreeing a contract extension at Barcelona, the club announced on Monday.

Umtiti had appeared to be on his way out of Camp Nou this month until a shock new deal was sealed to keep him in Catalonia until 2026.

The World Cup winner, whose previous contract was set to expire in 2023, was linked with a host of clubs, including big-spending Newcastle United.

Instead, Barca kept Umtiti on board when he agreed to a temporary pay decrease that allowed new signing Ferran Torres to be registered.

Whether Umtiti was subsequently set to see his involvement in the first team increase – having appeared in 18 matchday LaLiga squads this season but played just once – will for now remain a mystery, however.

Monday brought news of a serious injury for the France international that will require surgery.

"The first team player Samuel Umtiti took a blow to his right foot in training on Monday and has fractured his fifth metatarsal bone," a club statement read.

"The player will undergo surgery on Tuesday with doctor Antoni Dalmau and with the club's medical services supervising. Another press release will be issued when the surgery has taken place."

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