Ligue 1

Lille advance in Coupe de France

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Thu, 24 Jan 2013 22:40:00

The pressure is on both defending champions Zambia and Nigeria ahead of their Group C clash in the African Nations Cup.

Both teams opened their campaigns with disappointing 1-1 draws, with Nigeria held by Burkino Faso and Zambia drawing with Ethiopia.

A late Alain Traore strike denied Nigeria victory in a game they were favoured to win easily, and the result led to a visit from the Nigeria Football Federation chiefs at the team's training camp.

NFF president Aminu Maigari told the players to move on and put their focus on Zambia.

"Football can be a cruel game sometimes, but you have to put the disappointment behind you and focus on your next game against Zambia," he said, as quoted by Kick Off Nigeria.

"The whole country has invested a lot in you and we are all behind you to see that you win your next game."

Captain Joseph Yobo has promised a response from the players.

"We know how disappointed Nigerians were at the result, and we have resolved to do our best to make up for it," he said.

However, coach Stephen Keshi has other problems, with Azubuike Egwuekwe and Gabriel Reuben reportedly suffering from chickenpox.

The pair have been quarantined from the rest of the squad.

Zambia's result against Ethiopia was just as disappointing, although there seems to be a more optimistic mood on their camp looking ahead, with coach Rene Harvard opening their training camp to reporters although not offering interviews.

Their only concern at present is a slight injury to playmaker Chisamba Lungu, who took a knock in the opening match, although he is expected to be available to face Nigeria.

A number of allegations have been made, including by former England 2018 bid leader Lord Triesman, plus claims about 2022 hosts Qatar who have always denied any wrongdoing.

Russia was awarded the 2018 tournament.

Ethics investigator Michael J Garcia has previously said he would look into the claims and this was reiterated today.

He said in a statement: "As has been publicly announced, certain allegations regarding events surrounding the bidding for the World Cup 2018 and 2022 were referred to the ethics committee by FIFA following media reports.

"We intend to conduct a thorough review of those allegations, including the evidentiary basis for and credibility of any allegations of individual misconduct."

The ethics committee will also report in March on its investigation into the payment of kickbacks to FIFA members by now-defunct marketing partner ISL.

A new whistleblower hotline is expected to become operational next month.

The Championnat de France amateur side actually took a shock lead just before the half hour through Richard Pelletier, although Lille were on even terms almost straight away after Nicolas Kernevez put the ball into his own net.

Roux put Lille ahead three minutes after the break and De Melo made sure of the win midway through the second half as the Ligue 1 side booked their place in the last 16 of the competition.

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