Wednesday, 20 September 2017

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for five matches after pushing referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea during Real Madrid's 3-1 Spanish Super Cup first-leg win at Barcelona on Sunday.

Ronaldo's 24 minutes as a substitute at the Camp Nou saw him score a superb goal, pick up a booking for removing his shirt during the celebration, and then quickly receive a second yellow after De Burgos Bengoetxea ruled the Portugal captain had dived to try to win a penalty.

Ronaldo reacted to being sent off by pushing De Burgos Bengoetxea. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) banned Ronaldo for one match for drawing the red card and the other four for pushing the official.

That was just one major talking point on a night that also saw Gerard Pique's own goal put Madrid ahead, Lionel Messi equalise with a controversial penalty won by Luis Suarez and Marco Asensio score a screamer to put his side fully in control ahead of Wednesday's second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ronaldo has also been fined €3,805 for his actions, while Madrid were fined €1,750.

Ronaldo is set to miss the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona as well as Madrid's four opening La Liga games against Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad.

His next domestic appearance will come at home to Real Betis in La Liga in the midweek round of fixtures of Sept. 20, although he will be eligible to play in Real Madrid's Champions League group stage opener a week before and the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy friendly against Fiorentina on Aug. 23.

The RFEF says Madrid have 10 days to lodge an appeal with its appeals committee, while adding in its report that the club attempted to get the offence downgraded from a push to a minor "disregard" for the referee.

The official match report sent to the RFEF from the Camp Nou included Ronaldo's push in the "other incidents" section.

"Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro -- having been shown the red card, the player pushed me slightly in a sign of his disagreement," the Basque official wrote.

The RFEF's disciplinary code appears clear that the punishment for such behaviour, even if only "slightly violent," is an extra suspension of four to 12 games.

"Pulling, pushing or shaking, or a general attitude towards the match officials which, even if only slightly violent, without confirming an aggressive attitude on their part, will be punished with a suspension of four to 12 games," says the code's article 96.

At the postmatch news conference, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said the second yellow was "a bit too much" and hoped Ronaldo could still be cleared to play in Wednesday's second leg.

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos told Telecinco after the final whistle that he believed Ronaldo had not dived, and therefore the club would be able to appeal the decision.

"I was far away," Ramos said. "But I believe Cristiano lost his balance and did not fake anything. We can appeal, as it leaves us without a very important player, with 10 minutes left. [The referee] should have thought about it a bit more."

Ramos also said that De Burgos Bengoetxea had erred in earlier awarding a penalty when Suarez fell to the ground dramatically, having been challenged inside the box by Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.

"There is a lot of tension in these type of games," he said. "For me it was not a penalty. I don't believe the referee blew the whistle if he did not see anything; he must have seen it clearly. But for me there was nothing."

Madrid left-back Marcelo told the club's official website that the red card was "bizarre" while acknowledging that referees make mistakes.

"Cristiano being sent off was bizarre, but sometimes that can happen," the Brazil international said. "Referees can make mistakes, along with the things they get right."

Ex-Madrid full-back Alvaro Arbeloa, now popular among fans and pundits for his regular defence of his former club, tweeted after Ronaldo's sending off: "They are laughing in our face. Lamentable."

Monday, 14 August 2017 10:38

BREAKING: ASUU begins nationwide strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has commenced an indefinite nationwide industrial action.

The National President of the union, Dr. Biodun Ogunyemi, announced this on Monday during a meeting of the National Executive Council of ASUU in Abuja.

He said during the strike, there shall be no teaching, no examination and no attendance of statutory meetings of any kind in any of the union’s branches across the country.

According to Channels TV, Dr. Ogunyemi declared a total, comprehensive and indefinite nationwide strike after a nationwide consultation with members at an emergency NEC meeting held on Saturday, August 12, 2017.

The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged newly qualified doctors who are posted to rural communities to undertake their housemanship not to see it as a form of punishment.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “the early Ghanaian doctors of legend, the pioneers who built the medical profession, such as Charles Easmon, Silas Dodoo, Cornelius Quarcoopome and Felix Konotey-Ahulu, amongst others, on their return home from qualifying in England, went to work in the rural areas with relish and enthusiasm, at a time when our country was less developed and with fewer infrastructure.”

The President added that “the missionary and sacrificial aspect of this noble profession, young doctors, must not be lost on you.”

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, 12th August, 2017, when he delivered a speech at the 50th congregation and 5th oath taking and induction ceremony of the School of Medical Sciences of the University of Cape Coast.

With Ghana’s doctor-population ratio being approximately one doctor to eight thousand patients, President Akufo-Addo noted that this ratio is even more lopsided in the rural and deprived communities of the country.

“I do not put all the blame on our medical doctors’ unwillingness to work in these communities. If we have good road network, and good schools are available around the country and not only in the urban centres, if we have electricity supply in all communities, we would not have to be asking, indeed, insisting that our young doctors go to work in the rural communities,” he said.

Once these conditions are in place, President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that doctors would, then, find well-developed rural communities, which may be more attractive settings to bring up their young families.
The President was, however, pleased with the programme instituted by the School of Medical Sciences, under which medical students of the University spend six weeks each year in rural communities in the Central and Eastern Regions.

“This is aimed at giving them strong community orientation, and also increasing their awareness of the interrelationship between lifestyle and health. I hope and pray that this enables them to build lifelong and healthy appreciation of the situations in our rural communities, which would stay with them long after they have qualified,” he noted.

As the nation trains more doctors to solve the shortage of doctors, President Akufo-Addo noted that more must be done to keep them in the country, and not lose them to the advanced economies of this world.

“We will only retain our trained doctors and other professionals, when agriculture and industry are thriving, when we have better roads, better communications, better schools, better housing, reliable and cheaper power supply, and better drainage.

On my part, I am determined to work to help ensure that these improvements we all want in our lives become reality. Until that is done, we have to equip those currently in training and the fresh doctors to do a little more out of the ordinary to bring relief to the present situation,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo urged the young doctors to feel privileged to work amidst the mysteries of life, as well as gain the trust of patients and treat each one with dignity. He also admonished them to listen and give respect all their colleagues in the healthcare chain – technicians, nurses, clerks, cleaners, et al.

“You will be surrounded by death, but please remain human and do not lose your emotions. People will die, but many will be healed, complications will occur, but make sure you remain true to science, the truth and reason. And in doing so, never lose your faith in God. I have no doubt you will continue to discover, as all the great scientists have, the presence of the Omnipotent One in the ordering of the Universe,” he said.

The President continued, “Let your Hippocratic Oath be your guide and guard in the discharge of your duties. Your joy and fulfillment should lie in the well-being of your patients.”

The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the finances of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) are being sorted out in order to improve access to quality healthcare, as well as ensure that health workers are unencumbered and free to do their work.

Reiterating his determination to solve the problem of unpaid bills to healthcare providers, President Akufo-Addo noted that the NHIS is at the core of the country’s health delivery system, and government has a duty to make it work.

“So far, government has, by dint of prudent management within the short space of seven months, cleared GH¢560 million out of the GH¢1.2 billion of debt inherited.

I am told I can confidently say that we will settle all the arrears within the next 12 months. This year, we are up to date on the payment of claims to service providers. It is essential that the businesses of healthcare providers do not collapse,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, 12th August, 2017, when he delivered a speech at the 50th congregation and 5th oath taking and induction ceremony of the School of Medical Sciences of the University of Cape Coast.

With the major burden of healthcare in Ghana coming from diseases that are preventable, President Akufo-Addo noted that these are better dealt with at source and in the communities, rather than to wait until they become problems at the hospital level.

“It requires better sanitation, and not better medication, to deal with cholera, which seems to have reared its ugly head again in our country, especially since 2014. I hope that such programmes, as you have instituted here, would position the students to play good advocacy roles as healthcare providers within the communities they work in after their studies,” he said.
Outlining the problems that bedevil the health sector, such as the challenge of bridging the equity gap in access to healthcare between urban and rural Ghana, the production and distribution of health personnel, and high under-five and maternal mortality rates, President Akufo-Addo noted that some of the answers lie in improving the physical infrastructure of the health sector.

His government, the President assured, will strive to complete ongoing projects around the country, as well as expand health promotion programmes, scale up disease prevention strategies and enhance access to curative and emergency services.

On the BOT arrangement being entered into with a Canadian group to build infrastructure at the University, President Akufo-Addo noted that such initiatives are admirable and are to be expected from a University, whose Chancellor is one of the most renowned entrepreneurs of Ghana’s generation.

“I hasten, however, to add a word of caution. I think we should learn, from previous and unfortunate bitter experience, that such arrangements should not be done on the blind side of government. I will strongly urge, if you have already not done so, that you seek the blessing of the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Attorney-General to the arrangement,” the President said.

He continued, “There is currently a difficult situation at the University of Ghana that should serve as a useful lesson for all public tertiary institutions, which seek to engage in such arrangements.”

Government, President Akufo-Addo indicated, will continue to make capital outlays in the health sector, and has begun to undertake a number of healthcare projects across the country to bring the provision of healthcare delivery to the doorsteps of the people.

All these projects, he added, are geared towards expanding health facilities in the country, and creating ready job opportunities for students in health disciplines in the country.

“We have a duty to ensure that this School is well-equipped to produce capable medical doctors with all the skills needed to improve the quality of medical practice in our country. It is my expectation and hope that graduates from this School will be motivated to take on the challenge and the opportunities for higher achievement through innovation and creativity, in the science and technology-led, knowledge-driven global economy,” the President said.

Idara Inokon, Miss Nigeria USA contestant representing Akwa Ibom, has emerged winner of Miss Nigeria USA 2017 beauty pageant held on Saturday night into early Sunday morning in New York.

Idara, who was crowned by the out gone holder of the title, Miss Lola Adeoye, beat 13 other contestants to emerge winner.

The new Miss Nigeria USA, who was the fourth to be crowned in the pageant, would cart home $10,000 in prizes, according to Ms Joy Fakhoury, the organisers of the annual beauty pageant.

She would also embark on a pet project that would impact on the less privileged back home in Nigeria.

Each of the contestants represented her culture in the pageant that was meant to promote the richness of Nigerian culture, the diversity of its people, the beauty and intellect of the Nigerian lady and to promote togetherness and unity among Nigerians in the Diaspora.

Miss Ondo – Ayoyemi Ajimatanrareje, emerged the First Runner-up, Miss Lagos – Susan Adeyemi, emerged the Second Runner-up, while Miss Rivers, Lucy Edosomwan, emerged Miss Congeniality, in the keenly contested pageant.

The contestants were tested in intelligence, carriage, beauty, knowledge about Nigeria, Nigerian culture, and planned contributions to Nigeria through a pet project during their reign.

Judges said that they had a hard time determining the winners as all the contestants performed outstandingly.

Fourteen contestants made the finals on Saturday, whom were; Miss Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Rivers States.

The new Miss Nigeria USA, while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after her crowning, expressed surprise at her emergence, pledging to devote her reign to impacting the lives of the less privileged in Nigeria.

“I was very surprised, I felt very shaky in the whole competition, you know how nerves get to you but I just said ‘Idara, whatever the outcome, you did your best and so I went out with a smile’.

“I wanted to compete in a different pageant in New York back in April but it happened to be the same weekend as one of my close friend’s.

“And so, I said well, let me reconsider and find a pageant here in the U.S. that has good values and is something I want to stand behind.

“So, when I found Miss Nigeria USA and I found that the pageant was located in New York, I was extremely excited.

“I see it as a moment to share women empowerment and to represent my culture, which is a perfect opportunity. I really want to start to get to work to see how I can serve my community.

“My platform is to create awareness on prevention. As a registered nurse, I do health education on a daily basis.

“It is something I am very passionate about and I believe that if people are educated about their health, they can live healthier lives. So that would be what I would pursue during my reign,” she said.

Inokon, a registered nurse in the U.S., and born to a Nigerian father from Akwa Ibom, graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science and Psychology.

She was also attended the Accelerated Nursing Programme at the University of Delaware and graduated in 2014, and currently a Masters Student in Family Nursing.

The event was attended by many Nigerians across the U.S., Africans and other nationalities resident in America.

MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho says he is "keeping his feet on the ground" despite watching his Manchester United team thrash West Ham on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Two goals from new £75 million striker Romelu Lukaku helped United to a 4-0 win at Old Trafford which left Mourinho's side top of the table.

It was United's biggest opening-day win since beating Fulham 5-1 at Old Trafford in 2006 and Mourinho's biggest league win as Red Devils manager. United went on to win the title in the 2006-07 season, ending a four-year drought under Sir Alex Ferguson. 

Mourinho, though, insists he is not getting carried away.

"We finished the [last] season winning the Europa League and qualifying for Champions League," he told a news conference. "We start the second season with a very good performance at home. We had many players on the pitch with a very good game. We have reasons to be optimistic.

"For me, years and years of experience and experience in the Premier League, my feet are on the ground and I am calm. Last season we were also top of the league in the first match and we finished sixth so this means nothing. It just means we played well and confidence levels will be high and now our challenge is to keep this confidence level."

There were plenty of positives for the United manager. Lukaku scored twice on his league debut for the club following his move from Everton, while Nemanja Matic, a £35m buy from Chelsea, ran the midfield in a manner that made it hard to believe he spent most of the summer training alone at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's 3-2 defeat at home to Burnley 24 hours earlier made Matic's performance even more noteworthy.

Mourinho said afterwards he had wanted Matic, who was named Man of the Match, at Old Trafford last season.

Manchester United eased to victory against West Ham.

He added: "It depends on what is happening or what was happening behind doors and we don't know.

"The only thing I know is that of course with Chelsea money I brought him to Stamford Bridge because I thought he was a player with special qualities, and since I left I always thought he could be a perfect player for us, but I didn't disturb him, I didn't disturb Chelsea.

"I never thought it was possible unless something special was happening and his agent told me we could have him and we were very happy with that. We have him and we are very happy. He was a player this team needs."

West Ham were one of the 10 teams who got a point at Old Trafford last season, a statistic that cost United any chance of challenging Chelsea for the title.

In the 1-1 draw in November, United had eight shots on target but only scored once, while six on target this time produced four goals.

Lukaku has scored more goals against West Ham than any other team and took his tally to 11 in 13 games with a double.

Mourinho said: "Romelu scored in the Super Cup, scored twice today, he's playing well and he's working hard. He likes the team and the team likes him. Strikers can play phenomenally well, but if they don't score goals, the pressure's on them.

"So I think it was good for him to score and for all the guys arriving at new clubs who scored goals on their first games. It's always oxygen, it's happiness and confidence for them.

"Romelu knows we well. He knows sometimes strikers can play well but not score, but from me there will be no pressure. But today was very good and he was very effective, with the first goal especially."

Sunday, 13 August 2017 22:05

Kenya opposition urges strike over vote

Kenya's opposition leader has urged people to stay away from work on Monday over the disputed election result.

Raila Odinga said it would be a "day of mourning for the fallen patriots" after a rally in Kibera, the largest slum in the capital Nairobi.

The international community has urged calm following the election, which Mr Odinga alleges was fixed.

But after Mr Odinga spoke on Sunday, renewed violence broke out between his supporters and their opponents.

Police fired tear gas in Mathare - a slum where Mr Odinga met the family of a nine-year-old girl shot by a stray bullet.

AFP is reporting at least 16 people were killed between Friday evening and Saturday night. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said on Saturday 24 people had been shot dead during protests since election day on 8 August.

It is unclear how much these two figures overlap.

Tear gas was fired at opposition leader Raila Odinga's supporters

In a tweet sent after the rally, Mr Odinga said they had died at the hands of "Jubilee mandated death squads", referring to Mr Kenyata's party.

A man was also killed in Kisumu county, an opposition stronghold and the centre of post-election ethnic violence in 2007, when 1,200 people died and 600,000 were displaced.

"This is a failed regime that is resorting to killing people instead of addressing the real issue. The vote was stolen. There's no secret about that," Mr Odinga told the 4,000 people who had gathered to hear him talk on Sunday.

The official results gave President Uhuru Kenyatta 54.3%, and Mr Odinga 44.7%.

He added: "We had predicted they will steal the election and that's what happened. We are not done yet. We will not give up. Wait for the next course of action which I will announce the day after tomorrow.

"But for now I want to tell you not to go to work tomorrow Monday)."

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga addresses thousands of his supportersImage copyrightEPA
Mr Odinga has promised a response to the election results on Tuesday

The BBC's reporter in Nairobi said his claims were contrary to reports from both local and international observers that the poll was free and fair.

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan are among those who have urged Mr Odinga to seek redress through the courts - something the opposition coalition says is not an option.

The Elections Observation Group (Elog), which had 8,300 observers, said its projected outcome put Mr Kenyatta on 54%, just short of the official figure of 54.3%.

Official photos from the presentation ceremony of Ambassador Lilian Onoh at State House Namibia.

Lilian Onoh 1

Lilian Onoh 6

Lilian Onoh 5

Lilian Onoh 4

Lilian Onoh 3

Lilian Onoh 2

Lilian Onoh 1

Courtesy: Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu Facebook page

Kenya's opposition has accused the government of "state terror" and vowed to overturn a "sham" result.

Senior opposition official James Orengo said they would not go to court to achieve this. He urged people to stay calm and out of harm's way.

Mr Orengo alleged that about 100 people had been killed by the Kenyan security forces but did not offer evidence.

Official results gave President Uhuru Kenyatta 54.3%. His challenger Raila Odinga called the election a "charade".

"They knew they were going to steal an election. They knew the people would be unhappy. Therefore all the instruments of violence were put in place," Mr Orengo said.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) meanwhile said 24 people had been shot dead by police during protests.


Hope for return to normality - BBC's Alastair Leithead in Nairobi

Protester in KiberaImage copyrightEPA

What Kenya needs right now is strong leadership. From the government side, that means ensuring security forces don't use excessive force while containing protest.

The opposition National Super Alliance needs to send a clear message to their supporters not to use violence. But in a media conference, lacking the most senior alliance leaders, they said only that people should "stay out of harms way".

They seem lacking in direction and united only by the statement: "We will not be cowed. We will not relent".

They still do not accept the results of the election, but have not yet provided strong evidence for why they believe the elections was rigged, or for the large number of people they claim have been killed.

The clashes are intense but isolated. There is nothing like the level of anger or violence that sparked the killings ten years ago and many Kenyans hope they can return to normal life as soon as possible.


The victims included a nine-year-old girl hit by a stray bullet in a Nairobi's Mathere slum.

A man was also killed in Kisumu county, an opposition stronghold and the centre of post-election ethnic violence in 2007, when 1,200 people died and 600,000 were displaced.

 
The BBC's Emmanuel Igunza says there is an "uneasy calm" in Kisumu

Earlier the Elections Observation Group (Elog), which had 8,300 observers, said its projected outcome put Mr Kenyatta on 54%, just short of the official figure of 54.3%

But Mr Orengo questioned Elog's independence.

Kenya's acting interior minister Fred Matiang'i has urged people to return to their normal lives and called for Kenyans to use social media responsibly.

Mr Matiang'i said most areas were calm but there had been some violence which he blamed on criminals.

Odinga supporters in mathareImage copyrightEPA
Image captionOpposition supporters have been confronting police in Nairobi's Mathare slum
Woman shelters behind police during clashes in Kibera slumImage copyrightREUTERS
Violence also broke out in Kibera slum

Mr Kenyatta has urged peace. "We have seen the results of political violence. And I am certain that there is no single Kenyan who would wish for us to go back to this," he said.

Ahead of the results, Mr Odinga had called on his supporters to remain calm, but added that he did not control anyone, and that "people want to see justice".

Rights group Amnesty International has called for the Kenyan authorities to investigate the killings.


Kenyan media reacts - BBC Monitoring

Kenya newspapersImage copyrightEPA

All major newspapers in Kenya agreed that the president's first duty should be to heal the divisions that were exposed during the election.

The Star newspaper said the extent of Mr Kenyatta's victory "was surprising, even shocking, but we should accept it and move on. Kenya deserves peace and development".

On local radio, pro-ruling party stations hosted jubilant callers. On Radio Nam Lolwe, which broadcasts to opposition areas, a caller spoke of "heartbreaking" scenes where protests had turned violent, saying: "Let us desist from violence and preach peace".

Ramogi FM radio, which broadcasts in the Luo language of defeated candidate Raila Odinga, played gospel music - a break from the usual Saturday discussion programmes.

Champions Chelsea lost Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas to red cards as they suffered a stunning 3-2 home defeat to Burnley on the opening Saturday of the Premier League season.

Chelsea were down to 10 men with 14 minutes gone when captain Cahill was dismissed for a lunging challenge on Steven Defour, and they fell behind with 24 minutes gone as Sam Vokes guided the ball past Thibaut Courtois.

Burnley's lead was doubled when, with a little over five minutes remaining until the break, Jack Cork set up Stephen Ward to hammer home, and it was 3-0 before the interval when Vokes scored his second with a header.

Marcos Alonso had an effort saved by Burnley keeper Tom Heaton early in the second half before Alvaro Morata was brought on for Michy Batshuayi, and Alonso had a free kick saved soon afterwards.

Morata dived to head home his first Premier League goal from a Willian cross and bundled the ball home moments later only to see an offside flag deny him.

Fabregas then saw red for a second booking -- but David Luiz pulled another one back to set up a frenetic finish in which Burnley's Robbie Brady hit the post and Morata failed to touch home late on.

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Liverpool conceded an injury-time equaliser as they were held 3-3 at Watford in their Premier League opener.

Mohamed Salah looked to have netted a winner on his Liverpool debut, but Miguel Britos headed home from point-blank range in the dying moments to secure a share of the spoils.

Liverpool -- without Philippe Coutinho, who was ruled out with a back injury amid intense speculation over his future -- fell behind on eight minutes, with Stefano Okaka taking advantage of some poor defending from a corner to head past Simon Mignolet.

Sadio Mane hit back on 29 minutes, but Liverpool's defensive weaknesses were exposed again as Abdoulaye Doucoure slotted in for 2-1.

Liverpool turned it around early in the second half, with Roberto Firmino equalising from the penalty spot after Salah was brought down in the area by goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes on 55 minutes and then Salah nudging home.

Two goals in three minutes set Huddersfield up for a dream start to life in the Premier League as they defeated Crystal Palace 3-0 at Selhurst Park.

Tom Ince missed an early chance to give the Terriers the lead when he sent a bouncing effort from Tommy Smith's cross straight at keeper Wayne Hennessey.

But they were ahead after 23 minutes when Palace failed to deal with an Aaron Mooy corner and the ball deflected in off Joel Ward -- and with Palace rocking Mooy crossed again and Steve Mounie headed home.

Palace made a half-time change, with Andros Townsend coming on in place of Luka Milivojevic, and Christian Benteke almost pulled a goal back -- but Huddersfield made sure when Mounie struck again.

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Sergio Aguero was on target as Manchester City denied Brighton any hope of a shock on their Premier League debut.

Pep Guardiola's side, for all their riches, took time to get into their groove in a 2-0 win at the Amex Stadium.

But the moment they did it was ruthless as striker Aguero converted 20 minutes from time.

Lewis Dunk turned Fernandinho's cross through goalkeeper Mathew Ryan grasp and into his own net soon afterwards as City prevailed after previously being frustrated.

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Wayne Rooney scored the decisive goal on his second Everton debut as the big-spending Merseysiders beat Stoke City 1-0 at Goodison Park.

New-look Everton had marginally the better of a disjointed opening spell with Sandro, another of their new signings, seeing an effort trundle just wide of the Stoke goal.

But Rooney ended a scrappy first half when he headed in to mark his Goodison homecoming in the best possible style.

Stoke started the second half in determined fashion but found good chances at a premium with Darren Fletcher coming closest when he seized on a loose ball 25 yards out and drilled narrowly wide from distance, and they were denied at the end when new home keeper Jordan Pickford made a fine stop from Xherdan Shaqiri.

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West Bromwich Albion made another set piece pay as they opened the season with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at The Hawthorns.

The visitors produced plenty of neat football throughout, but were unable to create much threat and fell behind after 31 minutes when Ahmed Hegazi headed in a Chris Brunt free kick.

Jermain Defoe came on for Bournemouth after the break, replacing Benik Afobe, but the former Sunderland striker had little to work with as West Brom held firm.

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Southampton suffered a frustrating afternoon as they were held 0-0 at home by Swansea City.

Dusan Tadic missed a fine early chance to put the home side in front when he guided a close-range finish wide from Ryan Bertrand's inviting cross, and James Ward-Prowse saw an effort deflected over as the home side kept control.

They continued to create the better openings, with a Nathan Redmond cross creating havoc before Swansea scraped the ball away, but struggled to carve out clear chances against a well-organised visiting side.

Dusan Tadic went close late on as Southampton made it a club-record six home league games in a row without a goal, their worst run since the 1930s.

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