Arsenal beat Liverpool to lift FA Community Shield

Arsenal beat Liverpool 5-4 on penalties on Saturday to lift the Community Shield, the curtain-raiser for the English domestic season, after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw on a chilly afternoon at Wembley.

Gunners captain and match goal-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang blasted home the final penalty of the afternoon to complete the north London side’s second win over the league champions in the space of six weeks following a shortened summer break.

“We are improving. There is still work to do but I’m really happy and it’s an exciting time to be an Arsenal player,” Aubameyang told BT Sport after the match.

It was the Gunners’ second trophy within a month following the side’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea on Aug. 1.

The game was a very even and at times rather slow affair, with Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk having an early strike ruled out offside before Arsenal’s opener, a well-worked move to break out of the champions’ high press.

Bukayo Saka took the ball up the field on the right, crossed all the way over to Aubameyang on the far left, and the Gabon striker skipped forward and curled an inch-perfect shot beyond the reach of Liverpool keeper Alisson into the opposite corner.

The Liverpool attack appeared disjointed by contrast. While they pushed Arsenal right back up the field for long stretches in the first half, they were unable to put together a single shot on goal.

Liverpool’s Japanese substitute Takumi Minamino levelled the tie in the 73rd minute with a shot from close range, picking up his first goal in 15 appearances since arriving on Merseyside in January.

Mohamed Salah, Fabinho, Minamino and substitute Curtis Jones all scored for Liverpool in the shootout, but fellow substitute Rhian Brewster blasted his shot – his first touch of the ball – onto the bar.

Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Cedric Soares and David Luiz all scored for the Gunners before Aubameyang stroked his shot past Alisson to seal the victory for the Londoners.

When asked about whether he will renew his contract with Arsenal, Aubameyang – their leading scorer for the last two seasons – remained enigmatic: “We’re going to see in these days. Today, we take the trophy, that’s it.” (Reuters/NAN)

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.