Few weeks after joining Anderlecht on loan from Premier League club, Everton, Henry Onyekuru has won his first trophy with the Belgian club. The striker who was introduced after 64 minutes came close to scoring but was denied by the woodwork in his team’s 2-1 win over Zulte-Waregem in the Belgian Super Cup.
Elsewhere, Francis Uzoho offered coach Gernot Rohr ray of hope in his search for competent goalkeeper as the former U-17 net-minder continues to make progress with Deportivo La Coruna’s first team. He was between the sticks as the Spanish club recorded a 6-1 resounding win over Bergantinos in pre-season.
It was however a sad tale for Victor Osimhem who seemed to have fallen down the pecking order following the arrival of a new signing at Wolfsburg; these and many more in this far-reaching report by ADEBAYO OLODAN.
Adarabioyo earns high rating against Man Utd
Tosin Adarabioyo has been praised for his performance against Manchester United, despite Man City losing 2-0 to their neighbours in a pre-season friendly in the United States, Thursday night.
The England youth international partnered the experienced Vincent Kompany in central defense in the first half, and battled against Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
A number of Man City supporters took to Twitter to praise Adarabioyo and here are some of the best tweets;
According to a fan of the club, @george_vmcfc : “Although Foden stood out to people, my favourite academy player and the most underrated for me is definitely Tosin Adarabioyo! The new VK!”
Also, @Iam_Abdulaxis said, “Kudos to Kompany and Adarabioyo. Both CB ooze class in the first half but playing against MUFC needs more extraordinary work.”
The 19-year-old Adarabioyo has been on the books of City since he was five and prolonged his stay at the Etihad Stadium after penning a fresh four-year deal this summer.
Tomori handed new Chelsea shirt number
England U-20 international of Nigerian parentage, Fikayo Tomori has been allocated a new shirt number at Chelsea ahead of the forthcoming season.
Tomori wore the number 31 shirt in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Arsenal in a pre-season friendly staged at the Beijing National Stadium (Beijing) on Saturday.
The 19-year-old is predominantly a central defender, the role he played in South Korea at the U20 World Cup, but is also comfortable at right back, and manager Antonio Conte has deployed him in that position since the start of pre-season.
When Tomori made his competitive debut for Chelsea’s first team on the final day of the 2015-2016 season, he wore the number 43 kit, while he was handed the number 33 shirt before the start of last season.
The talented defender replaced Chelsea’s first choice right back, Victor Moses after 69 minutes of the win against Arsenal. Tomori has been on the books of the Premier League champions for 12 years.
Moses arrives Singapore, trains with Morata
Victor Moses and Fikayo Tomori have arrived in Singapore with the Chelsea squad to continue their pre-season preparations.
The two right wing-backs were in the Blues 24-player travelling party that departed the Chinese capital on Saturday after a routine win against Arsenal.
Spain international Pedro was the player absent, the winger remained in Beijing for observation having sustained a concussion in the game with the Gunners, and will fly to London in the coming hours for further review.
New signing Alvaro Morata has already arrived in Singapore and trained for the first time with his new teammates yesterday.
Antonio Conte’s side will face Bayern Munich and Inter Milan at the National Stadium Singapore in their next two friendly matches before returning to the English capital.
Iheanacho could make Leicester debut, Wednesday
Manager of Leicester City, Craig Shakespeare has somehow suggested that incoming Nigerian striker, Kelechi Iheanacho could make his bow for the team on Wednesday.
Speaking after their 1-2 loss to Liverpool in the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong, the coach revealed the next phase of their preparations ahead of the start of the next English Premier League season in three weeks time.
“We go back to England, where we will play against Luton on Wednesday. Hopefully we would have added some players to the squad. Who are most likely going to play in the game or our next game on Friday,” he said.
Although Shakespeare didn’t mention the name of the players they are after, feelers have it that the player will most likely be Manchester City 20 year old Nigerian striker.
For now Kelechi Iheanacho is the one player the club are close to signing with Vice-Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha confirming the transfer as good as done on Saturday.
Versatile Edun pens fresh Fulham deal
Versatile midfielder, Tayo Edun has been rewarded with a new deal by Championship outfit Fulham, the official website of the Cottagers is reporting.
The new three-year contract the 19-year-old signed will keep him at Craven Cottage until at least June 30, 2020.
Edun made his debut for Fulham in a League Cup match against Leyton Orient on August 9, 2016, and had three appearances under his belt for the first team at the end of the 2016-17 campaign.
He has seen his stock rise in recent weeks after helping England win the European U19 Championship in Georgia. Edun is comfortable operating anywhere on the left, either as a full-back or wide midfielder.
Having graduated through the ranks of the Academy, Edun made his first team breakthrough last term in the EFL Cup victory over Leyton Orient, and went on to make three appearances in the competition for Slaviša Jokanovic’s side.
The season ended in style for Edun, as he was a crucial part of the England side which triumphed at the Under-19 European Championship, starting every match as the Young Lions lifted the trophy in Georgia.
Ex- U23 invitee, Adeloye bids farewell to teammates
Former Stoke City youngster, Tomi Adeloye has ended his collaboration with Vanarama National League North club FC United of Manchester.
According to the official website of the Reds, the ex-Nigeria U23 invitee has decided to leave the club because of the difficulty he has in commuting from his base in London.
Adeloye joined FC United of Manchester in March 2017 and scored one goal in nine appearances.
On his football curriculum vitae, the 21-year-old previously turned out for Charlton, Millwall, Chelmsford City, Welling United and Altrincham.
Meanwhile, FC United of Manchester have also announced that they have retained the services of Jordan Fagbola for the 2017-18 campaign.
Uzoho shines in another Deportivo win
Ex- school boy international, Francis Odinaka Uzoho enhanced his reputation as a future first choice goalkeeper of La-Liga side, Deportivo La Coruna by posting a superlative performance in their 6-1 win over Bergantinos in a pre-season friendly.
Just like his first game for the team in pre-season, the 18-year-old kept another clean sheet in the second half when he was introduced as his team have already conceded before his introduction.
Uzoho used his frame to good effect in duels and his firm grip helped him in guarding his box with ease. He also impressed in the few occasions he had to deal with crosses.
Overall he didn’t have much to do, but the reserve goalkeeper for Nigeria at the 2013 U-17 World Youth Championship has no doubt established himself as a first team player in just a year at the club, following his signing from Aspire Academy last summer.
Already he has graduated from the U-18s of the team to the Reserve team which also means he is now officially the third choice goalkeeper for the first team.
“Nigerian Yaya Toure ” eyes Villareal first team
Highly rated Golden Eaglets midfielder, Jack Ipalibo is back in training with the junior team of Spanish La Liga side Villarreal in his quest to make the step up to the first team next season.
Ipalibo was ever present for the B team after his work permit went through, and his performances saw him move a ladder up in the cadre as he trained with the reserves owing to a super showing for the U18s.
He played for the B team against Nigeria Professional Football League side Rivers United in a friendly game last year, and he is hoping to get the nod to feature for the first team next season.
“It’s not hidden that all of us with the junior team hope to represent the first team soon. My plan is the same as many of my teammates but for now my focus is working real hard with the group I am playing for now”, Ipalibo disclosed.
Osimhen losing golden boy tag
Victor Osimhen is gradually losing his golden boy tag at Germany Bundesliga side Wolfsburg with new signing Kaylen Hinds slowly taking his spot as the hottest teen on the block for the team.
While Hinds has scored in back to back games, Osimhen has failed to score in any of the games but he has indeed come close to scoring in both games, with his goal ruled out in their previous game.
Though Hinds operates more as a winger or second striker, Osimhen is being groomed by coach Andries Jonker as long term replacement for veteran top striker Mario Gomez, a role the Nigerian played in their last two games.
Onyekuru wins first trophy for Anderlecht
Henry Onyekuru has won his first trophy as an Anderlecht player playing the last 25 minutes of the club’s 2-1 win over Zulte-Waregem in the final of the Belgium Super Cup.
The forward who scored 24 goals for Eupen last season almost got on the score sheet six minutes before full time. His effort beat the goalkeeper of Zulte-Waregem but it came off the bar just as he was peeling away to celebrate the strike, thinking it will land in the net but it mattered less as they ended up winning 2-1.
On the opposing team, Gent loanee and former Dream Team VI invitee, Peter Olayinka started and logged 90 minutes, while young striker Aliko Bala watched proceedings from the bench. Olayinka was cautioned in the 35th minute of the match.
Elsewhere, Watford loanee Uche Agbo put in a full shift in Standard Liege’s 1-1 draw with Metz.
Gent duo scoring for fun in pre-season
Gent won their last two pre-season matches with the duo of Moses Simon and Kalu Uche finding the back of the net in both games.
Kalu was on target in their 3-1 win over French Ligue 2 side Lens on Thursday, where he also bagged an assist, while on Saturday, Moses found the back of the net as Gent triumphed 3-2 over Beerschot Wilrijk.
They both scored the last goal for their team in the games, with the goal scored by Simon helping the team to lift Marc Steenackers memorial tournament.
While the duo are making a strong impression in pre-season games, same can’t be said about midfield powerhouse, Anderson Esiti who according to unconfirmed reports is battling to be fit after picking up a knock.
It appears Moses Sumon who has been roundly linked with a move away from the club will remain in Belgium after Gent turned down Brighton’s offer of around £6m for his services.
Agbo admits Premier League ambitions
Uche Agbo has not given up on playing in the Premier League despite joining Belgian side, Standard Liege on a three-year deal from Watford.
Agbo joined Udinese in 2013 but spent the last three seasons on loan at Granada in Spain, prior to joining Watford on a five-year deal last year.
Watford, like Udinese and Granada, are owned by the Pozzo family, but after failing to secure a work permit to play in England, Watford opted to cash in on the youngster.
“The Belgian league is closely followed across Europe; I just want to give my best here and you never know what the future holds.
“I’m very happy to join an ambitious club in Belgium, but when my time is right playing in the Premier League will come,” Agbo told BBC Sport.
“My focus right now is to settle at Standard Liege and give my all, by the power of God I will be there [in England] very soon.
“There is no disappointment or whatsoever, sometimes God takes us on a different road to get to our desired destination.”
The 21-year-old played 53 times for Granada’s B team, before breaking into their first team in 2016 and he made 31 appearances in Spain’s La Liga last season. Widely regarded as a tough-tackling midfielder in Spain, Agbo’s impressive performance in his final season there turned sour when his side were relegated.
Agbo, who had previously played for Nigeria at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, made his senior debut against Togo in June.
Ighalo scores another brace for Changchung
Odion Ighalo continued his fine form in front of goal for Chinese side Changchung Yatai by scoring his second brace in as many games despite his team losing 2-3 to Shandong Luneng.
Last week, Ighalo powered his side to a 3-2 win over Guangzhou R&F with a brace, and he followed it up with another in Saturday’s game by netting in the 48th and 81st minute of play.
Although his goals were insufficient for his team to pick at least a point, the brace increased his tally for the season to eight goals in 16 games, after a run of six goals in four games.
Ighalo has found the back of the net in Changchung Yatai’s last four games since ending his goal drought on the 1st of July against Beijing Guaon.
His form will no doubt put him in contention to lead the line for Nigeria when they take on Cameroon in back to back World Cup 2018 Qualifiers tie in August and September.
Oboabona joins Al-Ahli
Saudi Professional League club, Al-Ahli SC has signed Godfrey Oboabona on a one-year deal.
The 26-year-old defender joins the Jeddah club after leaving Caykur Rizespor as a free agent following the club’s relegation from the top division in Turkey last season.
“Official: Nigerian defender Godfrey Oboabona signed a 1-year contract with Al-Ahli,” the Saudi Arabian club announced on Saturday via their Twitter handle.
Oboabona currently holidaying in Nigeria will leave for Jeddah to formally finalise the move in a matter of days.
The former Sunshine Stars captain netted five goals in his 84 games appearance in his four years at Caykur Rizespor. Oboabona was a member of the Nigerian men’s national team that won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
Al Ahli finished as runners-up in the 2016/2017 season behind Al-Hilal FC who has been declared winner of the league title with two matches to play.
Nigerian-born striker Sean Ugo Okoli was in action for 18 minutes Saturday night for 10-man MLS side, New York City coached by former Arsenal star Patrick Viera, in their 2-1 home win against Chicago Fire.
Okoli who came off the bench in place of Jonathan Lewis in the 72nd minute went close to scoring eight minutes before the end of the match when he ran into space to meet a through pass from David Villa but a teammate went for the same ball with him and the opportunity passed by.
Ajayi targets more success with Al Ahly
Junior Ajayi expressed his happiness after scoring against Zamalek and spoke about his future with the Red Devils.
The 21-year-old scored Al Ahly’s second goal as the Red Devils defeated the White Knights 2-0 in the last fixture of the Egyptian Premier League last week. He scored eight goals and provided four assists in 22 league appearances with the Red Castle this season.
“Winning the derby against Zamalek gave Ahly a great boost before the Arab Club Championship. The result against Zamalek was a great way to end the league,” Ajayi said.
Al Ahly who had secured the league title four weeks before it ended managed to maintain their unbeaten run during the campaign after their victory over Zamalek.
“My goal against Zamalek is one of my most important goals,” he added, saying it makes up for the goal he wasted against Zamalek in the Super Cup in February when the White Castle beat Al Ahly on penalties to win the title.
“It was a chance I will never forget. I’ve been waiting to score against Zamalek since then,” he added.
Ajayi, who joined the Red Castle from Tunisian side CS Sfaxien in 2016, believes Al Ahly will be his gateway to success.
“I’m confident Al Ahly is my gateway to any success, whether it’s on a personal level or with the national team,” said Ajayi who was part of Nigeria’s squad for the 2016 Olympic Games but was never called up to the senior team.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The fewest goals scored by an outright winner of the Premier League Golden Boot is 19, by Nicolas Anelka in 2008-09 season.
- Former AS Monaco left-back, Benjamin Mendy fired in 57 crosses from open play in the Champions League last season, more than any other player.
- Nicolas Anelka is the only player in Premier League history to net 20+ goals with four different clubs (Arsenal, Bolton, Chelsea, Man City).
- Ryan Giggs scored in a record 21 consecutive Premier League seasons between 1992-93 and 2012-13 season.
- Liverpool midfielder, Philippe Coutinho has scored 15 goals from outside the area since his Premier League debut; more than any other player.
- Javier Hernandez has the 5th best minutes per goal ratio in EPL history (min. 20 goals).
- Wayne Rooney has been involved in more EPL goals v Newcastle than any other player vs another in the division (14 goals, 8 assists).
- Alvaro Morata’s goals won Real Madrid 13 points in the La Liga last season; only Cristiano Ronaldo won more for the side (15).
- Alvaro Morata had the highest conversion rate of any striker to score 10+ goals in La Liga 2016-17 season; scoring 15 goals from 55 shots (27%).
- Wojciech Szczesny kept the most clean sheets (14) among the goalkeepers in the Serie A 2016/17 season.
- At the age of 23years 123days, Michael Owen is the youngest player to reach 100 Premier League goals.
- Alan Kimble provided a record 24 Premier League assists without ever finding the net himself.