Former schoolboy international, Paul Uzoho made the headlines across Europe at the weekend as he kept a clean sheet in goal for Spanish club, Deportivo La Coruna. For his performance, Uzoho, who is only 18 may be in reckoning for a place in the Super Eagles squad especially if he retains his shirt in subsequent matches.
Elsewhere, Tammy Abraham (Swansea) Henry Onyekuru (Anderlecht), FC Zurich import, Stephen Odey and China-based Odion Ighalo all scored a brace for their clubs at the weekend just as John Ogu was on song for the first time this season for Israeli club, Hapoel Beer Sheeva.
ADEBAYO OLODAN compiles the performances of Nigerian players in Europe, Africa and the super rich Chinese League where the trio of Obafemi Martins, Ighalo and Super Eagles skipper, Mikel John Obi ply their trade.
The England U-21 forward played the last three minutes for Liverpool in their goalless draw at home to Man Utd in the early kickoff. Reds youngsters Ovie Ejaria and Bobby Adekanye were absent just as the duo of Tosin Kehinde and Matthew Olosunde were not in action for United.
Victor Moses was substituted in the 40th minute after sustaining a hamstring injury as Chelsea suffered a surprise 2-1 loss at Crystal Palace. Freddie Ladapo was not involved in the match despite training with the first team last week.
Tosin Adarabioyo made Man City squad as they trashed Stoke City 7-2.
Tammy Abraham, Nigeria target has scored four of Swansea City’s five goals in the English top-flight after firing a brace in their 2-0 win over newcomers Huddersfield Town. The England U21 star put in a full shift and scored in either halfs of the match.Jordon Ibe played the last 15 minutes of Bournemouth’s 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.
Alex Iwobi lasted the duration of Arsenal’s 1-2 capitulation at the Vicarage against Watford, who are without the injured Isaac Success and Chuba.
Kayode Olanrewaju (Girona): Played the last 45 minutes of his team’s 1-2 loss to Villarreal.
Ex U-17 keeper, Uzoho sets La Liga record on debut
Former U-17 goalkeeper, Francis Odinaka Uzoho has gone into the record books of La Liga following his debut for Deportivo La Coruna in their 0-0 draw away to Eibar.
The net-minder who was signed from Qatar based Aspire Academy one year ago was handed his debut for the Spanish club at the Ipura Municipal Stadium, the home ground of Eibar.
At 18 years and 352 days, the over six feet tall becomes the youngest foreigner to keep goal in the history of the La Liga following his debut, where he showed no sign of a player playing his first top flight day.
Ironically the oldest foreigner to have kept goal in the La-Liga also did so while playing for Deportivo La Coruna, and that was legendary Cameroon goalkeeper Jacques Songo’o when he kept goal for them at the age of 40 years and 67 days in 2004.
Uzoho will no doubt be hoping to emulate the success of Songo’o at the club as he is now going to be the first choice goalkeeper until Reuben who is out injured returns.
Ikechukwu Uche scored twice in the first half as Gimnastic defeated Cordoba 2-1.
Sadiq Umar, Joel Obi (Torino)
Umar was in the line-up and lasted 90 minutes as his team drew 2-2 at Crotone while Obi was not listed.
Okonkwo hits brace, Michael shows class in debut
Nigeria youth international, Kingsley Michael made his debut for Serie A side Bologna starring for the U-19 in their 5-1 thrashing of their Chievo counterparts in a Primavera 1 game .
Michael was handed a start in the game following the success of his work permit application, and the midfielder known as Kaka Trigger by friends and family proved his worth.
He bagged an assist in the same game where his childhood friend and Nigeria youth international pal Orji Okonkwo fired a brace in front of the President of the Serie A side.
Okonkwo who is already a first team member was by far one of the best players of the U19 last season and scored his first senior goal before the international break.
Kingsley on his part will be hoping to emulate the success of Okonkwo who progressed from the youth team to the first team and made his Serie A bow after just three months at the club.
Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes): Played for 90minutes as his team was held to a 1-1 draw by home team, Bordeaux.
Vincent Enyeama (Lille): Remains on the treatment shelf as his team drew 2-2 at home to Troyes.
Leon Balogun (Mainz 05): Was an unused substitute as his club secured a 3-2 win over Hamburger.
Noah Bazee (Hannover 96): He was not listed for his team’s 1-2 loss at home to Frankfurt.
Jordan Torunarigha (Hertha Berlin): The Germany U-20 star is finding game time hard to come by as the defender watched proceedings from the bench when his team lost 2-0 to Schalke 04 on Saturday.
Although Torunarigha has played mainly as a left-sided central defender in the current campaign, the 20-year-old is thought to be the mysterious left back national team Gernot Rohr has beamed his searchlight on as cover for the much-maligned Elderson Echiejile ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The 20-year-old operated as a left back in Hertha Berlin’s controversial 1-0 loss to Oostersund in the Europa League on September 28.
Rohr lines up Idowu as Echiejile’s replacement
Coach Gernor Rohr is considering inviting Brian Idowu as replacement for the injured Elderson Echiejile in the World Cup 2018 Qualifiers tie against Algeria in Algiers.
Echiejile went off injured late in the 1-0 win over Zambia and was replaced by debutant, Ola Aina and recent test suggested the Monaco star will spend at least four weeks on the sidelines.
The length of time he will be out has led Rohr casting a glance at Russian-Nigerian defender Idowu.
Idowu plays for Russian side Amkar Perm, and even though he qualifies to represent Russia, he was interested in switching allegiance to Nigeria before their first game against Algeria.
Issues concerning owning a Nigerian passport stopped him from honouring the call to represent Nigeria who are already through to the World Cup courtesy of their 1-0 win over Zambia.
Efe Amrbrose (Hibernian): Clogged 90 mins as his team suffered a 0-1 loss at home to Aberdeen.
Cyriel Dessers (FC Utrecht): lasted 45 mins of his team’s 3-1 defeat of SC Heerenveen.
Kingsley Ehizibue (PEC Zwolle): Lasted the entirety of his team’s goalless draw at Feyenoord and was cautioned after 22 mins.
Super-sub, Kalu fires brace, Simon claims assist
Samuel Kalu, Moses Simon, Anderson Esiti (Gent): Kalu rose from the bench to score both goals which gave the club a 2-0 win over Beveren.
Kalu was introduced in the 66th minutes with scores levelled at 0-0 and the 20-year-old settled into the game nicely, slotting home his first of the game in nine minutes after his introduction.
Five minutes from full time he completed his brace which wrapped all three points for his team, thanks to his fellow Nigerian Moses Simon who came on in the 67th min and had his strong effort was parried onto the path of Kalu to score.
Out of favour midfielder, Esiti was on for 70 minutes and picked up a booking in the 50th minute.
Henry Onyekuru (Anderkecht): Scored a brace as his team secured a 4-3 win at Mechelen. His goals came in the 34th and 43rd min before he was substituted in the 90th min.
Taiwo Awoniyi (Mouscron): Was substituted in the 85th min as his team held Genk to a 1-1 draw.
Kingsley Madu (Zulte Waragem): The left-back finally returns to Zulte’s set up as he was named on the bench in their late kick off against Antwerp.
Visa hitch stops Yahaya from Brugge trials
Former schoolboy international, Nazifi Yahaya has been denied a visa to Belgium and a proposed switch to Belgian side, Club Brugge is hanging in the balance.
The Belgian Embassy in Nigeria noted that the striker and his minders do not have enough funds in their bank account to take care of the player’s expenses while in West Flanders.
‘Nazifi Yahaya was invited to attend trials with Club Brugge, we got an official letter of invitation from the club but he was denied a visa by the embassy,” a top source disclosed.
”The Embassy said the money in his account was not enough, so we are considering other options.
”Atletico Madrid were also interested but because of the FIFA ban they cooled their interest. He might remain with Kano Pillars next season if his move overseas does not materialise.”
Meanwhile, Nazifi Yahaya has shown his appreciation to Kano Pillars for agreeing to offer him a deal despite his young age, and has vowed to perform more than expected if his contract is renewed.
Onyekuru admits Everton January desire
Henry Onyekuru has admitted that he wants to return to Everton in January, with the Nigerian forward confessing he has met with the Premier League club recently.
The 20-year-old earned a move to the Toffees in the off-season after a goal-laden stint with AS Eupen, but was immediately loaned out to fellow Belgian side Anderlecht.
Onyekuru’s fine form in front of goal has continued in 2017-18, with the African hitman scoring six league goals in six starts for his new club.
With Everton struggling for firepower this season after the summer sale of Romelu Lukaku, the attacker could well have a role to play in the New Year.
“It’s true I had a meeting with Everton last weekend and I’m expecting something,” Onyekuru was quoted to have said.
“That’s all I can say. I hope to return to Everton in January, but we’re not in January, so all my concentration is on Anderlecht.”
Paul Onuachu, Rilwan Hassan (Midtjylland): Continues to push for a Super Eagles call up as he netted the only goal for Midtjylland in their 1-0 away win of SoenderjyskE. His teammate, Hassan, lasted some mins in the match.
Sam Adekugbe (IFK Gothenburg): Played the last 10 mins of his team’s 2-1 win at Halmstads BK.
Chisom Egbuchunam (Haecken): Benched all through his team’s 3-0 win over Taye Taiwo andChidi Dauda Omeje’s Eskilstuna with the latter playing the last 17 mins while Taiwo lasted 90 mins.
Chinedu Obasi (AIK): Rose from the substitutes’ bench in the 61st min as his team secured a 2-0 win over Joenkoepings Soedra.
Kennth Omeruo (Kasimpasa): Was on for the entire duration of his team’s 2-3 loss at home to Sivasspor. The Chelsea loanee was part of the back four that conceded three goals, failing to protect their lead scored three minutes into time added on in the first half.
The game was the fourth for Omeruo since moving to the team in the summer on a season long loan in what will be his second loan spell at the club but overall his third loan stint in Chelsea after spending the entirety of last season with Alanyaspor.
Samuel Emem Eduok (Sivasspor): Played the last 19 mins and was cautioned in the 85th min of the match.
Patrick Eze, Imoh Ezekiel (Konyaspor): Eze was substituted in the 66th min while Ezekiel came on in the 73rd mins of their team’s 0-2 loss at home to Galatasaray.
Ikechukwu Azubuike (Yeni Malatyaspor): Was not listed as his team suffered a 1-3 loss to Fenerbahce.
Eagles better than Holland – Troost-Ekong
William Troost-Ekong said the Super Eagles stand a better chance of beating the country of his birth, Netherlands if both teams come up against each other.
Ekong who was born in the Netherlands to Nigerian parents is a full blown international for Nigeria, and has formed a near perfect relationship with Leon Balogun in the heart of the central defence of the Super Eagles.
The Bursaspor defender who expressed his sadness over the inability of the Netherlands to qualify for the World Cup next year in Russia said the confidence mood in the Super Eagles will power them past the Netherlands if they square up against each other.“It would be a nice match. We are Nigeria and our style is different from the Dutch team, beside we have lost only once in our last team games. I find it difficult to compare but I think we have a good chance to beat the Dutch team”, Ekong told Voetbalzone.nl.
”Of course I’m no longer keen on supporting Holland but there are boys with whom I played with or against and that makes me feel sorry for them not being able to make it to the World Cup in Russia.
“It would have been a great deal for me to play against the Netherlands. I cannot explain right now why things are so bad with Holland because I didn’t see all their matches. I only followed the results and I read about it”, he concluded.
Odey scores, sets-up 2 for new club
Former MFM forward, Stephen Odey marked his first official game for his new team, FC Zurich with a goal and two assists to power them to a 5-2 win over BSC Old Boys in the Swiss U-21 League.
Odey was handed a start in the game which is a third tier league clash and he didn’t disappoint as he set up their first and third goal before netting the fourth goal of the game to hand his team a handsome 5-2 win.
19 year old was second top scorer in the Nigeria Professional Football League last season with 17 goals, and made his senior international bow for Nigeria against Togo in a friendly game in France.
John Ogu, Anthony Nwaekeme (Hapoel Beer Sheva): Ogu scored the third and final goal for his team in their 3-1 win at Hapoel Raana with Nwaekeme also putting in a shift for the victors. A delighted Ogu took to his twitter handle to celebrate the goal; “Happy for the win last night and my first league goal. Glory be to God.”
Pentecost Obiechina (FK Senica): Was an unused substitute in the 1-4 loss at Trencin.
Marvin Egho (Spartak Trnava): Lasted 90mins in the 3-0 win at Zemplin Michalovce.
Musefiu Ashiru (DAC 1904 Dunajska): Was substituted after 53 mins of the 2-0 win at Zeleziarne Podbrezova.
Rabiu Ibrahim (Slovan Bratislava): Substituted in the 79th min of his team’s 3-2 defeat of Tatran Presov with Issa Adekunle and Christopher Udeh lasting 72 and 90 mins for the opposing team.
Yusuf Otubanjo (Zilina): came on in the 57th min of his team’s 2-0 win over Nitra.
Shehu Abdullahi sees red
Shehu Abdullahi went from the high of winning the Man of the Match award for Nigeria in their 1-0 win over Zambia last weekend to the low of taking the walk of shame for his team Anorthosis Famagusta.
Abdullahi started but only lasted 37 minutes after he was shown a straight red card for a tackle deemed as dangerous in their 1-1 draw against Apollon Limassol.
The sending off means he will be suspended for the next three domestic games of the club, which will coincide with when he is expected to resume camp for the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their World Cup 2018 Qualifiers dead rubber tie against Algeria next month.
Mikel spoils fun for Martins
John Obi Mikel had the last laugh in battle of Nigerians in the Chinese Super League on Sunday.
Faced with relegation crisis, Mikel and his Tianjin Teda teammates gave their survival quest a boost on Sunday as they registered a 2-1 away win over Obafemi Martins’ Shanghai Shenhua. Both Mikel and Martins played for 90 minutes and the former got a booking in the 73rd minute of the keenly contested tie.
With Sunday’s victory, Mikel and his Tianjin Teda teammates are now two points away from the drop zone.
Odion Ighalo (Chanchung Yatai): Scored a brace in the 3-2 win of his club against Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng. He scored his first goal in the 50th minute and second on regulation time. The brace took his tally to 14 goals in 25 matches.
Junior Ajayi(Al Ahly): Scored his 13th league goal as his team defeated Al –Itihad 2-0.