There not much to cheer about for most of Super Eagles players plying their trade in the five top leagues in Europe with many of them ended on the losing side. But for Moses Simon, Chukwueze and Azeez, it was another success stories as they helped their respective club to emerge victorious while the much awaited debut for Etebo ended on an embarrassing note.
MIKE ADEYEMI, in this edition of Eagles Watch, tries to put all these performances together for the reading pleasure of our esteemed readers.
Leicester City boss, Rodgers provides Ndidi operation update
The 23-year-old Nigeria international suffered an injury in training and went under the knife on Thursday.
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed Wilfred Ndidi had a successful surgery and has started his recovery process.
The Super Eagles star, who has been a key member of the Foxes squad this season, suffered a knee injury in training on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old combative midfielder subsequently missed his side’s League Cup tie against Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
Rodgers affirmed the former Genk man will be expected to be out of action for between three and four weeks.
“It went very well,” Rodgers told the national media, ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game against Southampton.
“It was a good operation. He’s now back in and straight into his recovery. Something around that [three or four weeks]. Sometimes it can be sooner, sometimes it can’t be.”
The Nigeria international has made 24 appearances across all competitions this season before the injury setback.
…eager to have ‘Top-Class Player’ back in action for club
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is keen to see Wilfred Ndidi return to action as soon as possible after the Foxes struggled in the Nigerian midfielder abscence in their last two games.
Ndidi is expected to be out for around three or four weeks after undergoing a knee operation on Thursday.
Leicester went down to a 2-1 home defeat against Southampton at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
The Foxes were also held to 1-1 draw in their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg tie on Wednesday.
“He’s (Ndidi) a big player for us. He does a lot of the work that I talk about in terms of the pressing, he starts a lot of that and covers the ground well,”Rodgers told reporters after the game.
“We’re very much a squad and we’ve won when other important players haven’t played.
“The guys gave their best today, but it wasn’t enough and we weren’t at our best.
“Wilf is a fantastic player for us but we’ve won games without important players playing, like at the beginning of the season when he didn’t play.
“Hopefully he will be back soon and that gives us back another top-class player.”
Iheanacho subbed on; Balogun dropped as Leicester, Brighton suffer defeats
Kelechi Iheanacho was introduced in the second half but could not replicate his Carabao Cup scoring feat as Leicester City lost 2-1 to Southampton, at the King Power stadium on Saturday.
Iheanacho was brought on in the 58th minute for Harvey Barnes. It was his sixth Premier League appearance this season.
Leicester took the lead in the 14th minute through Dennis Praet before Stuart Armstrong equalised on 19 minutes.
And with nine minutes left Danny Ings scored the winner to subject Leicester to their first league defeat since their 4-0 drubbing against on Boxing Day.
Leicester are now temporarily second on 45 points, 13 points behind leaders Liverpool.
At Goodison Park, Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun was not included in Brighton and Hove Albion’s squad that lost 1-0 to Everton.
Balogun is yet to make an appearance for Brighton in the league this season, featuring only in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.
Brighton now occupy 14th on 24 points while Everton are 11th on 28 points.
Success, Dele-Bashiru (Watford vs Bournemouth)
Nigerian forwards Isaac Success and Tom Dele-Bashiru were unused substitutes in Watford’s 3-0 away win against Bournemouth In the Premier League on Sunday, Completesports.com reports.
Success has only played four league games this season while Dele-Bashiru is yet to make his top flight debut.
The win saw Watford remain unbeaten in six consecutive games in all competitions.
Semi Ajayi gets good rating in West Brom’s away draw at Charlton Athletic
Super Eagles defender Semi Ajayi got a good rating for his performance in West Bromwich Albion’s 2-2 away draw at Charlton Athletic in Saturday’s Championship game.
According to the rating done by birminghammail.co.uk, Ajayi got six out of 10.
He was one of seven West Bromwich Albion players who were awarded six in game.
Commenting on Ajayi’s performance, birminghammail.co.uk wrote: “Caught out when Davison rolled him in the early stages of the game and was cautioned on the spot, then was sloppy on the ball and invited pressure. No nonsense in the second half.”
West Brom head back to the top of the Championship after their second 2-2 draw with Charlton this season.
The Baggies took the lead in the first half through Kenneth Zohore and in the second through Hal Robson-Kanu , but on both occasions they were pegged back when unable to defend set-pieces.
Leeds’ 2-0 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday means West Brom are a point above them on 53.
Joe Aribo (Rangers): Aribo gets a run out as Gerrard makes 11 changes after the break in club win
Joe Aribo played for the first 45 minutes as Rangers trounced Lokomotiv Tashkent 6-1 in a Club friendly on Saturday at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai.
Aribo started the match but was subbed off at the break; Rangers Manager Steven Gerrard made 11 changes after the first-half.
The Gers were 2-0 up at the half-time whistle in what was a friendly on the club’s Winter training camp.
At Full-time the Scottish Premier League side had won with a comfortable 6-1 result.
Sheyi Ojo and Jermaine Defoe among the goal scorers.
Nigerian midfielder, Aribo has made 17 league appearances this season and contributed two goals as Rangers make a push for the title.
Osimhen makes Ligue 1 team for mid-season
…loses away to Djoin
In-form Nigerian forward, Victor Osimhen, has been included in Ligue 1’s team of the mid-season by reputable French publication, France Football beating Kylian Mbappe to the list.
The Lille forward has been in form in the French league since joining in the summer from Belgian side Sporting Charleroi scoring 14 goals in 25 appearances in all competition.
Osimhen is also third on the log of the top scorers in the league with 10 goals in 18 appearances behind PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder while providing four assists.
In a 4-4-2 formation, the Nigerian is paired alongside Monaco’s Islam Slimani. Others include, Montpellier’s Joris Chotard, Marseille’s Dimitri Payet, Nante’s Imran Louza and Metz’s Habib Diallo in midfield.
Strasbourg’s Mohamed Simakan, Reims’ Axel Disasi, Marseille’s Álvaro González and Angers’ Rayan Aït-Nouri are in defense while Gautier Larsonneur of Brest was adjudged the best goalkeeper.
Osimhen opened his 2020 account in the team’s 2-0 win over Amiens in the French Coupe de la Cup.
Lille manager, Christophe Galtier, has also been voted as the best coach of 2019 by France Football in a process carried out by his peers and predecessors.
Meanwhile, Osimhen, was on the losing side when his team played away to Djoin in the French Ligue 1 at the weekend, with the Eagles striker lasting the distance.
Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux and Josh Maja)
And in the French Ligue 1, Super Eagles winger Samuel Kalu was subbed on but could not prevent Bordeaux from losing 2-1 at home to Lyon.
It was Bordeaux’s fourth consecutive league defeat and Saturday’s game was their first in the New Year in the top flight.
Kalu came on in the 54th minute for his 17th league appearance, scoring just one goal.
His Super Eagles teammate Josh Maja was an unused substitute and has made 16 league appearance and has scored five goals.
The defeat leaves Bordeaux in 13 position on 26 points in the league table.
Reds step up Chukwueze pursuit
…as Villarreal consider £34m offer for starlet
Super Eagles dazzling winger, Samuel Chukwueze, might have lost out to Borussia Dortmund’s and Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi as CAF’s best young player but, that has not stopped Europe’s elite clubs from scampering to secure his signature.
The likes of Real, Atletico and Liverpool have reportedly been linked with a swoop for the Nigeria international but, according to latest reports from Spanish outlet Foot Marcato, Champions League holders and Club World Cup champions, Liverpool, are seriously considering a move for the Villarreal starlet in the summer.
According to Mercato, it is believed that the Yellow Submarines are softening their stance over his valuation and will be ready to consider offers in the region of £34m for the 20-year-old as Jurgen Klopp firms up interest in the Nigerian.
Since his La Liga debut in 2018, Chukwueze has gone on to be a hit with the Andalusian side.
The former Diamond academy player has scored three goals in 18 league appearances for Javier Calleja’s side this season.
The Reds have already made one signing this month with the acquisition of Takumi Minamino from Red Bull Salzburg, and the addition of Chukwueze would provide yet another option to their fearsome attack.
The Nigerian is also the third fastest player in the La Liga in the ongoing season clocking 34.58km/h behind Real Betis’ star Alex Moreno on 34.74km/h and Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde on 34.90km/h.
Etebo makes losing debut with Getafe; Chukwueze, Azeez win with Villareal, Granada
It was not the best of debuts for Oghenekaro Etebo as 10-man Getafe crashed out in the second round of the Copa del Rey, after losing 2-0 away to third-tier club Badalona on Saturday.
Etebo who recently joined Getafe on loan from Stoke City, was introduced on 69 minutes of the game.
Getafe were reduced to 10 men following the sending off of David Timor on the half hour mark.
Despite holding out for long period in the game, Getafe’s resolve was finally broken as Chema Moreno scored on 85 minutes.
And in the 93rd minute Badalona got their second goal through Hugo Esteban.
Samuel Chukwueze was on from the start for Villareal who needed extra-time to edge third division club Orihuela 2-1.
Chukwueze later made way with two minutes remaining in the game.
A brace from Gerard Moreno in the 72nd and 118th minutes, saw Villareal progress into the next round.
Brian Pallares got Orihuela’ s goal in the 83rd minute.
In another Copa del Rey clash Ramon Azeez featured for Granada who piped fourth-tier side Tamaraceite 1-0.
Antonio Puertas’ 19th minute strike was enough to seal Granada’s passage into the next round.
Azeez was later replaced in the 85th minute of the encounter.
John Ogu joins new club after six months
Forgotten Super Eagles midfielder John Ogu has joined Saudi Arabia Professional Football League club Al Adalah on a free transfer after six months without a club.
The 31-year-old Nigeria international is searching for new team since he departs Isreali side Hapoel Be’er Sheva at the end of last season.
Ogu first trained with Al Adalah for some days before sealing the move to Nassif Al Bayawi side and he now joins Super Eagles captain and compatriot Ahmed Musa in the Saudi league.
Former Akwa United star was part of Genort Rohr men that claimed third place in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations where he featured only once against Madagascar in Egypt.
Ogu, a three-time Israeli Premier League winner will be hoping to make an instant impact on Al Adalah who sits 15th place in the Saudi Professional League table with just nine points after 14 games.
Odion Ighalo Reports Back to School (Shanghai Shenhua)
Odion Ighalo has returned to training with his Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua over a Month since the Club won the FA Cup.
Ighalo, recently cooled talks of a return to Europe or even the very unlikely u-turn on his international retirement in a recent interview with brila.net.
The striker had spent the holidays on three different continents and also went back home where he joined several Nigerian stars to show support to Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala’s foundation.
Ighalo looked happy in pictures tweeted from Shanghai Shenhua’s training facility and captioned the tweet: Back to School
Meanwhile, Shanghai Shenhua will open the new season’s campaign when they face Guangzhou Evergrande in the Super Cup next month.
Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly)
On the continent, Junior Ajayi got all 90 minutes as Al Ahly labored to a 1-1 result in Bulawayo by FC Platinum in the CAF Champions League.
The 8-time Champions snatched a point through Marwen Mohsen’s 52nd minutes leveler and help them maintain top spot in Group B – until the Al-Hilal vs Etoile du Sahel.
Al Ahly Manager Rene Weiler was not entirely “satisfied” with his team performance and reckons they didn’t deserve more than a point.
“Not satisfied with our performance at all and i don’t think we deserved to win,” Weiler said after the game.
“We’ll keep working hard for the coming games, we don’t have time to rest.
“We got to focus on winning our next home game against ESS Tunis in order to qualify.”
“Not satisfied with our performance at all and i don’t think we deserved to win”#AfricaYaAhly #YallaYaAhly pic.twitter.com/uc6MxnQL52
— Al Ahly SC ???? (@AlAhlyEnglish) January 11, 2020
Ajayi made a return to the competition; he picked up an injury in the first-leg in Cairo.