It was a weekend of deluge of goals as Nigerian players helped their respective clubs across Europe and Africa to secure vital wins and draws.
Leading the charge of Super Eagles players and prospects who made the headlines for the right reasons is Sylvester Emeka Igboun who scored the solitary goal of Ufa’s 1-0 win over Arsenal, a few minutes after coming on in the Russian League. In the same vein, Kingsley Ehizibue found the back of the net in the Dutch League for PEC Zwolle, just as Patrick Eze, Eagles’ target, Tammy Abraham, Marvin Egho and Kelechi Nwakali were on song for their respective teams.
In this extensive report yet again, ADEBAYO OLODAN reports the performances of players coach Gernot Rohr may be inviting for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Zambia.
Abraham scores as Moses stars
At Goodison Park, Everton came from behind to beat Bournemouth 2-1. Former England U-21 star, Ademola Lookman was on the bench for the Toffees.
Tosin Adarabioyo wasn’t involved in Man City’s 5-0 hammering of Crystal Palace just as former Flying Eagles invitee Freddie Ladapo didn’t make the Eagles 18 as he featured for the U-23s on Friday.
Super Eagles winger Victor Moses put in an impressive 90 mins as Chelsea defeated Stoke City at the Britannia stadium. Recall that Moses spent the 2014-15 season on loan from Chelsea.
England U-21 forward, Tammy Abraham, who made international headlines this week, netted his second Premier League goal of the season in Swansea City’s 2-1 loss to Watford at the Liberty Stadium.
Having entered into the fray in the 46th minute, Abraham equalised for the home team in the 56th minute, only for Richarlison to net a late, late winner for the Hornets, for whom Isaac Success was an unused substitute.
In the late kickoff between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium, Wilfred Ndidi lasted 90 mins, Kelechi Iheanacho was an unused substituted just as Ahmed Musa was not listed when the Foxes lost 2-3 at home to Liverpool.
Wenger charges Iwobi to improve
Arsenal head coach, Arsene Wenger, has urged Alex Iwobi, to add more goals and assists to his game and improve, as he feels the future is bright for the winger, if only he keeps his focus and mentality intact.
Iwobi, since his promotion from the club’s academy has been an integral part of the team, but has scored a miserly five goals in 41 English Premier League games, a situation Wenger doesn’t want to see continue for the 21 year old.
“I like the fact that he can play in tight areas, that he turns the game forwards, that he’s very mobile,” Wenger told the club’s website.
“We forget sometimes that Alex is still a very young player and that there’s a lot more to come from him.
“There must be a lot more to come from him because he has more personality in the game now.
“We expect him to be more efficient in the final third offensively, because you feel there are goals in there and assists too.
“They have to come out. Add that to the fact that he allows the team to play very well and he will be a top-class player.”
Kayode Olanrewaju was cautioned in the 83rd min after coming on in the 60th min of Girona’s 0-3 loss at home to Barcelona.
Efe Ambrose lasted the distance as Hibernian defeated Ross County 1-0 away from home.
The injured Vincent Enyeama missing once again as Lille suffered a 0-4 defeat at home to Monaco.
Ogenyi Onazi was benched all through Trabzonspor’s 3-4 loss at home to Alanyaspor just as
Patrick Eze came on in the 46th min and scored in the 73rd min of Konyaspor’s 2-0 defeat of Akhisar Belediye.
When Karabukspor suffered a 2-4 loss at home to Yeni Malatyaspor, Okechukwu Godson Azubuike lasted 90 mins for the visitors just as Kenneth Omeruo impressed on his second full debut for Kasimpasa who secured a 1-1 with Kayserispor, Sunday afternoon.
Germany youth international, Ohis Felix Uduokhai played the entirety of Wolfsburg’s 2-2 draw with Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich at Allianz Arena. The 20-year-old started as a central defender. Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen was not in Wolfsburg’s match day squad for this one. He has made the 18-man squad three times in all competitions so far this season.
Leon Balogun benched all through Mainz 05’s 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin.
A division lower, Kingsley Onuegbu came off the bench in the 18th minute as MSV Duisburg were beaten 3-1 at home to leaders Holstein Kiel on match day eight.
The number 10 has scored once for the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena outfit this season, against Arminia Bielefeld on September 9.
Ligue I giants tracking unsung defender
Ligue I giants, Olympique Lyon held preliminary talks with Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side FC Ifeanyi Ubah over the services of Stephen Eze.
According to AOIfootball, Lyon scouted Eze at the ongoing West African Football Union (WAFU) tournament having emerged as one of the stars of the Nigerian team, who are yet to concede a goal in four games.
The defender was at his best during the 2-0 win over hosts Ghana, which sealed Nigeria’s progress to the semi finals. That was believed to be the third game in a row Eze impressed the scouts of Lyon.
Talks were believed to still be at preliminary stages but Eze could have trials with Lyon by December ahead of the opening of the transfer window in January 2018.
Eze has remained a member of Nigeria’s Home-based Super Eagles side since his consistent displays from his days at Sunshine Stars.
Awaziem makes Team of the Week after assist
On loan FC Porto defender, Chidozie Awaziem made the Ligue I Team of the Week after impressing for Nantes over the weekend in their 1-0 win over Caen on his return from suspension.
The defender who has two senior caps for Nigeria has a faultless performance for the entire duration of Nantes clash against Caen.
His return saw him reinstated by coach Claudio Ranieri and the 20-year-old did not disappoint as he put up a sterling display which he capped with an assist for his team’s lone goal of the game.
Awaziem’s solid performance last weekend is a turning point for the lad after a spell out due to suspension and his poor showing for Nigeria when he was blamed mostly for Eagles’ 2-0 defeat at home to South Africa in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers.
Porto wants the defender to extend his stay at the club ahead of his return next summer as they expect him to have made sufficient progress that is good for the first team at Nantes.
Tyronne Ebuehi played for 90 mins as ADO Den Haag defeated Ryan Sanusi’s Sparta Rotterdam 1-0 even as Cyriel Dessers was substituted after 61 mins of FC Utrecht’s 1-7 whitewash by PSV. Elsewhere, Kingsley Ehizibue scored in the 30th min and lasted 90 mins for away team, PEC Zwolle in their 1-1 draw with VVV-Venlo with Arsenal loanee, Kelechi Nwakali playing the last 14 mins for the home team.
Chidera Ezeh missed Portimonense S.C’s 5-2 loss to Porto at the Estádio Do Dragão.
It would have been the striker’s third appearance in the Primeira Liga if he had featured, teammate Stanley Awurum didn’t make the 18-man squad.
Relatively unknown David making inroads at Bnei Lod
Little known midfielder, Timothy David has settled down quickly at Israeli side Bnei Lod , the team he joined in the summer after impressing in a scouting tournament organised in Abuja by popular Israeli agent David Ouziel.
The left footed defensive midfielder who has the ability to roam from box to box has progressed rapidly at the second division Israeli side after scoring two goals and picking up three assists from his first three games for the U19s.
Already the former MFM trainee has trained with the first team severally, and even feature in the a Cup game recently. A rise that will no doubt help his dream of playing for the next Nigeria U-20 team when they resume camping.
Alhassan Ibrahim Muazzam played the entire 90 mins as Austria Wien picked up a point at Red Bull Salzburg following a goalless draw in the Austrian Bundesliga. Austria Wien are now third on the log with 15 points from nine matches, four points behind leaders, Sturm Graz.
Abiola Dauda played the last 12 mins of Atromitos’ 3-0 win over Lamia just as Suleiman Omo logged 90 mins for the opposing team.
Aaron Samuel Olanare was an unused substitute in CSKA’s goalless draw at Dinamo Moscow just as substitute and pacy forward, Sylvester Emeka Igboun scored the solitary and winning goal for Ufa after 77 mins of their victory against Arsenal Tula. His compatriot, Kehinde Fatai was substituted after 79 mins.
Henry Onyekuru rose from the substitutes’ bench in the 46th min as Anderlecht secured a 2-1 win at Waasland-Beveren. Elsewhere, former Flying Eagles skipper, AbdulJeleel Ajagun lasted the duration for Kortrijk as his team suffered a 3-0 loss at Royal Antwerp even as Joseph Akpala
played the last five mins of Oostende’s 1-1 draw at Genk.
For the first time in recent weeks, Taiwo Awoniyi fired blank and was substituted in the 88th min as Royal Excel Mouscron secured a 3-2 win over Eupen with their Nigerian import, Jamabo Odeni George benched for 90mins.
Michael Omoh was cautioned in the 30th min and substituted in the 76th min while Kennedy Igboananike logged 90 min for Oerebro in their 2-3 loss at home to AFC Eskilstuna. Chidi Dauda Omeje was introduced in the 67th min while Taye Taiwo lasted 77mins for the victors.
Ibrahim Shuaibu was substituted in the 46th min while Ikenna Ikedi was on from start to finish and Izuchukwu Anthony benched for 90 mins of FK Haugesund’s 2-1 win over Viking.
Simon Okosun was on song in the 16th min and lasted 90 mins as AC Horsens defeated
FC Helsingoer 2-0.
Marvin Egho gave Spartak Trnava the lead in the 15th min as his club, Spartak Trnava secured a 3-1 win at FK Senica.
Ibadan-born forward Ismahil Akinade opened the scoring after two minutes as Bohemians defeated his former club St. Patrick’s Athletic 3-2 in an Irish Premier Division encounter at Dalymount Park in Dublin. The 23-year-old subbed out with four minutes left n the clock.
Onovo happy to win first trophy in Finland
Vincent Onovo lifted his first trophy since moving to Europe as HJK Helsinki beat Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho 1-0 in the final of the Finnish Suomen Cup, Saturday evening.
Onovo lost three Suomen Cup finals in three consecutive years, two while he was defending the colours of Inter Turku, prior to yesterday’s showpiece game at OmaSP Stadion (Seinäjoki).
”I feel great because I have lost the final in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Now I won the cup in the final, sometimes a game like this is decided by one goal or more goals,” Onovo said.
Having started three Group C matches and the semi final showdown versus Ilves, the hardworking midfielder managed only nine minutes in the final against SJK.
Asked to comment on why he dropped to the bench, Onovo replied : ”I think the coach has the right to choose any player that he wants to start”.
Meanwhile, Onovo could bid farewell to HJK Helsinki as early as next month when he comes off contract as he has not yet signed a new deal.
Ex-Rangers keeper, Daniel returns to Pirates
Former U-23 goalkeeper, Emmanuel Daniel has returned to Premier Soccer League (PSL) outfit Orlando Pirates .
The goalkeeper was believed to have parted ways with the Soweto giants after Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic stated that he was no longer training the with club last month.
Micho had replaced Swedish trainer Kjell Jonevret as Pirates head coach prior to the current 2017/18 campaign.
He is facing stiff competition from Wayne Sandilands, Siyabonga Mpontshane and Jackson Mabokgwane in the Bucs goalkeeping department. Bafana Bafana international Sandilands is the current Pirates first-choice keeper.
Daniel has since resumed training with the Houghton-based outfit as he looks to impress Sredojevic and his technical team.
The 24-year-old started in goal for the Buccaneers in a Multichoice Diski Challenge (MDC) match against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg last weekend.
The former Enugu Rangers shot-stopper played the entire match as the Bucs suffered a 2-1 defeat to Phunya Selel Sele in a PSL reserve league encounter.
Daniel is yet to make his competitive debut for the Pirates first team since joining the club from Rangers midway through last season.
Ajayi hits winner as Ahly shock Esperance
Al Ahly of Egypt shocked hosts Esperance of Tunisia 2-1 Saturday to reach the CAF Champions League semi-finals with Junior Ajayi scoring the decisive goal.
After holding record eight-time champions Ahly 2-2 in Alexandria last weekend, Esperance took a second-leg lead through leading scorer Taha Yassine Khenissi off a 40th-minute penalty.
Tunisian defender Ali Maaloul levelled for Ahly soon after half-time and midfielder Ajayi struck the crucial second goal on 62 minutes.
Winning at the 60,000-capacity Stade Olympique in Tunis suburb Rades gave Ahly a 4-3 overall victory and a semi-finals date with Etoile Sahel of Tunisia or Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya.
History repeated itself as Ahly won 2-1 at the same ground to win the 2012 Champions League final after being held at home in the first leg.
Ahly had not impressed on the road in previous Champions League matches this season, winning only one of four, and failing to score in three matches.
The home form of Esperance had been good with three victories, and a draw against defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
DO YOU KNOW?
- Newcastle Utd was the only team to beat Brighton & Hove Albion both home and away in the 2016-17 Championship season.
- Sheffield Utd has scored four goals away at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday for the first time in their history.
- Everton’s Oumar Niasse has scored 83 per cent of his EPL goals as a substitute (5 of 6), second only to Matt Derbyshire (90%) of players with 5+ PL goals.
- There were 31 passes before Fabian Delph’s goal v Crystal Palace, the most before a goal in the Premier League since September 2015.
- Since joining Liverpool in 2013, Simon Mignolet has saved 7 of the 15 Premier League penalties he’s faced; more than any other keeper.
- Jordan Henderson has scored his first Liverpool goal since his strike at Chelsea last season; 372 days ago.
- Shinji Okazaki has scored four goals in his last seven Premier League apps, as many as in his previous 48.
- Philippe Coutinho has scored more goals from outside the box than any other player in the Premier League since his debut.
- No Liverpool player has been involved in more goals in all competitions this season than Mohammed Sallah (6 goals, 1 assist).
- Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has scored five goals in his last three Premier League games against Liverpool, including two braces at the King Power Stadium.