In readiness for the all-important World Cup qualifier against Zambia this weekend, Super Eagles players were in riotous form for their respective clubs. In England, Eagles invitee, Ola Aina contributed an assist for Hull City, same for Mikel Agu while William Troost-Ekong continued his goal scoring form even as a central defender.
The highest number of goals recorded in any league by Nigerian players was in Belgium where Dennis Bonaventure, Taiwo Awoniyi, Henry Onyekuru and former U-20 skipper, Abduljeleel Ajagun all found the back of the net for Club Brugge, Mouscron, Anderlecht and Kortijk in that order.
In this comprehensive report, ADEBAYO OLODAN takes you through the performances of coach Gernot Rohr’s men as the Eagles is within touching distance of flying to Russia next summer.
Wilfred Ndidi played for 90 mins for Leicester City in their goalless draw away at Bournemouth while Kelechi Iheanacho came on in the 69th minute.
It was another four-goal haul for Man Utd against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Despite the big loss suffered by the Eagles, former Flying Eagles invitee Freddie Ladapo would be delighted to have made his first-team debut, 18 months after he joined the club. He was introduced in the 74th minute.
At The Hawthorns (West Bromwich), Watford fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with West Brom as Isaac Success was omitted from Hornets 18-man squad.
Chelsea loanee, Tammy Abraham was in action for the entirety of the game as West Ham earned a massive three points against Swansea City at the London Stadium.
Elsewhere, Victor Moses was on the bench for 90 minutes as Chelsea suffered a 0-1 loss at home to league leaders, Manchester City.
Chelsea has now lost both Premier League games Moses did not feature in the current campaign.
Recall that the former Wigan star sat out Chelsea’s opening day 3-2 loss to Burnley because he was ineligible due to the red card he received in the final of the Emirates FA Cup in the last competitive game of the 2016-2017 season.
The last time Chelsea lost a Premier League game at Stamford Bridge which Moses started was back in the 2012-2013 season when they were beaten 1-0 by Queens Park Rangers on January 2, 2013.
Alex Iwobi netted his first goal of the season in Arsenal’s routine 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove on game week seven in the Premier League, Sunday afternoon.
The 21-year-old last wrote his name on the score-sheet in a 2-1 loss to Watford back in January 2017, prior to today’s meeting at the Emirates with the Seagulls.
In the 56th minute, Iwobi curled the ball into the top corner after a delightful back-heel from Alexis Sanchez, and the Chilean almost increased the lead in the 62nd minute but the goalkeeper made two saves to deny him.
Five of Iwobi’s six Premier League goals were scored at the Emirates Stadium, while the other came at Goodison Park.
Aina produces 2nd assist
Hull City registered their first win in six EFL Championship matches, thrashing Birmingham City 6-1 at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday.
Chelsea loanee Ola Aina, making his 11th start in the division, aided Hull City’s quest to return to winning ways by providing the assist for the third goal scored by The Tigers.
Jarrod Bowen fired home from outside the box to score his seventh goal of the season after he was teed up by the Nigerian right back.
Ola Aina is turning out to be a creative defender at Hull City as his assist against Birmingham City was his second of the season.
His first assist since turning professional was against Hope Akpan’s Burton Albion on match day two.
Otabor happy with Blackpool progress
Birmingham City loanee, Viv Solomon-Otabor is delighted with the progress he has made since joining newly promoted EFL League One club Blackpool in the summer transfer window.
The Nigeria Football Federation target, who trained with the Dream Team VI prior to the 2016 Olympic Games, has started eight out of a possible ten matches this season at the Seasiders, logging 700 minutes.
”It’s good to be in the team week in, week out and getting a lot of game time, playing 90 minutes every week,” Solomon-Otabor told Blackpool’s official website.
”It toughens you up mentally and gets you prepared for the game coming next.
”I feel like I’m improving game-by-game – mentally, physically and as a footballer as well. It’s good for me.”
The pacy winger added: ”The only thing that is missing now is a goal but I’m getting closer and closer.
”Hopefully in the next game I can get the goal but, more importantly, the team is playing well and everyone is working hard for each other.”
London-born Solomon-Otabor is the son of former Bendel Insurance star Victor Banks-Otabor.
Adedoyin becomes first Nigerian to score against Utd in league
Korede Adedoyin netted his third league goal of the season as Everton were held to a 1-1 draw by Man Utd in an U-18 Premier League fixture held at Finch Farm Training Ground (Liverpool), Saturday afternoon.
In doing so, Adedoyin who was born in Nigeria, became the first Nigerian player to score against Manchester United at all levels in the leagues this season.
Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka were on target for Arsenal U18s in their 4-3 loss to Man Utd earlier this month, but the match was an Under-18 Premier League Cup game.
Adedoyin had been watching proceedings from the bench, and forty five seconds after coming off the bench at the start of the second half, he headed Everton into the lead after a delightful cross from Elliot Richards. Turning a blind eye to the red card he received against Derby County on August 19, Adedoyin has been in sensational form this season, scoring in three of his last four matches in the U-18 Premier League.
Born November 14, 2000, he signed scholarship forms with Everton in July 2017.
Umar Sadiq was on the bench for 90mins as his team, Torino was held to a 2-2 draw by Hellas Verona, Sunday afternoon. Orji Okonkwo was an unused substitute for Bologna on Saturday against Genoa in Serie A. Orji has made three appearances with his only goal for Bologna coming against Sassuolo.
SPAIN (DIV II)
Azeez Ramon played all 90 mins as his Spanish segunda division club, CD Lugo won 1-0 against Tenerife. The former U-20 midfielder has featured in all matches for his team this season.
Awaziem has made seven appearances this season and has been called up for Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia on Saturday.
Kelechi Nwakali made his first Dutch Eredivisie division start for VVV Venlo in their 1-0 away win over Excelsior. It was Nwakali’s fourth appearance in the Dutch Eredivisie division since he joined on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal.
Cyriel Dessers continued to push for a call-up to the Super Eagles after opening scoring for Utrecht in their 1-1 draw at Vitesse.
New signing, Stanley Amuzie made his debut for FC Lugano in their 0-3 loss at FC Zurich while former MFM striker, Stephen Odey was missing for the victors.
Aaron Samon was benched throughout the 0-0 draw between CSKA Moscow and Ufa with Sylvester Igboun lasting 80mins for the opposing team before being replaced by Kehinde Fatai.
Another strike for Ekong, Agu the provider
William Troost-Ekong will be hoping to take his good form into national team duty, after scoring the solitary goal for Bursaspor in their 3-1 loss at Kayserispor in the Turkish Super Lig. His international teammate, Mikel Agu produced the assist for Troost-Ekong’s goal in the 39th minute.
2016 Rio Olympics star, Aminu Umar managed to open his goal scoring account for the season in Osmanlispor’s 3-0 rout of Kenneth Omeruo’s Kasimpasa, despite being challenged by the goalkeeper and a defender.
Patrick Eze continued purple patch as he opened scoring for Konyaspor in their 1-1 draw at Yeni Metyaspor.
Onyekuru, Awoniyi, Ajagun, Bonaventure on target
Liverpool loanee Taiwo Awoniyi was on target in Royal Excel Mouscron’s 2-2 draw with Mechelen at Stade Le Canonnier on Saturday.
On 26 minutes, the former U-23 forward fired home a loose ball inside the penalty area after his header was blocked by a Mechelen defender and doubled his team’s advantage in the process.
Awoniyi has now tallied four goals across all competitions and has shown his creativity and unselfishness by providing three assists in eight games.
Also, ex-Flying Eagles skipper Abduljeleel Ajagun netted his second goal but could not prevent Kortrijk from losing 2-1 to KV Oostende at Guldensporenstadion. Henry Onyekuru was in sparkling form as he netted the solitary and winning goal for Anderlecht in the 90th of their 1-0 victory over Standard Liege, yesterday.
Also, Anderson Esiti played for 90mins while Moses Simon was substituted in the 76th min for compatriot, Samuel Kalu as their team, Gent lost 2-1 at Club Brugge on Sunday with Dennis Bonaventure among the goals for Brugge.
Jamabo Odeni George came on in the 90th min of Eupen’s 3-3 draw with Genk.
Maccabi Haifa hijacks Chelsea move for Onyewuenyi
Premier League champions Chelsea may have lost out on the signing of highly-rated youngster, Kelechi Onyewuenyi as Israeli side Maccabi Haifa have agreed a deal to sign the midfielder.
The 18-year-old is currently in the USA with Houston Dynamo but his developmental contract with the club expired when he turned 18, meaning he is available on a free transfer. The midfielder has been itching for a move for some time and has been compared with ex-Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.
According to reports, Chelsea has been keeping a close eye on the player for a while now and were plotting a move for him in the summer, but nothing materialised.
The player himself admitted that he was looking for a move to Europe and was delighted with the interest in him by Chelsea.
However, it seems that Maccabi Haifa have persuaded the player and his agent that they are the best destination for him at this stage of his career as he has a higher chance of first-team football.
He is expected to fly out to Israel with his agent to sign his first professional contract with Maccabi Haifa as he looks to make a name for himself.
Egbuchulam considers options after expiration of Hacken deal
Swedish Allsvenskan club BK Hacken has chosen not to use their purchase option for Chisom Egbuchulam, after his one year loan deal expired.
The 26-year-old joined Hacken on a season-long loan from Nigeria Professional Football League side, Enugu Rangers, with a permanent three-year deal expected to follow based on his performance for Mikael Stahre’s side.
However, news coming out of the Bravida Arena reveals that the contract of the winger, who claimed the Player of the Year at the annual Nigeria Sports Award after helping Rangers win the 2015/2016 NPFL title with 16 goals to his name, will not be renewed.Hacken is expected to do away with Egbuchulam’s services after he failed to score in his 10 appearances for the Swedish outfit.
Egbuchulam’s agent who brokered the Hacken deal, Astrit Feka, disclosed that despite the failure of the player to register his name on the scorers’ charts, offers have started to come in for the striker.
“There is interest for Chisom both in Sweden and abroad, and we will see how things are developing in the coming months,” Feka said.
Alhassan Ibrahim finally opened his goal scoring account for Austria Wien when he scored the opener in the 72nd minute and played all 90 minutes of the club’s 2-0 win over Altacha, yesterday.
Izunna Uzochukwu played the last 4 mins of OB Odense’s 1-1 draw at Hobro just as Paul Onuachu and Rilwan Hassan lasted for 90 mins and last 20 mins in FC Midtjylland’s 4-1 trouncing of AaB.
Elsewhere, Simon Okosun lasted the distance as his team, AC Horsens defeated Randers 1-0 before their crowd.
Charles Ezeh, Moses Ebiye, Ifeanyi Mathew and Chigozie Udoji were all in action yesterday as Lillestrom suffered a 2-1 reverse to Tromso. Ohi Omoijuanfo continues to occupy top spot in the scoring charts with 17 goals, after scoring two second half goals as Stabaek beat Vålerenga 4-2 at Nadderud Stadion (Bærum).
Vincent Onovo was a 76th min substitute while Faith Friday Obilor played the entirety of HJK’s 4-0 thumping of PS and was cautioned in the 73rd min. Kemi Matias Ojala lasted the duration of the match on the opposing side.
Michael Odibe scored his first goal of the season for Akzhayik Uralsk who lost 3-2 to Ordabasy Shymkent in the first league. The former Nigerian international has made 29 appearances for Akzhayik Uralsk who are 10th in the table with 29 points from 30 games.
Nsofor nets first goal in derby win
Former Super Eagles striker, Obinna Nsofor netted first goal for Cape Town City in their
2-0 away win against local rivals Ajax Cape Town in the South African Premier League on Saturday.
Nsofor, who was on from the beginning, opened scoring for Cape Town City in the 34th minute and with two minutes remaining, Judas Moseamedi sealed the game by netting Cape Town City’s winner.
The game was Nsofor’s third for Cape Town City since moving from Darmstadt during the transfer window. Cape Town has now moved up to third on 12 points and just one deficit of leaders Lamontville in the South African top flight table.
Kaizer Chiefs may sign Sheriff from Malawian club
Malawian-based defender, Yinusa Sheriff Olanrewaju, is believed to have attracted the interest of Kaizer Chiefs.
Chiefs are in the midst of a defensive crisis at present with their wounded including the likes of Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Tsepo Masilela, Teenage Hadebe and Lorenzo Gordinho, with Sibusiso Khumalo.
‘Sheriff’, a 22-year-old that can play as a centre back, right back or defensive midfielder, is currently contracted to Silver Strikers in Malawi, but may be open to a move to South Africa should the opportunity arise.
As reported in today’s issue of Soccer Laduma, the versatile Nigerian is thought to have made his way onto Bobby Motaung’s list of potential targets once the January transfer window opens up next year.
Strikers are still in with a chance of winning the Malawian Premier League title, and Olanrewaju will be keen to try and help them lift some silverware regardless of whether he ends up moving on or not. The defender signed a two-year deal in February.
Newcastle 1 – 1 Liverpool
Huddersfield 0 – 4 Tottenham
Bournemouth 0 – 0 Leicester
Man Utd 4 – 0 C/Palace
Stoke 2 – 1 Southampton
West Brom 2 – 2 Watford
West Ham 1 – 0 Swansea
Chelsea 0 – 1 Man City
Arsenal 2 – 0 Brighton
Everton 0 – 1 Burnley
Udinese 4 – 0 Sampdoria
Genoa 0 – 1 Bologna
Napoli 3 – 0 Cagliari
Benevento 1 – 2 Inter
Chievo 2 – 1 Fiorentina
Lazio 6 – 1 Sassuolo
SPAL 2013 1 – 1 Crotone
Torino 2 – 2 Hellas
AC Milan 0 – 2 Roma
Atalanta 2 – 2 Juventus
Celta Vigo 3 – 3 Girona
Deportivo 2 – 1 Getafe
Sevilla 2 – 0 Malaga
Levante 0 – 2 Alaves
Leganes 0 – 0 Atletico
Sociedad 4 – 4 Real Betis
Barcelona 3 – 0 Las Palmas
Valencia 3 – 2 Athletic
Villarreal 3 – 0 Eibar
Real Madrid 2 – 0 Espanyol
Schalke 1 – 1 Leverkusen
Augsburg 1 – 2 Dortmund
Frankfurt 2 – 1 Stuttgart
Wolfsburg 1 – 1 Mainz 05
Mo’gladbach 2 – 1 Hannover 96
Hamburger 0 – 0 Bremen
Freiburg 3 – 2 Hoffenheim
Berlin 2 – 2 Bayern Munich
Cologne 1 – 2 Leipzig
Monaco 1 – 1 Montpellier
PSG 6 – 2 Bordeaux
Dijon 1 – 1 Strasbourg
Guingamp 1 – 1 Toulouse
Nantes 1 – 0 Metz
Rennes 0 – 1 Caen
Troyes 2 – 1 St-Etienne
Angers 3 – 3 Lyon
Nice 2 – 4 Marseille