…Moses continues no show at Chelsea
It was a weekend of 1-1 draws for several Super Eagles players with no fewer than 10 of them settling for a share of the spoils across Europe. In England, Isaac Success seemed to be enjoying a new lease of life at Watford as he found the back of the net for the first time in two years in the Premiership.
Elsewhere, the two most prominent Nigerians in the Chinese Super League; Jude Odion Ighalo and John Obi Mikel were both on target for their respective clubs but coincidentally they ended on the losing sides. The goal scored by Mikel who is often deployed as a defensive midfielder or a central defender was a rare one and he will hope to build on his accuracy in front of goal in subsequent matches.
In yet another extensive report, the News Editor, ADEBAYO OLODAN captures the performances of Nigerian players abroad.
Victor Moses (Chelsea): He was not listed when his team defeated Burnley 4-0 away from home.
Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City): Ndidi left it late as he salvaged a point for his team in their 1-1 home draw against West Ham Utd while his teammate, Iheanacho was substituted in the second half of the match.
Leon Balogun(Brighton): He was an unused sub as his club Brighton won 1-0 against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Isaac Success (Watford) & Phillip Billing: Former schoolboy international, Success was on target in the 80th min and was substituted in the 83rd min as his side secured a 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town for whom Billing was yellow carded in the 34th min following a foul on his Nigerian compatriot.
Michael Obafemi (Southampton): The 18-year-old forward was not in Southampton squad as they were held to a goalless draw by Newcastle United.
Alex Iwobi (Arsenal): He put in an impressive performance as his team drew 2-2 away at Crystal Palace.
Success eyes more goals for Watford
Isaac Success believes his goal against Huddersfield Town in Watford’s 3-0 win in the English Premier League has given him the right impetus to bag more goals in the 2018/19 season.
The 22-year-old scored his first goal of the league season for the Hornets underlining his striking credentials.
He has notched three goals in all competitions for the Hornets.
Success, who was a member of the 2015 unsuccessful Nigeria U20 side is confident he would rake in more goals for Watford.
“Its really great to score goals and my first Premier League goal of the season has really powered me for more goals. I would work hard to score more goals,” he told Footnalllive.ng.
“I made the chance count so I want to repeat that performance in the remaining games I play this season.”
The former Granada striker was farmed out on loan to Malaga last term.
Anjorin scores on U-23 debut for Blues
Young midfielder, Faustino Anjorin continued his rich vein of form after scoring for Chelsea in their 3-2 loss to Brighton & Hove in a Premier League 2 contest staged at Electrical Services Stadium (Aldershot, Hampshire) on Saturday.
His compatriot, Tariq Uwakwe started for the Young Blues and was joined on the pitch at half time by Anjorin.
Chelsea U23s have not won a home game since February when they beat Leicester City and found themselves trailing 3-0 six minutes into the second half, with Gyokeres, Connolly and Davies writing their names on the score-sheet.
The introduction of Anjorin for George McEachran sparked them into life and the deficit was reduced when Billy Gilmour converted a spot kick after Norman bundled into Conor Gallagher in the 71st minute.
Three minutes later, Anjorin netted his first goal for Chelsea U23s on his debut, firing a left-footed strike into the bottom corner.
The 16-year-old had two chances to net the equalizer in the final ten minutes, his header narrowly missed the target before goalkeeper Keto saved his shot from 25 yards.
Anjorin has found the net in each of his last five matches for Chelsea youth teams, against the U18 teams of Swansea City, Brighton and West Ham, Molde U19s and Brighton U23s.
Ogenekaro Etebo (Stoke City): The diminutive midfielder was not listed as his club secured a 1-0 win away at Bristol City.
Fikayo Tomori (Derby County): The youngster was the Man of the Match when his team drew 1-1 with Middlesbrough putting in five clearances, two blocked shot, 50 passes and five accurate long balls.
Semi Ajayi (Rotherham Utd): He was on for 90mins as his team drew 1-1 with Preston North End.
Tosin Adarabioyo (West Brom): The Manchester City loanee made two clearances, two tackles, 45 accurate passes and won 10 out of 14 duels for his team in their 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers.
Ola Aina (Torino): He put in a 90 mins shift when his team drew 1-1 with Fiorentina.
The Super Eagles full-back cut inside and struck the post with a shot from inside the area, the ball bounced back and hit the goalkeeper before going inside the net in the 13th minute.
Orji Okonkwo (Bologna): He was a non playing substitute when his team drew 2-2 with Sassulo.
Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes) & Moses Simeon (Levante): He was in action for 90mins and was cautioned in the 70th min as his club lost 2-0 to Levente for whom Simeon was an unused substitute.
Victor Osimhen (Sporting Charleroi):The former youth international continued his goal scoring form as he netted his team’s only goal in their 2-1 loss to Gent. The goal was his fifth in his last five starts for the club.
Abdul Ajagun (KV Korijik): He was an unused substitute when his club played a 1-1 draw with Cercle Brugge.
Uche Agbo (Standard Liege): He was an unused substitute when his club drew 1-1 with Gent.
Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor): He lasted 90 mins when his team shared the spoils (1-1) with Anyalypsor.
Emem Eduok (Kasimpasa): The former Esperance forward played 90mins as his club drew 1-1 with Eruzrum.
Onyekuru returns to training
Galatasaray striker, Henry Onyekuru has made a quicker-than-expected recovery from injury and is back in training with Turkish Super Lig giants Galatasaray.
The 21-year-old, who is on loan in Istanbul from Premier League club Everton, was set to be sidelined for several with weeks with a hamstring injury he picked up while on international duty with the Super Eagles.
Yet the young attacker has made a shock recovery from the problem and is back in training with Gala – a major boost for manager Fatih Terim, whose side is in the midst of an injury crisis.
Whether Onyekuru will be fit to start against Malatyaspor remains to be seen, but at least having the Nigerian on the bench as a possible substitute is more than Gala would have been hoping for at the start of the week.
Furthermore, Onyekuru could be in line to feature for Gala when they play their ‘Intercontinental Derby’ against hated rivals Fenerbahce next weekend.
Onyekuru has racked up two goals in 10 appearances (across both the Super Lig and UEFA Champions League) for Gala in the 2018/19 season.
Kayode Olarenwaju (Shakhtar Donestk):He was not listed due to suspension as his club defeated Arsenal Kiev 3-0.
Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv): The leggy defender played all 90mins as his side earned a 2-1 victory against Vitosha Bistrita.
Kelechi Nwakali (FC Porto B): He was introduced in the 74th min as his side lost 2-4 to FC Famalicao.
Aaron Olanare Samuel (Beitar Jerusalem): He found the back of the net on his debut but could not prevent his club from losing 1-5 to Bnei Yehuda at Teddi Malcha Stadium.
Samuel scored arguably the pick of the goals with a left-footed strike from outside the box.
John Ogu (Hapoel Beer Sheva): The midfielder lasted the duration of his team’s 0-1 loss to Maccabi Netanya.
Chima Akas (Kalmar FF): The former Enyimba left-back lasted 90 mins when his team drew 0-0 with Hammarby.
Rueben Gabriel (KuPS): He was a non playing substitute when his club won 2-1 against IFK Mariehamn.
Faith Friday Obilor and Chrisantus Macauley (HJK Helsinki): Obilor lasted 90 mins while Chrisantus was not listed as their club HJK Helsinki won 4-0 away at TPS.
Taye Taiwo (RoPs): The veteran left-back lasted 90 mins as his club defeated Ilves 1-0.
Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai): After serving out suspension, the Super Eagles forward returned to action for his team and scored in the 88th min of his team’s 1-2 loss to Chongqing Dangdai Lifan. With the goal, Ighalo has set a new personal-high single-season scoring record.
His previous best was back in the 2014-2015 season when he scored 20 league goals for Watford but he has now bettered that record by one goal, having netted his 21st goal in the Chinese Super League at the weekend.
John Obi Mikel (Tianjin Teda): The Super Eagles skipper was on target in the 22nd min as his club suffered a 2-4 loss to Shanghai Shenhua.
Kalu Uche (Atletico Kolkata): He opened scoring in the 3rd min.for the former league champions in their 2-1 defeat of Chennaiyin at the Salt Lake Stadium. The fit-again forward got in line of a powerful header from Brazilian defender, gerson Vieira.
Al Ahly’s striker, Junior Ajayi has begun ball work after three weeks out with torn knee ligament.
The former Shooting Stars forward is expected to return to action in three weeks after recovering from cruciate ligament injury last July.
“Ajayi will return to training after three weeks, as he is improving in his recovery programme,” Khaled Mahmoud, Al Ahly’s doctor said.
Ahly, the eight-time African champions, made their way to their second consecutive CAF Champions League final to face off with two-time champions Esperance of Tunisia.
The Cairo giants will host Tunisian side Esperance in the first leg of the CAF Champions League final on Friday, and the second leg will be played in Tunisia a week after. They will also face the UAE’s Al-Wasl late on Sunday in the first leg of the Arab tournament’s (Zayed Champions Cup) round of 16.
Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa Utd): He was in goal for 90 mins as his club team suffered a 0-1 loss to Mamelodi Sundown.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Wilfried Ndidi’s goal for Leicester is his first in the Premier League since May 2017 against Watford, 539 days ago.
- Chelsea’s Ross Barkley has been directly involved in four goals in his last three Premier League games (two goals, two assists), as many as in his previous 22. He has also scored in each of his last two EPL appearances – the last Englishman to net in three consecutive games for Chelsea in the top-flight was Frank Lampard in February 2013 (4).
- At the age of 38 years and 26 days, Brighton defender Bruno is the oldest player to assist a Premier League goal since Jussi Jaaskelainen (38y 257d) on New Year’s Day 2014 for West Ham against Fulham.
- Since the start of 2014-15, only Jamie Vardy (13) has won more penalties in the Premier League than Wilfried Zaha (11 – level with Raheem Sterling).
- Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has now been directly involved in 22 goals in 23 Premier League games (17 goals, 5 assists).
- Arsenal has not been leading a single Premier League game at half-time this season; being level on eight occasions and behind twice.
- Liverpool has won 26 points in their opening 10 Premier League games this season (W8 D2 L0) – their joint-best start to a Premier League season after 10 games (also 26 in 2008-09).
- Luka Milivojevic’s penalty ended a run of 417 minutes (six hours, 57 mins) without a goal at Selhurst Park for Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
- Cardiff has failed to have a single touch in Liverpool’s box during the first half.
- Chelsea are unbeaten after the first nine games of a top-flight season for just the fifth time in their history alongside 1964-65 (3rd), 1966-67 (9th), 2005-06 (1st) and 2014-15 (1st).