From Egypt through England, to Netherlands, down to Greece, Nigerian strikers registered their names on the scoresheet, with some ending on the winning side while some, despite their goals, still found themselves on the losing side.
Notable among the winners is Bukola Saka of Arsenal, who yet again delivered a Man of the Match performance when the Gunners ran riot of Newcastle United, trouncing them 4-0 in the process. He capped his performance with an assist to Nicholas Pepe for the second goal of the night.
In this week of Champions League football, MIKE ADEYEMI puts together the performances of Super Eagles players and prospects for the reading pleasure of our esteem readers. Enjoy it.ENGLAND
Fans clamour for Saka’s contract extension after MOTM performance
The teenager laid on a precise pass for Nicolas Pepe who beat Magpies goalkeeper Dubravka in the 57th minute of the game at Emirates stadium.
Despite receiving a caution for a tackle on Ciaran Clark in the 82nd minute, his imprint was all over the impressive victory for Mikel Arteta’s side and the overall input he put in was unmistakable.
Below are some of the Twitter reactions from fans on his performance this evening,
@PainInThArsenal: Let Bukayo Saka write whatever number he wants on that new contract.
@charles_watts: Magic from Saka, superb from the youngster. Nutmeg, cross, goal! 2-0.
@elspanishgooner: Nobody was expecting Saka to perform that well in his first year and playing out of position. He’s absolutely elite.
@Aubazettes: 18 years old winger Bukayo Saka is the best left back in the league in 2020 and there’s nothing you can do about it.
@pamodou43413066: Don’t ever compare that chav Brandon Williams to saka it’s not even close?????? #ARSNEW.
@AFCAMDEN: Saka ruining careers. Send that chap back to Inter.
@Southerngooner: That is unreal Saka ???????????? #Arsenal .
@ltArsenal: Saka turning into Sane there.
@statmanDave: Bukayo Saka completed 6 take-ons vs. Newcastle United, no player on the pitch completed more.What a season the teenager is having. ??
@cdavison_AFC: Extend this kids contract asap please, Arsenal! #Saka.
@aej11x: you know Saka is incredible when you can even see United fans praising him.
@_EhEzal: So finally the debate Saka is better than Rashford and Greenwood is over.
@danielstorey85: Bukayo Saka is astonishingly good for an 18-year-old, in a position where Gareth Southgate has a number of unideal or just-not-quite options.
@XhakabilityV2: Bukayo Saka with 3 goals and 8 assists this season. Just 18 years old, an absolute delight.
@PatrickTimmons1: There will be dips along the way, and we may have to be patient as fans, but Bukayo Saka has all the attributes to be a top, top player. Phenomenal yet again today in a position that isn’t natural to him. Top class.
Leon Balogun (Wigan Athletic)
Balogun, made his first start for championship side Wigan Athletic in a 2-2 draw against Cardiff City, since arriving on loan from Brighton& Hove Albion on transfer deadline day.
Leon Balogun showed his excitement on getting a minute as well as the team spirit when he tweeted:
“Important point secured away from home, but we have to work harder in defending our lead, especially while playing away from home. We move on to the next one! To the fans who travelled with us– a big thanks for the support, be safe”.
…as coach thumbs up impressive showing
Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook has heaped plaudits on Leon Balogun following the towering centre-back impressive performance in the Latics 2-2 away draw at Cardiff City.
Balogun made his first start for the club, since arriving on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion on transfer deadline day.
The 31-year-old put up commanding performance in the game and Cook was quick to praise him for his excellent display.
“Leon (Balogun) is excellent. He’s composed, he sees things a lot more quickly and senses danger, his reading of the game is excellent,” Cook told the club’s official website.
“We had to defend well today. I know we conceded two goals, but we came under a lot of prssure, so I’m really pleased for the lads and they can have a good trip back now.
“It’s been a tough week, so we’ll give them a couple of days off before the preparations begin for Millwall at home.”
Ajayi in action as West Brom concede late to draw
Semi Ajayi’s West Bromwich Albion all three points, as they settled for a 2-2 how draw in Saturday’s Championship game at the Hawthorns.
The game was Ajayi’s 31 appearance in the Championship for West Brom this season.
The draw means West Brom are unbeaten in their last four league games, winning three and drawing one and miss the chance to extend their lead on the log.
Also, the Baggies maintain top spot on 63 points, while second place Leeds, who will host Bristol City later on Saturday, are second on 56 points.
West Brom took the lead in the 37th minute through Callum Robinson but an own goal by Kyle Bartley on the stroke of half-time, drew Forest level.
In the 65th minute an own goal by Tobias Figuereido put West Brom 2-1 ahead.
But in the 91st minute Matty Cash scored to earn Forest a share of the points.
Ebere Eze and Osayi-Samuel (QPR)
Nigerian new prospects Eberechi Eze and Bright Osayi-Samuel were on the scoresheet for Queens Park Rangers in a hard fought 4-2 comeback win over Stoke City.
Ebere Eze registered his first goal since New Year’s Day 6-1 home victory over Cardiff while Osayi-Samuel also got his first since 5th January.
Eze’s goal on Saturday is his 11th goals in 33 league games while Osayi-Samuel has bagged 5 goals in 25 games.
With the victory, QPR sit in 16th position on 42 points in the 24-team league table.
William Troost-Ekong (Udinese)
Super Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong featured for struggling Udinese who were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Hellas Verona, in the Serie A.
The game was Troost-Ekong’s 21st Serie A appearance for Udinese in the current league campaign.
Udinese have now failed to register a win in their last six games, losing four and drawing two.
The last time Udinese recorded a win was on January 12, in a 3-0 home win against Sassuolo.
Following Sunday’s draw, Udinese occupy 15th position on 26 points and are four points above the relegation zone, in the league table.
His other team mate of Nigeria descent, Stephano Okaka, also lasted the distance but could not register his name on the score sheet.
…as Everton, Inter Milan, Dortmund scouts watch Eagles defender
Super Eagles assistant captain William Troost-Ekong went the distance as Udinese were held to a goalless draw by visitors Hellas Verona on Sunday afternoon.
The central defender dished out two tackles, won four aerial duels and blocked two shots over the course of ninety minutes, according to stats from Whoscored.com.
Italian journalist Nicolo Schira is reporting that scouts representing Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Everton were in attendance at the Dacia Arena and suggested that the talent spotters were watching Verona’s Albania international defender Marash Kumbulla.
Troost-Ekong has come under intense scrutiny in recent months following a dip in form but was slightly above average in his last two appearances in the Bianconeri shirt.
The former Tottenham Hotspur youth-teamer earned plaudits for his performances in his debut season in Italy and was rewarded with a new deal last November.
Troost-Ekong is expected to be named on the Nigeria roster for next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone.
Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal): Samuel Chukwueze was in action for his Spanish team Villarreal when they clinched a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Levante in Saturday’s La Liga game.
The Super Eagles speedstar got his 23rd league appearance of the season when he came in for Paco Alcacer in the 76th minute of the game.
The victory see the Yellow Submarine move up on the log to European League qualification spot with 38 points from 24 games.
Chukwueze has only recorded 3 goals with a handful of 3 assists in 27 games across all competitions this season.
Etebo disappointed with Getafe defeat at Barcelona
Super Eagles midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo has expressed his disappointment following Getafe’s 2-1 defeat to Barcelona at the Camp Nou in Saturday’s LaLiga clash.
Etebo was in Getafe’s starting eleven for his third LaLiga game since his loan move from Stoke City.
Reacting to the defeat, Etebo wrote on his verified Twitter handle: “Disappointing results but we go again lads.”
Antoine Griezmann put Barcelona 1-0 ahead before Sergi Roberto doubled their lead on 39 minutes.
In the 66th minute, Angel Rodriguez reduced the deficit which was just a consolation goal.
Despite the defeat, Getafe stay third on 42 points and are 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid and second placed Barcelona.
Prior to the defeat against Barcelona, Getafe had won their last four games.
Chidozie Awaziem (Leganes): The Eagles defender was solid in the backline curtailing the victors’ strikers in the encounter that ended goalless. His compatriot, Kenneth Omeruo, was not part of the team as he recovers from injury.
Ramon Azeez (Granada): Ramon Azeez was an unused substitute when Granada defeated Valladolid 2-1 at home. The Eagles midfielder was not considered for use in the encounter.
Samuel Kalu and Josh Maja (Bordeaux): Samuel Kalu, the mercurial Eagles winger was again overlooked for selection when his team drew 2-2 against Dijon. His fellow Eagles, Josh Maja, was however lucky to play a cameo role in the encounter coming on in the 81min.
Moses Simon (Nantes): Moses Simon had yet another commanding performance but could not add to his goals as his team played out a goal against Metz at the weekend.
Jamilu Collins: (SC Paderborn)
Nigeria defensive fullback Jamilu Collins scored an unfortunate own goal as his team SC Paderbon lost 2-1 at home to visiting Hertha Berlin at the Benteler-Arena.
Collins had a bad day in office when he had a hand in Hertha’s winner after Matheus Cunha’s back heel deflected off the Nigerian fullback on the way into the net.
Collins was also booked for a foul in the 73rd minute.
Aside been booked and scoring an own goal, Collins still completed the entire duration of the game, he made two clearances, three tackles and three interceptions.
His team sits in the last place on the Bundesliga log, five points away from safety.
Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig): Lookman was yet again not good enough to be considered for playtime when Leipzig defeated Bremen 3-0 at home. He however made the bench.
Anthony Ujah (1. FC Union Berlin): The Bundesliga veteran, was on the bench for the entire duration of the match when Leverkusen defeated his team 2-3.
Mikel Obi stars as Trabzonspor beat Sivasspor, as Nwakaeme subbed off early
Former Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi was in action for Trabzonspor who beat title rivals Sivasspor 2-1 in the Turkish Super Lig.
The game was Mikel’s 16th top-flight appearance for Trabzonspor this season and gave a good account of himself for the title chasing team.
Mikel’s Nigerian counterpart Anthony Nwakaeme who started the game was replaced in the 35th minute with a suspected injury.
Trabzonspor got off to a good start after Alexander Sorloth opened scoring in the fourth minute.
With the win, Trabzonspor move up the league table on 44 points and are a point ahead of second placed Istanbul Basaksehir, with a game in hand.
Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray vs Yeni Malatyaspor): The Eagles striker was on from start to finish when the former Turkish champions defeated Yeni on Sunday. The match last 1-0.
Joe Aribo plays cameo role in Rangers win
The Super Eagles midfield sensation, Joe Aribo came on in the 89minutes when Rangers defeated Livingston 1-0 at home.
Chidera Ejuke scores in Heerenveen’s away defeat to Vitesse
Nigerian forward Chidera Ejuke was on target for Heerenveen who lost 4-2 away to Vitesse in Sunday’s Dutch Eredivisie clash.
It was Ejuke’s eight league goal in 22 appearances for Heerenveen this season.
The 22-year-old scored in the 34th minute to pull Heerenveen level at 2-2 from 2-0 down.
Ejuke last scored on January 5th and it was his second goal in his last five games.
Vitesse goal scorers were Bryan Linssen (brace), Tim Matavz and Oussama Tannane (penalty).
Rodney Kongolo joined Ejuke in Heerenveen’s score sheet against Vitesse.
Heerenveen are now 10th on 29 points in the 18-team Eredivisie league table and are seven points above the relegation play-off.
Dessers in action for Heracles
In the Netherlands, Cyriel Dessers was in action in Heracles’ 1-0 away loss to VVV Venlo.
Dessers has scored 14 goals in 23 league appearances for his club.
…set for Super Eagles call-up
Belgium-born Nigerian Cyriel Dessers could get Super Eagles call-up in March’s double-header against Sierra Leone in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The 68-year-old German tactician who is preparing for his first game of the New Year is expected to prosecute the game with his most trusted players as they hope to book their place in the tournament earlier.
According to brila.net report that Heracles striker Cyriel Dessers is likely been among the new players, Rohr set to hand their median call up to Super Eagles after impress performance after involving in 23 goals for his Eredivisie club this season, including 17 goals and 6 assists this season.
And he has shown his desire to represent the three-time African Champions ahead of Belgium, the country of his mother and birth.
Rohr is also said to be impressed with the form of many Nigerian players and he’s reportedly working on the list which could be out in the first week of March.
Terem Moffi proving to be the real deal at KV Kortrijk
Former Nigeria U17 international Terem Moffi is proving to be the real deal at Belgian First Division A club KV Kortrijk.
Having notched up 20 goals in 29 league matches for Lithuanian club FK Riteriai, the striker arrived in Belgium with a huge reputation but did not live up to his billing in his first two appearances for Kortrijk, so much so that his fitness was questioned.
However, he has done enough to prove his doubters wrong on that assumption, with three goals in his last four appearances in the Belgian top-flight.
Moffi opened his goalscoring account against Club Brugge before finding the net in matches against Standard Liege and KV Oostende, no mean fit considering that two of the opponents are among the traditional clubs in Belgium.
The 20-year-old was voted Kortrijk’s Player of the Month for January by the supporters, claiming sixty percent of the votes cast, a prove that he has endeared himself to the fans.
Moffi has been described as a striker with pace and physicality.
Paul Onuachu and Stephen Odey (Genk): The gangling Eagles striker could not help but watch his team losing 1-3 at home to Standard Liege. Onuachu was on the field of play for the entire duration of the match while his compatriot, Stephen Odey was a 72minutes substitute.
Emmanuel Dennis and David Okereke (Club Brugge): Emmanuel Denis was a 72minutes substitute in his club’s 2-1 win over Waasland-Beveren while David Okereke was an unused substitute in the match.
Abiola Dauda (Panathinaikos vs Panetolikos): Little known Nigerian striker, Abiola Dauda, scored the consolation and lasted 90mins when his club Panetolikos lost 3 – 1 away from home.
Brown Ideye (Aris Thessaloniki vs AEK Athens): The forgotten Eagles striker went off injured in the 38minutes when his team went down 0-1 at home against AEK Athens.
Ahmed Musa fails to end goal drought
Ahmed Musa extended his goal drought in the Saudi Arabia Professional League to 23 games after he fired blanks in Friday’s 4-2 away win at Al Shabab.
Musa’s last goal for Al Nassr in the Saudi League dates back to April 18, 2019, when he netted a brace in his club’s 5-0 thrashing of Al Fateh.
The 27-year-old has failed to score in 12 league appearances this season, but has netted twice and provided four assists in the King’s Cup.
John Ogu Stars in Al Adalah’s draw
John Ogu featured for 90 minutes in Al Adalah’s 0-0 home draw against Al Taawon.
Ogu, who received a yellow card a minute before the half -time break has played four league games for Al Adalah since his arrival in January.
Super Eagles keeper joins Latvian club
Super Eagles goalkeeper Dele Alampasu has joined Latvian topflight division club, Ventspils on a three-year deal after he was released by Portuguese club Feirense.
The 23-year-old joined Feirense in 2016, made only two appearances for the club as a third choice goalie before was sent on loan to Cesarense in the Portuguese lower division last season where he featured 13 times.
Alampasu took his social media to celebrate his move to Latvian topflight division club, Ventspils.
The 2013 U-17 World Cup Golden Gloves winner will become the second Nigerian at the club after Abdullahi Alfa.
Akpeyi has made things difficult for me at Kaizer Chiefs – Khune
Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune says Daniel Akpeyi has made it difficult for him to return to the team’s starting line-up.
Khune made his first appearance for Amakhosi since September 2019 last weekend as they edged out National First Division (NFD) side Royal Eagles in the Nedbank Cup Last 32 match.
The Bafana Bafana goalkeeper who has struggled with injuries this season, has been serving as Chiefs’ second-choice behind Nigeria international Akpeyi and the Bafana Bafana shot-stopper has now opened up about his current situation.
Khune is hopeful that if he continues to work hard Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp will give him a chance to cement his place in starting line-up again.
Khune, who is the longest-serving player in the current Amakhosi team, has also been impressed by Akpeyi’s ball distribution.
Chiefs are set to welcome Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium in a Premier Soccer League PSL match on Saturday.
Junior Ajayi on target for Al Ahly
Nigeria forward Junior Ajayi scored for the second consecutive game as Al Ahly defeated Al Masry 3-0 at the Border Guard Stadium, Alexandria.
Ajayi netted Al Ahly’s second goal of the game in the 83rd minute.
The 24-year-old has now scored four goals in 14 league appearances for the Red Devils this season.
Al Masry also paraded their Nigerian import Austin Amutu in the game.
Austin replaced Islam Ateai in the 74th minute.