Bassey, Sanusi walk tight rope in Champions League


Johnny Edward.

Nigerian duo Calvin Bassey and Zaidu Sanusi, who play for Ajax and Porto respectively, are at the risk of missing out on qualifying for the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Both teams (Ajax and Porto) have lost twice in their opening three games and must record a draw or a win to boost their chances of finishing second in their respective groups.

Bassey, who was outstanding on his Champions League debut against his former club Glasgow Rangers on match-day one was below par eight days ago when Ajax were thrashed 6-1 in Amsterdam by Group A leaders Napoli.

The Dutch champions had earlier lost 2-1 to Liverpool at Anfield on match-day two but need points to against Partenopei on Wednesday (tonight) at Estadio Diego Maradona to stay in touch with Liverpool in second place, who play Glasgow Rangers in the other group fixture.

Alfred Schroeder’s side will hope Napoli’s shaky home form against Dutch opponents continues, as they haven’t won three of their last four home encounters (W1, D1, L2) but they must be wary of the hosts, who have found the net 22 times this season, allied to a tally of 13 goals in the competition already – a form Bassey and his teammates will be worried about.

Reflecting on the first leg home drubbing by the Italians, ahead of today’s clash, the Nigeria international said, “Of course, it was not nice. Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of it. But the most important thing for us is to try to wipe it clear and go because we do have quality in our team.”

On the part of Sanusi, FC Porto are second in Group B with three points just as today’s opponents Bayer Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid, who occupy third and fourth places respectively, with progress to the last-16 still up for grabs.