As league football continues across Europe, JOHNNY EDWARD takes a look at the performances of Nigerian footballers at the weekend.
Iheanacho, Ndidi (Leicester City)
Kelechi Iheanacho came on in the 79th minute as Leicester City were beaten 2-1 by AFC Bournemouth on Sunday.
Patson Daka gave the visitors an early lead in the 10th minute, but were pegged back by a goal from Danish midfielder of Nigerian descent Philip Billing in the 67th minute. The comeback was completed in the 71st minute courtesy of Ryan Christie goal, assisted by Dominic Solanke.
Wilfred Ndidi was not in the squad due to an injury.
Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace)
Eze fired in a second-half winner — his first goal of the season — to lift Crystal Palace to a 2-1 victory over Leeds at Selhurst Park.
Pascal Struijk opened the scoring early on for the visitors, who dominated the opening exchanges.
But Odsonne Edouard nodded in a fine Michael Olise delivery to send the sides into the break level.
The equaliser fired up the hosts, who returned a transformed side after the restart, to snap a four-match winless run and walk away with all three points. The game was Eze’s ninth of the season.
Aribo, Edozie (Southampton)
Aribo played 79 minutes of the Saints 4-0 loss Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. The game was his ninth of the league season, with two goals to his name. His compatriot Sam Edozie did not make the squad.
Frank Onyeka (Brentford)
Onyeka made his sixth substitute appearance for Brentford in their 5-1 loss to Newcastle United. The midfielder came on in the 62nd minute as a replacement for Shandon Baptiste.
Victor Adeboyejo (Burton)
Peterborough paid the price for missed chances as lowly Burton snatched a valuable point in their League One 1-1 draw. Adrian Mariappa, in goal for Peterborough, scored the opener in the 75th minute, but Adeboyejo initially saw his header kept out at point-blank range by Lucas Bergstrom. He refused to be denied seconds later, when he fired in his sixth goal of the English third-tier campaign past Mariappa, after Sam Hughes headed a Terry Taylor cross back into his path.
Dessers, Okereke (Cermonese)
Cyriel Dessers scored his first Serie A goal of the season for Cremonose, who lost 4-1 at Napoli on Sunday. The goal ended Dessers’ eighth-game goals drought since he arrived at the club, before he was replaced in the 72nd minute by Emanuel Aiwu. His compatriot David Okereke came on for Luca Zanimacchia at the start of the second half. Matteo Politano drew Napoli level from the penalty, and Giovanni Simeone got the third goal for the Naples-based side with a classic header, before Mathias Olivera sealed the emphatic win in added time.
Success, Udogie (Udinese), Lookman (Atalanta)
Hosts Udinese played out a thrilling 2-2 draw with Atalanta on Sunday, with three Nigerians heavily involved.
Ademola Lookman grabbed the opener for the visitors in the 36th minute, before Colombian Luis Muriel converted from the spot in the 56th minute, after being brought down inside the area by Italian defender of Nigerian descent Destiny Udogie.
Atalanta seemed to be cruising to their fifth consecutive away win of the season but Udinese had other ideas, with former Barcelona man Gerard Deulofeu pulling one back for the home side in the 67th minute.
The visitors caved in after after sustained pressure in the 78th minute, with Nehuen Perez grabbing the equaliser off a Roberto Pereyra assist.
Ebuehi (Torino) Aina (Empoli)
Tyronne Ebuehi recorded an assist in Empoli’s 1-1 stalemate against Torino at the Stade Olimpico Grande on Sunday. Ebuehi set up Mattia Destro for Empoli’s goal on 49 minutes. Sasa Lukic equalised for the hosts on the dot of 90 minutes.
Ebuehi was replaced by Petar Stojanovic 12 minutes from time. The 26-year-old has made two Serie A appearances this term.
His Super Eagles teammate Ola Aina was in action for Torino was replaced by Vergim Vojvoda in the 74th minute.
Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes)
Omeruo played for 82 minutes before he was replaced by Piotr Parzyszek in La Segunda. The game was his fifth game of the season.
Paul Onuachu (Genk)
Bug striker Onuachu netted both goals in Genk’s hard-fought 2-1 victory over Kortrijk.
His thumping header gave his side the lead in the 36th minute, his fourth goal against Kortrijk, having scored against them in their last three encounters.
He sealed victory for Genk in the 77th minute from the spot, after Kortrijk defender D’Haene handled the ball in the box.
Genk, with 28 points, sit in second place in the First Division A table, two points behind league leaders Antwerp and six more than champions Club Brugge in third.
Terem Moffi (Lorient)
Moffi scored a brace to help Lorient beat Brest 2-1 in Ligue 1 on Sunday.
The hosts took the lead through Roman Del Castillo on 17 minute, but Moffi equalised seven minutes later, with Laurent Abergel providing the assist.
The 23-year-old forward then fired home the winning goal on 53 minutes, taking his tally to eight goals in 10 league appearances this season. The Nigerian is also now the joint top scorer in Ligue 1 with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
The win fires Lorient to second position on the log with 25 points from 10 matches.
Josh Maja (Bordeaux)
Maja continued his impressive scoring streak on Saturday as he netted in Bordeaux’s 2-0 home win against Metz in the French Ligue 2.
The one-cap Eagles forward scored two minutes in first half added time after he tucked away a penalty kick.
The strike took his league tally to seven goals in 11 fixtures. The 23-year-old is now joint top scorer in the French second-tier.
Dipo Akinyemi (Ayr)
English forward of Nigerian descent Akinyemi scored a hat-trick as Ayr kept the pressure on Scottish Championship leaders Partick Thistle with a 5-0 thrashing of Queen’s Park.
Ayr took a fifth-minute lead, when Akinyemi headed home from a Paddy Reading ball to give his side the advantage, before he struck again in the 35th minute, capitalising on a Joe Chalmers through-ball before slotting home.
The Ayr striker then wrapped up his hat-trick in the 52nd minute after Brad Young – who had been through on goal – played the ball across to Akinyemi, who tapped it home for his third of the game.
Calvin Bassey (Ajax)
Bassey scored his first goal for Ajax, who returned to winning ways with a 4-2 win over Volendam in the Eredivisie on Saturday.
The defender put Ajax up in the 39th minute to double Ajax’s lead after Dusan Tadic had shot the Dutch champions from the penalty spot 17 minutes into the game.
Bassey’s strike was his first in almost two years, as he last scored a goal on November 29, 2020 in Glasgow Rangers 4-0 thumping of Falkirk in a Scottish League Cup game.
Chidozie Awaziem (Hajduk Split)
Awaziem scored the winning goal for the second game running in a week as Hajduk Split dramatically beat Varazdin 2-1 at the Stadion Poljud.
Varaždin’s Brodic cancelled out Sahiti’s 33rd-minute opener for the home side, before Awaziem headed in the winner to turn home Marko Livaja’s cross for the winning goal nine minutes into stoppage time.
After only eight league appearances in Croatia, Awaziem has weighed in three league goals – the most he has managed in his career.