NIGERIAN PLAYERS ABROAD: Weekend to forget

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It was not the best weekend for Nigerian stars in Europe as most of the stars ended up on the losing side while majority of the strikers failed to find the back of the net. ANTHONY NLEBEM highlights how Nigeria players in Europe performed for their respective clubs over the weekend

France

Moses Simon (Nantes)

Winger Simon was in the starting line-up for Nantes and gave the assist as the Canaries lost 2-1 in an away trip to Auxerre in a Ligue 1 match at the Stade de l’Abbe-Deschamps on Sunday.

The 27-year-old gave the assist to Mostafa Mohamed, who netted a consolation goal in the 55th minute after Auxerre took an early lead in the first half.

The winger has contributed eight league goals this season and came off for Ignatius Kpene Ganago in the 70th minute.

Terem Moffi (OGC Nice)

Moffi was a second half inclusion as OGC Nice suffered a 1-0 away defeat to Brest in a Ligue 1 fixture on Sunday at the Stade Francis le Ble.

The 23-year-old striker, who has been in impressive form this season, came on for Ayoub Amraoui in the 46th minute.

Moffi has scored 16 goals in 27 Ligue 1 appearances this 2022/23 season.

Balogun, Ugochukwu (Reims, Rennes)

Arsenal loanee Balogun was in William Still’s starting line up, but could not register a goal as Reims lost 3-0 away in a French Ligue 1 fixture played at Roazhon Park on Saturday evening.

The 21-year-old Arsenal star has enjoyed a brilliant run this season and has scored 19 goals in 31 appearances across all competitions for the Red and Whites.

Also, Lesley Ugochukwu, a player of Nigerian descent was in action for Rennes and started for the home side. The 19-year-old midfielder had an impressive game as his efforts helped Les Rennais secure three points. He got a yellow card in the 46th minute and was substituted in the 75th minute.

England

Dennis, Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest)

Taiwo Awoniyi was in action for Nottingham Forest in their 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in a Premier League fixture at the City Ground on Sunday.

The 25-year-old got a starting role and was close to scoring in the first half but his effort was blocked by Aaron Wan-Bissaka and another fly off target from a strong position.

The former Union Berlin striker was later substituted in the 65th for Sam Surridge.

Countryman Emmanuel Dennis could only manage nine minutes of action as he came on for Scott McKenna.

Ndidi, Iheanacho (Leicester City)

Forward Kelechi Iheanacho started from the bench and scored Leicester City’s only goal in their 3-1 away defeat to champions Manchester City in a Premier League fixture played at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The striker came on in the 46th minute for Jamie Vardy and grabbed a 75th-minute consolation against his old club to take his goal contribution to eight(4 goals 4 assists).

Meanwhile, Wilfred Ndidi was in the starting role for the Foxes and had a good game but his handball error resulted in Manchester City’s second goal which was scored by Erling Haaland. He was substituted in the 87th minute for Patson Daka.

The Foxes are 19th on the table and are battling to stay away from relegation water.

Onuachu, Aribo, Eze, Olise (Southampton, Crystal Palace)

Attacking midfielder Joe Aribo returned to the Saints first team after eight matches and was in the starting lineup in their 2-0 home loss to visiting Crystal Palace at St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.

The 26-year-old played for 62 minutes before coming off for Paul Onuachu.

Compatriot Onuachu is still looking to register his first Premier goal and could not help rescue point for the Saints.

The 28-year-old striker is yet to register a Premier League goal for the struggling Saints since joining the team in January.

The duo Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, two Palace players of Nigeria descent players were in action as Eze scored twice in the second half to hand the Eagles a comfortable away win.

Iwobi, Adarabioyo (Everton, Fulham)

Midfielder Alex Iwobi started for Sean Dyche’s side and played every minute as Everton suffered a 3-1 home defeat to Fulham in a Premier League fixture played at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Tosin Adarabioyo, a Fulham player of Nigerian descent was in action for the Lilywhites and his effort helped his team earn an important away win.

Chuba Akpom (Middlesbrough)

In the English Championship, Akpom continued his goalscoring form for Middlesbrough when he scored his 27th league goal of the season to seal a comfortable win for Boro in their 5-1 mauling of Norwich City at the Riverside Stadium on Friday.

The former Arsenal youth player scored the fifth goal for Boro in the 49th minute and came off for Matt Crooks in the 84th minute.

Italy

Troost-Ekong, Aina (Torino, Salernitana)

Defender William Troost-Ekong was in action as Salernitana battled to get a 1-1 against Torino in a Serie A fixture on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico Grande.

The 29-year-old was not on the starting lineup, but came on for Flavius Daniliuc in the 58th minute and was impressive as his effort helped the Garnetspick a point away from home.

Fellow teammate, Ola Aina could not make the squad for Torino as the 26-year-old right-back is currently recovering from a calf injury he sustained against Napoli last month.

Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

Striker Osimhen made his return for Napoli in a disappointing goalless draw against Hellas Verona in the Serie A, Saturday at the Stadio Diego Maradona.

The Serie A top scorer with 21 goals came on for Giacomo Raspadori in the 73rd minute and was impressive.

The Gli Azzurriare are 14 points clear of the Serie A table after 30 matches and are aiming to become Italian champions for the third time, with their last success coming in 1990.

Dessers, Okereke,Ebuehi (Cremonese, Empoli)

Cyriel Dessers was in action and scored the winning goal as Cremonese battled for a 1-0 win over Empoli in a Serie A fixture at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Friday.

The 28-year-old forward scored in the fourth minute to take his goal numbers to 11 this season.

Teammate David Okereke who missed the last two Serie A matches was a second half substitute as he came on for Dessers in the 67th minute

Countryman and defender Tyronne Ebuehi was introduced in the second half when he came on for Petar Stojanovic 28th minutes before full time.

Belgium

Gift Orban (Gent)

Orban got a starting role for KAA Gent but could not get a goal to his name as the Buffalos played a 1-1 draw against KV Mechelen in a Jupiler Pro League match played at the AFAS Stadion on Sunday.

The sensational striker came off for Tarik Tissoudali in the 46th minute.

The 20-year-old, who signed for the Belgium side in January from Norwegian club Stabaek, has scored 14 goals and registered two assists across all competitions for Gent.

Victor Boniface (Union St.Gilloise)

Forward Boniface was in action for Union St. Gilloise in their 2-1 win against RFC Seraing at the Stade Joseph Marien in the Belgium Pro League on Sunday.

The 22-year-old has been in fine form and came on for Guillaume Francois in the 86th minute.

He has registered seven goals with six assists in 31 league appearances for Union 60 in the 2022/23 season.

Czech Republic

Wale Alli (Zbrojovka Brno)

Winger Alli was on parade for 90 minutes for Zbrojovka Brno in their 2-1 win over FK Pardubice at the City Football Stadium Srbská on Sunday in the Czech First League.

The 22-year-old winger was impressive in his side’s victory and has contributed ten goals for the Gunmakers in all competitions this season.

Olatunji, Ghali (Slovan Liberec)

The duo Victor Olatunji and Ahmad Ghali were in action for Slovan Liberec as they were forced to a 1-1 draw against Jablonec in the Czech Fortuna Liga at the Stadion U Nisy on Saturday.

Olatunji got a yellow card for an elbow foul and was on the field for 87 minutes before coming off for Michael Rabusic.

The 23-year-old former AEK Larnaca forward has managed three goals in 11 appearances this season.

While Ghali 22-year-old Ghali who is yet to register a goal after nine league appearances was substituted in the 86th minute.

Spain

Samuel Chukwueze (Villareal)

Chukwueze could not re-enact last weekend’s Bernabéu magic for Villareal with his first half goal disallowed by VAR as Yellow Submarine lost 2-1 to Real Valladolid at the Estadio de la Cerámica on Saturday.

The 23-year-old winger played for 90 minutes and dazzled Valladolid’s defence but his effort could not earn a point for the home side.

The defeat ended Quique Setien’s six LaLiga unbeaten games and pushed the team to sixth on the table with 47 points.

Turkey

David Babajide (Adana Dermispor)

Winger Babajide took his tally to seven goals this season after he bagged a brace for Adana Dermispor in their 5-0 thumping of Kasimpasa. The winger scored twice within three minutes.

He scored the opener in the 18th minute before adding his second three minutes later.

Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahçe)

Defender Osayi-Samuel was handed a starting role by Jorge Jesus as Fenerbahçe came from one goal behind to seal a 2-1 home win over Ankaragucu in the Turkish League match played at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium on Saturday.

The 25-year-old right-back was impressive but got a yellow card in 10 minutes additional time.

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