Kalu, Iwobi impress Rohr as Onuachu gives future call-up dilemma

Kalu, Iwobi impress Rohr as Onuachu gives future call-up dilemma
Alex Iwobi - Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC

KRC Genk and Nigeria striker Paul Onuachu gave Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr another reason why he should not be excluded from the national team in the future after he found the back of the net in Genk’s 1-1 draw against Waasland-Beveren on Saturday.

The towering striker, who was left out of the Super Eagles squad for the upcoming international friendly matches against Algeria and Tunisia on October 9 and 13, respectively, opened the scoring for the visitors in the 67th minute. It was the 26-year-old’s sixth goal in his last four games for the four-time Belgian league champions and his seventh of the league campaign.

Genk’s Paul Onuachu and Waasland-Beveren’s Brendan Schoonbaert fight for the ball during a soccer match between Waasland-Beveren and KRC Genk, Saturday 03 October 2020 in Beveren, on day 8 of the ‘Jupiler Pro League’ first division of the Belgian soccer championship. BELGA PHOTO JOHAN EYCKENS (Photo by JOHAN EYCKENS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

His international teammate Cyril Dessers, who is set to make his Nigeria debut in the friendlies against the North Africans, started the game on the bench but came on as a 55th-minute substitute. The 25-year-old Dessers has scored twice for Genk this term.

Rohr would, however, have been pleased with what he saw at the Matmut Atlantique home ground of Bordeaux, where Samuel Kalu, complete with a protective mask after getting his nose fractured on September 27 against OGC Nice, scored a sensational individual effort on the half-hour mark to give his side a 2-0 lead against Dijon. Kalu and his compatriot Josh Maja were both on from the start for Les Girondins who won the game 3-0. Kalu’s strike, an early contender for goal of the season, was his second goal of the league campaign.

The Super Eagles handler would also have been pleased with Alex Iwobi, after the former Arsenal player came off the bench midway into the first half to help Everton to an impressive 4-2 win over Brighton that shot the Toffees back to the top of the English Premier League table.

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Iwobi, who impressed in Everton’s League Cup win over Fleetwood, claiming a goal and an assist, took the place of the injured Richarlison in the 26th minute, and subsequently teed up James Rodriguez for the Toffees’ third goal in the 52nd minute of the Premier League encounter. The 24-year-old also played a role in the build-up for Everton’s fourth and Rodriguez’s second of the game.

Also in the English Premier League, Semi Ajayi was on from start-to-finish as West Brom lost 2-0 to Southampton at St. Mary’s on Sunday, the same day Kelechi Iheanacho came on from the substitutes’ bench as Leicester City, without the recuperating Wilfred Ndidi, lost for the first time this season in a shock 3-0 home defeat to West Ham.

Bordeaux’s Nigerian forward Samuel Kalu runs with the ball during the French L1 football match between Girondins de Bordeaux and Dijon FCO on October 4, 2020 at the Matmut Atlantique stadium in Bordeaux. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU / AFP) (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

At the Molineaux, Ola Aina, after featuring for 69 minutes in Fulham’s loss to Brentford in the League Cup on Nigeria’s Independence Day, was in action for the entire duration of the Cottagers’ lone goal defeat to Wolves. His teammate of Nigerian descent Ademola Lookman came into the fray midway into the second half as Scott Parker’s team sought for a way back into the game after Pedro Neto had put the home side ahead on 56 minutes.

In the English Championship, Nigeria junior international Tom Dele-Bashiru went off injured after37 minutes in his first English Championship start for Watford in their 1-0 loss against Reading. His compatriot and Super Eagles vice-captain William Troost-Ekong was an unused substitute for the Hornets in the encounter after only joining the side on Tuesday from Italian club Udinese.

Also in the English second-tier, former Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, continued his impressive start to life at Stoke-on-Trent as he inspired Stoke City to a one-all draw against Birmingham City at the Bet365 Stadium.

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In Germany, Kevin Akpoguma, who recently switched his allegiance from Germany to Nigeria, was in action for Hoffenheim in a 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, while in Spain, Samuel Chukwueze was a second-half substitute as Villarreal played out to a goalless draw against Atlético Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano. Chukwueze was introduced in the 72nd minute for Paco Alcacer in his fourth Laliga game of the season.

Also in LaLiga, Super Eagles midfielder Ramon Azeez started on the bench for Granada when they went to the Estadio Ramón de Carranza to take on Cadiz, who also had Nigerian-born defender, Saturday Erimuya, on the bench. The towering central defender is yet to make an appearance for Cadiz this season but has been on the substitutes’ bench in the last four games.

Still in Spain, but this time in the second division, Super Eagles defender, Kenneth Omeruo, was in action as Leganes visited the Estadio Municipal de Castalia to take on Castellon in a LaLiga2 fixture. The match ended in a 2-0 loss for the former LaLiga campaigners and it was Omeruo’s third appearance of the campaign.

In Latvia, Dele Alampasu, one of the three goalkeepers called up by Rohr for the games against Algeria and Tunisia, watched on from the bench as his side Ventspils were held to a one-all draw at home by Valmieras in the Latvian Higher League.

That was also the case for Maduka Okoye, who watched from the bench as his Sparta Rotterdam teammates came from four goals down to force a 4-4 draw against AZ Alkmaar in a Dutch Eredivisie encounter.

The reverse was the case though for Nigerian goalkeeper Matthew Yakubu, who is in line to make his Super Eagles debut this month, as he featured for Slovakian side ŠKF Sereď in their 1-1 draw against Michakovce.

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Another Nigerian who was in action in the Dutch top-flight was Tyronne Ebuehi, who was in action for Twente in their 1-1 draw against FC Emmen. The 24-year-old fullback has been an ever-present fixture in the line-up for Twente, who have so far been unbeaten in this season’s league campaign.

In Portugal, Super Eagles defender Chidozie Awaziem was on from start-to-finish for Boavista in their 1-1 draw against Moreirense. His compatriot, Zaidu Sanusi, who could make his Super Eagles debut later this month, followed the day’s proceedings from the substitutes’ bench as FC Porto suffered a shock 3-2 home defeat to Maritimo. Sanusi, a left fullback, joined Porto in the summer from fellow Portuguese Primeira Liga outfit Santa Clara.

Also in the Portuguese top flight, Mikel Agu held sway in the holding midfield role for Vitória SC in their 1-0 home win over Pacos Ferreira. The win took the club commonly known as Vitória de Guimarães to the top half of the league table after three rounds of matches.

In Russia, Chidera Ejuke, who could earn his maiden Super Eagles cap in the upcoming international friendlies, made his fifth appearance of the league campaign for CSKA Moscow in their 2-0 win over the Ural. The forward, who joined the Army Men from Dutch side Heerenveen for €11.5 million at the end of August, has scored once for CSKA, who currently lie third in the standings with 19 points, two points behind leaders Zenit and Spartak Moscow.


Andrew Ikuku

Andrew Ikuku

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