Nigerian players in Europe:  Osimhen opens Serie A goals account, as Onuachu can’t stop scoring

Victor Osimhen, the most expensive African footballer of all-time, at the weekend opened his Serie A goals account for Napoli in the Parthenopeans’ 4-1 hammering of Atalanta.

Osimhen, who joined Napoli for $96 million from French side Lille in the summer, got on the score sheet in the 43rd minute of the encounter at the Stadio San Paolo after cushioning down goalkeeper David Ospina’s long ball upfield, before turning and drilling the resultant shot into the bottom corner for his first league goal for the former two-time Serie A champions who would be hoping to finally land a first league title since their last success in 1990.

Victor Osimhen of SSC Napoli during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Atalanta BC at Stadio San Paolo Naples Italy on 17 Ottobre 2020. (Photo by Franco Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Osimhen wasn’t the only Nigerian on target in the Italian topflight at the weekend as Simeon Nwankwo also found the back of the net for struggling Crotone in their impressive 1-1 draw against league champions Juventus.

Nwankwo, who opened his season’s account for the Sharks in their 4-1 loss to Sassuolo prior to the international break, broke the deadlock from the penalty spot on 12 minutes, but the lead only lasted nine minutes before Alvaro Morata restored parity for Juventus who were on the hour mark reduced to 10 men after Federico Chiesa was shown a straight red card.

In Belgium, Nigeria’s most in-form striker Paul Onuachu continued his impressive goal scoring form for Genk, as he found the back of the net on 25 minutes to open scoring for the Smurfs in their 2-1 home win over Sporting Charleroi.

Onuachu, who featured for the Super Eagles in last week’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Algeria, tops the scorers’ chart in the Belgian topflight with eight goals and has now scored in five consecutive league games.

His club mate, Cyriel Dessers, who made his Super Eagles debut in the recent 1-1 draw against Tunisia, was an unused substitute for Genk.

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Also in Belgium, Nigeria international Emmanuel Dennis provided the crucial assist that gave Club Brugge a first-half lead at Standard Liege in an encounter that would eventually end in a one-all draw.

In Spain, Samuel Chukwueze was in action as Villarreal defeated Valencia 2-1 to move to the top of the La Liga table.

Chukwueze, who featured prominently for the Super Eagles against Algeria and Tunisia during the international break, impressed against Valencia as the Yellow Submarine returned to winning ways after playing out a goalless draw against Atlético Madrid prior to the international break.

The 21-year-old forward played for 64 minutes before making way for former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin, and will be hoping to continue his fine form when Villarreal take on Turkish side Sivasspor in a Europa League game on Thursday.

Another Nigerian forward who impressed at the weekend was Ademola Lookman, who scored for Fulham in their 1-1 draw against Sheffield United, in a game that also saw Ola Aina and Tosin Adarabioyo featuring alongside the 22-year-old former Everton player who arrived at Craven Cottage on a season-long loan from German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.

The goal against the Blades was Lookman’s first in the Premier League since January 2017 when he made a goalscoring debut for Everton against Manchester City.

Speaking of Everton, Alex Iwobi was in action for the final 12 minutes for the Toffees as they held Premier League champions Liverpool to a 2-2 draw in the Merseyside Derby to remain at the top of the Premier League.

Aribo returns for Rangers in Old Firm Derby

In one of the biggest derbies in world football, this time north of the English border, in Scotland, Joe Aribo returned to action as Rangers defeated Celtic 2-0 in the Old Firm Derby.

Aribo, who had been out since August due to injury, and missed the Super Eagles’ last international friendlies, was brought on in the 89th minute to help Rangers see out the game in which his Super Eagles teammate and club mate Leon Balogun was an unused substitute.

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Balogun’s Super Eagles defensive partner and one half of the national team’s famed Oyinbo Wall, William Troost-Ekong, made a flying start to life in the English Championship as he helped Watford to a hard-fought 1-0 win at Derby County.

Troost-Ekong only recently joined Watford from Serie A club Udinese during the last transfer window and played a pivotal role as the Hornets grabbed their first win on the road since January.

In the Russian topflight Chidera Ejuke was among the scorers as CSKA Moscow defeated visiting Dinamo Moscow 3-1. It was the second goal in six league appearances since joining CSKA from Dutch club Heerenveen for Ejuke, who made his Super Eagles debut last Tuesday when he came on in Nigeria’s 1-1 draw against Tunisia.

Another Nigerian who was on target in the Russian Premier League was Bryan Idowu who got his first goal for Khimki in their 3-2 defeat to Spartak Moscow who handed a debut to former Nigeria international Victor Moses.

The on-loan Chelsea winger, who only joined the Russian giants last week, was sent on to the pitch in the 55th-minute with his side trailing 1-0.

Idowu, who featured for Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, has not been called up to the Super Eagles since the 2-2 draw against Ukraine in 2019, while Moses, an Africa Cup of Nations winner in 2013, announced his retirement from international football following Nigeria’s exit at the Russia 2018 World Cup.

However, another Moses who continues to feature prominently for the Super Eagles, Moses Simon, came off the bench to provide the assist that helped Nantes seal a 3-1 home win against Brest in the French Ligue 1.

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Simon came on in the 63rd minute to tee up teammate Kader Bamba to put Nantes 3-1 up with 11 minutes left in the game.

Moffi makes Ligue 1 scoring debut

But the star of the weekend in Ligue 1 was Terem Moffi who made a scoring debut for Lorient in their 3-1 hammering of Reims.

The 21-year-old striker, who joined the French club for €8 million on October 1 from Belgian side K.V. Kortrijk, netted the third and final goal of the game for the Merlucciidaes in what was only their second win of the Ligue 1 campaign.

Josh Maja also found the back of the net in the French topflight, but the 21-year-old’s second goal of the league campaign was not enough to prevent Girondins Bordeaux from slumping to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Olympique Marseille.

In the French second tier, former Nigerian Premier League hotshot Stephen Odey opened his goals account for Amiens in their 1-0 win over Grenoble Foot 38. Odey joined Amiens on loan from Belgian side Genk in September.

 In Austria, veteran Nigerian striker Chinedu Obasi scored twice for Rheindorf Altach in their 7-0 demolition of lowly Seekirchen in a cup game.

The 34-year-old came into the fray in the 66th-minute mark of the game and grabbed his first goal and the game’s fourth four minutes later before completing his brace with the game’s final goal in the closing stages of the encounter.

The goals were Obasi’s third since joining Altach in September, but all of those goals have come in cup games, as the former Schalke 04 and Hoffenheim forward remains in search of his maiden league goal for the modest Austrian club.

 

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