Nigerian players in Europe: Red-hot Simy inches closer to Nigerian record, Iheanacho, Onuachu on target

Simeon ‘Simy’ Nwankwo scored for the sixth straight Serie A game and got his 16th league goal of the season at the weekend but it proved futile as a last-minute collapse saw Crotone surrender a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 away to Spezia.

Despite the loss, the towering striker is just a goal away from equalling the record for the most number of league goals scored by a Nigerian in one of Europe’s Top-5 leagues.

Simeon ‘Simy’ Nwankwo

The Top-5 leagues in Europe are the top flight divisions in England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France, and Super Eagles legend Yakubu Ayegbeni holds the Nigerian record with 17 goals, a feat he achieved in the 2011/2012 season with Blackburn Rovers.

With the scores tied at 1-1 at the Stadio Alberto Picco, Nwankwo put his team ahead with a 78th-minute strike but Crotone failed to hang on to their narrow lead and ended up losing 3-2.

The goal however took Nwankwo’s league tally to 16 and should the red-hot Nigerian score at least two goals in his club’s remaining eight Serie A matches, he will surely overtake his compatriot’s mark that has stood for a decade.

Senior man ‘Nacho shows lethal touch

In England, Kelechi Iheanacho scored for the seventh time in five league games and equalled his best goalscoring tally in a single league season after he scored his eighth Premier League goal in Leicester City’s 3-2 defeat to West Ham United on Sunday.

With the Hammers leading 3-0 at the Olympic Stadium, Iheanacho produced two goals as he tried to help the Foxes avoid defeat.

Picking up the ball from Ricardo Pereira on the edge of the hosts’ penalty area in the 70th minute, the Nigerian international smashed home from 25 yards out with a left-footed effort that whizzed past Hammers’ goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

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Iheanacho would then go on to complete his brace in the 90th minute, jabbing home from eight yards out from a Marc Albrighton cross from the right.

The goal took his tally in all competitions for Leicester City to 14 goals, equalling his best tally in a single campaign.

The last time he scored that much in a season was during his spell for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the 2015-16 campaign.

The 24-year-old’s brace against the Hammers also saw him become Leicester’s joint-highest goalscorer alongside Jamie Vardy.

Onuachu just can’t stop scoring in Belgium

Paul Onuachu

In Belgium, Paul Onuachu was again on the scoresheet for the 27th time in the league as Genk extended their unbeaten run with a 4-0 victory over St.Truiden on Sunday in a First Division A game.

The towering forward has been red-hot all-season and with Genk 3-0 up at the break, he increased his side’ lead in the 53rd minute with a sublime effort after benefitting from Kristian Thorstvedt’s assist.

The Super Eagles striker’s effort was enough to seal the Blue and White’s victory in the encounter and extend their unbeaten run to seven games.

Onuachu has now scored 29 goals in 34 appearances across all competitions this season for Genk, and will hope to continue his eye-catching performances when Genk take on Royal Antwerp in their next league game on April 18.

Ugbo shows Super Eagles credentials with brace

Ike Ugbo

Also in Belgium, Chelsea’s on-loan forward of Nigerian descent Ike Ugbo scored a brace to help Cercle Brugge to a 3-0 win over Oud-Heverlee.

Ugbo, who was born in England and has represented the Three Lions at youth level, has stated his intentions to represent the Super Eagles at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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And he may just achieve that if he continues in his impressive form this season after the 22-year-old’s latest brace against Heverlee took his league tally to 15.

Osimhen secures maximum points for Napoli

, Victor Osimhen

In Italy, Victor Osimhen was on the scoresheet in Napoli’s 2-0 victory over Sampdoria in a Serie A game on Sunday, repaying the confidence reposed in him by Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso with a match-winning goal.

Gattuso’s men began the game impressively and were rewarded for their effort when Fabian opened the scoring in the 35th minute, and three minutes from the end, Osimhen found the back of the net to seal the victory for the Parthenopeans.

He now has five goals in 22 appearances across all competitions in an injury and COVID-19 ravaged campaign, but will be hoping to add to that tally when Napoli square off against Inter Milan on April 18.

Aribo shows Nigerian midfielders can score too

Joe Aribo

In Scotland, Joe Aribo was on target as league champions Rangers beat Hibernian 2-1 to maintain their 100 per-cent Scottish Premiership home record.

Aribo put Steven Gerrard’s side ahead in the 19th minute, taking the 24-year-old’s tally to eight goals in 28 league appearances this season.

Moffi inches closer to Super Eagles call-up

Terem Moffi

In France, Terem Moffi scored his ninth league goal in the French Ligue 1 but it proved insufficient as Lorient went down 4-1 to Lens at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Sunday.

The Blood and Gold were the first to score but their lead lasted for just 13 minutes before Moffi levelled matters for the visiting side, heading home from a well-taken corner kick.

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Kayode and Adeyemi shine as super-subs

In Turkey, Olanrewaju Kayode ended his seven-game goal drought as he found the back of the net in Sivasspor’s 3-1 win over Konyaspor in Sunday’s Super Lig outing.

Since scoring against Ankaragucu on February 7, the Shakhtar Donetsk loanee has found it difficult to score, but would be delighted to have ended his drought after coming off the bench.

Karim-Adeyemi

In Austria, Karim Adeyemi, who is eligible for Nigeria despite having featured for Germany at youth level, came off the bench to score twice as RB Salzburg recorded a 3-0 away victory over Rapid Wien in the Austrian Bundesliga.

Needing more goals to consolidate their lead, the RB Salzburg manager threw Swiss international Noah Okafor and Adeyemi into the fray, but it was the 19-year-old Adeyemi who shone brightly with two well-taken goals in the closing minutes of the encounter.

Ighalo returns from injury with a bang

In Saudi Arabia, former Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo, exactly a month after suffering a muscle injury, made a scoring return as Al Shabab recorded a 4-1 win at Al-Batin in a Saudi Pro League match on Saturday.

Ighalo suffered a rupture of the first degree in his posterior muscle during his side’s 2-1 defeat at Al Ittihad on March 10.

But the Nigerian forward played every minute at the Al-Batin FC Stadium as a brace, each from Cristian Guanca and Ever Banega powered Al Shabab to their 14th victory of the campaign.

Ighalo has enjoyed a decent start to life in Saudi Arabia, scoring three goals in eight appearances for Carlos Hernandez’s title-chasing side.

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