NIGERIAN PLAYERS

It was not the best of weekends for Nigerian players in the English Premier League and the French Ligue 1, but in Italy, the forwards got the job done. EBENEZER BAJELA and JOHNNY EDWARD monitored the action across Europe

ENGLAND

Premier League

Awoniyi, Dennis (Nottingham Forest)

Strikers Taiwo Awoniyi and Emmanuel Dennis were helpless as Arsenal demolished Nottingham Forest 5-0 defeat at the Emirates to reclaim top spot from Manchester City on Sunday.

Awoniyi, who fired the newcomers past his former club Liverpool last weekend, started but hardly had an impact before he was substituted in the 64th minute for Joe Worrall.

Meanwhile, his cpuntryman Dennis came on for Jesse Lingard in the 56th minute as Forest looked to make something out of the game. And the forward had a chance to get his name on the score sheet but wasted time shooting, giving Arsenal’s William Saliba time to recover and make a block.

Alex Iwobi (Everton)

Iwobi played all 90 minutes for Everton, who forced Fulham to a goalless draw on Saturday. Iwobi had one of his lowest ratings this season in the clash, after ending the game without a shot, assist or goal. This comes after he played a big part in Everton’s three goals as they beat Crystal Palace 3-0 last week.

Iwobi was anonymous at Craven Cottage as Everton manager Frank Lampard employed a defensive approach against Fulham, who beat Leeds United 3-2 last weekend. This limited his forwards runs and creativity, which forced him to use long balls, with two of his four finding the target, while he managed only one cross.

Iheanacho, Ndidi (Leicester City)

Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi were named on the Foxes bench for Saturday’s early kick-off 1-0 defeat against champions Manchester City at the King Power Stadium.

Kevin De Bruyne’s fantastic free-kick sealed the win for Pep Guardiola’s side.

With under 20 minutes to go, a double change saw strikers Patson Daka and Iheanacho come on for Caglar Söyüncü and Jamie Vardy respectively.

Iheanacho’s highlight was squeezing a shot agonisingly wide on 76 minutes, after being set up by James Maddison.

Ndidi, who is returning from a hamstring injury, was an unused substitute.

Frank Onyeka (Brentford)

Onyeka was handed a cameo appearance for Brentford, who recorded their sixth draw of the season at home to Wolves.

The midfielder came on for Josh Dasilva with seven minutes left to play. Wolves’ Ruben Neves’ equaliser cancelled out Ben Mee’s superb volley early in the second half.

Wolves secured a rare away point at Brentford but still remain in the Premier League bottom three. Wolves move up one place to 18th, while the Bees go up to 11th.

Aribo, Edozie (Southampton)

Joe Aribo was handed his 10th Premier League start for Southampton, who suffered a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The 26-year-old, who has scored twice this term, partnered Che Adams in the Saints’ attack and was one of his side’s best players in the encounter.

The Nigeria international was effective in attack as he tallied 86.5 per cent pass accuracy, played two key passes, created one big chance and had two successful long balls from his two attempts.

Aribo also had one shot on target, two successful dribble attempts, won five of his 13 duels, put in three tackles and made two clearances.

Southampton’s English footballer of Nigerian descent Sam Edozie came on for Mohamed Elyounoussi in the 74th minute.

Championship

Chuba Akpom (Middlesbrough)

Akpom went from being a hero to villain after conceded a last-gasp free-kick from which Jordan Storey struck a stoppage-time winner to condemn Middleborough to a 2-1 defeat to Preston North End in Michael Carrick’s first match in charge on Saturday.

Akpom gave Carrick a dream start with a close-range headed goal but Emil Riis thumped home to equalise before half-time.

The win secured Preston North End’s second home win in nine attempts this season. Boro remain out of the drop zone on goals difference, while Preston are within three points off the play-off places.

Kalu, Troost-Ekong, Okoye, Dele-Bashiru (Watford)

William Troost-Ekong made his sixth English Championship start for Watford, who defeated strugglers Wigan 1-0 at the DW Stadium on Saturday.

Joao Pedro headed home the only goal with three minutes left. Pedro’s effort earned Slaven Bilic’s side a third win in four games, which leaves them two points off the play-off places.

His compatriot Samuel Kalu came on for Ken Sema in the 68th minute. The game was his fourth substitute appearance in the Championship.

Maduka Okoye and Tom Dele-Bashiru were unused substitutes.

ITALY

Ademola Lookman (Atalanta)

The former Leicester City forward continued his fine form in Italy and was on target again as Atalanta claimed a 2-0 away victory against Empoli on Sunday.

It’s been the best season so far for the 25-year-old, who has now been involved in eight goals (five goals and three assists) in 12 appearances for the Black and Blue.

Lookman scored his fifth goal of the season at the Stadio Carlo Castellani as Atalanta moved to second on the table and just five points behind the league leaders, Napoli.

Reacting to his brilliant season, the winger took to his Twitter page and said, “That feeling.”

Okereke, Dessers (Cremonese)

David Okereke and Cyriel Dessers were in action as Cremonese played a goalless draw against Udinese at the Stadio Giovanni Zini on Sunday.

Both forwards started from the kick-off, but were however unable to get the much needed goal to push them away from the relegation zone.

Dessers picked up an injury early in the first half and was substituted by Cristian Buonaiuto, while Okereke was on the pitch for 85 minutes before the introduction of Daniel Ciofani for the Nigerian.

Success, Ehizibue, Udogie (Udinese)

In a game that had five Nigerians in action, Isaac Success, Kingsley Ehizibue and Destiny Udogie all helped Udinese claim a vital point away from home against Cremonese, who paraded Dessers and Okereke.

Of the five Nigerians, only Udogie completed the entire 90 minutes, while former Watford man Success was another fourth player to have started from the blast of the whistle before he was replaced with Beto in the 76th minute as he continued his search for his first goal of the season after 12 league games.

Ehizibue came on as a 66th-minute substitute for Tolgay Arslan as he continues to break into the team. It is the 27-year-old’s eighth league game since joining from FC Köln in August.

Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

Osimhen scored his first Serie A career hat-trick in his fourth consecutive goalscoring game for the Partenopei, who defeated Sassuolo 4-0 on Saturday — a day that late Diego Maradona would have turned 62. The treble took his tally to eight in 10 games this term and he is now the joint-top scorer in the Serie A with seven goals from eight league games.

The Nigerian needed just four minutes to get on the score sheet after finishing off a flick header from the in-form Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. The deadly duo combined again in the 19th minute, with Osimhen sweeping home a low cross from the Georgian. Kvaratskhelia then turned from provider to scorer as he finished off a pass from Mario Rui to give Napoli a three-goal lead at half-time. Osimhen completed his hat-trick by chipping over Andrea Consigli, after the keeper came off his line, 10 minutes from time.

GERMANY

Anthony Ujah (Eintracht Braunschweig)

Ujah ended his five-game goals drought, after opening the scoring for Eintracht Braunschweig in their 2-2 draw against SV Sandhausen at the BWT-Stadion am Hardtwald on Sunday.

Ujah netted his fifth of the season in the 51st minute, heading home a delivery from  Bryan Henning in the German second tier.

FRANCE

Moses Simon (Nantes)

Not the best of the day for the winger, who struggled to make much impact, as Nantes played out a 1-1 draw with Clermont Foot at the Stade de la Beaujoire on Sunday.

Simon was in action for 84 minutes but saw his impact reduced by the opponents, who set up a 3-4-2-1 to contain the runs of the Nigerian.

He was taken off for Sebastien Corchia with just six minutes left as the home side went all out in search of the winning goal. The 27-year-old, who already has four goals and two assists, was unable to add to his goals contributions.

Terem Moffi (Lorient)

Moffi returned to action on Sunday as Lorient suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Nice. The Nigerian, who was ruled out of action for two weeks after suffering an ankle injury against Stade de Reims October 15, started from the bench and was brought on in the 60th minute.

The 23-year-old has been Lorient’s standout star this season, leading the scorers chart with eight goals – the fourth highest in the division behind PSG duo Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, and Lille’s Jonathan David.

Manager Regis Le Bris sent on the Nigerian to replace Stephane Diarra in the 60th minute, but the visitors held on to claim all three points.

TURKEY

Onyekuru, David (Adana Demirspor)

It was another fine day in the office for Henry Onyekuru as he continued his impressive form in the 2022/23 season.

The winger was on target as Adana Demirspor played a 2-2 draw with Kayserispor at the Kadir Has Sehir Stadyumu on Sunday. Onyekuru scored in the 65th minute to give Demirspor the second goal of the game and his fifth of the season.

The 25-year-old was, however, taken off in the 79th minute for Britt Assombalonga three minutes after he was shown a yellow card with score still at 2-1.

Also, 26-year-old Babajide David put up a decent show for the visitors to claim a point away from home.  The Oyo-born winger was in action for 61 minutes before he was substituted by Yusuf Sari.

SWEDEN

Patrick Nwadike (Sirius)

Promising Nigerian defender Nwadike got a goal for Sirius in the Swedish league as his side played a 1-1 draw against GIF Sundsvall away from home.

The 24-year-old got the equaliser following a fine assist from Daniel Stensson in the 22nd minute. The goal was the Nigerian’s first of the season in four games.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Peter Olayinka (Slavia Prague)

Olayinka scored two goals as Slavia Prague came from behind to beat Bohemians 4-1 in the 1st League Czech Republic.

He equalised for the visitors in the third minute, before scoring his second of the encounter in the 79th minute to wrap up the goals.

With the brace, Olayinka has now scored nine goals this season.

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