Mixed Fortunes For Nigerian Stars As The Europa League Kicks Off


Europe’s second club competition, The Europa League kicked off on Thursday night, and several Nigerian players were in action for their respective clubs

Kelechi Iheanacho recorded two assists, and a goal as Leicester City began their campaign with a 3-0 victory over Zorya. 

Rangers were the among the clubs that had an early kickoff, and they started with a comfortable win over Standard Liege with both Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo featuring.

While Balogun featured for the entire duration, Aribo, who is gradually making his return from injury, was brought on for Ianis Hagi in the 67th minute.

James Tavernier put the Gers ahead from the penalty spot in the 19th minute before Kemar Roofe’s spectacular strike three minutes into added time secured an impressive victory away from home for Steven Gerrard’s men.

Meanwhile, it was not a good night for Victor Osimhen on his Europa League debut for Napoli as they lost 1-0 at home to AZ Alkmaar.

Dani de Wit 57th minute strike was enough for the Dutch side to secure an unlikely victory. Osimhen, who scored his first Serie A goal last weekend, came off for Andrea Petagna in the 66th minute. 

In Spain, Chukwueze recorded an assist while Olanrewaju Kayode scored as Villarreal beat Sivasspor in a 5-3 thriller at the Estadio de la Cerámica.

Takefusa Kubo (13) and Carlos Bacca (20) put the Yellow Submarines two goals up inside the opening 20 minutes.

However, Kayode pulled one back for the Turkish side before Mustapha Yatabare levelled scores after Bacca had missed a penalty for Villarreal.

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Juan Foyth put Unai Emery’s men ahead after the break, but Max-Alain Gradel restored parity once again for Sivasspor. 

But it was to be Villarreal’s day as Chukwueze set up Paco Alcacer for Villarreal’s fourth before the Spanish international scored his second and Villarreal’s fifth in the 78th minute.

Finally, in Austria, Chidera Ejuke saw yellow as CSKA Moscow played out a 1-1 draw against Austrian side, Wolfsberger AC.

Adolfo Gaich put CSKA ahead inside five minutes, but Michael Liendl’s penalty in the 44th minute ensured both teams shared the spoils.

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