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Europa League: Mixed Fortunes For Nigerian Stars

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The second leg of the Europa League round of 32 games was played Thursday, with some Nigerian players featuring for their clubs

It was a night of mixed fortunes for Nigerian players played in the Europa League games played on Thursday night.

At the King Power Stadium, Wilfred Ndidi was on the pitch for 90 minutes, but he could not prevent Leicester City from crashing out following a shock 2-0 loss to Slavia Prague.

The two sides had played out a goalless draw in the first leg last week, but the Foxes were favourite to progress last night.

But the Czech champions upset the odds as goals from Lukas Provod and Abdallah Sima in the 49th and 79th minute respectively secured their progress into the next round.

Ndidi was not the only Nigerian on the pitch as Peter Olayinka also played for the entire duration for Slavia. But Kelechi Iheanacho was not in the Foxes squad.

Meanwhile, in Spain, Samuel Chukwueze continued to build his way back to full fitness as he came on as a second-half substitute in Villarreal’s 2-1 win over Salzburg.

Chukwueze just returned from an injury, which required surgery, and the clash against Salzburg was only his second appearance since his return.

Mergim Berisha put Salzburg ahead in the 17th minute, but a brace from Gerard Moreno, one from the penalty spot, sealed a 2-1 win for the Yellow Submarines.  Unai Emery progressed to the round of 16 4-1 on aggregate, having won the first leg 2-0.

In Italy, Victor Osimhen was expectedly missing as Napoli crashed out despite beating Granada 2-1 on the night.

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Osimhen suffered a concussion in Napoli’s loss to Atalanta last weekend, which ruled him out of last night’s encounter.

Napoli went into the game needing to win by three goals or more to progress after suffering a 2-0 defeat in the first leg.

They got off to a good start as Piotr Zielinski put them ahead inside three minutes. But Angel Montoro restored parity for the Spanish side in the 25th minute.

Fabian Ruiz put Gennaro Gattuso’s men ahead again in the 57th minute, but the Italian side could not score two more goals needed for qualification.

Finally, Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun were involved in another thriller as Rangers thrashed Royal Antwerp 5-2 at the Ibrox to seal a 9-5 aggregate win. 

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