Week Ahead: Three Super Eagles Stars To Watch As UCL, Europa League Return


It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for some Nigerian stars after the demands of the international break where the Super Eagles sealed qualification for the next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.

And more such actions are expected as the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League take centre stage in Europe.

Here are five Nigerian internationals who could influence proceedings for their respective days in the coming days.

Zaidu Sanusi: Porto vs. Chelsea

Competition: UEFA Champions League
Venue: Estadio R. Sanchez Pizjuan
Time: Wednesday, 8 pm

Ignoring Bayern Munich’s youngster Jamal Musiala, Zaidu Sanusi is the only Nigerian left in the UEFA Champions League after helping Porto overcome one of the competition’s favourites, Juventus.

Sanusi was kept on the bench last weekend on his return from international duty, and he is likely going to return to full back as the Portuguese champions travel to Spain, where they will face the English giants.

It is the best time to face Chelsea as Thomas Tuchel suffered his first loss in charge of the Blues with a cracking 2-5 defeat to struggling West Brom.

Confidence should be coursing through Sanusi after the left-back tamed Cristiano Ronaldo in the previous round.

Peter Olayinka: Arsenal vs. Slavia Prague

Competition: Europa League
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Time: Thursday, 8 pm.

Peter Olayinka has been one of Nigeria’s most exciting wingers in Europe this term. Still, his displays only earned him a spot on the standby list for the Super Eagles clashes against the Benin Republic and Lesotho last month.

The forward, however, return to England with the Czech Republic champions as underdogs but with every chance to knock out the Gunners.

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Olayinka played crucial roles as Slavia Prague crushed Leicester City and Scotland’s Rangers in previous rounds to set up this clash against Arsenal.

And he would be to once again be at his exciting best if the Czechs are to stand any chance of knocking out Mikel Arteta’s side.

Alex Iwobi: Everton vs. Crystal Palace

Competition: English Premier League
Venue: Goodison Park
Time: Monday, 6 pm.

Alex Iwobi has been out of form and favour recently, with the Nigerian midfielder appearing for just three minutes in the 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Manchester City before the international break.

The 24-year-old impressed as Nigeria thrashed Lesotho last Tuesday, and his performance could have convinced Carlo Ancelotti to hand him a start against Crystal Palace.

Everton need the win badly, having not earned the maximum points since the Toffees edge West Brom in early March, and Iwobi could add a new dimension to their attack.

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