How Nigerian stars performed across the world

Nigerian players plying their trade across the world still need to exhibit more spectacular showings to take the game to the next level of their respective careers.

In their different league outings in the last seven days, they tried all they could, but some of them recorded outstanding performances that changed the fortune of their clubs.

Regrettably, many of these players are still warming the bench. Only a few have the strength to play a full game with their clubs.

The players who are at their best now, have little chance to enter the hearts of the Super Eagles technical crew who had been programmed to look at only one direction for their selection process.

Iyayi Atiemwen became an instant hero for Dinamo Zagreb as his 36th-minute strike was all the Citizens needed to claim maximum points at league basement club Istra 1961.

It was Atiemwen’s third goal in as many matches, having found the back of the net in recent wins over Sibenik and Lokomotiv Zagreb.

The latest victory sees the defending champions return to the summit of the Croatian top-flight levelled on points with second-place Osijek.

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In the Czech Republic, Peter Olayinka scored his sixth goal of the league campaign, but it was not enough as Slavia Prague were held to a 3-3 draw at Pribram.

The champions would have only themselves to blame for letting all three points slip through their fingers, conceding two own goals and a late winner at the home of an opponent drowning in relegation waters.

Still, Slavia remained on course to retain their league title, having established a 13-point lead over second-place Jablonec.

Super Eagles winger Olayinka managed just four league goals last term as Slavia romped to their sixth championship crown.

In Spain, Nigerian midfielder James Igbekeme was among the goalscorers as Real Zaragoza secured a brilliant 2-1 away win at Mallorca in a Segunda Division game week 24 clash.

Igbekeme opened the scoring in the 11th minute, his second league goal of the season, before Spanish fullback Carlos Vigaray made it two-nil on the stroke of halftime.

Luis Munoz reduced the home side’s deficit late in the second period, but Zaragoza held on for the win that lifts them out of the relegation zone.

In Germany, Nigerian forward Dickson Abiama helped Greuther Furth continued their push towards Bundesliga promotion with a 4-1 humbling of Wurzburgers Kickers.

Ridge Munsy drew first blood for the visitors a quarter of an hour into the Bundesliga II encounter, but 22-year-old Abiama equalised for the hosts just before the half-hour mark.

A Branimir Hrogta brace after the interval and a late Robin Kehr effort then sealed the win that lifts coach Stephan Leitl’s men to third on the league table.

In the Scottish Premiership, Joe Aribo made his 21st league appearance, but the Rangers dropped points following a 1-1 draw at Hamilton.

Aribo was on the pitch for the entire duration, but he had an average performance on the day. The Nigerian international had just 73% pass accuracy while he only managed three shots at goal with just one on target.

His international compatriot, Leon Balogun was an unused substitute in the clash.

Super Eagles striker Olanrewaju Kayode finally found his scoring range in the Super Lig for Sivasspor as coach Riza Çalımbay’s men handed Ankaragucu a 4-1 thrashing at the Eryaman Stadyumu in Ankara.

It was Kayode’s first league goal in 17 appearances since he joined the Braves on loan from Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk in September.

The former Manchester City doubled Sivasspor’s advantage shortly after the break as Mark Gradel had given the visitors the lead with a first-half penalty.

In England,defender Semi Ajayi was on the losing side as Tottenham Hotspurs claimed the first win in four matches with a commanding 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion.

Odion Ighalo also made a winning debut in the Saudi Pro League as Al Shabab hammered Al Raed on Saturday.

The encounter was Ighalo’s first outing since December 2 when he came off the bench to make his Champions League debut as a 90th-minute substitute in Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

The ex-Nigeria striker was introduced in the 84th minute after Cristian Guanca’s brace and lone goals from Ever Banega and Fabio Martins had secured maximum points for the hosts at the King Fahd Stadium.

Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first Premier League goal of the season and helped Leicester return to winning ways with a routine 2-0 victory at struggling Fulham.

In the absence of striker Jamie Vardy, the Foxes had earned just one point from matches against Everton and Leeds, but they bounced back at Craven Cottage.

Iheanacho headed in a James Maddison cross to give his side the lead in the 17th minute.

Victor Osimhen is yet to attain full fitness after injury and illness, according to Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso.

Osimhen has returned Covid-19 and a shoulder injury which sidelined him for almost three months.

He was a 57th-minute sub-Saturday when Napoli fell 2-1 at Genoa after his comeback game at Verona last month.

Henry Onyekuru scored his third goal in Galatasaray 3-0 home win over Istanbul Basaksehir before he started in the weekend’s famous “Intercontinental Derby” which his team won to shoot to the top of the league table.

He could not have dreamt of a better start to life back in Turkey with an excited club president also declaring that Onyekuru has shamed his critics.

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