Mixed blessing for Nigerian stars
Mixed blessing for Nigerian stars
……as Okereke, Dessers, Ejuke go down
• Awoniyi's goals keep Forest up
•Orban hits 20th goal in 20th game
•Impressive Taiwo grabs hat-trick in Slovakia
The weekend was ladened with mixed results for Nigerian players in Europe, with few of them scoring crucial goals to secure landmark achievements for their clubs, while three others were relegated. ABIODUN ADEWALE takes a look at their performances
ARIBO, ONUACHU (SOUTHAMPTON)
Already relegated to the Championship, Southampton lacked motivation on Sunday as they were beaten 3-1 by Brighton at the AMEX Stadium.
Joe Aribo came on as a second half substitute for the injured Dominic Ballard for his 21st Premier League appearance, while his compatriot, Paul Onuachu, was an unused substitute.
OLA AINA (TORINO)
Defender Aina came on as a substitute for Stephane Singo in the 34th minute as Torini were held 1-1 by Fiorentina in the Serie A. It was the defender's first appearance since recovering from a muscle injury, having missed seven games of their last eight games. Aina has endured an injury-plagued season, having also missed eight games due to another muscle injury, which kept him on the treatment table for four months.
Torino are 10th in the league with two games to go.
CALVIN BASSEY (AJAX)
Bassey was overlooked for the third consecutive game by manager John Heitinga as hosts Ajax recorded a 3-1 victory over Utrecht on Sunday to boost their chances of UEFA Champions League qualification.
Having made 24 appearances with one league goal and three assists this season, Bassey has been subjected to heavy criticisms due to the Dutch side's poor run, which saw them deposed by Feyenoord.
BOBBY ADEKANYE (GO AHEAD EAGLES)
Forward Adekanye put in a great shift and was rated high as Go Ahead Eagles cruised to a 3-0 win over FC Volendam in the Dutch Eredivisie on Sunday.
Adekanye has featured prominently for the Dutch side this season, scoring six goals and making four assists in 30 appearances.
ONYEKURU, AKINTOLA (ADANA DEMIRSPOR)
Forward Babajide Akintola came on for countryman Henry Onyekuru as Adana Demirspor suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Besiktas on Sunday.
Akintola started the game and was taken off for Onyekuru in the 73rd minute.
Both players have been prominent for Adana this season, with Onyekuru racking up 27 appearances, eight goals and three assists, while the Oyo-born Akintola has six goals and one assist in 27 games.
Adana are fourth in the Turkish Super Lig with 63 points from 33 games.
TAIWO AWONIYI (NOTTINGHAM FOREST)
Striker Awoniyi was the match winner for Nottingham Forest, who edged Arsenal at the City Ground by a lone goal to secure their Premier League survival and crown Manchester City as champions.
Awoniyi's 19th minute goal was enough to seal victory and spark jubilant scenes from the home supporters at the final whistle.
The big forward only scored four times in his first 23 Premier League games after joining Forest from Union Berlin but now has five in his past three and nine in total in the EPL.
FRANK ONYEKA (BRENTFORD)
In England, Onyeka delivered a solid performance for Brentford, playing a crucial role as they came from behind to beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 away from home.
ALEX IWOBI (EVERTON)
Iwobi showcased his skills for Everton, contributing to a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers that secured a vital point in the Toffees' battle for Premier League survival.
Following Leeds United's defeat at West Ham on Sunday, Everton are two points above the drop zone, needing a win in their last game against Bournemouth to survive.
GIFT ORBAN (GENT)
Orban's prolific goal-scoring form continued for KAA Gent in Belgium, as he notched his 20th goal of the season in as many games in a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Cercle Brugge. Orban's crucial strike secured Gent's qualification for the Europa Conference League playoffs.
SAMUEL CHUKWUEZE (VILLARREAL)
Chukwueze completed three successful dribbles and helped Villarreal secure a vital 2-1 away victory against Girona. The winger has been in fine form this season with six goals and five assists in La Liga.
RAFIU DUROSINMI (VIKTORIA PLZEN)
Durosinmi displayed his scoring prowess by finding the back of the net for the third consecutive game, but his goal proved to be a mere consolation as Viktoria Plzeň lost 2-1 to Igoh Ogbu's Slavia Prague.
Meanwhile, Abdoullahi Tanko impressed with his goal-scoring abilities for Varnsdorf, netting his fourth goal in two games. However, it was also not enough, as 10-man Chrudim emerged victorious 3-2.
MOSES SIMON (NANTES)
Simon experienced disappointment as Nantes suffered a 3-0 defeat against Montpellier, leaving them languishing in the relegation zone.
CHIDERA EJUKE (HERTHA BERLIN)
In Germany, Ejuke featured as a substitute for Hertha Berlin in their disappointing 1-1 draw against Bochum, a result that confirmed their relegation from the Bundesliga.
DESSERS, OKEREKE (CREMONESE)
Cremonese were humiliated 5-1 at home by Bologna, which condemned them to relegation, meaning forward Cyriel Dessers, David Okereke will try their luck in Serie B next season if they don't get a deal away from the Italian side.
ADEMOLA LOOKMAN (ATALANTA)
Winger Lookman returned to action in triumphant fashion, providing an assist as Atalanta cruised to a 3-1 victory over Verona
OCHE OCHOWECHI (FEIRENSE)
In Portugal, little-known Ochowechi found the back of the net for Feirense, but it wasn't enough to prevent a narrow 2-1 loss to Academico Viseu in the Segunda Liga.
TAIWO (SPARTAK TRNAVA), EMEKA (TRENČÍN)
Slovakian football witnessed impressive performances from Nigerian duo Abdulrahman Taiwo and Chinonso Emeka on Saturday.
Taiwo's hat-trick propelled Spartak Trnava to a commanding 4-2 win over Zilina in the Super Lig, while Emeka scored his second goal in as many matches, albeit in a losing effort as Trenčín fell 1-3 to Skalica.