…equals’ Eto’o’s Serie A record
• Chukwueze scores 11th goal of the season
It was a weekend of goals for Nigerian stars in Europe as Victor Osimhen grabbed a brace for Napoli to equal the most goals scored by an African player in a Serie A season, while Emmanuel Dennis ended his five-month goals drought. ANTHONY NLEBEM looks at how the players performed for their respective clubs over the weekend
Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
Striker Osimhen scored a brace for Napoli in their 4-0 win at Torino on match-day 27 of the Serie A fixture played on Sunday at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
He opened score in the ninth minute, before adding the second six minutes into the second half to take his tally to 21 goals in 23 matches, equalling the most goals scored by an African in a single Serie A season, held by Samuel Eto’o.
The Serie A top scorer was impressive all day, before being substituted in the 72nd minute for Giovanni Simeone.
The Gli Azzurriare are 21 points clear of the Serie A table and are aiming to become Italian champions for the third time, with their last success coming in 1990.
Ehizibue, Success, Udogie (Udinese)
Defender Kingsley Ehizibue was on target with the third goal to help Udinese secure their first home win this year as the Bianconeri thrashed AC Milan 3-1 in a Serie A match at the Dacia Arena on Saturday.
Ehizibue scored the winner in the 70th minute before he was replaced by Festy Ebosele, another defender of Nigerian descent.
Isaac Success and Destiny Udogie also featured and were impressive in the match as Udogie provided the assist for Ehizibue’s third goal.
Udogie was on for the entire duration of the match, while Success played for 73 minutes and was replaced by Florian Thauvin.
Okereke, Dessers (Cremonese)
David Okereke and Cyriel Dessers were in action as Cremonese battled to a 1-1 draw against Monza at the U-Power Stadium to claim a point that lifted them off the foot of the Serie A table.
Italian tactician Davide Ballardini handed Okereke, who has not scored in four league matches, a starting role, but the striker again fired blanks and was replaced by Dessers, who has also struggled for form this season and has netted just three goals in 2023.
Lookman, Ebuehi (Empoli, Atalanta)
Defender Tyronne Ebuehi scored the opener for Empoli, but it was not enough, as Ademola Lookman’s Atalanta staged a comeback to secure a 2-1 win and end their four-game winless run in a Serie A fixture played on Friday at the Gewiss Stadium.
Empoli boss Paolo Zanetti handed Ebuehi a starting role and the Super Eagles defender didn’t disappoint, as he netted in the 44th minute and put up an impressive performance for 90 minutes.
Lookman came on in the 76th minute for Giorgio Scalvini and was looking at ending his goals drought, but was denied any opportunity by Empoli’s defence. He got a yellow card after nine minutes of play, with the winger yet to score in seven league matches.
Terem Moffi (OGC Nice)
Nigeria international Moffi was included in Didier Digard’s squad as OGC Nice suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to visiting Lorient on match-day 28 of their Lique 1 fixture on Friday at the Allianz Riviera.
The 23-year-old striker scored and gave an assist in Nice’s 2-2 draw against Nantes on match-day 27 last Sunday and has registered 15 goals in 24 Ligue 1 appearances in the 2022/23 season.
Moses Simon (Nantes)
Winger Simon was on the starting line-up for Nantes and helped the Canaries earn a vital away draw in their 1-1 stalemate versus Lyon in a Ligue 1 match on Friday at the Groupama Stadium.
The 27-year-old has struggled for form and has not scored in 11 league matches.
Calvin Bassey (Ajax)
Defender Bassey was in Ajax’s starting line-up as the Dutch champions lost 3-2 at home to Feyenoord in the Dutch Eredivisie at the Johan Cruijff Arena on Sunday.
The 23-year-old played full-time but could not stop Feyenoord, who came from one goal down, to earn the vital three points.
Onyeka, Iheanacho, Ndidi (Leicester City, Brentford)
Midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was in the starting 11 as Leicester City came from one goal behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Brentford in a Premier League fixture played on Saturday at the Gtech Community Stadium.
Ndidi was taken off in the 75th minute and replaced by Boubakary Soumaré, while Kelechi Iheanacho was a substitute for James Maddison in the 90th minute.
Frank Onyeka was an unused substitute after recently recovering from a three-month injury lay-off.
Alex Iwobi (Everton)
Midfielder Iwobi started for Sean Dyche’s side and played every minute as a late Ellis Reco Simms’ equaliser helped Everton hold Chelsea 2-2 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Onuachu, Aribo (Southampton)
Paul Onuachu was an unused substitute as Southampton came from two goals down to earn a 3-3 draw in their Premier League match against Tottenham on Saturday at St. Mary’s Stadium.
The 28-year-old striker is yet to register a Premier League goal for the struggling Saints after six matches, since joining in January.
Onuachu’s compatriot Joe Aribo did not make Ruben Selles’ squad for the clash. The Saints are bottom of the Premier League table.
Chuba Akpom (Middlesbrough)
In the English Championship, Akpom continued his excellent form hitting his 24th league goal and assisting another to help Middlesbrough cruise to a massive 4-0 home win over Preston North End on Saturday at the Riverside Stadium.
The 27-year-old former Arsenal youth player and top scorer in the Championship scored the first goal in the 22nd minute, before handing an assist for Cameron Archer’s third goal.
Dennis, Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest)
Emmanuel Dennis ended his five-month goals drought when he scored the opening goal for Nottingham Forest in their 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United in a Premier League fixture played on Friday at the City Ground stadium.
Dennis scored the opener in the 26th minute for Forest but his effort was not enough to secure a point for the struggling EPL returnees.
He was substituted in the 79th minute for Neco Williams.
Taiwo Awoniyi, who recently resumed light training following an injury spell, was not listed for the game.
Olayinka, Ogbu, Olatunji (Slavia Prague, Slovan Liberec)
On Saturday, Peter Olayinka was in the starting XI and scored the opening goal for Slavia Prague in their 2-2 draw at Slovan Liberec in the Czech First League fixture at the Stadion U Nisy.
The goal took his tally to 10 in the league, with five assists.
He was, however, shown a red card in the 89th minute for head butting an opponent.
Also, defender Igoh Ogbu was on for 90 minutes for the Salivates but got a yellow card in the 45th minute.
Victor Olatunji scored the equaliser to rescue Slavia Prague from suffering a home defeat and took his number of goals to two in eight appearances at the Czech Fortuna Liga this season.
Odion Ighalo (Al Hilal)
Forward Ighalo scored his side’s first goal and assisted the second as Al Hilal continued their hunt for the treble with a commanding 3-0 win over Al Ittifaq in a Saudi Pro League match played on Saturday.
The former Manchester United striker and last season’s Golden Boot winner in Saudi Arabia is the second top scorer in the Saudi Pro League with 12 goals in 16 appearances this season, three goals behind Al Ittihad’s Moroccan forward Abderrazak Hamdallah.
Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona Femenin)
Striker Oshoala was not on the score sheet as Barcelona thrashed Valencia 5-1 in their match-day 22 fixture of the Spanish Women’s Primera Division on Friday.
The forward had an outstanding game, though, and came off for Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic in the 56th minute.
The 28-year-old has scored 19 goals with two assists in 21 league appearances this season, and tops the league’s goalscoring chart. She is just one goal away from equalling her best goalscoring tally in Spain of 20 goals, which she achieved last season.
Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal)
Chukwueze scored the opening goal as Villarreal thrashed Osasuna 3-0 in a La Liga fixture on Sunday at the Estadio El Sadar Stadium.
The 23-year-old winger scored in the 14th minute and was close to getting the second three minutes later, but VAR ruled out the goal for offside. Chukwueze has now scored 11 goals and contributed nine assists in 38 appearances across all competitions this season.
Toni Payne (Sevilla)
Payne was in action for Sevilla in their 3-0 win against Real Betis in the Spanish Women’s Primera Division on Saturday.
The 27-year-old striker was exceptional and played full-time to help Sevilla secure a victory.