Nigerian players were bang on target in various leagues at the weekend as the European season enters the home stretch
It was both an FA Cup weekend and a Premiership weekend with Nigerians featuring in both competitions
Victor Moses started for Chelsea in their FA Cup quarter final clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday while Mikel Obi started on the bench. Moses was replaced in the 52nd minute by Eden Hazard while Mikel came on for Frank Lampard.
Chelsea clawed their way back from two goals down to end the match in a 2-2 draw and earn a replay at Stamford Bridge. Whoever wins the replay will confront Manchester City at Wembley.
Moses had 80% pass accuracy from 25 balls and had two attempted shots on target as he also completed one sucessful dribble.
In the 38 minutes played by Mikel, he had 89% pass accuracy from 42 touches on the ball and completed one dribble.
In the other match on Sunday, Millwall drew 0-0 against Blackburn Rovers. Nigerian defender Danny Shittu captained the Millwall side and could have scored a stunner from 40 yards in the second half but the effort was tipped over the bar.
Their replay is next Wednesday and the winner has a semi-final date with Wigan who beat Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Victor Anichebe came on in the second half to replace Philip Neville in the 46th minute but his introduction could not pull the Toffees out of the hole that had been dug in the first half.
In the Premiership, Reading fielded Hope Akpan from the start and the young Nigerian midfielder had a hand in Reading’s goal as his flick was diverted into the net in the 32nd minute by Nathan Baker. Akpan was replaced by Garath McCleary. Akpan had a pass accuracy of 70% from 27 touches on the ball and won 100% of his aerial duels. He also had one attempted shot before he was replaced.
Peter Odemwingie replaced Romelu Lukaku in West Brom's 2-1 win over Swansea on Saturday. The win moved the Baggies to eighth position with 43 points. Odemwingie came on in the 81st minute and attempted a left footed shot on goal in the 86th minute but the effort went wide. Odemwingie has five goals from 21 league appearances.
Obafemi Martins was not named in the team for the match against Getafe on Sunday. The Nigerian striker, just recalled to the Super Eagles played in the Europa League match last Thursday against Rubin Kazan. Martins has scored seven goals in 21 appearances in the league and two in three Europa League matches.
Nosa Igiebor is now back in Spain but played no part in Real Betis' 2-1 win over Osasuna on Friday.
Ikechukwu Uche put behind him the disappointment of not playing well at the Africa Cup of Nations and his being dropped from the Super Eagles to face Kenya by scoring the two goals that earned Villarreal a 2-1 victory over Sporting Gijon on Sunday.
Uche scored in the 39th minute and got the winner three minutes into injury time. Uche has now scored eight goals in 21 league games
Montpellier lost on Sunday to Nice with John Utaka playing all 90 minutes of the encounter. Utaka has played 23 times in the league this season and had a chance to add to his five goals in the 10th minute but his right-footed shot from the left side of the box was blocked.
He also tried to set up goals for his team mates in the 86th and 87th minutes but Younès Belhanda hit the bar with a right-footed shot from the centre of the box. A minute later, Souleymane Camara’s right-footed shot from the right side of the box went very close.
Utaka completed 75% of his passes successfully from 46 touches of the ball and completed one dribble. Montpellier dropped down one place to seventh on the league table with 10 matches to go in the season.
Onyekachi Apam was back on the bench for the visit of St. Etienne on Friday. The Nigerian defender came on as a substitute in last week’s encounter against Montpellier for Herita Ilunga and has played eight times in the league.
Ahmed Musa continued his good form as he scored the second goal in CSKA Moscow’s 2-0 win over Krylya Sovetov on Saturday.
Musa who plays centrally for his team scored the second on 72 minutes and it was a true poacher's goal as he collected the ball outside the box, shrugged off his marker and placed a low shot beyond the reach of the goalkeeper.
That is Musa’s ninth league goal and it has helped CSKA to maintain a stranglehold on top spot as they are now five points clear of Anzhi Makhachkala, who lost away to Mordovia Saransk
Obinna Nsofor started the second phase of the Russian league on the bench for Lokomotiv Moscow though he came on in the 79th minute to replace Maicon. Lokomotiv lost 1-0 away to their cross-town rivals, Dinamo Moscow on Saturday. Nsofor has played 18 times in the league with two goals - his last goal coming on November 24, 2012 against Krasnodar at home.Lokomotiv are in 10th place on the 16-team league table with 31 points from 20 matches.
Haruna assisted for the first Kiev goal on 50 minutes as his pass freed Andrei Yarmolenko to score. Kiev wrapped up the victory in the 70th minute with a goal from Daniel Garmash. Kiev though stay in fourth place with 41 points.
Babatunde Michael celebrated his call up to the national team by starting on the bench for Kryvbas in their 3-0 home win over Zorya. Babatunde came off the bench in the 88th minute to replace Sergey Samodin, who scored two goals in the encounter.
Lucky Idahor featured for Zorya and he was substituted in the 46th minute. Idahor has played 19 times this season and scored three goals.
Imoh Ezekiel scored 12 seconds into their away encounter against OH Leuven on Saturday to make it 14 league goals for the season in 22 appearances. OH Leuven kicked off the match but the ball was nicked in midfield and passed to Ezekiel whose first time shot went beyond the goalkeeper to give the away side a fantastic start.
Standard Liege went on to win 4-0. OH Leuven had Derick Ogbu in the starting line-up but he could do nothing to help his team. Ezekiel was replaced in the 46th minute by Ghanaian Daniel Opare. Standard have with the win qualified for the Champions play-off that will be decided by the six top teams who will now play a round-robin to determine who will be crowned champions of the league and the European places.
Michael Uchebo started for Cercle Brugge in their 3-1 loss at home to Mons, who are coached by the legendary Belgian player Enzo Scifo. Uchebo has played 27 times with two goals.
Dropped Eagles captain, Joseph Yobo played the entire match for Fenerbahce in their 4-1 home win over Bursaspor on Sunday. Yobo also played last Thursday in their Europa League 1-0 away win over Viktoria Plzen. Fenerbahce are joint second on the table with Besiktas on 43 points, four off leaders, Galatasaray.
Nduka Ozokwor and Raheem Lawal will hope to do all for Mersin İdmanyurdu on Monday as they confront Kalu Uche and Kasimpasa.
Michael Eneramo played all 90 minutes in Sivasspor's 2-1 home win over Antalyaspor. The Nigerian striker has scored seven goals this term while Isaac Promise who played for Antalyaspor has also scored seven goals in 20 league appearances.
Simon Zenke played his sixth game for İstanbul BB in their 0-0 draw with Kayserispor on Saturday. Zenke crossed over from the French Lique 1 to help Istanbul BB stave off relegation with his goals but he is yet to start scoring.
In the first division, Chikeluba Ofoedu (pictured above) scored his sixth league goal but his club 1461 Trabzon fell 3-2 to Ankaragucu. 1461 Trabzon are fourth on the league table with 41 points as they chase automatic promotion to the Super Lig.
Elderson Echiejile played all 90 minutes for Sporting Braga as they won 2-0 at home against Maritimo.
The Super Eagles left back has played for Braga 12 times this term with no goals though he scored four league goals last season. Braga are third on the table with 40 points from 22 matches and are chasing a Uefa Champions League qualifying spot.
New Super Eagles call-up John Ogu started on Saturday for Academica against Sporting Lisbon and the teams settled for a 1-1 draw.Ogu was on for 89 minutes and was replaced by Afonso. The Nigerian midfielder was playing his 17th league game and he has not scored but has collected five yellow cards and a red card.
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