African All Stars

Nigeria defender Ehizibue in action as Freiburg compound Koln relegation woes

5:46 PM WAT 09/05/2021
Kingsley Ehizibue - Koln
The 25-year-old's defensive contribution was not enough on Sunday as the Billy Goats suffered their 17th league loss of the season

Nigeria defender Kingsley Ehizibue was on parade for Koln in their 4-1 home defeat to Freiburg in Sunday’s Bundesliga fixture.

Ehizibue returned to the Billy Goats starting XI at the RheinEnergieStadion after he missed their five-goal thriller against Augsburg on April 23 due to suspension.

Goals from Nils Peterson and Ermedin Demirovic gave Freiburg a 2-0 lead at the break, however, a 49th-minute effort from Sebastian Andersson halved the deficit for Friedhelm Funkel's side who were hoping to boost their survival chances.

After missing a penalty on the hour mark, Koln kept piling the pressure on their opponents in search of a leveller, until some stoppage-time drama when the hosts thought they had grabbed a 2-2 equaliser through Jan Thielmann's strike, but it was ruled out after a VAR review for handball off captain Jonas Hector, who set him up.

Shortly after the disallowed effort, Freiburg added two more goals to their lead with Vincenzo Grifo and Jonathan Schmid scoring in the 93rd and 96th minutes, respectively.

Ehizibue was in action for 76 minutes - his 20th Bundesliga appearance for the campaign - before he was replaced by Salih Ozcan.

Meanwhile, Sunday's defeat dealt a blow to Koln's chances of maintaining their top-flight status as they are 17th on the Bundesliga table with 29 points after 32 matches.

They are a point adrift of safety since 15th-placed Hertha Berlin have 30 points after 30 matches while 16th-placed Arminia Bielefeld have the same tally after 31 outings.

With two matches left to play for, the Billy Goats will hope to grab maximum points against Hertha Berlin next Saturday before they host bottom-placed Schalke 04 in their final match of the season on May 22.

Ehizibue, born in Germany to Nigerian parents, was raised in the Netherlands where he developed his game and he started his career at PEC Zwolle.

He moved to the Bundesliga in June 2019 to team up with Koln on a four-year contract.

In March 2020, the 25-year-old was handed his maiden invitation to the Nigeria national team for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against Sierra Leone, but the game was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.