Nwakali: Ex-Arsenal midfielder makes losing debut for Huesca against Mirandes
Kelechi Nwakali made his long-awaited Huesca debut in Thursday’s 2-1 home defeat to Mirandes.
After completing a loan spell at Porto B, the Nigeria international joined the Segunda division outfit on a three-year deal from Premier League side Arsenal.
Since his move in September 2019, the 22-year-old has waited patiently for his maiden appearance – with his closest attempt an unused substitute role in the 3-1 triumph at Malaga on June 12.
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However, he ended his wait on Thursday as manager Michel brought him on as an 83rd-minute substitute for Sergio Gomez.
Despite featuring for seven minutes, he could do little as his team bowed at home to the Reds at Estadio El Alcoraz.
After a goalless first-half in the matchday 33 fixture, Alvaro Rey powered Mirandes ahead in the 62nd minute, but the hosts levelled matters through Rafa Mir eight minutes later.
Alvaro Pena handed Andoni Iraola’s team all the points at stake with his 72nd-minute effort.
Cote d’Ivoire midfielder Cheick Doukoure, who is on loan from Levante, was an unused substitute by the hosts, while Ghana’s Ernest Ohemeng was not considered for action by manager Iraola.
This defeat marks a setback for Huesca who are chasing promotion to the Spanish elite division. They are currently fourth in the log after garnering 53 points from 33 outings – seven points below leaders Cadiz, while Mirandes moved to sixth.
Nwakali is pleased with his debut and assured that the Azulgranas will bounce back in their next outing.
“Thank God though it wasn’t the best result for the team we keep the focus on the next game,” he wrote on Instagram.
He would be eyeing his second cap when Michel leads the team to Estadio Carlos Belmonte on Sunday for a date with 17th-placed Albacete.
The ex-Arsenal player burst into the limelight after captaining the Nigeria U17 team that paraded the likes of Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze to win the 2015 U17 World Cup in Chile.
His inspiring displays earned him the tournament’s Golden Ball ahead of Lille’s Osimhen and Mali’s Aly Malle. Nwakali’s stock rose after joining Arsenal on a five-year deal from Nigeria’s Diamond Football Academy.
After failed loan expeditions at MVV Maastricht, VVV Venlo and Porto B, the youngster was shipped out of the Emirates.