Mixed emotions for Nigerians abroad
It was a night of mixed emotions for several Nigerians campaigning in the Uefa Europa League with their respective clubs on Thursday.
Obafemi Martins and Shola Ameobi got the rub of the green as they both scored to inspire Levante and Newcastle United accordingly to wins against Greek and Ukrainian opposition.
John Obi Mikel made his return to the Chelsea first-team while Taye Taiwo and Lukman Haruna endured a night they will want to forget in a hurry as their efforts failed to lift Dynamo Kiev past the last 32 hurdle.
On a night when Ogenyi Onazi came off the bench to help SS Lazio thump Borussia Monchengladbach, supersport.com now rounds up the best of the action involving Nigerians in Europe’s second tier club competition.
SS Lazio 2-0 (5-3 agg) Borussia Monchengladbach (Stadio Olimpico)
Onazi came off the bench after 69 minutes to help SS Lazio beat the Germans 2-0 on the night and complete a 5-3 aggregate victory overall.
It was his first appearance for the Rome club since his participation at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
Metalist Kharkiv 0 - 1 (0-1 agg) Newcastle United (Metalist Stadium)
Shola Ameobi has become first-choice at Newcastle alongside Senegalese forward, Papiss Cisse following Demba Ba’s departure to Chelsea.
The Nigerian forward repaid Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew’s faith with the only goal, via the penalty spot, against a plucky Metalist side.
CFR Cluj 0-3 (0-5 agg) Inter Milan (Stadionul Dr. Constantin Radulescu, Cluj-Napoca)
This 2012/13 season has been the most trying in the top flight career of Joel Obi as he has had to consistently deal with debilitating injuries.
The midfielder was not listed by Inter coach, Andrea Stramaccionni as the Nerazzurri romped to a 3-0 win at Cluj.
Fenerbahçe 1 - 0 (1-0 agg) Bate Borisov (Sükrü Saraçoglu)
Joseph Yobo made his return to first-team action at Fener following his successful outing at the 2013 Afcon in South Africa.
The Super Eagles captain picked up a yellow card in the bad tempered contest against Bate but played all 90 minutes for the Turkish giants.
Chelsea 1-1 (2-1 agg) Sparta Prague (Stamford Bridge)
Mikel and Victor Moses both played 90 minutes as Chelsea produced a laboured performance to edge out the impressive Czechs at the death thanks to a moment of magic from Belgian midfielder, Eden Hazard.
Both Nigerians were unimpressive and will look to post better performances in Sunday’s big game against champions, Manchester City in the Barclays English Premier League.
Girondins Bordeaux 1 - 0 (2-1 agg) Dynamo Kiev (Stade Chaban-Delmas)
A heart-breaking night for the three Nigerians at Dynamo Kyiv, Brown Ideye, Haruna and Taiwo.
Taiwo and Haruna both played 90 minutes while Ideye came off the bench on the stroke of half time, his first appearance for the club after the 2013 Afcon.
Olympiacos 0 - 1 (0-4 agg) Levante UD (Stadio Karaiskaki)
Martins scored the game’s only goal as Levante romped to a lop-sided 4-0 aggregate success against a pathetic Olympiakos side.
The Nigerian forward has netted eight times for Levante in all competitions this season.