Matchday four of the Europa League group stages took centre stage on Thursday night with several Nigerian stars in action for their clubs
Samuel Chukwueze was the Nigerian player of the latest round as his goal helped Villarreal beat Sivasspor 1-0 at the Sivas Stadium. Chukwueze’s goal came 15 minutes from time and it was Villarreal’s first and lone shot on target in the game.
Meanwhile, Sivasspor missed the services of Kayode Olanrewaju, who has scored four goals in four group games this campaign.
In other games involving Nigerian stars, Wilfred Ndidi made his long-awaited return from an adductor injury. Still, it was not enough to prevent Leicester City from losing 1-0 at Zorya Luhansk.
Ndidi’s international teammate, Kelechi Iheanacho also featured for the Foxes, but he could not add to his three goals.
Kevin Akpoguma was an unused substitute as Hoffenheim secured top spot in Group L following a 0-0 draw at Red Star Belgrade.
The German side are guaranteed to finish top of their group due to a better head-to-head record against the Serbian side.
In Prague, Peter Olayinka fired blanks in Slavia Prague’s 3-0 win over Hapoel Beer Sheva at the Sinobo Stadium.
Olayinka, who was on target last week, played for the entire duration as goals from Abdallah Sima, Nicolae Stanciu and Dudu Twito (o.g) sealed the three points for the Czech champions.
Slavia has already secured qualification to the next round, but they will fight for the top spot with Bayer Leverkusen when both sides clash in the final group game next week.
Meanwhile, Victor Osimhen is still missing for Napoli as the Gli Azzurri played out a 1-1 draw against AZ Alkmaar in Holland.
Osimhen missed Napoli’s last four games after picking up a shoulder injury while on international duty with the Super Eagles.
Dries Mertens gave Gennaro Gattuso’s men the lead in the sixth minute, but Bruno Martins Indi strike in the 54th minute ensured both teams shared the spoils.
The result leaves things delicately poised going into the final game in Group F. Napoli lead the way with ten points, but just two ahead of the Dutch side and Real Sociedad.
In Scotland, Leon Balogun started while Joe Aribo came on in the second half as Rangers sealed a place in the last 32 following a 3-2 win over Standard Liege at the Ibrox.
Finally, Chidera Ejuke was a second-half substitute in CSKA Moscow’s home loss to Wolfsberger. Dario Vizinger’s strike in 22nd minute was enough to give seal the three points for the Austrian side and end CSKA qualification hopes.