The Super Eagles left-back will hope to continue his impressive form in Europe’s biggest club competition on Wednesday night
Zaidu Sanusi will seek to become just the eighth Nigerian and the first since 2016 to play in a Champions League semi-final as Porto take on Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal clash at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Kelechi Iheanacho was the last Nigerian to feature in the Champions League semifinal, which came in Manchester City’s 2016 clash against Real Madrid.
But before Iheanacho, Kanu and Finidi featured for Ajax in the 94/95 and 95/96 seasons, reaching the final on both occasions and winning the former.
Tijani Babangida also played in a Champions League semi-final for the Dutch giants, but it was in the 96/97 season, and by that time, Kanu and Finidi had left the club.
Victor Ikpeba was the next Nigerian to feature in the semifinals of Europe’s biggest club competition, playing for Monaco in the 97/98 clash against Juventus.
Obafemi Martins featured for Inter Milan against AC Milan in the 03/04 season, but it was the Rossoneri that progressed and won the competition, beating Juventus in the final.
Eight years later, John Mikel Obi was part of the Chelsea squad that beat Barcelona in the semifinal en route to their victory over Bayern Munich in the final.
Sanusi could now be the latest Nigerian to also play in the semifinals should Porto be able to see off the challenge of Chelsea over two legs.
Porto will go into the clash full of confidence after seeing off the challenge of Juventus via away goals rule in the second round.
Sanusi has played a key role in the Dragons run to the quarterfinals, playing for the entire duration in six of the eight matches they’ve played in the competition.
The former Santa Clara defender has one goal to his name in the competition and was named in matchday four team of the week.
He missed the league encounter against his former club last weekend, but he is expected to return to the starting lineup on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, the first and second legs of the encounter will take place at Sevilla’s home ground due to the covid-19 restriction rules imposed by the Portuguese and UK governments.