The number of Nigerian internationals who will feature in the group stages of Europe’s premier club competition has been drastically reduced after several of them crashed out of the competition with their respective clubs on Tuesday
Paul Onuachu fired blank as a Cyriel Dessers goal only served as consolation in Genk’s 2-1 defeat at Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk in a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round clash on Tuesday evening.
The Belgian side lost by a similar margin at home last week in the first leg, with Onuachu finding the back of the net for the Smurfs.
Shakhtar, therefore, move to the next round of the competition on a 4-2 aggregate score, ending this season’s dreams of the Super Eagles duo of Onuachu and Dessers.
In the Czech Republic, Nigerian international forward Peter Olayinka lasted only 16 minutes before injury forced him out of Slavia Prague’s second leg clash against Ferencvaros at the Sinobo Stadium.
Lukas Masopust’s 36th-minute strike gave the Czech champions a 1-0 win on the night, but Olayinka and mates still crashed out of the competition, having lost 0-2 in Hungary last week.
Super Eagles winger Henry Onyekuru did not make it off the bench as his new side Olympiacos played out a thrilling 2-2 draw away to Ludogorets Razgrad on Tuesday night.
The two teams’ encounter last week equally ended in a 1-1 draw. But with the away goals rule cancelled this season, the tie was decided on penalty shootout after no victor emerged at the end of 120 minutes.
Razgrad kept their cool to send Onyekuru and the Greek champions back to the Europa League.
There was also no respite for the Super Eagles duo of Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun. Both players crashed out of the Champions League following Rangers’ disappointing 2-1 loss to ten-man Malmo at the Ibrox Stadium.
The Scottish champions trailed by the same scoreline from the first leg last week and were confident of overturning the deficit in the return leg.
But despite young Nigerian midfielder Bonnke Innocent receiving his marching orders just before half-time with Rangers leading, Steven Gerrard’s conceded twice early in the second period to exit the competition on 4-2 aggregate.