The big European leagues have returned from their midseason breaks, and Nigerian players who did not make Nigeria’s squad to the AFCON put up solid performances
The African Cup of Nations is just hours away. However, that has not halted club football in Europe. Some of the big leagues resumed this weekend, and some Nigerian players played vital roles to spur their sides to victory.
Super Eagles snub Kevin Apoguma put the disappointment of his AFCON snub behind him as he supplied an assist to help Hoffenheim cruise to a 3-1 victory over Augsburg in the German Bundesliga.
The 26-year-old was introduced in the 37th minute after his teammate Pavel Kaderabek sustained an injury.
Within just a minute of his introduction, Hoffenheim canceled their one-goal deficit. Then In the 44th minute, Akpoguma assisted Ihlas Bebou’s second to ensure that Die Kraichgauer finished the first half with a one-goal lead
He then put up a solid second-half performance with three clearances and won four of six duels. Another goal from David Raum in stoppage time ensured that Hoffenheim ran out 3-1 winners.
Elsewhere, Super Eagles target Michael Olise continued with his brilliant form, scoring one and assisting another to help Crystal Palace come back from one goal down to beat Millwall 2-1 in the FA Cup.
The 20-year-old was outstanding in the Eagles’ 3-2 loss to West Ham when he came off the bench to score a spectacular free-kick, and he proved his quality once more. Olise is eligible to represent Nigeria, England, and France.
Also, in the FA Cup, Ademola Lookman shone like a million stars in the absence of Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy.
The former Everton man assisted a goal in each half to help Leicester City thrash Emmanuel Dennis’ Watford 4-1.
Goals from Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, and Marc Albrighton were enough to see the foxes through. Dennis was rested for the match.