Soccernet.ng brings you the highlights of a few Nigerian internationals who featured for their clubs on the first day of the last weekend before the crucial World Cup qualifier against Ghana
Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo’s performance was the finest of the Nigerian stars in action on Friday. The former Watford man scored a brilliant first-half hat-trick in Al Hilal’s 4-2 triumph over Al Ahli in the Saudi Arabia Pro League.
Ighalo pounced on a defensive mistake to slot home the opener with his left foot in the 11th minute.
The 32-year-old then crashed home an instinctive first-time shot just past the hour-mark to double the champions’ advantage. And the former Manchester United loanee completed his impressive haul deep into first-half stoppage time with a fine finish after a powerful run.
It was Ighalo’s first hat-trick for the side he joined only in January.
The league’s leading goalscorer, Ighalo, now has 19 goals, at least four more than the chasing pack led by Ittihad’s Brazilian attacker Romarinho.
In a Super Lig matchday 30 fixture, Super Eagles Ahmed Musa came off the bench to feature for the final ten minutes in Fatih Karagumruk’s 3-0 thrashing of Kayaerispor at the Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı in İstanbul.
Musa replaced hat-trick hero Emre Mor with the game already decided.
Also in Turkey, Anthony Nwakaeme had his brilliant goalscoring run halted as Trabzonspor lost 3-2 at Rizespor
Finland international striker Joel Julius Ilmari Pohjanpalo netted a hat-trick of penalties – the third in the fifth minute of added time – for the home side to condemn Nwakaeme and the Black Sea Storm to their first defeat in 17 matches.
Nwakaeme had scored or provided an assist in each of his last five appearances, but he was kept relatively quiet by the home side before he was substituted in the 78th minute.
In Italy, Ola Aina’s match fitness remains a concern as the ex-Chelsea defender is still frozen out at Torino. The Nigerian international has not played a minute of competitive football for Il Toro since his return from the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
And Aina was left on the bench again on Friday evening as Torino succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Genoa in an Italian Serie A encounter.