Nigerian prodigy Gift Orban and KAA Gent are out of the Europa Conference League after losing 4-1 to West Ham (5-2 on aggregate) in the quarterfinals at the London Stadium on Thursday night.
Having drawn 1-1 at home last Thursday, Gent knew they needed to avoid defeat at the London Stadium to stand any chance of progressing to the semifinals of the competition.
West Ham were the clear favourites but the hopes of Gent rested on the slender shoulders of Nigerian youngster Gift Orban, who netted a hat trick in the previous round.
The evening, however, began poorly for Orban as he was shown a yellow as early as the 18th minute for a clumsy challenge.
Still, it was Gent that took the lead midway through the half following a fine strike from Hugo Cuypers.
That was as good as it got for the Belgians as West Ham replied with four goals.
Michail Antonio grabbed a brace that sandwiched a Lucas Paqueta penalty and a rare Declan Rice effort. Orban was substituted in the 72nd minute as Gent looked for a way back i vain into the tie.
Orban would be disappointed not to register his name on the score sheet or help Gent advance to the semifinal but the 20-year-old can be proud of his impact in his first-ever appearance in an European club competition.
Until Thursday night, Orban had five goals in five appearances in the Conference League, including the fastest hat trick in the history of UEFA’s cup competition.
His brilliance has already seen him being linked with a move to some of the continent’s biggest clubs including La Liga giants Barcelona.
Orban, though, will want to turn his attentions to the domestic scene where Gent are fourth in the league with 55 points.
The Buffalos are battling with champions Club Brugge and Standard Liege for the last Championship playoff spot.