The excellent Nigerian only got to Europe less than two years ago, but he is already preparing for a record switch to the world’s most glamorous league
Gift Orban put on an impressive display in his first Premier League audition, helping Gent secure a 1-1 draw against West Ham in the first leg of their Europa Conference League quarterfinal clash on Thursday.
Although Genk were the hosts inside the Ghelamco Arena, West Ham, with their expensive squad, were the clear favorites to take an away win.
And it did not surprise many when Danny Ings gave the Londoners the lead with a smart finish deep into first-half stoppage time.
Still, Gent responded with an equalizer twelve minutes into the second half, courtesy of a fine strike from Hugo Cuypers, Orban’s attacking partner. Orban played for 83 minutes before being replaced by Belgian midfielder Matisse Samoise.
Despite the Nigerian youngster failing to score, Orban proved to be a handful for the West Ham defenders throughout the match.
He completed 70% of his passes, was successful at three out of four attempted dribbles, and won 50% of his ground duels.
However, Orban’s most telling touch was an audacious overhead kick that beat the West Ham goalkeeper but, unfortunately, hit the crossbar moments before he left the pitch.
Although West Ham would be happy with the draw, Gent is not out of the tie yet. In the Round of 16, Basaksehir drew 1-1 at Gent before losing 4-1 in the second leg, thanks to Orban’s historic three-minute hat trick.
Orban has passed his first Premier League audition, but the youngster will have his second test at the London Stadium next week.
If Orban can replicate his performance and add another goal, it will show that the player, who was playing in Norway’s second division just last year, is ready for the Premier League.
Several top English clubs already admire Orban, and an unpredictable summer transfer could be in store for the exciting forward.