Some Nigerian stars were in action for their clubs on Thursday in the penultimate group stage game of the Europa League
Super Eagles striker Victor Boniface continued with his impressive debut season for Bayer Leverkusen, as he scored the opener in their 2-0 win at Hacken, Soccernet.ng reports.
Boniface led the line for Die Werkself when they travelled to Ullevi to take on Hacken. They just needed a draw to seal their spot as Group H leaders, and they proved their mettle.
Boniface opened the scoring for his side in the 14th minute, jumping highest to meet a cross from Josip Stanisic and finishing with aplomb.
Leverkusen took the lead into the break despite several attacks from Hacken. Boniface was taken off during the break. He registered 19 touches, one dribble, and two clearances before his substitution. Meanwhile, compatriot Nathan Tella also got 64 minutes of action for Leverkusen, but he could not produce any goal. Eventually, a 74th-minute strike from Patrik Shick sealed the win for Bayer Leverkusen.
Elsewhere, Chuba Akpom got off the bench to score for Ajax again. The Godenzonen took on Marseille at the Stade Velodrome, and coach Van’t Schip started Akpom from the bench. The Nigerian attacker has been on a roll in recent weeks, scoring five goals in his last five, but he was still benched.
It turned out to be a dramatic outing, as after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Marseille in front in the 9th minute, Brian Brobbey responded a minute later. Chancel Mbemba stole the lead again for Marseille in the 26th minute, but Brobbey scored again in the 30th minute
The game ended 2-2 at halftime. Then, just two minutes after the restart, Aubameyang scored Marseille’s third. Unfortunately for Ajax, Steven Berghuis was red-carded in the 62nd minute after a poor tackle.
Schip introduced Akpom into the game in the 77th minute, and the Nigerian made a big impact just two minutes later. He leapt highest to meet a cross from Kristian Hlynsson and sent in a header to make it 3-3 for Ajax.
Unfortunately for Godenzonen, Aubameyang scored in stoppage time to ensure it ended 4-3. The loss effectively knocked Ajax out of the Europa League.
Meanwhile, in Belgium, Gift Orban scored for Gent in their 4-1 win over Zorya Luhansk at the Ghelamco Stadium.
Orban did not score in his previous two games for Gent, but he still made the lineup when they took on Zorya at the KAA Gent Arena.
The Buffalos were overwhelming favourites, and they showed their ability, as goals from Malick Fofana and Arseniy Batagov(OG) gave Gent a two-goal lead after 49 minutes.
Then, Orban scored the third in the 54th minute. He latched onto an inch-perfect cross into the box and struck the ball into the right post to make it 3-0.
Orban had another chance to score in the 79th minute, but his shot just went wide. The Nigerian striker saw out the entire game, and he recorded four goal attempts and 39 touches.