Eagles in Europe: Iwobi lifts Arsenal, Troost-Ekong goes down with Udinese
Super Eagles’ players had a quiet weekend in Europe with several missing in action, while a few inspired their teams to wins. We review all their action and inaction across European leagues.
In the English Premier League, Alex Iwobi sparked Arsenal to a late 2-0 win over Watford to make it five league wins on the bounce. The 22-year-old’s low cross resulted in an own goal which broke the visitors’ resolve before starting the move for the second.
Forward, Isaac Success was a 72nd minute substitute for Watford and could have given the Hornets the lead minutes after coming on but wasted a good opening. At St. James’ Park stadium, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho both played all 90 minutes for Leicester City as the former EPL champions win 2-0 at troubled Newcastle United. Ndidi did what he knows how to do best, snapping at the opposition to regain possession, while former Manchester City attacker, Iheanacho, looked decent throughout a game of few opportunities.
Super Eagles’ dependable centre-back, Leon Balogun, could not add to his two league appearances as he was rooted to the bench during Brighton’s 0-2 loss at Manchester City on Saturday.
In the English Championship, Ogenekaro Etebo played his 10th game for Stoke City in a 2-2 draw at Semi Ajayi’s Rotherham United, lasting 66 minutes as the former EPL side recovered from a two-goal deficit to snatch a draw. London-born Ajayi, a full back who made his international debut in September, played all 90 minutes.
In Spain, the nation’s number one goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, continues to warm the bench at Elche in Spain’s second division. On loan from Deportivo La Coruna, the young goalkeeper who impressed at the Russia 2018 World Cup, continues as understudy to experienced 39 years old Jose Juan who is the club’s first choice.
Also, defender, Kenneth Omeruo, on loan at Leganes from Chelsea, watched on from the substitutes’ bench as his Leganes teammates conceded an 89th minute goal to lose 0-1 at Real Betis in La Liga. Forward, Moses Simon, saw 30 minutes of action as the 23-year-old was brought on to consolidate Levante’s 2-1 win over Alaves on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Chidozie Awaziem and Tyrone Ebuehi are yet to make first team appearances this season for their respective club sides, FC Porto and Benfica. Awaziem has however been drafted to the Porto B team in the Segunda division where he joins his young compatriots, Kelechi Nwakali and Musa Yahaya. Both players have featured four times this season but were absent from the squad over the weekend.
Brian Idowu helped Lokomotiv Moscow to a 2-0 win over Akhmat Grozny in the Russian Premier League on Saturday. The Russia-born defender, 26, was in action for the entire game, also getting a caution from the referee in stoppage time. His compatriot on the opposite wing, Shehu Abdullahi, suffered the reverse with Bursaspor, watching from the bench in their loss at Sivasspor in the Turkish Super League. The 25-year-old, bought for €200,000 from Anorthosis of Cyprus in January, has not made an appearance this season but has been listed twice among the substitutes.
Super Eagles’ vice-captain, Ogenyi Onazi, put in his usual energetic display to help Trabzonspor come back from two goals to win 4-2 at home. A mainstay in Unal Karaman’s team, the former Lazio midfielder also got a yellow card deep in stoppage time.
New Eagle, Henry Onyekuru’s introduction helped Galatasaray to a 1-0 win over Erzurumspor on Friday. The 21-year-old loanee from Everton’s introduction improved Gala’s attack.
In Italy, William Troost-Ekong played the entire game but could not prevent his Udinese side from losing 2-1 at Bologna in Serie A. Also, Chelsea loanee, Ola Aina, lasted 90 minutes but was on the winning side as Torino pipped Chievo 1-0 away from home.