The European football season has restarted in earnest from Italy to Turkey, with Germany almost concluded. Many Nigerians have thus resumed the disrupted season-with mixed results.
Some players appear ‘doomed’ in their respective clubs, while some are looking up for places in Europe and even for league titles.
Anthony Nwakaeme scores 11th league goal
The forward continued where he stopped for title-chasing Trabzonspor last Saturday, away to Goztepe at the Goztepe Gursel Aksel Stadium.
And it was the 31-year-old who scored the first goal on 31 minutes with a header. Before his goal, he created a scoring chance for Ekuban with a delightful cross, but the goal-bound header was well saved.
Nwakaeme has now scored 11 league goals to help Trabzonspor stay ahead of Istanbul Basaksehir on goals difference, with seven matches remaining in the 2019/20 season.
He was taken off in the 67th minute for Badou Ndiaye as his side tried to hold on with 10 men after Guilherme was sent off in the first half. The one-cap Super Eagles player has also contributed six assists as Trabzonspor chase a first league title in 36 years.
Olanrewaju Kayode played all 90 minutes for Gaziantep FK, who were held 1-1 at home to Ankaragucu, and they stayed in the ninth position.
Henry Onyekuru played 77 minutes in Galatasaray’s shock 2-0 loss, away to Rizespor on Sunday. The defending champions might lose their third place to Sivasspor, who can go ahead with a win over Denizlispor on Monday.
Another Nigerian, 20-year-old Paul Mukairu was a 67th-minute substitute for Antalyaspor as they shocked Besiktas 2-1 to move up to 10th position with 33 points. It was Mukairu’s 21s league appearance, in which he has scored three goals.
Collins faces relegation with Paderborn
It is almost a concluded fact that Jamilu Collins and Paderborn will be relegated from the Bundesliga after one season.
This became clearer after a morale-bashing 5-1 defeat to 17th placed Werder Bremen, leaving Paderborn on 20 points with three matches left in the season. Collins logged another 90 minutes and will hope his consistent displays will warrant a bid from other clubs in Europe’s top tier leagues.
Taiwo Awoniyi was also on the losing side with Mainz, as they suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss to Noah Sarenren-Bazee’s Augsburg, who scored in the first minute of the match through Florian Niederlechner.
Awoniyi had to be taken out on a stretcher after he got off worse in a clash of heads with Felix Uduokhai in the 22nd minute. It was Bazee’s second consecutive start for Augsburg, although he did not play all 90 minutes.
He was taken off on 62 minutes, replaced by Andre Hahn. Mainz remain in 15th place, three points off the relegation places while Augsburg are in 13th, with 35 points and almost safe from relegation.
The biggest winners of the weekend were the duo of Anthony Ujah and Suleiman Abdullahi, who were in Union Berlin’s squad as they picked their first three points after the restart with a 2-0 away win over Koln.
Ujah came off the bench in the 63rd minute, replacing Sebastian Andersson. The three points took the Bundesliga newcomers to 35 points, almost assured of another season in the top flight.
Defensive duo suffer a devastating loss
Chidozie Awaziem and Kenneth Omeruo were the first choice central defenders for Leganes as Real Valladolid beat them 2-0.
It was a miscommunication between Awaziem and Leganes’ goalkeeper, Ivan Cuellar, in the third minute that led to Valladolid’s opener. Both Awaziem and Omeruo played all 90 minutes as Leganes remain rooted in 19th place and running out of games to save their top-flight status.
Samuel Chukwueze was a substitute in Villarreal’s last gasp victory over Celta Vigo on Saturday. The 21-year-old came off the bench on 58 minutes, replacing Gerard Moreno, and he proved instrumental in the win which allows them to continue dreaming of getting into Europe next season.
Chukwueze almost scored a contender for goal of the season when he took on the whole Celta Vigo defence on 66 minutes but had his goal-bound shot blocked.
But he still had a hand in the goal as his threaded pass to Carlos Bacca and his scuffed rebound led to Manu Trigueros’ 90th minute goal.