Four-goal wonder Orban lights up Belgium
•Moffi hits 15th goal of the season
•Balogun grabs Reims winner
It was a weekend of exciting performances for Nigerian stars in Europe as sensational striker Gift Orban banged in an amazing four goals for Gent, while Terem Moffi scored his 15th league goal of the season. Here, ANTHONY NLEBEM looks at how the players performed for their respective clubs over the weekend
Gift Orban (Gent)
Striker Orban smashed in an amazing four goals for KAA Gent in their 6-2 away win to Zulte Waregem in their Belgian Pro League match at the Jan Breydel Stadion on Sunday.
The 20-year-old scored the first goal in the 52nd minute and added the second 15 minutes later. The former Bison FC forward then scored twice in the 67th and 75th minutes to take his goals tally to seven in five league games.
PUNCH Sports Extra were the first to report that the youngster had been making headlines in the Belgian topflight league following his impressive performances since his arrival from Norwegian club Stabaek in the January transfer window.
The 20-year-old won the Gantoise Player of The Month award, while one of his goals against Westerlo clinched the Goal of The Month award in February.
Moffi, Simon (Nice, Nantes)
Terem Moffi scored the opening goal for OGC Nice in their 2-2 draw against Nantes on match-day 27 of their French Ligue 1 fixture on Sunday at the Stade de la Beaujoire.
The 23-year-old striker also gave the assist to Youssouf Ndayishimiye, who scored the second goal for his side.
Moffi has now registered 15 goals in 24 Ligue 1 appearances in the 2022/23 season.
Also, winger Moses Simon was on the starting line-up for Nantes and helped the Canaries earn an equaliser before coming off in the 65th minute for Mostafa Mohamed.
Folarin Balogun (Reims)
Arsenal loanee Balogun scored the only goal as Reims earned a narrow 1-0 win over Monaco in their French Ligue 1 fixture played on Sunday at the Stade Louis II, Monaco
The Arsenal star was in the starting line-up and found the back of the net in the 51st minute to end his goals drought in three league matches.
The 21-year-old has enjoyed a brilliant run this season and has scored 16 goals in 26 appearances for the Red and Whites.
Josh Maja (Girondins Bordeaux)
In the French Ligue 2, Maja assisted Girondins Bordeaux’s only goal in their 1-1 draw against Sochaux on Saturday at the Stade Auguste Bonal.
The 24-year-old has been impressive for Bordeaux and has 11 goals and three assists in 26 league appearances to his name this season.
The draw ensured Bordeaux maintained their second position in the French Ligue 2 table.
Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona Femenin)
Striker Oshoala was not on the scorers’ chart as Barcelona thrashed Levante 4-0 win in their Spanish Women’s Primera Division fixture on Saturday.
The forward had an outstanding game and came off for Brazilian striker Geyse in the 63rd minute.
The 28-year-old has scored 19 goals and two assists in 20 league appearances this season and tops the league’s goalscoring charts. And she is just one goal away from equalling her best goalscoring tally in Spain of 20 goals, which she scored last season.
Payne, Chikwelu, Okobi-Okeoghene (Sevilla, Levante)
Striker Toni Payne was in action and assisted Sevilla’s goal in their 1-1 against Levante in the Spanish Women’s Primera Division on Saturday. But Rita Chikwelu and new girl Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene fought back to earn a draw for their side.
Calvin Bassey (Ajax)
Defender Bassey was in Ajax’s starting line-up as the Dutch champions earned a 4-2 win at Heerenveen in the Dutch Eredivisie at the Abe Lenstra Stadion on Sunday.
The 23-year-old was impressive in the encounter and played full-time to help his team secure a back-to-back win.
Onuachu, Aribo (Southampton)
Paul Onuachu was an 85th-minute substitute for Southampton in their goalless draw against Manchester United in a Premier League fixture at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The 28-year-old striker is yet to register a Premier League goal for the struggling Saints after five matches, since joining in January.
Onuachu’s compatriot Joe Aribo did not make Ruben Selles’ squad for the clash. The Saints are bottom of the Premier League table.
Alex Iwobi (Everton)
Midfielder Iwobi started for Sean Dyche’s Everton in their 1-0 win over Brentford at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The Nigerian international had 92 minutes of play on the field and was instrumental to the Toffees securing a vital win as they continue to battle relegation.
Iwobi has scored one goal in 26 appearances in the Premier League this season but it is on the creative side that he has produced the goods with six assists, which attracted interests from Turkish side Fernabahce.
Iheanacho, Ndidi (Leicester City)
Kelechi Iheanacho led Leicester City’s attack as the Foxes suffered a 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea in a Premier League fixture on Saturday at the King Power Stadium.
The Nigerian striker featured for 76 minutes but could not reduce the goal margin for his side before going off for Jamie Vardy.
The defeat pushed Brendan Rodgers’s side to 16th position on the log, one point above the relegation zone.
Wilfred Ndidi, who recently returned from injury, was an unused substitute.
Dennis, Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest)
Emmanuel Dennis was a second half substitute as struggling Nottingham Forest lost 3-1 to Tottenham in a Premier League fixture played on Saturday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Dennis was brought on in the 46th to replace Jesse Lingard but made little impact for the Foxes.
Taiwo Awoniyi was not listed in the squad as the striker recently resumed light training following an injury spell.
Frank Onyeka (Brentford)
Midfielder Onyeka was introduced in the second half but could not stop Brentford from losing 1-0 to the struggling Everton side on Saturday at Goodison Park
The 25-year-old was introduced in the 74th minute for Denmark international, Christian Norgaard.
Onyeka has managed 13 league appearances with no goal this season, as he just recovered from a three-month injury layoff and has struggled to command a first team shirt for The Bees
Nathan Tella (Burnley)
Southampton loanee and player of Nigerian descent Tella scored a brace to hand Burnley a convincing 3-0 win over visiting Wigan Athletic in the English Championship fixture at the Turf Moor stadium on Saturday.
The former Arsenal youth midfielder scored the opener in the 14th minute and added the second goal two minutes into the second half.
The 23-year-old has been in excellent form for the Clarets and is the fourth top scorer in the Championship with 14 goals in 33 league appearances.
Burnley sit top of the Championship table with 80 points from 36 matches and are on course to play Premier League football next season.
Tim Iroegbunam (Queens Park Rangers)
Iroegbunam’s early goal ended QPR’s long wait for a win as they beat Watford 1-0 in Chris Wilder’s first match in charge of the Hornets.
The 19-year-old midfielder of Nigerian descent produced a brilliant performance and scored in the 15th minute to give new boss Gareth Ainsworth his first win since taking over.
The teenage midfielder, on loan from Aston Villa, saw another shot deflect off teammate Chris Martin and flash narrowly wide as Rangers dominated the match.
It was also their first victory in 14 matches in all competitions and only their second in 21. The win moved the Hoops to 19th on the log, 10 points above the relegation spot
Chuba Akpom (Middlesbrough)
Akpom continued his excellent form and scored the third goal for Middlesbrough in their 3-1 win against Swansea City in their English Championship fixture played on Saturday at the Swansea Stadium.
The 27-year-old former Arsenal youth player and top scorer scored from the penalty spot to seal the win for Boro to take his tally to 22 goals from 29 matches in the Championship this season.
The former PAOK striker registered 10 goals in 2023, the first player to achieve the feat in the English league this year.
The win saw Middlesbrough move to third position, four points behind Sheffield United as Michael Carrick’s side continued their promotion race.
Osimhen, Lookman (Napoli, Atalanta)
Victor Osimhem contributed an assist in Napoli’s 2-0 win against Atalanta in a Serie A fixture at the Diego Armando Maradona on Saturday.
The 24-year-old striker has been impressive for Napoli but got a yellow card in 15 minutes of play, before handing Khvicha Kvaratskhelia the assist for the first goal for the home side.
The Serie A top scorer has registered 19 goals in 22 league matches and came off for Giovanni Simeone in the 85th minute. The win moved the Parthenopeans 18 points clear at the top of the Serie A table.
His countryman Ademola Lookman came on for Rafael Toloi in the 89th minute as the former Leicester City winger continued to search for his first league goal after six matches.
The 25-year-old Nigeria international has scored 12 goals and has contributed five assists in 26 league matches this season so far.
Ebuehi, Ehizibue, Success (Empoli, Udinese)
Defender Tyronne Ebuehi was an unused substitute for Empoli in their 2-1 away loss to Monza in a Serie A fixture played at the U-Power Stadium on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Isaac Success, Destiny Udogie and Kinglsey Ehizibue helped Udinese secure a narrow 1-0 win over Empoli. Right-back Festy Ebosele, an Irish player of Nigerian descent, came on for Ehizibue in the 77th minute.
Olayinka, Ogbu (Slavia Prague)
Forward Peter Olayinka was in the starting XI and scored the equaliser for Slavia Prague in their 2-1 win over Viktoria Plzen in the Czech First League fixture played on Saturday at the Fortuna Arena.
The 27-year-old former Gent star was impressive and was in action for the entire duration of the tie to help his side secure the vital win.
Olayinka has registered nine goals and four assists in 17 appearances as the Red and Whites are top of the Fortuna Liga with 53 points from 23 matches.
Also, defender Igoh Ogbu was on parade for 90 minutes for the Salivates, who had a commanding display.
Chukwubuikem Ikwuemesi (NK Celje)
The forward scored the decisive goal for NK Celje in their 1-0 away win over Koper in the Slovenia Prva Liga on Saturday at the Bonifika Stadium
The former Nigeria U-20 star came off the bench in the 80th minute and netted the only goal of the game in the 86th minute.
The 21-year-old has so far scored seven goals and three assists in 21 league appearances for the Counts in the 2022/23 Prva Liga season.
Oladapo Afolayan (St. Pauli)
Former Chelsea youth player of Nigeria descent Afolayan was on target as he scored St. Pauli’s second goal in their 2-1 home win against Greuther Furth in their Bundesliga 2 fixture played on Saturday at the Millerntor Stadion.
The 25-year-old scored the winning goal in the 55th minute to open his goals account for the League Buccaneers in seven matches, before he was flashed a yellow card eight minutes later.