SPOTKIK TEAM OF THE WEEK (MAR ’17 WEEK 1)
As the MLS League starts, we bring to you a summary of the American top tier 22nd season as well as we start to present performances from the Greek Super League. Here is our team of the week based on the best performances put up by Nigerians all across Europe and America. Our player of the week goes to Fenando Adi for his involvement in all goals scored by Portland Timbers against MLS new entrants, Minesota United.
We adopt Gernot Rohr’s favorite formation, the 4-2-3-1, in our pick.
AUSTRIA (ROUND 24)
Reid 0-3 Austria Vienna
Austria Vienna maintained their great away record, winning on the road to Reid, with Olarenwaju Kayode scoring their second goal in the 44th minute. The goal was Kayode’s eight this season. Austria Vienna has a better away record compared to their home record going by their last 5 home and away games. Vienna has won 4 out of their last 5 away games, but have only secured two home wins out of their last five, to put them within the European qualification zone with their third position in the Tipoco Bundesliga league ranking.
BELGIUM (ROUND 29)
Waregem 2-2 Westerlo
Kingsley Madu lost his place in Waregem’s starting line up after his full feature in their humiliation loss to Club Brugge in the previous round. Dannish international Left-Back, Brian Hamalainen, returned to his usual role, in the expense of Madu, who watched his teammates hold visiting Westerlo to a score draw. However it was little known, 20 year old forward, Aliko Bala, who got the nod to suit up for Waregem in the 76th minute.
St. Truiden 2-1 Eupen
Eupen failed in their bid to record a second successive win on the road as they fell to St. Truiden, but not without a good fight. Red hot Nigerian sensation, Henry Onyekuru who scored in the previous round contributed to Eupen’s push to get back in the game by planting an assist for Senegalese forward, Mamadou Sylla to pull one goal back in the 60th minute. Henry lasted the entire encounter in the slim loss, as opposed to compatriots Jamabo George and Anthony Bassey, who both sat it all out in Eupen’s substitute bench.
Waasland-Beveren 2-3 Gent
Gent continued their winning ways with only Samuel Kalu and Anderson Esiti of the five Nigerians in their roaster available on matchday as they took on away team, Waasland-Beveren. Samuel Kalu was in wonderful form, starting and completing the encounter, by having a direct hand in Gent’s first and second goal. Kalu picked up a yellow card in the first half before he followed his early disappointment with the double assist. Esiti, however was pulled off immediately after the start of the second half. The trio of Moses Simon, Rabiu Ibrahim and dependable Super Eagles defender, William Troost-Ekong were all unlisted for the encounter.
Oostende 0-0 Lokeren
Joseph Akpala was a 82nd minute sub-in for Oostende in their home stalemate with Lokeren.
St. Liege 2-2 K.V. Mechelen
Mechelen’s Ighodaro Osaguona featured prominently when they welcomed Belgian powerhouse Anderlecht. He was in the forefront of their attack for 76 minutes before he was subbed out Mechelen went on to outscore Anderlecht, as both teams remain in the Championship Group zone which is reserved for the top 6 finishers in the Jupiler League. Of the current top six placed teams, Club Brugge, Anderlecht and Waregem have already qualified for the season end Championship Group that will determine the eventual champions of the league. Oostende, Mechelen, and Chaleroi completes the current placed fourth, fifth, and sixth positions. Gent still have a chance to make it to the Championship Group as they are currently placed seventh.
CROATIA (ROUND 23)
Istra 1961 0-0 Belupo
Theophilus Solomon is still yet to score this year for Istra. He started and lasted the entire encounter in their home goal-less draw with Belupo.
Rijeka 2-1 Lokomotiv Zagreb
Rijeka stretched their wins to 19 this season as they beat visiting Lok. Zagreb without Goodness Ajayi in their line up. They are the only team that have been undefeated so far in the 1. HNL 2016/17 season, after 23 matches played.
Tottenham 3-2 Everton
Ademola Lookman was overlooked by Everton as they traded tackles with Tottenham Hotspurs at White Hart Lane. Spurs eventually got the upper hand in the five-goal thriller, through a Dele Alli winner.
West Ham 1-2 Chelsea
Chelsea kept the 10 point padding between them and their new closest rivals, Manchester City, by ensuring they beat the Hammers by going ahead with 2 goals in the first 50 minutes. Victor Moses was Chelsea’s last man to be subbed-out as he did a yeoman’s job, defensively, for the Blues. However, West Ham did not bow out disgracefully in front of their home fans, as Andre Ayew teed up Manuel Lanzini inside the box to finally beat Chelsea goalie, Thibaut Courtois, for the consolation.
Manchester United 1-1 Bournemouth
Jordan Ibe’s Bournemouth’s confined Manchester United to the sixth position in the log, by pulling up an unlikely upset at Old Trafford. Their 33 man, Jordan Ibe, was not pulled off the bench throughout the encounter which ended in a draw.
Leicester City 3-1 Hull City
Leicester City recorded an identical scoreline to their win against Liverpool in the previous round, not without Wilfred Ndidi again in the thick of action in the midfield from start to finish. Super Eagles vice-captain, Ahmed Musa, was again unlisted in their second Craig Shakespeare led Premier League win.
Watford 3-4 West Ham
In what turned out to be the biggest goals harvest in Round 27, Watford fell with Isaac Success to visiting Southampton. Success was introduced in the 70th minute, and he responded nine minutes later with an assist for fellow Nigeria-decent, and Italy international, Stefano Okaka.
Sunderland 0-2 Manchester City (Round 26)
Kelechi Iheanacho was confined to the bench despite scoring the Citizens’ fifth goal in their FA Cup tie with Huddersfield . Manchester beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light as they moved closer to eclipsing Tottenham for the 2nd position in the log, with a game to spare. The FIFA 2013 U-17 World Cup MVP has no enjoyed time on the pitch leading to rumors that he has fallen off with team manager, Pep Guordiola. Kelechi, however has maintained that he has a cordial relationship with the ex-Barca tactician. Meanwhile, Sunderland was still without the services of Victor Anichebe who is still out due to muscle injury.
Manchester City 0-0 Stoke City
Unfortunately, the Citizens did not take their chance to take the 2nd spot in the League, Wednesday, as they failed to beat visiting Stoke. Kelechi Iheanacho finally got Premier League game time as he was brought in the 76th minute for Yaya Toure. He squandered a good opportunity in the 2nd minute of extra time when he latched on to a cross from the wing, but his strike from the six-yard box wasn’t accurate enough and the ball went a few inches wide of the right post.
FRANCE (ROUND 28)
Toulouse 1-1 Lille
Vincent Enyeama guessed right to save Martin Braithwaite’s penalty to help Lille force a draw away at Stadium Municipal (Toulouse).
Caen 2-3 Angers
Dickson Nwakaeme‘s thigh injury prevented him from being considered by Anger’s coach, Stéphane Moulin, in their away win at Caen.
GERMANY (ROUND 23)
FSV Mainz 1-1 Wolfsburg
All Nigerians who would have been listed for this contest were out due to health related issues. Leon Balogun is still yet to reach match fitness level. Mainz’ other Nigeria-decent, and Austria-born forward, Karim Onisiwo, was also unlisted. Wolfsburg’s Victor Osihmen is still yet to get back from injury.
GREECE (ROUND 23)
Asteras Tripoli 1-2 Kerkyra
Unknown Nigerian forward, Ifeanyi Onyilov, was listed but unused by Kerkyra, as they beat Asteras away.
Atromitos 1-0 Iraklis
Abiola Dauda‘s substitute, Thomas Vasiliou, scored in the first minute of extra time to provide the winner for Atromitos as they hosted Iraklis. The former Vitesse forward lasted 85 minutes before the substitute came in to put smiles in the faces of the home spectators. Abiola has not been capped by Nigeria.
ITALY (ROUND 27)
Bologna 0-2 Lazio
Sadiq Umar was an unused sub, and Orji Okonkwo was unlisted by Bologna as they fell at home to Lazio. Bologna has been without a win since their 2-0 victory over Torino in January.
Torino 3-1 Palermo
Joel Obi is still yet to shake off his thigh injury as he was again unlisted in win over visiting Palermo.
Crotone 0-0 Sassuolo
Simeon ‘Simy’ Tochukwu started for Crotone, in their scoreless draw with visitors, Sassuolo, but missed a sitter in the 32nd minute when he connected with a pass inside the box, sending his effort well wide of the left post. He later made way for Marcello Trotta in the 59th minute.
NETHERLANDS (ROUND 25)
Nijmegen 3-1 Heracles
Nijmegen ended their losing streak after going four games without a point, when they beat visiting Heracles. Taiwo Awoniyi was not listed for the encounter, however, little known Nigerian-decent, and teammate, Arnaut Danjuma started and lasted till the 66th minute on the pitch.
Zwolle 3-1 Vitesse
Another Nigerian descent, but in the colors of Zwolle, Kingsley Ehizibue, started and contributed in helping them put three goals past visiting Vitesse, before he was subbed out in the 77th minute.
AZ Alkmaar 1-1 Excelsior
Alkmaar’s number 27 shirt, Fred Friday, got the full backing from their manager, Van den Brom, as has he made a full shift in their home draw with Excelsior.
PSV 4-0 Roda
Abdul Ajagun‘s Roda suffered a second consecutive humiliating league game loss, this time away to PSV. Ajagun returned to Roda’s matchday squad and featured for the entire encounter, but could not prevent his charges from going down heavily.
Twente 2-1 Willem II
Bartholomew Ogbeche did not appear in Willem’s away schedule at Twente due to injury. Willem II lost the encounter that featured Nigerian-decent, and Belgium-born, Funso Ojo who lasted for the entire encounter for Willem II. Funso is still eligible to play for Nigeria as he has not been capped at the senior level by Belgium. With the Super Eagles having so many options in the defensive midfield position at the moment, Coach Gernot Rohr may likely not look his direction. Twente’s Chinedu Ede was on hand to create an assist for the winner. The 30 year old Germany-born winger is still eligible to play for Nigeria as he only featured for Germany’s national youth teams in the past.
Utrecht 1-1 Den Haag
Den Haag recorded another draw, this time away to Utrecht. Newly Super Eagles invite, Tyronne Ebuehi, was on from start to finish in right-back for Den Haag. He however picked up a yellow card n Den Haag is at the summit of the Eredivisie table with 19 points. Excelsior (20 points) and G.A Eagles (20 points) are the other clubs currently in the relegation zone.
PORTUGAL (ROUND 24)
Feirense 0-1 Benfica
Oghenekaro Etebo started and lasted for Feirense in their home loss to Benfica. He was cautioned in the 32nd minute of play. l
Maritim 1-0 Vitoria Setubal
Nigeria’s other representative in the Portuguese top tier, Mikel Ndubuisi Agu, also fell with his club, Setubal, when they paid a scheduled visit to Maritimo. Ndubuisi who has been in the fulcrum of Setubal’s midfield since his loan move from Porto, lasted again for the entire encounter but was booked in the 51st minute.
RUSSIA (ROUND 18)
The Russian Premier League resumed on the weekend of March 3rd. Here is the summary involving players of Nigerian decent:
Terek Grozni 0-1 UFA
Sylvester “Sly” Igbonu, worked a full shift, as he scored the lone goal to help UFA beat Terek Grozni on the road. Teammate, Kehinde Fatai, did not taste action as he was not introduced from the bench throughout the encounter.
Ural 1-0 Amkar
Both Fegor Ogude and Brian Idowu started for Amkar as they lost away to Ural. Russia-born left-back Brian Idowu, who is on the radar of the Super Eagles lasted for 82 minutes before he was subbed out. Whereas, Ogude was on for the entire duration. Amkar’s third Nigeria-decent player, Chuma Anene, was left to watch proceedings from the bench.
CSKA Moscow 0-0 Zenith Petersburg
Nigeria international forward, Aaron Samuel who started for CSKA in their scoreless draw with visiting Zenit, was forced to be pulled off from the pitch due to injury. He was replaced by Bibras Natcho in the 74th minute. Aaron Olanare Samuel has seven international caps and has scored two goals for Nigeria.
SPAIN (ROUND 25 and 26)
Granada 2-1 Alaves
Uche Agbo started and lasted the entire in Granada’s home win over Alaves. He picked up a yellow card in the 78th minute and will miss Granada’s next fixture away to Leganes.
Leganes 1-0 Granada
Uche Agbo served a match suspension due to accumulation of yellow cards as his Granada lost away to Leganes.
Barcelona 6-1 Gijon
Elderson Echiejile featured all game as Sporting Gijon suffered a heavy defeat to Barcelona at Camp Nou. Barcelona’s popular trio forward tagged MSN were all involved in four of Barca’s goals. Rakitic and Paco were their other scorers.
Gijon 0-1 Dep. La Coruna
Elderson Echiejile was one of the casualties following Sporting’s heavy loss to Barca in the previous round, as he was kept in Gijon’s bench in their home loss to Deportivo.
TURKEY (ROUND 23)
Fernerbahce 1-0 Osmanlispor
Both Emmanuel Emenike and Aminu Umar were unlisted by Fernerbahce and Osmanlispor respectively, as the former Turkish champions won the battle at Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium (Istanbul).
Trabzonspor 1-0 Karabuk
New Super Eagles vice-captain, Eddy Onazi, was on hand again for the entire encounter to help Trabzonspor beat visiting Kardemir Karabuk.
Basaksehir 2-1 Alanyaspor
Keneth Omeruo was cautioned in the 72nd minute as he tried to help Alanyaspor avoid defeat at Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium, but to no avail. The Turkish Super Lig new entrant is the parent club of Super Eagles right-back Musa Muhammad.
Besiktas 1-0 Rizespor
Rizespor started all the three Nigerians in their roaster when they played away to league leaders, Besiktas. While the duo of Godfrey Oboabona and Bright Edomwonyi lasted the distance as Rizespor lost, Nosa Igiebor was subbed out in the 65th minute.
Kayserispor 2-2 Kasimpasa
Kasimpasa forced Kayserispor to a 2-all draw with Sam Emem Eduok lasting 67 minutes from start. Kenny Otigba , however did not make it out of Kasimpasa’s bench.
UNITED STATES (ROUND 1)
Timbers 5-1 Minnesota United
Uncapped Nigeria forward, Fanendo Adi started his new MLS season in grand style by scoring a brace for Portland Timbers in a space of three minutes, to condemn visiting MLS newbies Minnesota. But before his brace Fanendo was involved in all Timbers’ earlier goals. The first goal of the MLS 22nd season came in the 14th minute of play, when he connected Diego Valeri’s cross with his head to find Lithuanian defender, Vytautas Andriuskevicius, who looped the ball, but Kenyan international, Lawrence Olum, got the final touch to claim the goal credit. Fanendo again came close to giving Portland their second in the 30th minute, but Minnesota succeeded in scrambling the ball away. He yet again was involved in the build up to make it two for Portland in the 47th minute. Fenando was pulled down in the penalty to give Portland the chance to go 3-1, through a well taken penalty kick by Diego Valerie. And then the 3 minute magic by Fenando Adi came at extra time to cap a wonderful start for Portland in the MLS.
Portland’s other Nigeria decent, defensive midfielder, Amobi Okugo, was an unused substitute. Okugo has represented the United States at all age grade levels but is still yet to be handed a senior cap, hence, he could still make a switch to Nigeria.
Gbenga Arokoyo is also on the roaster of Portland, but the central defender is expected to miss most part of the season, as he ruptured his Achilles tendon after colliding with another player during pre-season training.
Orlando City 1-0 New York City
American former U-18 forward, Sean Okoli had a taste of action for New York City in their season opener on the road to Orlando City. He was introduced in the 84th minute of play, but could not prevent New York from going down. The 24 year old Nigerian decent was snapped from FC Cincinnati just before the new season, after he notched 16 goals from 29 league appearances for the lower tier side in 2016.
San Jose 1-0 Montreal Impact
Fatai Alashe of San Jose Earthquakes lasted the distance as they overcame visiting Montreal Impact. The former American U-23 midfielder picked up a yellow card in the 35th minute. Fatai has not represented the United States at senior international level.
Houston Dynamo 2-1 Seattle Sounders
Jalil Anibaba was on of Dynomo’s unused substitutes when they beat visiting Sounders. The 6ft tall 28 year old right back represented the United States at the U18 and U20 levels, and is still eligible to represent Nigeria at the senior level.
DC United 0-0 Sporting Kansas
Ike Opara lasted the distance and remained in the referee’s good books as he helped Kansas force an away draw at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (Washington DC). The 28 year old central defender has represent the United States at the U20 and U23 level and is still yet get full international cap for either the United States or Nigeria.