SPOTKIK TEAM OF THE WEEK (APR ’17 WEEK 1)
AUSTRIA (ROUND 27)
Austria Vienna 0-2 Admira
Austria Vienna continued their recent poor form by losing at home to Admira. They had suffered a humiliating loss away to leaders Salzburg penultimate weekend. Olarenwaju Kayode, fresh from international duty failed to put the homers in the score-sheet.
(Championship Group ROUND 1)
The Championship Group is a mini league format reserved for the top six placed teams, after 30 round of matches in the Jupiler League. The six clubs engage themselves home and away once again, continuing from HALF of the accumulated points (rounded to the nearest integer) they garnered from the regular season. The eventual winners of this mini league will get the sole automatic spot to represent Belgium in the UEFA Champions League next year. The runner up gets the ticket for the UEFA Champions League qualification round. This year, three of the top six clubs that made the the Belgian championship group are represented by at least one Nigerian player. Here is a review of their performances:
Waregem 1-2 Anderlecht
The duo of Kingsley Madu and Aliko Bala were both unused substitutes in their home loss to Anderlecht, as the championship group to determine the final placement of the top clubs in the league went underway. Anderlecht now lead the championship group with 34 points.
Charleroi 1-1 Oostende
Joseph Akpala (Oostende) was brought in from the bench in the dot of time. His late introduction did nothing to change the scoreline as they shared the spoils with Charleroi on the road.
Gent 2-1 Club Brugge
Gent’s Nigerian representatives made the headlines in their home win over reigning champions Club Brugge, for good and bad reasons. Firstly, it was Super Eagles petite winger, Moses Simon who gave Gent the win, coming from a goal down, with a first half brace, . His first was a well directed drive after a well placed cross from 19 year-old Samuel Kalu, who was later sacrificed a couple minutes after William Troost Ekong got a 50th minute red card for holding an opponent. Simon completed his brace from the penalty spot just before the break, and later made way in the 75th minute. Anderson Esiti was the only Nigerian to start and last the entire encounter. Rabiu Ibrahim , on his part, only contributed to the win from the sidelines.
(Europa League Group ROUND 1)
The Europa League Group is a mini league format that takes a different approach from the Championship Group. The 7th to 15th placed teams after the Jupiler league regular season are joined by the top three teams from the Belgian second tier (Proximus League) to form two groups of six teams each. The points accumulated from the regular season are reset to zero. The eventual winners of both Group A and B play a single match to determine the play off winner. The play-off winner then tackle the 5th placed Championship Group team to determine who qualifies for the UEFA Europa League qualification round.
St Gilloise 3-0 KV Mechelen
Second tier St. Gilloise spanked Ighodaro Osaguona‘s Mechelen at home with the jersey number 12 Nigerian starting as a point man but making way in the 76th minute. Ighodaro picked up a 9th minute yellow card. Relatively unknown forward, Jonathan Okita (links to Nigeria unofficially confirmed) remained in Gilloise’s bench throughout the match.
Eupen 2-2 KSV Roeselarie
Henry Onyekuru was Eupen’s hero of the day after he helped them escape a home defeat to Godwin Savior‘s Roeselarie, by scoring a second half brace. Eupen, already two goals down early in the first half missed a chance to pull one back from the spot in the 35th. Henry’s double adds to his 12 Jupiler League goals making him one of the hottest players in Belgium. Definitely, he deserves a call up to the national team. Eupen’s other Nigerian, Anthony Bassey was a 68th minute sub-in. Jamabo George spent the encounter in the bench.
CROATIA (ROUND 24)
RNK Split 0-1 Istra 1961
Istra’s Theophilus Solomon started and lasted the entire encounter in their lone goal win away to RNK Split. Solomon has scored 6 goals from 22 starts this season.
Cibalia 0-3 Rijeka
Rijeka consolidated their dominance in the 1.HNL by trashing Cibalia on the road without Goodness Ajayi. The 22 year old forward has been missing in action for six games in a row now.
ENGLAND (ROUND 30)
Round 31 update will be posted Wednesday.
Liverpool 3-1 Everton
The duo of Ovie Ejaria and Ademola Lookman were not involved in the Anfield derby. Liverpool’s 2016-17 season revelation, Ejaria, is still out due to an ankle injury he sustained in the EPL cup earlier in the year. Lookman, on his part, was listed but unused by Everton in their away loss to the Reds.
Bournemouth 3-2 West Ham
England youth international, and Nigeria hopeful, Jordan Ibe also spent his time on Bounemouth’s bench in one of the most uneventful matches during the weekend away to Southampton, which ended in a stalemate.
Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace
Victor Moses was out of the Blues’s lineup due to a knock he received just before the international break. His absence was deeply felt, forcing Chelsea to change from their wining 3-4-3 formula to a 3-5-2 formation. All the goals were scored within the first 11 minutes. Palace struck twice in a space of two minutes when it looked like Fabregas’s 5th minute opener was just the beginning of another Chelsea routine win — that was not to be. The Blues labored to get back in the game but to no avail. They will hope to have their Nigerian wing-back just in time as they welcome Manchester City at midweek.
Watford 1-0 Sunderland
Super Eagles new boy, Isaac Success was introduced by Watford while their encounter with Sunderland was still goal-less at Vicarage Road. Watford finally found the net six minutes after Success’ introduction to ensure they reserved their place in the Premier League next season. Victor Anichebe‘s Sunderland will now have to face the reality of relegation to the Championship. Anichebe has been sidelined for the most part of the season due to injury.
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
The much anticipated face-off between friends and Super Eagles teammates Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi was not to be, as Iheanacho was not listed in the score draw at Emirates Stadium. Iwobi, however was introduced in the 77th minute of the encounter.
Leicester City 2-0 Stoke City
Clearly one of the highlights of the premier league during the weekend, Wilfred Ndidi scored a 22-metre stunner from outside the 18 yard box to put Leicester ahead, guaranteeing that new manager, Craig Shakespeare, continued steering Leicester away from the relegation zone. The goal was Ndidi’s second since joining Leicester during the winter.
FRANCE (ROUND 31)
Bastia 0-1 Lille
Vincent Enyeama‘s Lille continued their fine away form. They got the better of Bastia, with the Super Eagles retiree posting a shutout.
Nantes 2-1 Angers
Dickson Nwakaeme‘s thigh injury kept him away from featuring in Angers’ loss on the road to Nantes.
GERMANY (ROUND 26)
Ingolstadt 2-1 FSV Mainz 1
Leon Balogun returned to Mainz’ starting line up in their away loss to Ingolstadt. Balogun picked up a yellow card for elbowing in the 33rd minute. His appearance was cut short as early as the 46th minute after the break in what seemed a precautionary measure by Mainz handler Martin Schmidt. Mainz’s other Nigerian decent, Austria-born Karim Onisiwo was not listed.
Bayer Leverkusen 3-3 Wolfsburg
Victor Osihmen did not travel with Wolfsburg to BayArena (Bayer Leverkusen), as they forced a draw in what turned out a six-goal thriller.
GREECE (ROUND 26)
The Greek Super League will resume during the midweek. Here is summary of the latest round played in February:
Kerkyra 1-0 Xanthi FC
Unknown Nigerian forward, Ifeanyi Onyilov, was listed but unused by Kerkyra, as they beat visitors, Xhanti.
Olympiakos Piraeus 2-0 Atromitos
Abiola Dauda‘ fired blanks despite be in the forefront of action for Atromitos all encounter, in their loss away to Olympiakos.
ITALY (ROUND 30)
Fiorentina 1-0 Bologna
Sadiq Umar was an unused substitute when Bologna lost to homers, Fiorentina over the weekend. Fellow Nigerian, and former Flying Eagles forward, Orji Okonkwo, is currently in Bologna’s U-23 set up.
Torino 2-2 Udinese
Joel Obi is still on his way to recovery as he was unlisted when Torino held visiting Udinese.
Chievo 1-2 Crotone
Simeon ‘Simy’ Tochukwu spent the entire match in Crotone’s dugout as they recorded an important away win at Chievo.
NETHERLANDS (ROUND 28)
Den Haag 4-1 Roda JC
Den Haag overturned their humiliating away loss to Fred Friday‘s Alkmaar in the previous round by recording a resounding home victory over Abdul Ajagun‘s Roda. Tyronne Ebuehi again, was in the thick of action for Den Haag from start to finish. Ajagun, however, only tasted first half action as he made way for Greek forward Athanasios Papazoglou in the 46th minute, while Roda were already down by two goals.
Vitesse 2-1 N.E.C.
Taiwo Awoniyi watched from Nijmegen’s bench as they lost away to Vitesse. Holland-born Arnaut Danjuma was the preferred choice of the two in Eniesee’s starting line up. The 20 year old forward went the distance beyond regulation time.
Utrecht 2-0 Willem II
Belgium-born and Nigerian decent, Funso Ojo started and completed the encounter for Willem II as they lost on the road to Utrecht. However, the King’s Army did not parade injured former Super Eagles striker, Bartholomew Ogbeche.
Zwolle 1-1 Excelsior
Nigerian descent and Holland-born Kingsley Ehizibue was a 76th minute sub for Zwolle as they tried to get the better of visitors Excelsior, but to no avail.
AZ Alkmaar 0-0 Groningen
Fred Friday started for Alkmaar in their scoreless draw with visiting Groningen, but was substituted out in the 71’st minute. Friday has 4 goals and 2 assists to his name so far in the Dutch top flight.
FC Twente 1-2 G.A Eagles
Chinedu Ede replaced Ghana’s Yaw Yeboah in the 75th in Twente’s attempt to restore parity in front of their home fans. The Tukkers, however, failed to get back in the game as Go Ahead Eagles stole all maximum points.
PORTUGAL (ROUND 27)
Vitoria Setubal 2-0 Moreirense
Two first half early goals were all Ndubusi Mikel Agu and his teammates needed to overcome visiting Moreirense. The Nigerian midfielder was in the thick action for the entire duration of the encounter.
Belenenses 1-2 C.D. Feirense
Oghenekaro Etebo scored his second of the season for Feirense on returning from international break. It proved to be the game winner as he converted from the spot on the dot of regulation time to help Feirense steal an away win. The goal was a second consecutive, as he also scored the winner in the previous round when Feirense hosted Chaves. With the two latest wins, Etebo has guaranteed Azuis da Feira stay afloat in the middle of the pack, as they are currently placed 9th in the 18-team league table.
RUSSIA (ROUND 21)
UFA 0-1 Loc. Moscow
Kehinde Fatai fell with UFA when Locomotive Moscow came knocking at their door. While Fatai played for the entire duration, Sylvester Sly Igbonu was missing from UFA’s matchday squad.
Amkar 1-1 Terek Grozni
Both Fegor Ogude and Brian Idowu started and lasted the distance playing in Amkar’s five-man backline as they were held by visiting Terek Grozni.
CSKA Moscow 2-1 FK Krylya Sovetov Samara
Aaron Samuel was a 64th minute substitute for CSKA in their home win over Sovetov Samara.
SPAIN (ROUND 29)
Granada 1-4 Barcelona
Granada’s Uche Agbo saw red as Barca blew away the hosts without mercurial Lionel Messi. The Super Eagles reserve midfielder got the matching orders after a second infringement within the space of three minutes. Agbo will need to watch his temperament as he still has a lot of convincing to do at the international stage .
Sevilla 0-0 Gijon
Relegation threatened Gijon, pulled off another surprise away draw as they prevented fourth placed Sevilla from getting in the scoresheet. Super Eagles left-back Elderson Echiejile did not feature for Gijon in the encounter. He was nowhere found even in their sidelines.
TURKEY (ROUND 26)
Osmanlispor 0-2 Garzientepspor
Osmanlispor manager, Hamza Hamzaoglu, put faith in Aminu Umar all match long, but the former Flying Eagle failed to fly in their loss to visiting Garzientepspor.
Rizespor 0-1 Trabzonspor
As if the duo of Godfrey Oboabona and Nosa Igiebor were to blame for the visitor’s goal in the first half, both players were replaced in the 50th and 62nd minute respectively. But Rizespor’s substitutions did nothing to change the scoreline as they fell to Trabzonspor who featured Eddy Onazi from start to finish. Surprisingly, little known Bright Edomwonyi was one of Rizespor’s untouchables in their starting line-up.
Alanyaspor 3-1 Kasimpasa
Kenneth Omeruo followed his impressive play in the previous round with another standout performance against visiting Kasimpasa, helping Alanyaspor to a second consecutive win in their bid to stay clear of relegation waters. But it was relatively unknown Brazilian forward, Vagner Love, who helped himself to a second consecutive brace which culminated in an identical scoreline with Bursaspor from the previous round. Kasimpasa left Emem Eduok on the bench throughout the encounter.
UNITED STATES (ROUND 5)
Portland Timbers 1-1 New England
Fanendo Adi failed to help Portland Timbers get the maximum points at Providence Park (Portland) as New England forced them to a draw. No substitutions where made by Timbers, meaning Adi lasted the distance and Amobi Okugo remained in the sidelines. Former Flying Eagles defender Gbenga Arokoyo is also in the books of the Timbers.
New York City 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes
Former American U-18 forward, Sean Okoli was not listed in New York’s matchday squad. However visiting San Jose had defensive midfielder, Fatai Alashe in their starting line up, but the Nigerian-decent could not prevent Earthquakes from falling at the Yankee Stadium (New York)
Houston Dynamo 4-1 New York Red Bulls
Jalil Anibaba was in the heart of Dynamo’s defense from start to finish, as they saw off visiting Red Bulls. 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. Cameroon and other African countries currently utilize players from the MLS. Why not Nigeria?
Toronto FC 0-0 Sporting Kansas
Ike Opara is yet another defender who have not been capped by either Nigeria or the United States at senior level. He helped Kansas record a third clean sheet from four games so far this season, in their away draw at Toronto. Sporting’s only goal conceded this season came in their third round home win against San Jose.