African Players In Europe: Iheanacho, Awoniyi Score After Nigeria’s W/Cup Let-Down

Leicester City's Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho shoots the ball but misses to score during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 2, 2022. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP
Leicester City’s Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho shoots the ball but misses to score during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 2, 2022. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Nigerian Kelechi Iheanacho was one of the African scorers in the most-watched domestic league in the world, nodding Leicester City ahead in a 1-1 draw at Manchester United.

The former Manchester City forward did not play in the second leg of a 2022 World Cup play-off as Nigeria lost the ticket to Ghana on the away goal rule just a few days ago.

Here, AFP Sport highlights Africans who starred in the major European leagues:

ENGLAND YOANE WISSA (Brentford)

Wissa scored 120 seconds after his 85th-minute introduction at Stamford Bridge with a clinical close-range finish. His eighth club goal this season was the climax to Brentford’s first win over their west London neighbours since 1939.

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KELECHI IHEANACHO (Leicester)

He bagged his seventh goal this season to open the scoring in the draw against United at Old Trafford. Iheanacho netted in the 63rd minute, meeting James Maddison’s cross with a stooping header that United goalkeeper David De Gea was unable to stop despite getting a hand on it.

SPAIN PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Barcelona)

The Gabon captain helped Barcelona to another impressive win, over Sevilla in La Liga. The striker came close to opening the scoring for Barca in the first half, but his angled shot was clawed away by Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine ‘Bono’ Bounou. Pedri’s brilliant finish from the edge of the area delivered a 1-0 victory at Camp Nou that sent Barcelona above Sevilla into second in the table for the first time this season.

ITALY KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)

Koulibaly was once again key as Napoli continued their chase for a first league title in over three decades with a 3-1 win at Atalanta. Not only did the Senegal captain help Luciano Spalletti’s side hold off Atalanta’s push for an equaliser, he also launched the counter-attack which ended with Eljif Elmas sliding home the third with 10 minutes remaining.

EMMANUEL GYASI (Spezia)

Ghana forward Gyasi boosted Spezia’s chances of staying in Serie A with his last-gasp winner against Venezia. The 28-year-old bundled home in the fourth minute of added time after Niki Maenpaa pushed away Rey Manaj’s shot to lift Spezia to 14th on 32 points, 10 clear of the relegation zone.

GERMANY TAIWO AWONIYI (Union Berlin)

Awoniyi celebrates with his teammates. [email protected]_en

 

The Nigeria striker bagged his 17th Bundesliga goal for Union, becoming their top scorer in Germany’s top flight, as his second-half strike sealed a 1-0 win over Cologne. When Jonas Hector was pressured into a mistake, the Cologne skipper played a back-pass to Awoniyi who knocked the ball past the advancing goalkeeper. Union remain in the hunt for a Champions League place next season.

FRANCE ANDY DELORT (Nice)

The Algerian forward hit double digits for the season with his 10th goal in a 1-1 draw at home to fellow Champions League hopefuls Rennes. Delort headed in a cross from international team-mate Youcef Atal to give Nice the lead midway through the second half, but the hosts failed to hold on and have slipped to fifth after winning just once in five outings.

AFP

Awoniyi Scores Ninth League Goal As Union Berlin Beat Leipzig


Union Berlin’s Nigerian forward Taiwo Awoniyi (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates during the German first division Bundesliga football match 1 FC Union Berlin v RB Leipzig in Berlin on December 3, 2021. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

In-form Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi’s early goal set Union Berlin on the path to a 2-1 win over RB Leipzig on Friday, lifting them to fourth in the German Bundesliga.

This was Awoniyi’s ninth Bundesliga goal this season while the result leaves Leipzig still looking for an away win in the league.

Ahead of the rest of the weekend fixtures, Berlin climb to fourth on 23 points from 14 games.

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Awoniyi pounced at the far post on six minutes to put Union 1-0 but Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkunku levelled with a speculative shot from outside the box that bounced over the diving keeper on 13 minutes.

Union then grabbed the winner just before the hour mark when a shot from Max Kruse was deflected off teammate Timo Baumgartl and into the goal.

Leipzig, who are eighth in the table, face Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday but their hopes of making the last 16 are already over.

The weekend’s major clash comes Saturday when Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich.

Star Bundesliga strikers Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski go head-to-head with one point between the sides.

Haaland has scored 10 Bundesliga goals for Dortmund so far this season while Lewandowski has 14 goals for Bayern.

AFP

Awoniyi, Yahaya Leads Flying Eagles Team To Morocco

Taiwo Awoniyi
Taiwo Awoniyi was one of the outstanding players at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in UAE, won by Nigeria.

Flying Eagles coach, Manu Garba, has released a 20-man squad for the two tune-up matches in Morocco this weekend.

As part of preparations for the 2015 African Youth Championship qualifiers next month, the U-20 team will play two friendlies against their Moroccan counterparts on Wednesday, April 9, and another game two days later.

Two influential players at last year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in UAE, Taiwo Awoniyi and Musa Yahaya will lead the team to the East African country, as Nigeria consolidate plans towards qualifying for the African Youth Championship that will take place in Senegal next year.

Nigeria face the winners of the match between Kenya and Tanzania, while Morocco take on the winners of the clash between Togo and Equatorial Guinea.

The squad going to Morocco:

Goalkeepers: Emeka Nwabulu, Adamu Abubakar, Abdulazeez Abubakar

Defenders: Aliyu Abubakar, Ifeanyi Nweke, Mustapha Abdullahi, Wilfred Ndidi, Prince Izu Omego and Zaharaddeen Bello

Midfielders: Musa Yahaya, Ifeanyi Matthew, Abdullahi Alfa, Akinjide Idowu, Samuel Mathias, Anthony Omaka and Bernard Bulbwa

Strikers: Taiwo Awoniyi, Alhassan Ibrahim, Suleiman Abdullahi and Abubakar Lawal