Monday, 22 April 2013

Proudly Naija Footballers: Martins, Ahmed, Nsofor In The Making...

In the Major League Soccer (MLS), in the United States, Eagles striker Obafemi Martins was on target for his new side Seattle Sounders as they claimed important 1-0 away victory at Colorado Rapids on Saturday. The former Levante striker struck in the 27th minute to grab all three points for his team. That was Martins’ first goal in three games since he arrived from Spain. He was pulled out in the 61st minute.

In Russia, Ahmed Musa hit his 10th goal of the season in the famous Moscow derby for CSKA against visiting Spartak Moscow in the game which ended 2-2. Musa pulled one back for the league leaders in the 73rd minute after the visitors had taken a 2-0 lead. Russia international Alan Dzagoev made a point certain for Musa and company from the spot in the added time. Musa, was as usual, on for 90 minutes. He continues his fine form which also saw him score in a Cup game last Wednesday. Musa was playing his 23rd league game of the season.

Still in Russia, Victor Obinna Nsofor who played from the bench last weekend, returned as a starter and claimed yet another rare 90-minute appearance as Lokomotiv Moscow managed to earn a point in a goalless draw at Kuban Krasnodar on Saturday. The former Malaga striker for has so far scored two goals in 22 league outings for his side. He has seen yellow only once.

In the Netherlands, former schoolboy international Uche Nwofor returned with a bang for VVV Venlo who gave up a 2-0 lead to finish 2-2 against visiting Twente on Saturday. The former Rangers striker doubled VVV’s lead in the 23rd minute after they had opened scoring in the 18th minute. VVV, however, failed to maintain their good as fifth-placed visitors rallied to a 2-2 finish.
 Nwofor, who returned to action last weekend after coming back from injury, remained on the pitch for entire duration of the game. VVV are still rooted at the foot of the log and it appears they will be relying on play-offs just like they have done for the past two seasons, to stay up. He has so far netted seven goals in 22 appearances for his side. He has also seen red once and cautioned twice.

Super Eagles central defender Kenneth Omeruo was as usual on for 90 minutes for ADO Den Haag as they lost 2-1 at Groningen on Saturday. That was ADO Den Haag’s fifth defeat in a row as they continued to drop down on the log.. He has so played all the games for his side since he returned from African Cup of Nations in South Africa in February. He has so far made 25 league appearances.
In Turkey, scoring machine Kalu Uche fired in a brace as Kasimpasa beat Orduspor 2-0 on Saturday. The brace catapulted Uche’s goal account to 19, same as Galatarsaray’s Burak Yimaz, who whom the former Wisla Krakow hit man shares a jointtop scorer spot. Uche struck as early as the 10th minute to put the visitors in front and compounded the hosts’ woes in the 42nd minute and it proved to be enough. Uche, who has netted nine goals in his last 11 games, was on for 90 minutes. He has so far made 30 league outings for the fourth place team, fiercely gunning for their first ever Champions League spot. He has also maintained a stainless record with no red and yellow cards.

On the losing side for Orduspor was the former Super Eagles midfielder Yusu Ayila, who was on for 90 minutes. Ayila, on loan from Ukrainian top side, Dynamo Kiev has now played five games, scored once and cautioned twice.

In Ukraine, Super Eagles striker Brown Ideye hit a brace for Dynamo Kiev who finished off their less illustrious hosts Zorya 5-0 on Saturday. Ideye maintained his rediscovered scoring form which also saw him break his duck last weekend, doubling his side’s lead in the 39th minute and increased his tally in the 80th minute. Two more goals in a space of seven minutes killed off the game as a contest.. He was on from start to finish he banged his 16th goal of the season, to still maintain his second spot on the scorers’ chart behind Shakhtar’s Armenia striker Henrikh Mkhitaryan on 22 goals. Ideye has so far made 24 league appearances and has been in the referees’ books just twice.

In England, Shola Ameobi started from the bench for Newcastle and failed to hit the target as the Magpies gave up a early lead to end it 1-1 at West Brom on Saturday. The onecap Eagles striker replaced French striker 69th minute as the visitors continued their futile search for the winning goal. Ameobi is still searching for his second goal since he scored his lone in the 1`-0 home victory against Queens Park Rangers on December 22. He has disappointingly managed only four appearances as a starter in 22 outings for Newcastle so far. He has also been cautioned five times.

Still in England, forgotten Eagles striker Everton’s Victor Anichebe left his scoring boots behind and failed to prevent a shock 1-0 defeat at Sunderland on Saturday, to put their Champions League hopes hanging on a balance. Anichebe, who netted Toffees’ winning goal last weekend, was on from start but was pulled out in the 77th minute, as Sunderland relied on Benin international Stephane Sessegnon struck a half time goal to steer their ship out of relegation waters.
Anichebe was hoping to add to his six-goal account but will to wait till next weekend for a sniff at goal. That was Anichebe’s 14th start of the season in his 21th appearance for Everton and he’s only been yellow-carded once thus far.

In Spain, Nosa Igiebor was on from start but didn’t see the end of the Real Betis clash at Real Madrid as the Cristiano Ronaldo-led side sealed a 3-1 victory on Saturday. Igiebor was replaced at the start of the second half in the game which Betis fought so hard for a point.. That was Igiebor’s fifth appearance since he returned late to base after the AFCON in South Africa, following a visa hitch and his 14th all over for Betis. He was also making his fifth start of the season. His goal against Seville last weekend remains his only goal on his account so far this season. He has also been booked twice.

Still in Spain, young Nigerian striker Jude Ighalo, courted by a number of English clubs, was in action for relegation threatened Granada but failed to hit the target in the 1-1 draw against visiting Real Sociedad on Saturday. He was pulled out in the 77th minute as he continued to search for his fourth goal of the season. Ighalo, on loan from Udinese, was making his 23rd league appearance. He has so far gone into the referees’ books four times.

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