Trabzonspor of Turkey striker, Anthony Nwakaeme and TSG Hoffenheim of Germany defender, Kevin Akpoguma joined the array of Nigerian players with goals to their names over the weekend’s line of fixtures across Europe.
Megasportsarena.com reports that, while Nwakaeme and Akpoguma netted in the big leagues, there were also goals to show for Nigerian players in some of the less fancied scenes as well as England’s youth sector and the French Ligue 1.
In Turkey, 32-year-old Nwakaeme got his seventh goal for Trabzonspor and helped his side stop Antalyaspor 2-1 in a Turkish Super Lig fixture.
Nwakaeme, who has been able to create a niche for himself that his side do not lose when he scores or gets an assists, has now netted seven and provided same number for his teammates.
However, the former Hapoel Be’er Sheva of Israel hitman has lost seven games due to illness or injury and will not in a hurry forget how his side lost 4-3 loss to Kasimpasa when he scored twice and provided an assist, but they still went down.
In France, 17-year-old Lesley Ugochukwu, a nephew of former Super Eagles’ defender, Onyekachi Apam, got the chance to start for Stade Rennes against Paris-Saint Germaine, mostly due to the absences of Steven Nzonzi and Eduardo Camavinga.
This is a follow up to his breakthrough last month, when he became the fourth youngest player to debut for Rennes, and he made the best of his outing in a 5-1 win over Dijon.
Born in France, the youngster, who is fondly called ‘Desailly,’ stands tall at 1.90 metres and can play as a defensive midfielder, in the heart of the defence or as a box-to-box player and, though his progress has been held back by an ankle injury, Lesley continues being a role model for his younger brother, Chibuike, who features for Rennes’ under-13 squad.
In Germany, Akpoguma scored his first-ever goal in the Bundesliga, and it came after he enacted 67 appearances in the German top-flight, as he helped Hoffenheim fight back to record a 4-2 win over already relegated Schalke 04.
Akpoguma, whose haul of six goals as a professional were netted in the German Cup (DFB Pokal), 3.Liga and Regionalliga Sudwest, admitted he was delighted to achieve a milestone by scoring in the German Bundesliga.
His ffort helped Hoffenheim overturn a two-goal deficit to defeat Schalke at PreZero Arena, with Akoguma netting a crucial equaliser in the 52nd minute, for his first goal in the German top-flight.
The versatile defender, who scored his first top-flight goal in his 67th top-flight outing, four with Hannover 96 and 63 for Hoffenheim, was in action for 4,715 minutes before finally neting in Der Bundesliga.
Akpoguma, whose appearances have been limited to just 15 games, due to injuries, is saving the best for late, as only two matches are left to the end of the season, but he will surely end it on a high after Saturday’s goal.
It came after the 26-year-old Super Eagles’ central defender connected a corner home in the 52nd minute, though Schalke’s goalkeeper got a fingertip to it and the youngster, who made 18 Bundesliga appearances last season, would be happy seeing Hoffenheim move up to 11th on the table with 39 points.
Akpoguma said afterwards: “The first half was not good; we wanted to show a different side to ourselves. It was important for us to level the scores quickly and turn the game in our favour.
“We did that thanks to the goals from myself and Andrej. For me, it was obviously good to score my first Bundesliga goal after such a long time. I’m going to let that sink in now – and enjoy it.”