Leicester City of England attacker, Kelechi Iheanacho failed to convert a penalty for his team and he became the missing link in a chain of captivating goals from Nigerian players across Europe, megasportsarena.com reports
While Iheanacho failed to convert from the spot in the final of a pre-season competition organized by his club against lower league opposition, it was a different story for Armstrong Okoflex in Scotland, Moses Odubajo and Folarin Balogun in England as well as Karim Adeyemi in Austria.
Adeyemi was the star of the show as Red Bull Salzburg began the new season with a 3-1 road win over Sturm Graz at Merkur Arena, where the home team took the lead when Andi Ulmer put the ball into his own net in the 11th minute.
For the first time ever in the Austrian Bundesliga, the referee called on VAR and it took close to five minutes before the experts in Vienna awarded the goal to Sturm Graz.
Midway through the second half, Adeyemi chested in the equaliser before Rasmus Kristensen made it 2-1 with a header after a delightful cross from the Germany youth international in the 76th minute.
Five minutes from time, Adeyemi smashed the ball home to seal a win for the champions, after which he was replaced by Chukwubuike Adamu with three minutes left on the clock but former Golden Eaglets captain, Samson Tijani was not dressed for the game.
In England, Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun got among the goals alongside his teammate, Nicolas Pepe in a 4-1 win over Millwall; as Mikel Arteta’s men put up a good attacking display to send warning signals to their English Premier League rivals ahead of the new campaign.
Arsenal almost paid for their missed opportunities when Connor Mahoney’s free-kick was headed off the base of the goalpost by Jake Cooper, but Arthur Okonkwo’s quick reflexes denied Benik Afobe from six yards.
A few minutes before the half-time break, Calum Chambers put the English top-flight side ahead by heading a rebound from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s scissor-kick on the edge of the box home.
At half-time, Arteta introduced Albert Lokonga for his debut alongside Nuno Tavares, Karl Hein and Alexandre Lacazette.
After the interval, Lacazette registered his presence by doubling his team’s advantage. He put the ball beyond Long after he was teed up by Chambers, who found space in Millwall’s area.
For Arsenal’s third goal, Gabonese star Aubameyang occupied a pocket of space, ran at his marker before sending across a low delivery. Lacazette stepped over the ball, leaving Pepe with a simple finish from 10 yards.
Balogun extended the lead having combined well with Brazilian star Willian to slot into the empty net after rounding the keeper, but Arteta’s side could not keep a clean sheet as Alex Mitchell’s close-range finish gave the Lions something to cheer about.
In Scotland, former Celtic midfielder, Armstrong Okoflex helped his new team, West Ham United of England sink his former side 6-2 in a pre-season friendly, despite only playing as a second half substitute.
Okoflex made the best of his cameo role to ensure that Celtic’s preparations for their midweek UEFA Champions League qualifier against FC Midtjylland of Denmark took a knock with their shock defeat by The Hammers.
Issa Diop replaced Nigerian-born Italy international, Angelo Obinze Ogbonna, who limped off injured just before McGregor easily brushed Manuel Lanzini off the ball and guided a shot from the edge of the box past goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
However, it was not all Nigerian players that managed to hit target, as Kelechi Iheanacho lost a penalty for Leicester City of England and his side fell 3-1 in a shootout with Burton Albion ahead of the new season.
Iheanacho skied high his spot kick during the resultant penalty shoot-out, as cores at full time were 0-0 before Burton, who play in the English League 1, edged it on penalties to win the competition they stage every year against a team from the Midlands.