Action spot shifts on Thursday to the UEFA Europa League, where 11 matches begin 6:55pm, one at 4;50 and 11 start at 9. Arsenal opened the gates of MatchDay 4 action on Wednesday, night with a 1-1 draw away to Victoria Guimaraes, who had Mikel Ndubuisi Agu on for all 90 minutes of their home encounter, while Bukayo Saka was replaced in the 65th minute by the struggling visitors from London.
Megasportsarena.com has gathered that further Nigeria interest in the second-tier European continental competition is expected Thursday evening and night as well, with John Mikel Obi and Anthony Nwakaeme expected to make the starting line-up for Trabzonspor of Turkey away to Krasnodar of Russia, while Eddy Ogenyi Onazi hopes to make his return with the Turkish Super Lig club, after a very long bout with injury.
In one of the 9pm games, Super Eagles’ new sensation, Joe Aribo will seek to continue in top form for Glasgow Rangers of Scotland, as they host FC Porto of Portugal, while Rio 2016 Olympics bronze medalist, Sadiq Umar will seek another goal for Partizan Belgrade of Serbia, as they visit Manchester United, who are currently top of Group L, with seven points from three games.
While Mikel and Nwakaeme look likely to get lightweight opposition away in Russia, Aribo has a tough nut to crack with The Gers against visiting Porto, former winners of the Europa League and UEFA Champions League back-to-back in 2003 and 2004, in the days of Jose Mourinho.
Heading into Thursday’s game, Rangers and Porto are locked together on four points in Group G, two behind leaders Young Boys of Switzerland and one ahead of Feyenoord of Holland, as they now tango in Glasgow, after a 1-1 draw at Estádio do Dragão, where Alfredo Morelos’s tenth goal of the campaign equalised the hosts’ opening salvo by his Colombian compatriot, Luis Díaz.
However, Aribo’s Gers kicked off their group campaign with a 1-0 home win against Feyenoord before surrendering a lead to lose 2-1 at Young Boys. Likewise, Porto won at home on Matchday 1 – 2-1 against the Swiss champions – but lost their second fixture away – 0-2 in Rotterdam.
There had been four previous UEFA encounters between the clubs prior to Matchday 3, in the 1983/84 European Cup Winners’ Cup second round and the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League group stage, Rangers winning both games in Scotland – 2-1 and 3-2 respectively.
Rangers are unbeaten at home to Portuguese clubs, winning the first five of the seven matches and drawing the two most recent – both against Sporting Lisbon, 0-0 in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup quarter-finals and 1-1 in the 2010/11 Europa League round of 32; both ties were won by Rangers.
Aribo and his pals, though, will be equally wary to note that Porto claimed their clash in 1983/84 on away goals, following a 1-0 win in the reverse fixture at home, en route to an appearance in that season’s final, which they lost to Juventus of Italy.