Nigerian players enjoyed different fortunes in Thursday’s Europa League games
Very few players have gone through their professional football careers without getting a red card.
Sadly, Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen can no longer make that exclusive list, having received his first career red card in Napoli’s Europa League clash with Real Sociedad Thursday night.
Osimhen, who is closing in on 100 professional appearances, was sent off by referee Craig Pawson in the third minute of added time for a second caution.
Brought in by Coach Gennaro Gattuso in the 61st minute, Osimhen was first cautioned in the 81st minute before receiving his marching orders 12 minutes later.
Osimhen was adjudged to have elbowed Robin Le Normand while trying to control David Ospina’s goal kick.
This is officially the first time the 21-year-old striker has received a red card in a game since he moved to Europe in 2017.
Osimhen will now miss Napoli’s next trip to Stadion Kantrida for a date with HNK Rijeka on November 5.
However, the Nigerian striker would be consoled that his team emerged victorious, even though the goal he thought he had scored was also chalked off.
With this result, Napoli are third in Group F with three points from two outings.
Nigerian players’ scorecard
Meanwhile, it wasn’t all gloom for Nigerian players in the league on Thursday as the duo of Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun won 1-0 at home with Rangers against Lech Poznan in their Group D tie.
While Balogun played for 90 minutes, Aribo came on in the 69th minute.
A 68th-minute goal by Alfredo Morelos secured the win for Rangers.
Steven Gerrard’s side are second in Group D on six points behind group leaders Benfica, who are also on six points but with a better goals’ difference.
Elsewhere, two Super Eagles forwards, Olanrewaju Kayode and Peter Olayinka, were on target for their respective clubs in Thursday’s Europa League games.
Kayode scored Sivasspor’s only goal but they lost 2-1 to visiting Maccabi Tel Aviv in Group I.
However, Olayinka was the hero for Slavia Prague as they picked a vital 1-0 win over visiting Bayer Leverkusen.
Olayinka netted the only goal of the game with 10 minutes left for Slavia League’s first win in the group.
Also, Samuel Chukwueze was on the winning side; helping Villarreal to a 3-1 away win over Qarabag.