How did Nigerian players perform across England this weekend?
This weekend, English teams played their regular league games while four teams competed in the FA Cup semi-finals. We look at how Nigerian players or those of Nigerian descent performed.
In the Premiership, already relegated Huddersfield Town showed little resistance to the visiting Leicester City at the John Smith’s Stadium. As usual, Wilfred Ndidi started in the centre of the field for the Foxes. This was his 82nd start out of 83 matches he played for Leicester.
Twenty-four minutes into the game, Youri Tielemans opened the scoring with a great shot. This was the only goal of the first half. Three minutes after the restart, Jamie Vardy scored his first goal of the night to double Leicester’s lead. However, a few moments later referee awarded Huddersfield a penalty which Aaron Mooy converted to make the score 1:2.
The Foxes controlled the game and in the 79th minute James Maddison scored from a free kick to make it three. Five minutes later Leicester earned a penalty of their own which Jamie Vardy slotted home for his second goal of the night. This win puts Leicester seventh in the table on goal difference.
Burnley went one step closer to surviving this season with an away win in Bournemouth. Both Jordon Ibe and Dominic Solanke started from the bench for the Cherries.
The hosts were lucky to take the lead four minutes after kick-off after Ashley Barnes headed the ball into his own net. Burnley levelled the score in the 18th minute with Chris Wood scoring after a mistake by the goalkeeper. Two minutes later, the visitors had turned it around. And again, the goal came after a poor defensive clearance. Ashley Westwood took advantage this time, putting his name on the score sheet.
After the restart, Barnes got his second goal of the game only this time on the right end of the pitch. His goal in the 56th minute was Burnley’s third making the final score 1:3. The Clarets are now eight points clear of danger. Solanke played the last half an hour for the Cherries.
Come Sunday, Arsenal travelled up north to take on Everton at Goodison Park. The game was settled by a single goal scored early in the game by Phil Jagielka. Alex Iwobi came off the bench for the Gunners in the 74th minute. Ademola Lookman appeared for Everton in the last few minutes of the match.
The win plants the Toffees in the middle of the table and dents Arsenal’s efforts of securing a Champions League place for next year.
In the first FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, Manchester City beat Brighton 1:0 at Wembley Stadium. Leon Balogun wasn’t in the squad for the Seagulls still nursing an injury.
On Sunday, also at Wembley, Watford played an entertaining encounter with the Wolverhampton Wanderers. The northerners were 2:0 up by the 62nd minute and in complete control for the first 80 minutes of the game.
The Hornets, who were without Isaac Success Ajayi for this match, pulled a goal back in the 79th minute before equalizing in the 4th minute of stoppage time, forcing extra time. And then, in the 104th minute, they turned the score around winning 3:2.
Watford will play in their first FA Cup final after 35 years against Manchester City who are still in with a chance of doing a treble this year.