Cyriel Dessers was on target while Calvin Bassey’s own goal denies Rangers win
Victor Osimhen and Victor Moses are through to the knockout stages of the Europa League, while Cyriel Dessers returned amongst the goals as Calvin Bassey scored an unfortunate goal in a night of mixed fortunes for Super Eagles players.
It was curtains in the group stages of the Europa League and Conference League on Thursday with a touch of mixed results for some Nigerian and Super Eagles players and their respective clubs.
Italian club, Napoli, Spartak Moscow and Scottish champions, Rangers are all through to the round of 16 while it was bad news for Leicester City in UEFA’s second tier competition, the Europa League.
An Osimhen-less Napoli defeated Leicester in a five-goal thriller at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Italy thanks to a brace from Eljif Elmas.
In what was a highly entertaining, winners-take-all match, the Serie A leaders held off a stiff competition from the Foxes to seal an important 3-2 win. Four of the goals were scored in the opening half as went in the break level at 2-2. Napoli led twice and Leicester responded in equal measure heading into the break.
After the break, Elmas restored Napoli’s lead for the third time and it stayed that way as the side from Naples held on for the crucial win and points that ensured they finished second behind group winners, Spartak, who defeated Legia Warszawa 0-1 away from home.
Napoli were without the injured Osimhen, who is back on the field training, while Wilfred Ndidi was the only Nigerian who travelled and played for the Foxes, who didn’t think the duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman were needed for the important clash.
Meanwhile, Moses was on from start to finish as he put on a good performance for his Russia side, Spartak.
With the results in Group C, Moses’ Spartak are joined in the knockout stages by Osimhen and Napoli, Ndidi’s Leicester have crashed out but are still in Europe and will continue in the Conference division.
In France, Calvin Bassey was on target but he scored in his own net as Rangers held Lyon to a 1-1 draw to book their place in the round of 16 from Group A. Joe Aribo was a late second half substitute in that match, while Leon Balogun was not a part of the squad.
Henry Onyekuru played for 60 minutes before he was substituted in Olympiacos’ narrow 1-0 defeat to Royal Antwerp. Despite the loss, Olympiacos still made it to the round of 16 after they finished second in Group D.
Genk and Paul Onuachu continued their poor form with a 0-1 loss at home to Rapid Wein. Onuachu started on the bench and came on just before the second half started but failed to inspire his team as they crashed out of Europe after a bottom of the table finish in Group H.
Like in the Europa League, it was also a case of mixed fortunes for the Super Eagles players in the newly created Conference League.
Dessers got a rare start and rewarded his manager with a goal, his first in four matches in all competitions, as they defeated Maccabi Haifa 2-1 to cement their place as Group E winners.
In the same group, Union Berlin and Taiwo Awoniyi bottled it at home as they failed to secure the needed three points against Slavia Prague, who avoided defeat in Germany to qualify after a 1-1 draw.
Awoniyi was expertly caged for 69 minutes by the visitors before the 24-year-old was substituted.
In Cyrus, Francis Uzoho was the star and man of the match as Omonia Nicosia escaped defeat by the clutch of their teeth against Kairat Almaty.
The Super Eagles goalkeeper made three outstanding saves, including a penalty just before the break, to deny the visitors en route a deserved clean sheet in the goalless affair to as his side crashed out of Europe.
Randers book a place in the round of 16 despite losing 1-o to AZ Alkmaar in Holland but the Danish outfit were without their star striker, Steven Odey. However, his compatriots at the club, Tosin Kehinde and Vincent Onovo were in action.