Outstanding Five: Former CHAN player and others who lit the weekend
Perhaps he saw the signs. But frankly, it was more the burning desire to leave the NPFL that set Eduwo towards hitting a brace on his full debut for his new club CS Sfaxien rather than be on the end of a hiding by the Moroccans at CHAN. Eduwo was integral in the qualification of the Super Eagles to the CHAN tournament but held out for a move to the Tunisian League rather than participate in the tournament for exclusively home-based nationals. His football fix for the weekend on the same day as the Super Eagles was against Ben Guerdane in the Tunisian cup.
The striker struck a shot against the crossbar in the 23rd minute before he opened the scoring seven minutes later. Eduwo raced towards a through-ball, dribbled the ball away from the onrushing goalkeeper with his first touch from a fully-stretched right foot before he uncomfortably chopped the ball into the net with his left foot. His brace came in the 61st minute when he cushioned a low left-footed shot from his team-mate’s cut back into the bottom corner.
Also with a continental team, Junior Ajayi scored a goal and gave an assist for his club-side’s 3-0 win over Al Ittihad. The striker who was on the CAF Best XI was voted the man-of-the-match with his feat. The forward displayed his boundless energy, hard-running and creativity; he was in his element for large parts of the game. Ajayi’s assist was a smart heeled-pass that put Abdalla El Said through with the goalkeeper to beat, the striker buried the ball past the goalkeeper to score Al Ahly’s second goal.
It was only fitting for El Said to return the favour in the 82nd minute with a cross towards the back post for the arriving Ajayi to hit a side-footed volley home. Ajayi has five goals and eight assists from 17 Egyptian Premier League games.
Life has been great again for Olayinka since he returned from his suspension due to a red card. He scored in the first game after his return; scored again over the weekend in Zulte Waregem’s game against Oostende. The forward who ruptured a knee ligament towards the end of last year has been an important part of the Waregem setup starting 18 games, scoring seven (including the header against Oostende) and assisting another seven goals. His goal came in the 25th minute, Olayinka stole ahead of his marker to head in Sander Coopman’s cross. The 22-year old’s goal lasted just eight minutes before it was cancelled out by another Nigerian, Joseph Akpala. Olayinka on loan from Gent started his footballing career at 36 Lion FC in Lagos.
Plateau United were on an ethereal level in the NPFL over the weekend and right in the middle of it was Tosin Omoyele. The forward who arrived from Osun United in the second division has fiirmly dispelled all doubts about his ability to cut it in the premier division. Against Sunshine Stars, Omoyele scored a brace, assisted two goals and could have made it a hat-trick of goals in the 90th minute but his goal was ruled out. Omoyele got his first goal when he tapped in a loose ball from a corner kick before he beautifully laid an assist for Sunday Ngbede in the 15th minute.
The ginger-haired forward scored his brace in the 78th minute, then rolled the ball for Mafeng Pam to tap in to complete the 5-0 rout of Sunshine Stars.
The quality of his assist for Jamie Vardy’s goal was in itself fulfilling. Kelechi Iheanacho received a pass just outside the box. He feinted to shoot, then shifted the ball away in one clean swoop from the two defenders who had anticipated the shot, then delivered a sumptuous pass behind the defence with his right boot. Vardy duly obliged, lashing the ball past the goalkeeper. Iheanacho’s combinational play and movement was excellent in Leicester City’s game against Swansea, drifting and dropping into the pockets while ensuring he wasn’t slouch on defensive duties.
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