Outstanding five: Iheanacho, Obi and others who rocked the weekend
Claude Puel’s words on Kelechi Iheanacho’s need to improve has sparked a streaky run in the cup. Iheanacho further showed marked improvements with his brace against Peterborough. His first goal was top quality as he curled a low strike from outside the area. A misplaced back pass from the Peterborough midfield fell to Iheanacho who had two defenders ahead of him; the striker held his nerve and started a run into shooting position from the right. Sure of the precision of his left boot, the 21 year old left fly with the swish of his foot and had the right amount of curl and speed to beat Jonathan Bond.
His second, a close range side-footed volley highlighted his intelligent movement, haring into the position off the ball from deep to finish off Christian Fuchs whipped cross. Iheanacho fought hard and played smart in the fixture and looks closer to his best. Four goals in the FA cup is as good as it gets for the youngster.
The VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system could be Nigerian for all we know. After VAR awarded Kelechi Iheanacho a goal in Leicester City’s win against Fleetwood Town weeks ago, Joel Obi was a beneficiary of the slightly polemic system last weekend.
Joel Obi was adjudged to have been initially offside before the VAR ruled that the Obi was onside and the goal should stand. It was Torino’s third goal in their Serie A fixture against Benevento. The 26 year old was on hand to stab home the rebound after substitute goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli parried Lorenzo De Silvestri’s header into Obi’s path.
Joel Obi whose form has invited interest from Benfica has four goals in the Serie A from 14 appearances.
Obi’s form has sparked calls for his return to the Super Eagles.
Returning from his suspension, Peter Olayinka scored his sixth goal in the Jupiler League for Zulte Waregem in the team’s draw against Waasland Beveren. In the 64th minute, Olayinka scored a brilliant diving header off Onur Kaya’s cross from deep. The former 36 Lions player flung himself headlong towards the ball to etch his name on the scorer’s sheet and celebrated with the gusto that matched the quality of the goal.
Olayinka could have got a goal earlier in the first half when he started a run from deep on the left side of attack beating two defenders for pace before exchanging passes with a team-mate. He received the return pass at the edge of the box, dribbled past another defender with a shoulder drop, cut the ball towards goal before bending a strike towards goal that the goalkeeper saved.
Samuel Kalu bristled with life in the Gent’s Jupiler League match against league leaders Club Brugge. The 20 year old contributed a goal and an assist to the 2-0 victory of the Buffalos. Kalu whipped a perfect corner onto the head of Franko Andrijašević to nod home off the upright in the 65th minute. The winger got his fifth goal of the season in the 78th minute. Kalu reacted quickest to prod the ball into the net after Simon Gigot’s penalty was saved by Vladmir Gabulov.
Mbakogu scored his sixth goal of the season and bagged an assist in Carpi’s win over Spezia. The 25 year old had gone close to opening the scoring in the first half with a spectacular overhead kick that dragged only inches wide of Simone Colombi’s right hand post. Mbakogu eventually opened the scoring in the 69th minute. The striker under substantial pressure form a defender bundled home a loose ball from a corner kick. Mbakogu’s left-footed pass split the defence and set Federico Melchiorri through on his way to goal to score the winner.
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