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Nigerian-born Youngster Silences Manchester United With Hat Trick

By Femi Fasetire

West Ham United of England’s Nigerian-born youngster, Mipo Odubeko stole all headlines this weekend, after his hat trick helped The Hammers’ youth team storm back from two goals down to defeat his former club, Manchester United in the English Premier League 2.

Odubeko’s feat came few hours before Arsenal whiz-kid, Joel Ideho also continued his amazing goals scoring form for The Gunners’ kids, but his effort could not save his side from being beaten 3-1 by Fulham in the U18 English Premier League.

After failing to score in nine straight games, the former Ajax Amsterdam of Holland kid has now found the net three times in his last four outings, with sizzlers against Norwich City, Reading and in Saturday's fixture versus Fulham, and he set up a goal in the 4-3 win away to The Royals.

The Gunners’ squad against The Cottagers also had goalkeeper Ovie Ejeheri, defenders Mazeed Ogungbo and Zach Awe, and Ideho in the starting lineup, while winger Michael Olakigbe started for the home team.

Ideho broke the deadlock on the hour, as he poked the ball in with his left foot after a pass from Giraud-Hutchinson, but goals from Dibley-Dias, Bowie and Biereth helped Fulham fight back to take all three points, with Olakigbe providing an assist for The Cottagers’ second goal.

The previous evening in England, Odubeko grabbed his first-ever hat-trick in EPL2, as he helped West Ham United storm back from behind to defeat his former club, Manchester United 3-2 at Leigh Sports Village on Friday night, with Shola Shoretire also starting for The Red Devils.

Odubeko, who spent three years at United’s academy, before making the switch to West Ham in October 2019 after turning down a scholarship offer at Old Trafford, shocked the Manchester side that were two goals up after 54 minutes with strikes from Mark Helm and Anthony Elanga.

Odubeko pulled one back with a fine low shot from around 25 yards out in the 59th minute, and later on restored parity when he curled into the top corner with 18 minutes remaining, following which he netted the winning goal in the third minute of stoppage time.

It was a personally satisfactory outing for the 18-year-old Odubeko, who has 10 goals and two assists in nine appearances this campaign with The Hammers, whose coach, David Moyes has always spoken in good light about the youngster and keeps giving him opportunities in the main team.

In Belgium, Ike Ugbo was on target twice to help Cercle Brugge secure a comprehensive 3-0 win over Oud-Heverlee Leuven in the Belgian First Division A on Saturday, April 10.

A minute before the interval, the lad on loan from Chelsea of England managed to squeeze through some defenders and pushed the ball under goalkeeper Rafael Romo for the opener after 15 minutes of play.

The 22-year-old former England youth international, who is enjoying his fifth loan spell from Chelsea, following previous stints at Roda JC Kerkrade of Holland as well as Barnsley, MK Dons and Scunthorpe United of England, finished a counter-attack to double the home team's lead.

Cercle Brugge have won four of their last six games in the division, with Ugbo scoring four goals, taking his total in all competitions to 16 goals in 33 matches and the club have the option to make the move permanent at the end of this season.

In Italy, Crotone striker, Simeon Tochukwu Nwankwo (Simy) got his 16th goal of the season on Saturday, just few hours after he downplayed recent reports about a likely transfer to Genoa in the Land of The Azzurri, and insisted that all his attention remains on his current team.

Simy notched home his 16th goal of the season on Saturday, but the Pythagoreans lost 3-2 to Spezia in an Italian elite division outing at Stadio Alberto Picco, where he initially put his team ahead with a 78th-minute strike.

The lanky star’s goal, which came courtesy an assist by Niccolo Zanellato, was not enough to save the day for his side, as they forfeited all three points with late goals from Giulio Maggiore and Martin Erlic that handed Vincenzo Italiano’s squad victory.

Simy’s haul of goals in the ongoing Serie A campaign takes him just one short of the Nigerian record held by Yakubu Ayegbeni, as top scorer in a single season across the top-five European Leagues.

Back in England, Viv Solomon-Otabor netted Wigan Athletic's third goal in a 4-1 victory away to Doncaster Rovers, as the former Super Eagles invitee slotted home in the 13th minute, after an assist by Joseph Dodoo to hand his side victory in the English Championship fixture.

Same evening in the English Championship, Daryl Dike scored for Barnsley, Elijah Adebayo struck for Luton Town and Arnaut Danjuma made hay for Bournemouth, on another evening of intense action in England’s lower division.

Danjuma scored twice and made another goal as Bournemouth moved into the Championship play-off places with a convincing 4-1 win at home to lowly Coventry, while David Brooks and Dominic Solanke were also on target for The Cherries in their fourth straight league win.

Dike scored alongside Alex Mowatt to strengthen Barnsley’s play-off push in a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at Oakwell, though Boro’s coach, Neil Warnock made a single switch from the side who drew with Watford, as Chuba Akpom went in for the injured Sam Morsy.

Mowatt scored shortly after the hour mark before Dike made sure of the three points 15 minutes from time, in a game that saw Valerien Ismael also make a single change from the team who beat Luton on Monday, as Dominik Frieser replaced Victor Adeboyejo.

Dike’s goals have helped Barnsley maintain fifth spot in the Championship and they now hold a five-point advantage over Reading, who are just outside the play-off positions.

Same evening in England, Adebayo got among the thrills, as three goals in the last 10 minutes saw Wycombe’s Championship survival hopes suffer a major setback as Luton claimed a 3-1 comeback victory at Adams Park.

A long-range free-kick from substitute George Moncur and a curled Kazenga LuaLua effort five minutes later put Luton in front in the closing stages, but there was still time for Adebayo to head in his fourth goal of the season to secure all three points for The Hatters.

Wycombe also had shouts for a penalty waved away after Uche Ikpeazu picked up the ball and drove into the box, tangling legs with Matty Pearson, long after Fred Onyedinma forced the first save out of Luton’s goalkeeper, Simon Sluga, before Wycombe were awarded a penalty.

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