By Femi Fasetire
Leicester City of England attacker, Kelechi Iheanacho continued his current burst of form in the most spectacular style on Sunday, on an evening SSC Napoli of Italy striker, Victor Osimhen also hit one on target in the Italian Serie A and Joe Aribo struck for Glasgow Rangers of Scotland.
While Osimhen celebrated what became his fifth goal since joining Napoli in a big money move from Lille Metropole of France, as Karim Adeyemi made hay in Austria and Paul Ebere Onuachu also hit one home in Belgium, the biggest thrill from any Nigerian player on Sunday came from ‘Kelele.’
However, despite Iheanacho's brilliant brace, Leicester lost the game 3-2 at London Stadium and their hold on third place in the English Premier League was cut to just a point, even as The Foxes' coach, Brendan Rodgers revealed afterwards that he had to drop three of his key players for breaching COVID-19 rules.
Iheanacho's double, though, came only after Jesse Lingard continued his fine scoring form with two more goals and West Ham United defeated Leicester 3-2 to move back into the top four zone of the English Premier League.
The Foxes struggled despite Iheanacho and Nigerian pal, Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi both on for the duration of play in London, where the Super Eagles’ midfielder had a subdued performance, after he went into the referee’s book in the 46th minute.
West Ham raced into a two-goal lead as the on-loan Lingard struck twice before half-time with a brilliant cushioned volley followed by a tap-in, after which Jarrod Bowen swept home a third three minutes into the second half.
The points appeared in the bag for David Moyes' side, only for Iheanacho to give Leicester hope of a recovery by smashing home an unstoppable left-footed drive with 20 minutes to go, before adding a second in injury time with his ninth goal in his last six matches.
West Ham, though, held on for the win that moved them a point above Chelsea and back to the final UEFA Champions League berth, while Iheanacho's side stay third in the table, just a point above The Hammers after back-to-back league defeats with seven games left this season.
In Italy, Osimhen, who has now scored five goals in 22 appearances across all competitions during his first season in the Italian top-flight, was on song in Napoli’s 2-0 win over Sampdoria, on an evening the Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup top scorer played all 90 minutes for his side.
The back-to-form Osimhen, who has also previously played for VfL Wolfsburg of Germany and Sporting Charleroi of Belgium, led The Parthenopeans' attack and made an impact, as Gennaro Gattuso’s men began the game impressively.
Napoli were rewarded for their effort when Fabian opened the scoring in the 35th minute after an assist from Piotr Zielinski, after which Osimhen then came close to doubling the Stadio San Paolo outfit’s lead in the 48th minute but his effort was ruled offside.
In the 75th minute, Morten Thorsby thought he had equalised when he lashed home a fine shot but his effort was cancelled out by the Video Assistant Referee for a previously committed foul and, three minutes before the end, Osimhen, who made two key passes and won five aerial contests as part of his contributions in the match, struck to seal Napoli’s victory.
In Scotland, Aribo returned to goals scoring form on an evening fellow-Nigerian, Leon Aderemi Balogun remained out with a calf/Achilles injury, and Glasgow Rangers went on to defeat Hibernian 2-1 and moved 20 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.
Aribo opened scoring with a volley in the 20th minute before Ryan Kent clinched it for his team on 62 minutes, after which the Super Eagles’ midfielder admitted he was delighted to be back on the scorers’ sheet after firing blanks in his last six games in all competitions.
The Gers’ coach, Steven Gerrard confirmed that Balogun would be out for much longer, even as Aribo continued a tradition he has ignited since joined the club from Charlton Athletic of England in the summer of 2019, as they have never lost a match in which he scored.
Aribo told Rangers TV: "I feel like it's a long time coming, I want to keep scoring goals every single game that I play so I'm happy for myself that I could get the opening goal for the team. It was a nice finish, I just watched it, just took my time with the finish, I'm just glad that I didn't sky it to be honest."
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