Four observations from Osimhen, Orban's performances in European football competitionsPublished: March 16, 2023
On Wednesday, Nigeria Football faithful watched the duo of Victor Osimhen and new kid on the block,, Gift Orban play in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa Conference League.
All Nigeria Soccer here presents the takeaways from their games.
1. Osimhen's battles with Evan N Dicka
One of the key battles in the meeting between Napoli and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Diego Maradona stadium in Naples was the clash between Victor Osimhen and Frankfurt's van N Dicka.
The first real action in the game was barely a minute into the game when Osimhen chased down the ball and came face to face with the central defender.
Osimhen won a corner kick in that moment and for the most parts of the time he spent on the pitch, the Nigerian was always in the face of his marker. He won three of his four aerial duels on Wednesday.
2. Frankfurt's desperate measures
Eintracht Frankfurt were super charged for the match although the superior quality of Napoli shone through.
One of their game plans was to press the opponents high up the pitch, deny Osimhen the chance to get the ball and deny him the chance to cause havoc.
Ultimately that didn't work out as planned but the Nigerian was the recipient of some harsh tackles from the German club.
For his troubles, he had his hands stepped on on his way to scoring the second goal.
3. Like Haaland, like Osimhen?
On Tuesday, it was Manchester City's Erling Haaland, and on Wednesday it was the turn of Victor Osimhen to be yanked off after scoring more than a goal in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match.
Osimhen had scored a brace against Frankfurt when he was substituted as the match petered away.
That was exactly Haaland's same fate in the 7-0 romp over RB Leipzig. The Norwegian had scored five goals before he was replaced.
Haaland revealed after the match that he told his manager, Pep Guardiola that he can score one more goal which would have been a a double hat-trick.
Interestingly, Pep's response was cheeky when he was once asked to comment about player power in the teams he has managed.
That was necessitated by the events that led to the exit of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Barcelona.
The Spaniard made it abundantly clear that his pride goes to the "rooftop" when it comes to his relationship with his players and wouldn't want them to take all the notice.
Guardiola was clearly not finding it funny that the back pages could be effusive with praises of Ibrahimovic.
Of course the above submission may not be quite be what the Napoli head coach, Luciano Spalletti thinks of Osimhen.
The Italian manager's contract is winding down and he would want to at least finish the season in fine fettle and Osimhen could make it more memorable for him.
He was actually preserving the striker for future games and letting him have a deserved rest.
That should end the debate already springing up in bars and between two or more football lovers.
3. Super Eagles call-up for Orban
From obscurity to global attention.
That summarizes the career so far of Nigeria forward, Gift Orban who has made clubs around Europe take note of his immense talent.
Orban signed for Belgian Pro League side, Gent from Norway's Stabaek in the January transfer window.
On Wednesday evening, just before whole drama of the UEFA Champions League began, Nigerians watched a hitherto unknown gem shine in the UEFA Conference League.
Orban scored one of the fastest hat-tricks as Gent defeated Turkish top side, İstanbul Başakşehir F.K - in the 31st, 32nd and 34th minutes.
The 20-year-old has now scored 12 goals in all competitions.
What this points to is that with Super Eagles Coach, Jose Peseiro looking at strengthening the Nigerian national team, he must not let the chance pass him by.
The young man plays in Belgium. A country who don't care about the nationality of the players that catch their fancy. Most of their players are African-born.
4. Osimhen's emotional hug
When Victor Osimhen scored his second goal of the night, he gave warm embraces to his teammates and it set tongues wagging on whether it meant more than just appreciating them.
The Nigerian is linked to several clubs abroad especially in the Premier League.
The few weeks and months will tell if there are more to that or its just a routine celebration.
Photo Credit : uefa.com
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