There were goals for Nigerian players in Spain and Turkey over the weekend as many of the leagues played their final matches for the year ahead of the winter/Christmas break
Shola Ameobi came on to replace Loic Remy in the 75th minute for Newcastle on Saturday away to Crystal Palace as they won 3-0. Ameobi, yet to score this season, was fouled in the penalty box in the 85th minute and Hatem Ben Arfa converted the penalty as Newcastle moved up to sixth on the league table.
Ramon Azeez (pictured left) scored his first La Liga goal for Almeria on Saturday away to bottom-placed Real Betis and it was enough to earn the newly promoted side all three points. Azeez, a former junior international picked up the ball in deep midfield and drove towards the Betis defence before taking a shot with his left foot. It took a huge deflection off Betis centre back, Paulao to send Guillermo Sara the wrong way in the fourth minute. Azeez had another shot at goal in the ninth minute from outside the box but missed. Another attempt in the 36th, also from outside the box was saved.
Almeria moved up to 16th place on the table with 16 points while Betis are condemned to end the year at the foot of the table with 10 points.
It was Azeez’s 12th league appearance and he now has a goal and a yellow card. He had 82% accuracy from 56 touches of the ball and made three successful tackles to earn joint-top rating with his goalkeeper, Esteban.
Ikechukwu Uche started for Villarreal at home to Sevilla, after coming off the bench last weekend away to Barcelona. The Yellow Submarines lost 2-1 at home to end the year in sixth place. He attempted a shot in the 63rd minute that narrowly went wide. The Nigerian was pulled off in the 67th minute for Jeremy Perbet, who went on to miss the chance for an equalizing goal in the 88th as his penalty kick was saved.
Granada were beaten 3-1 at home by Real Sociedad on Saturday with Odion Ighalo starting on the bench. He came on for Youssef El-Arabi in the 77th minute to make his eighth league appearance in which he has scored once.
Uncharacteristically, the Nigerian goalkeeper was wayward in his distribution – getting just 17% pass accuracy from 35 touches on the ball but successfully claimed two crosses.
Lille ended 2013 third on the Ligue 1 table with 40 points from 19 matches – four behind leaders, PSG.
It was the battle of Nigerian strikers when Karabukspor with Joseph Akpala (pictured right) entertained league leaders, Fenerbahce with Emmanuel Emenike at the Dr. Necmettin Şeyhoğlu Stadıum on Sunday. Akpala opened the scoring in the 13th minute and Emenike equalized in the 40th minute but Ilhan Parlak scored the winner for the homers in the 69th minute to send the home fans into raptures.
Akpala scored through a beautiful run from midfield and though his first shot was saved, the rebound fell kindly into his path to slide into an empty net. Emenike thought he had equalized in the 30th minute but was adjudged to be offside though video replays showed he was level with the last defender. He then got the equaliser in the 40th minute, as his powerful shot could not be kept out. It was Emenike’s seventh league goal while Akpala has scored four times for his new side.
Rizespor stopped the rut with a battling 0-0 draw at home to high-flying Kasimpasa on Friday. Godfrey Oboabona started his eighth consecutive league match and played all 90 minutes. His compatriot, Uche Kalu came on in the 85th minute to replace Florin Cernat to make his eighth league appearance in which he is yet to score. Rizespor are in 15th place with 16 points.
Isaac Promise came back from a suspension and came off the bench to score for Antalyaspor against his former team, Gençlerbirliği, but it was not enough to overturn a 3-2 home defeat. Promise came off the bench in the 50th minute and scored his side’s second goal in the 83rd minute. The former Nigeria U-23 captain has scored two goals in 12 league appearances.
John Ogu made his sixth league appearance last Saturday off the bench for Academica as they lost 3-0 away to Vitoria Guimaraes. Ogu came on for Cleyton in the 51st minute.
Elderson Echiejile and his Braga teammates battled to a draw away to Maritimo on Thursday after going two goals down. Braga are seventh with 19 points. Femi Balogun and his Olhanense side were hammered 4-0 away to Porto on Friday. Balogun played all 90 minutes.
Hellas Verona dismantled Lazio 4-1 on Sunday with Ogenyi Onazi playing all 90 minutes. Onazi was a very busy player with 91 touches and 91% pass accuracy and he made seven successful tackles.
He also committed three fouls and had four shots. He almost equalized for Lazio in the 21s minute but his right footed shot from outside the box was saved. Rafael again saved another right-footed shot in the 47th minute. It was Rafael again to Verona’s rescue in the 67th minute as the Nigerian midfielder was foiled again with a great save from a shot from outside the box. It was Onazi’s 14th league appearance and he is yet to score.
Joel Obi made the bench for Parma as they got a 1-1 draw away to Sampdoria on Sunday. The Nigerian midfielder, on loan from Inter Milan, is yet to feature regularly.
Osariemen Ebagua (pictured left) scored his eighth league goal in Serie B to help Spezia to a 2-0 home win over Virtus Lanciano on Saturday. The Nigerian-born striker scored his side’s second goal in the 76th minute. His compatriot, Ezekiel Henty was not listed. Spezia ended the year in ninth place.
Super Eagles midfielder, Nnamdi Oduamadi helped Brescia overcome Varese 4-2. Oduamadi came off the bench in the 36th minute to replace Andrea Caracciolo. It was Oduamadi’s 12th league appearance and he is yet to score.
Anthony Ujah (pictured) scored twice to lead Cologne to a 3-2 win away over Leon Balogun’s Fortuna Dusseldorf on Sunday.
The Super Eagles striker scored in the 30th minute to open the scores and scored the winner on 75 minutes. It was Ujah’s 19th league appearance and he has scored seven goals. Cologne were thus confirmed as winter champions in 2. Bundesliga with 39 points.
Cercle Brugge got another precious three points on Saturday, at home to Genk. Michael Uchebo played the entire match and received a yellow card in the 84th minute – his second for the campaign. ---------------------- goal.com