Nigerian trio of Victor Osimhen, Zaidu Sanusi and Raphael Onyedika have all booked their passage into the UEFA Champions League knockout stages with their various teams with one game left in the group stage. The Super Eagles stars played various roles for their teams in the group stage of the competition.
Italian outfit Napoli is arguably the most in-form side in Europe and spearheading their attack is Victor Osimhen. The lanky striker featured in his side’s Champions League opener against Liverpool and showed his quality by winning a penalty in the first half, which he missed. The striker pulled up injured before the end of the first half and went on to miss the side’s games. He returned as they defeated Ajax, scoring the last goal after coming off the bench in a 4-2 win. Napoli secured passage to the Round of 16 as the group winners in a group that contains Liverpool, Ajax and Rangers. They have won all five of their games so far in the group.
In Group B, FC Porto and Club Brugge braved the odds to secure qualification from the group, knocking out Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen, two supposedly bigger sides. Two Super Eagles stars, Zaidu Sanusi and Raphael Onyedika played important roles for their teams in the group.
Onyedika joined Club Brugge from FC Midtjylland in the summer and has been a revelation in midfield for the Belgian side. The 21-year-old started all of his team’s matches as they sealed qualification with two games to spare. Onyedika was particularly excellent in their win over Atletico Madrid on Matchday Three. The youngster has helped the club to reach the knockout stage for the first time in its history.
At Porto, Zaidu Sanusi is a bit of a veteran and has recently signed a contract extension. The left-back has featured consistently for the club for the past two seasons, including in the Champions League. He helped his side reach the Champions League last 16 with a 4-0 demolition of Club Brugge after he started the game. He also scored an important goal off the bench in their win over Bayer Leverkusen.
For the first time in a long time, three different teams containing Super Eagles stars will feature in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League.