Nigerians featured prominently in the first leg quarter-finals of the UEFA league played on Thursday, returning with a bag of a mixed bag of fortunes.
Super Eagles winger Samuel Chukwueze, saw 69 minutes of action as Villareal defeated Iyayi Atiemwen’s Dynamo Zagreb by 1-0 at the Stadion Maksimir.
Chukwueze led his team attack from the left-wing as part of a three-man attack deployed by coach Unai Emery. The formation paid off in the 44th minute when Gerrard Moreno converted from the penalty spot after Kevin Theophile-Catherine handled the ball in the box.
It was enough to secure another win for Villareal and gives them an advantage going into the second.
Iyayi led Zagreb’s attack but his effort wasn’t enough for the yellow submarines. He had a flick on goal and directed three shots at goal before he was subbed off in the 65 minutes.
Both sides will meet again in the second leg at the Estadio de la Ceramica on April 15, the winner over the two legs will proceed into the semi-final.
In another game on Thursday night, Peter Olayinka was on the pitch for 85 minutes for Slavia Praha against Arsenal at the Emirates.
Arsenal shockingly threw a lead they secured through Nicolas Pepe at the 86th minutes after hard labour as they conceded from a corner kick at the death.
Olayinka started the match for Slavia, with the Nigerian forward put in his team’s first attempt on goal in the 36th minutes but ironically that’s was his last shot on target but he was hurled off in the 85th.
He watched the last minutes drama of goals as he failed to add to his 3 Europa goals this season.
Both sides will face each other in the return leg in two weeks.