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Matchday one of the UEFA Europa League produced plenty of ups and downs for Nigerian players with forward Kelechi Iheanacho stealing the show with a goal and two assists, AOIFootball.com reports.

 

It was however a disappointing night for Africa’s most expensive player, Victor Osimhen who had his first loss as a Napoli player at home to AZ Alkmaar.

 

Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo: Balogun was on from start to finish whilst Aribo who continues his return from injury came off the bench for Rangers as they began their campaign with a 2-0 win away at Standard Liége.

 

Goals in either half from James Tavernier from the spot and another from Kemar Roofe sealed all three points for Steven Gerrard side who stretched their unbeaten run to an incredible 14 games in all competitions.

 

Anderson Esiti and Shehu Abdullahi: midfielder Anderson Esiti saw 45 minutes of action for PAOK before he was withdrawn whilst Abdulahi Shehu was on the bench for the entire match duration for Omonia Nicosia as both sides played out a 1-1 draw.

 

Eric Bauthéac put the visitors ahead on 16th minute before the host levelled just before the hour mark with both teams settling for a share of the point.

 

Victor Osimhen: The Eagles forward featured for 66 minutes before he was replaced as his Napoli side fell to a shock 1-0 loss at home to AZ Alkmaar.

 

Despite the loss, the Nigerian striker impressed on a personal level with a rating of 7.2% completing 91% of his passes, creating one big chance, and also making 1 key interception.

 

Chidera Ejuke: The Eagles winger came off the bench at half time but couldn’t inspire his CSKA Moscow side to a win as they drew 1-1 away at Austria side Wolfsberger AC.

 

Kelechi Iheanacho: The former Manchester City striker produced a man of the match performance for EPL side Leicester City as they swept aside Zorya 3-0 at the King Power Stadium.

 

The 24-year-old set up James Maddison for the first goal on 29 minutes before replicating the same feat just before half time for Harvey Barnes as the hosts went into the break with a 2-0 lead.

 

The Nigerian then got his goal seven minutes after the hour mark when he received a gift from the Zorya defense before keeping his cool to slot home for a convincing 3-0 win.

 

Kevin Akpoguma: He was a wall in the defence of German side TSG Hoffenheim as they began their campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win over FK Crvena Zvezda.

 

Second-half strikes from Christoph Baumgartner and Munas Dabbur was all the host needed to seal all 3 points and take charge of group L.

 

Samuel Chukweze and Kayode Olanrewaju: Both players started for their respective clubs in what was an eight goals thriller as Villarreal got the better of Sivasspor 5-3 in what was an entertaining game for the neutrals.

 

Takefuso Kubo and Carlos Bacca gave the hosts a 2-0 lead before Kayode Olanrewaju reduced the deficit in the 33rd minute to make it 2-1.

 

Carlos Bacca then failed to increase his side’s tally as he missed from the spot before Mustapha Yatabare equalised just before half time to ensure both teams went into the break level.

 

Juan Foyth then restored Villarreal’s lead in the second period but the visitors fought back again this time via the boot of Max Gradel to make it 3-3.

 

Substitutes Paco Alcacer however settled the match as he scored twice from off the bench to seal a 5-3 win for the hosts who continued their impressive start to the new season.

 

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