(l-r) Chuba Akpom of PAOK FC, Hakim Ziyech of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League third round qualifying first leg match between PAOK FC and Ajax Amsterdam at Toumba stadium on August 06, 2019 in Thessaloniki, Greece(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)



It was a relatively fair night for Nigerian players in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers with Greek champions PAOK testing their might against last season’s semifinalists whilst Club Brugge will need to work more in the second leg after claiming a slim 1-0 victory over Kyiv, reports.


At the Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki, Greece, Greek giants PAOK welcomed Ajax in what was the most explosive tie of the round with the host handing new signing Anderson Esiti his first competitive debut with Eagles hopeful Chuba Akpom leading the line alongside captain Dimitris Pelkas.


But it was the Dutch champions who drew first blood courtesy of Moroccan midfielder Hakim Ziyech in the 10th minute before Akpom equalized two minutes after the half-hour mark to put his side back in the tie.


PAOK then took the lead seven minutes after Alpom’s equalizer but they were however pecked back buy veteran forward, Klass Jan Huntelaar who equalized in the second half to set up a mouth-watering second leg in Holland.


It was however positive mews at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges, Belgium as the duo of Emmanuel Dennis and David Okereke helped Club Brugge to a slim 1-0 victory over Dynamo Kyiv in the first leg of their 3rd round qualification tie.


Following a brilliant start to the season both Nigerians were given the nod to lead the attack line for the host as they were joined by South Africa Percy Tau in an all African front three.


After plenty of sustained pressure, the host had their nose in front from the penalty spot when captain Hane Vanaken converted from 12 yards to put Brugge ahead much to the displeasure of Dennis who wanted to take the spot-kick.


That lone strike was however enough for the host as they head into next Tuesday’s return leg hoping to avoid defeat in Ukraine as they bid to reach the group stages of Europe’s premier club competition.