It was a rather quiet day for Nigerian players in Europe’s second tier competition with winger Samuel Chukwueze the only goal scorer. However, there was good news for midfielder Wilfred Ndidi who returned to action for the first time since September, AOIFootball.com reports.
Samuel Chukwueze: The pacy winger started his 4th Europa League match of the campaign, marking it with his first goal of the competition as he scored the games only goal in the second half to help Villarreal to a 1-0 win away at Sivasspor.
The hosts were without talismanic striker Kayode Olanrewaju who had scored in all 4 of his previous games as they fell to 3rd on the log to leave their qualification hopes hanging.
The win ensured Villarreal will finish top of Group L regardless of whatever happens in their final group game next Thursday.
Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi: Both players started for already qualified Leicester City as they made a trip to Ukraine to take on Zorya Luhansk on match day 5 of the competition.
With 3 goals and 3 assists in 3 previous starts in the competition, Kelechi Iheanacho who was impressive on the night failed to add to his tally as they fell to a late goal from the boots of Allahyar Sayyadmanesh to record their first loss of the campaign.
The returning Ndidi was replaced before the hour mark whilst Iheanacho featured for the entire match duration to earn an impressive rating of 7.1.
Kevin Akpoguma: The 25-year-old was an unused sub for Hoffenheim as they consolidated their position as group leaders following their goalless draw away at FK Crvena Zvezda.
Abdullahi Shehu: The former Kano Pillars defender came on as a first-half substitute for the injured Andronikos Kakoullis as his Omonia Nicosia side earned their first win of the campaign following a 2-1 win at home to PAOK.
Abdullahi who featured for 69 minutes, had a game rating of 6.9, completed 76% of his passes, won 8 duels, and also made 3 key tackles.
Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo: Defender Leon Balogun started for in-form Rangers as they played host to Standard Liege whilst Joe Aribo was named on the bench with the host surviving an early setback to earn a 3-2 win.
The visitors had lead twice in the opening 40 minute but a stoppage-time penalty by James Tavenier ensured Rangers went into the break leaves at 2-2
Scott Arfield then fired the host into the lead for the first time after the hour mark with the duo of Aribo and Calvin Bassey later been introduced as the host took their impressive unbeaten run to an Amazon 23 games in all competitions.
Peter Olayinka: The forward featured for the entire match duration and grabbed an assist for the third goal as the Slavia Praha side made light work of visiting Hapoel following a 3-0 thumping in Prague.
Kelvin Arase: The 21-year-old midfielder had a night to forget at the Emirates Stadium as he struggled all through the 90 minutes in Rapid Wien 4-1 loss away at Arsenal.
Chidera Ejuke: The winger was introduced at half time but could do little to help his side snatch a point as they crashed out of the Europa League following a 1-0 home loss to Wolfsberger AC.