The 2021/22 football season effectively kicked off in many European leagues over the weekend and players of Nigerian nationality were quick to impress for their various clubsides. In the Belgian Jupiler, goal machine Paul Onuachu took only 59 minutes to register his second goal in two league games when he blasted home Genk’s second goal in the 4-0 rout of Oud-Heverlee Leuven at the Lyminus Arena on Saturday. Countryman Cyril Dessers was an unused substitute in the game.
In England, Emmanuel Dennis Bonaventure began repaying his transfer fee when he got on the scoresheet on his debut for Watford against Aston Villa at Vicarage Road on Saturday. The former Club Brugge of Belgium player scored in the 10th minute following an assist by strike partner Ismaila Sarr and he returned the favour in the 42nd minute when he turned provider for Sarr to score and put the Hornets two goals up and, despite a fightback by Villa, they held on for a 3-2 win.
With the goal, Dennis becomes just the fourth Nigerian player to score on his Premier League debut after John Utaka (Portsmouth), Peter Odemwingie (West Brom) and Odion Ighalo(Watford).
Super Eagles teammates, William Troost-Ekong and Oghenero Etebo, also started for Watford and played all 90 minutes, although Etebo, also making his Watford debut was yellow-carded in the 86th minute after a tactical foul on Jacob Ramsey.
At Goodison Park, Alexander Iwobi was on hand to assist Abdoulaye Doucoure’s goal for Everton as the Toffees walloped Southampton 3-1 in manager Rafa Benitez’s first game in charge.
FA Cup and Community Shield winners Leicester City also began their campaign with a 1-0 win at home over Wolverhampton Wanderers courtesy of Jamie Vardy’s first half goal and Nigerian midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was formidable in the middle of the park for the Foxes. International teammate Kelechi Iheanacho, who scored the winner in the Community Shield last weekend, was a second half substitute for Harvey Barnes in the 72nd minute.
In Germany, Taiwo Awoniyi celebrated his permanent move to Union Berlin with a 7th minute opener against Bayer Leverkusen after an assist from former Germany international Max Kruse but the game ended 1-1 at the final whistle. Awoniyi sealed a permanent deal with the German side after impressing their last season on loan from parent club Liverpool.
Also in the Bundesliga, Nigerian forward Abiama Dickson, second-half substitute, went down 5-1 with Greuther Furth to VFB Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Benz Arena but he did enough to assist fellow substitute Jamie Leweling to score their consolatory goal on the dot of 90 minutes.
In Turkey, Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa nicked his first goal for new club Fatih Karagumurik as they recorded a 3-1 home win at the Vefa Stadium against visiting Gaziantep FK. Musa scored the third goal in the 90th minute before he was hauled off for Pehlivan.
In the Russian Premier League, Eagles winger Chidera Ejuke assisted the second goal for CSKA Moscow in their 3-1 away win at FC Rostov at the Rostov Arena. The Nigerian put Fedor Chalov clear on goal for a comprehensive victory for his team who now sit in 7th place in the league table.
On Friday in France, Terem Moffi vheld his nerves to score a 37th minute penalty for Lorient against AS Monaco. Last season, Moffi emerged a revelation after scoring 15 goals to earn a Super Eagles call-up.