It was a night of contrasting fortunes for the Super Eagles duo of John Obi Mikel and Ogenyi Onazi as both players were handed starter’s shirt by Chelsea and Lazio respectively.
For Chelsea’s Mikel Obi, it was a disappointing night as the Blues slumped to a lone gal defeat away to Romanian side, Steau Bucharest.
Raul Rusescu’s first-half penalty gave Bucharest a narrow advantage in their Europa League last-16 tie against Chelsea.
Rusescu hit the target from the penalty spot to register his 23rd goal of the campaign after he was fouled by left-back Ryan Bertrand.
Chelsea, showing five changes to the side who beat West Brom in the Premier League last weekend, did not parade the likes of Nigeria’s Victor Moses and Senegalese striker Demba Ba who is cup-tied.
The Blues created few chances in a laboured performance and would need better inspiration ahead of Sundays FA Cup duel against Manchester United.
Juan Mata and Marko Marin went close late on for Rafa Benitez’s side but they unlucky and now have to turn the tables in the 2nd leg at the Stamford Bridge.
For Onazi it was a sweet tale of victory as he scored one of the goals that saw his team Lazio record a commendable 2-0 victory away from home.
The goal which was a stunner off a solo effort from the 20-year old midfielder comes hours of being invited to the national team for the World Cup qualifiers against Kenya.
Also, Super Eagles forward, Shola Ameobi, was on parade to help his side hold Russia money bags, FC Anzi Makhachkala, to a 0-0 score line on Thursday in the Europa League round of 16 first leg fixture in Russia.
Ameobi, whose spot kick in the last round of the competition secured Thursday’s fixtures against the Russian side, came on as a second half substitute to replace returning Ben Arfa in the 64th minute.