The chances of having a Nigerian player winning the Europa League this season is very much on course as the country still has at least three top players left in the Round of 16.
Topping the list is Manchester United’s Odion Ighalo who scored his maiden goal for the Red Devils in their 5-0 demolition of Club Brugge last night at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Ighalo as a “natural striker” after the on-loan Nigerian scored his first Manchester United goal in the Europa League drubbing of Club Brugge.
With Anthony Martial missing out as a result of injury, Ighalo was given his first start since his surprise loan move from Shanghai Shenhua last month.
The 30-year-old responded with a goal in the first half and led the line well as United eased to a 5-0 victory against 10-man opposition to go through to the last 16 6-1 on aggregate.
Another Nigerian also in the running is Victor Moses, who is currently on loan at Italian side, Inter Milan.
Moses featured as Inter Milan advanced into the Round of 16 of the Europa League game following a 4-1 aggregate win against Ludogorets Razgrad.
After a 2-0 first-leg win at Ludogorets Arena, Nigeria international played a key role to help the Black and Blues seal their progress in the tournament with a 2-1 victory on Thursday night.
Though Moses won the Europa League with Chelsea in the 2012-13 season, he would be more than glad to win it again with Antonio Conte at Inter.
An impressive 1-0 victory at Braga on Wednesday saw Joe Aribo and Rangers book their place in the last 16 of the Europa League, winning 4-2 on aggregate.
While Ighalo, Moses and Aribo are awaiting who they would face in the Round of 16, it is completely opposite for the likes of Bukayo Saka who kissed the Europa League bye after last night’s shock loss to Olympiacos.
Emmanuel Dennis, David Okereke and the likes have all been sent packing.
The 16 teams
UEFA ranking: 28
UEFA ranking: 39
UEFA ranking: 75
İstanbul Başakşehir (TUR)
UEFA ranking: 80
Internazionale Milano (ITA)
UEFA ranking: 49
UEFA ranking: 103
UEFA ranking: 24
Manchester United (ENG)
UEFA ranking: 10
UEFA ranking: 33
UEFA ranking: 94
UEFA ranking: 15
UEFA ranking: 11
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
UEFA ranking: 18
UEFA ranking: 41
UEFA ranking: 85
TBC: Salzburg (AUT) or Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)
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