Nigerian Footballers affected by UEFA’s ban on Russian Clubs

Nigerian players have performed admirably for their teams this season, but some will not be rewarded with victory.

Nigerian players have performed admirably for their teams this season, but some will not be rewarded with victory.

UEFA, the governing body of European football, has prolonged Russia’s exclusion from continental events until next season as part of sanctions imposed by the European Union to punish Russia for its ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

Early this year, the Russian army commanded by Putin invaded Ukraine, sparking a major conflict between the two countries. Russia has been the catalyst, destabilizing Kharkiv, Kyiv, and Mariupol.

In Ukraine, the war has resulted in the indefinite suspension of activities, including football. While league competition continues in Russia, no football has been played since December of last year.

UEFA took action against Russia earlier this season, disqualifying Moses’ Spartak Moscow from the Europa League round of 16 this season. FIFA also barred the national squad from competing in any of its qualifying.

However, ahead of next season, the European football regulatory body has imposed new penalties on Russian teams. Next season, no Russian club will be eligible to compete in any continental competition.

Chidera Ejuke of CSKA Moscow

The news is extremely concerning for Nigerian players in the league, particularly Victor Moses and Chidera Ejuke.

Spartak Moscow is now in the Russian Cup semifinals, and Victor Moses’ team would have qualified for the Europa League qualifications if they had won.

Ejuke, who has had a fantastic season with CSKA Moscow, would also be dissatisfied, since his team is now in fourth place and on the verge of qualifying for the Europa Conference League.

Unfortunately, due to the latest UEFA regulation, they will have to say goodbye to their ambitions to play on the continent next season.

They might, however, quit their clubs because both players’ contracts are up in two years and they could force their employers to sell them.

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“Maybe I’m not a bad striker after all” – Cyriel Dessers elated to score brace against Marseille

It’s worthy to note that the Nigerian was left out of the AFCON 2021 squad despite his red hot form during that period. 

After scoring a brace in Feyenoord Rotterdam’s 3-2 home win against Marseille in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final showdown on Thursday night, Cyriel Dessers can’t contain his joy.

On 18 minutes, Dessers put the home team ahead with a low shot past Steve Mandanda.

Following that, the Nigerian international took advantage of a poor back pass from Caleta-Car to score the game-winning goal just seconds after the interval.

“Maybe I’m not such a bad striker after all, hey”, Dessers told Sporza after the game.

“Ah, it’s a nice side effect, that’s all.”

“It went in all directions, but it was fantastic to play this match. As a child you dream of being able to play in full stadiums. The feeling of scoring in such matches is almost indescribable. And I do twice tonight, in an important semi-final against Olympique Marseille .”

Cyriel Kolawole Dessers celebrating with his team mates

“We have stayed true to our style and we have not collapsed, we have been doing it like that all season. We know that there is a high risk factor behind that, but it also pays off.

“We have been able to force Marseille to make mistakes. were not great, but you feel that that flash can come to them at any time,” concludes Dessers.

It’s worthy to note that the Nigerian was left out of the AFCON 2021 squad despite his red hot form during that period. 

The 27-year-old, who is on loan from Belgian Pro League club Club Brugge, is now the competition’s leading scorer with ten goals.

The Nigerian international has also been nominated for the Player of the Week award in the Europa Conference League.

Dessers will compete for the individual trophy against teammate Luis Sinisterra, Leicester City’s Ademola Lookman, and AS Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini.

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Ademola Lookman goal vs AS Roma

Ademola Lookman scores the equalizer in Leicester City’s UEFA Europa Conference League semifinal first leg against AS Roma.

Ademola Lookman goal vs AS Roma

Ademola Lookman scores the equalizer in Leicester City’s UEFA Europa Conference League semifinal first leg against AS Roma.

Watch the goal below.

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Cyriel Dessers goals vs Marseille

Cyriel Dessers scores a well-taken brace in Feyenoord’s 3-2 UEFA Europa Conference League semifinal victory over Marseille.

Cyriel Dessers goals vs Marseille

Cyriel Dessers scores a well-taken brace in Feyenoord’s 3-2 UEFA Europa Conference League victory over Marseille.

Watch the goals below.

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Cyriel Dessers bags brace in Feyenoord’s UEFA Europa Conference League win

Dessers have now scored 10 goals, assisted 2 in 11 Europa Conference League games.

Cyriel Dessers scored two goals to help Feyenoord beat Olympique Marseille in the first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League Semis.

The Super Eagles striker was the star player in the intriguing encounter as he helped his side put a foot in the final of the UEFA Europa Conference League.

Ahead of the game, Dessers had promised to continue his red hot form in front of goal and he did become a man of his word.

The home team broke the deadlock through Cyriel Dessers in the 18th minute of the game.

Luis Sinisterra who had provided the opener for the Nigerian turned scorer as he doubled the lead just two minutes after. 

ROTTERDAM – (lr), Boubacar Kamara of Olympique de Marseille, Cyriel Dessers of Feyenoord, Olympique de Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda during the UEFA Conference League semifinal match between Feyenoord and Olympique Marseille at Feyenoord Stadion de Kuip on April 28, 2022 in Rotterdam, Netherlands

The visitors drew one back through Bamba Dieng in the 28th minute. However the Rotterdam side went on to concede an equaliser five minutes into halftime. 

Cyriel Dessers completed his brace with a fine finish in the 46th minute of the game. His 46th minute strike proved to be the winner for Feyenoord. 

Dessers have now scored 10 goals, assisted 2 in 11 Europa Conference League games.

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Cyriel Dessers talks tough ahead of Conference League semifinal

This season, the Super Eagles striker has found the back of the net on eight occasions in the Europa Conference League

Cyriel Dessers talks tough ahead of UEFA Europa Conference League semifinal

This season, the Super Eagles striker has found the back of the net on eight occasions in the Europa Conference League and has vowed to continue his red hot form when his side takes on Marseille. 

Cyriel Dessers has proclaimed that he’s ready to put up a strong showing when his team hosts the French giants in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semifinal.

Both sides have a very good pedigree on the continent and this encounter is set to be the toughest test yet for any of them in the competition. 

Feyenoord’s Nigerian forward Cyriel Dessers reacts during the quarter-final second leg Europa Conference League football match Slavia Prague v Feyenoord Rotterdam in Prague, on April 14, 2022. 

Feyenoord will need their Conference League leading scorer Dessers to be at his best if they are to get anything out of the match.

Dessers’ first appearance in the semifinals of a European club championship would be against Marseille, and the Nigerian star is ready to give it his all.

“De Kuip (Feyenoord’s home stadium) is special anyway, but the European evenings have some extras,” Dessers told the Feyenoord website.

“I expect it to be one of the best matches of my career. This is what you dream of if you want to become a footballer as a child.”

A positive result across both legs for Feyenoord would ensure their first European final in twenty years.

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Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman help Leicester City advance to Conference League semifinals

Leicester City advanced to the semifinals of the UEFA Europa Conference League with a 2-1 win over Dutch giants, PSV.

Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman help Leicester City advance to Conference League semifinals

Leicester City advanced to the semifinals of the UEFA Europa Conference League with a 2-1 win over Dutch giants, PSV.

Kelechi Iheanacho started, Ademola Lookman and young goalkeeper Chituru Odunze were named to the substitutes bench, and PSV’s England U21 international of Nigerian heritage Nonso Madueke was unable to play owing to physical difficulties.

Eran Zahavi of Israel scored PSV’s fourth goal in the UEFA Conference League this season in the 27th minute.

In the 46th minute, Ademola Lookman came off the bench to replace Harvey Barnes, and in the 65th minute, Iheanacho got replaced by Ayoze Perez.

With 13 minutes left on the clock, Maddison equalized for the Foxes with a stunning finish in the six yard area after a feed from Ayoze Perez.

After Yvon Mvogo mishandled Patson Daka’s low attempt, Lookman provided a key pass for Ricardo Pereira to score Leicester’s second goal in the 88th minute.

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Cyriel Dessers scores twice to send Feyenoord to the UECL semifinals

Cyriel Dessers scored twice for Feyenoord to send them into the UEFA Europa Conference League semifinals. Watch the goals

Cyriel Dessers goals vs Slavia Prague

Cyriel Dessers scored twice for Feyenoord to send them into the UEFA Europa Conference League semifinals, with a 1-3 second leg victory over Slavia Prague. Feyenoord won the tie 4-6 on aggregate.

It is the 27-year old striker’s fifteenth goal in all competitions this season, and his eighth in this season’s Conference League.

Watch the goals below

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Nigerians in UEFA club competitions quarter final preview

Nigeria has at least one representative taking part in the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League quarterfinals.

Nigerians in UEFA club competitions quarter final preview

On Friday in Nyon, Switzerland, the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League were drawn. 

Some teams were given considerably easier opponents, others would have to perform an upset to reach the semi-finals of Europe’s top football events.

Nigeria still has at least one representative in each of the competitions.

UEFA Champions League

Nigeria only has one player remaining in this season’s UEFA Champions League: Villarreal attacker, Samuel Chukwueze.

In a match that promises to be difficult for the current Europa League champions, the Super Eagles star will meet former champions Bayern Munich.

Chukwueze and his teammates would have to dig deep against the German giants, who boast one of Europe’s most lethal attacks. They would, however be motivated by their 4-1 aggregate triumph over Juventus in the Round of 16.

Embed from Getty Images

They host Bayern Munich in the first leg on April 6, then travel to the Allianz Arena for the second leg six days later.

UEFA Europa League

Three Super Eagles players are competing in the Europa League, although they all play for the same club: Rangers. The Gers will face Portuguese side, SC Braga, in this season’s quarterfinals.

In the previous round, Rangers defeated Red Star Belgrade, while Braga defeated Monaco.

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Rangers will travel to Portugal for the first leg on April 7th, before hosting Braga at Ibrox a week later.

UEFA Europa Conference League

Nigeria is well-represented in the Europa Conference League, Europe’s third tier of continental club football. 

Feyenoord’s Cyriel Dessers will go head-to-head with Slavia Prague’s Peter Olayinka and Yira Sor. Dessers has scored six goals and provided one assist in eight appearances for Feyenoord in the Conference League this season.

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21-year old Yira Sor has five goals and two assists in 4 games, while Super Eagles forward, Peter Olayinka has three goals in eight games, with both players scoring in both legs of their Round of 16 victory over LASK.

Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Ademola Lookman are expected to turn up for Leicester City when take on PSV Eindhoven in the quarterfinals. 

The Foxes have had a rollercoaster season so far, but a win against the Dutch giants would be a great boost to their confidence.

Leicester will host PSV in the opening leg on April 7th, before traveling to the Netherlands for the second game a week later.

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Victor Boniface’s Bodo Glimt have been paired with AS Roma in the quarter-finals after eliminating AZ Alkmaar with an aggregate score of 4-3.

In two tries, Jose Mourinho’s team was unable to defeat Bodo Glimt. In reality, they hammered Roma 6-1 in the first leg of their group stage match before forcing a 2-2 draw in Rome.

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Eagles Abroad: Matchday Report (March 17, 2022)

Dessers, Olayinka and Sor were all on target in the UECL. Iwobi scores in Everton’s Premier League victory over Newcastle. Read the report.

Eagles Abroad: Matchday Report (March 13, 2022)

Nigerian footballers in the diaspora did not disappoint on Thursday evening.

Dessers, Olayinka and Sor were all on target in the UEFA Europa Conference League. Alex Iwobi scored his second English Premier League goal of the season in Everton’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle.

Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal)

Super Eagles left back, Zaidu Sanusi was in action for FC Porto in their 1-1 UEFA Europa League draw against French Ligue 1 side, Lyon.

The Portuguese league leaders unfortunately lost the tie 2-1 on aggregate, and bow out of this year’s competition.

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Ademola Lookman, Kelechi Iheanacho & Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England)

Super Eagles newboy, Ademola Lookman came off the bench to provide the assist for Wesley Fofana’s goal, from a corner.

Kelechi Iheanacho played all 90 mins and Wilfred Ndidi hobbled off with a knee ligament injury in the 60th minute of Leicester City’s 2-1 UEFA Europa Conference League defeat against Rennes.

The English Premier League side won the tie 2-3 on aggregate and advance to the quarterfinals of the competition’s inaguaral season.

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Victor Bonfiace (FK Bodo/Glimt, Norway)

21-year old striker, Victor Boniface played the entirety of extra time as FK Bodo/Glimt earned a hard-fought 2-2 UEFA Europa Conference League draw at AZ Alkmaar.

The Norwegian champions won the tie 4-3 on aggregate and advance to the quarterfinals of this season’s competition.

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Leon Balogun, Calvin Bassey & Joe Aribo (Rangers FC, Scotland)

The Super Eagles trio of Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey were all in action for Rangers during their 2-1 defeat against Red Star Belgrade.

Leon Balogun played all 90 mins, making one tackle and seven clearances. Calvin Bassey also played the entire duration of the game at left back, with the 22-year old making one tackle and completing an interception. Joe Aribo played 68 mins.

The Scottish champions won the tie 2-4 on aggregate however, and secured their place in the quarterfinals of this season’s UEFA Europa League.

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Cyriel Dessers (Feyenoord, The Netherlands)

Cyriel Dessers scored his fourth goal in four consecutive games to help the Dutch Eredivisie side to a 3-1 UEFA Europa Conference League Round of 16 second leg victory over FK Partizan Belgrade.

They won the tie 8-3 on aggregate, advancing comfortably to the quarterfinals.

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Peter Olayinka & Yira Sor (SK Slavia Prague, Czech Republic)

Super Eagles forward, Peter Olayinka captained the Czech champions in their UEFA Europa Conference League Round of 16 second leg defeat vs LASK. The 26-year old opened the scoring on the night with an easy finish from inside the penalty area.

21-year old striker, Yira Sor was also in action. He scored one goal and assisted another as 9-man Slavia Prague advanced with a 5-7 aggregate victory.

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Alex Iwobi (Everton, England)

Big 17, Alex Iwobi scored a 99th minute winner to help Everton clinch a hard-fought 1-0 English Premier League victory over the Magpies.

The 25-year old played a beautiful one-two with Dominic Calver-Lewin in the Toffees’ attack, before finishing calmly past Martin Dubravka in the Newcastle goal.

It is only Iwobi’s second league goal of the season, and it comes at a crucial time for Everton. This win helps them go three points clear of Watford in the relegation zone with two games in hand.

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What did you think of today’s matches ? Who was your best performer ?
Leave a comment or reaction below.

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