Peter Olayinka is the toast of the Nigerian media after his impressive performance under the bright lights of the iconic San Siro Stadium in Italy on Tuesday, September 17.
Olayinka’s Slavia Prague were in town for the Champions League Group F clash against Italian giants Inter Milan who have had a 100% start to the season.
Pundits expected this to be a win for Antonio Conte’s men but Olayinka and his Slavia Prague teammates had other ideas.
Inter Milan started the better side but Olayinka showed very early in the game that he was going to be a problem for the Inter Milan defence.
The Nigerian started as part of a two-striker forward line that stretched Inter Milan’s defence. He played first from the left where he caused lots of problems with his pace and intensity.
He received a pass in the 19th minute and did well to get past Danilo D'Ambrosio before laying a pass for Nicolae Stanciu who was in a good shooting position on the edge of the penalty area but Stefano Sensi slid well to block the effort.
It was a sign of what was to come from the Nigerian who would harry the whole of the forward line all night.
His intense pressing almost paid off in the 29th minute when he pressed Inter Milan goalkeeper Samir Handanović after a backpass. As the Inter Milan goalkeeper attempted to play from the back, the Nigerian pressed and tackled him and almost stole the ball before the referee blew his whistle for a freekick.
His intense performance continued in the second half and in the 50th minute, he dribbled past two Inter Milan defenders, did a one-two with a teammate to create an opportunity for a shot on goal.
His persistence paid off in the 63rd minute when he started the move that led to his goal. He received the ball in a good position on the right and laid it out for Jaraslav Zeleny whose shot was spilled by Handanovic. Olayinka who was still lurking, pounced quickly on the loose ball to score.
It was a deserved goal from the 23-year-old who had been a livewire in the Inter Milan defence all night.
His night ended in the 85th minute when he was taken off for midfielder Lukas Provod and watched from the bench as his team failed to keep the lead and concede a goal in added time.
The Nigerian had two shots on target, attempted one dribble, 34 touches, managed one cross into the box, and made two key passes.
He attempted five duels although he didn't win anyone, made one interception and three fouls in the game.
It was Olayinka’s best game of the season so far and he showed what he can offer on his best day,
His goal on Tuesday was his third of the season in seven games and with his showing on display on Tuesday night, Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr will be watching closely.