The first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-finals have been played and featured heavy representation from Nigerian players. There was at least one player of Nigerian descent in each of the four games yesterday.
Nigerians among the top performers in the UEFA Europa Conference League
Nigerian players continue to thrive in the inaugural season of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Yira Sor and Peter Olayinka were both on the scoresheet for Sparta Prague in a 3-3 draw against Cyril Dessers’ Feyenoord.
Victor Boniface came off the bench for Bodo Glimt in the 2-1 win over Roma who were led by English-Nigerian striker, Tammy Abraham.
Kelechi Iheanacho started for Leicester City but was replaced by fellow Super Eagle Ademola Lookman in a goalless draw against Noni Madueke’s PSV.
Chuba Akpom started for PAOK in the 2-1 loss away at Marseille, rounding up the Nigerian involvement in UEFA’s third-grade competition.
The top performers
The current UEFA Europa Conference League top scorer is Tammy Abraham, the English international with Nigerian roots has scored seven goals for Roma in the competition this season.
Followed closely by Yira Sor who has been on fire in this competition for Slavia Prague with six goals and three assists so far.
No player has more goal involvements in the Conference League than the impressive Sor who has remarkably achieved all of this in just nine games.
The player with the next-highest Conference League goal involvements is Cyriel Dessers who has scored six goals and provided two assists for Feyenoord.
Dessers has played nine games in the competition but only three of those have been from the start which makes his numbers far more impressive.
Only the aforementioned three players have scored more than Peter Olayinka in this competition, the Super Eagles striker has four goals and an assist in nine games for Slavia Prague.
In a nutshell, one half-Nigerian and three full Nigerians (two of which have played for the Super Eagles) currently sit among the top four goalscorers in the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Yira Sor’s three assists is also the second-highest assists total in the competition.
Honourable mentions also go out to Stephen Odey who scored three goals for Randers before they got knocked out.
And also the likes of Taiwo Awoniyi of Union Berlin, Chuba Akpom of PAOK, Ezequiel Henty of Slovan Bratislava all scored twice each in the competition.
Clearly, the UEFA Europa Conference League is a conducive environment for Nigerian players, long may it continue.