Nigerian footballers experienced contrasting fortunes across European leagues as the season drew to a close, with varied outcomes in pivotal fixtures across Serie A, the Belgian Championship play-offs, and the Spanish Segunda B promotion play-off quarter-finals.
New Super Eagles invitee Simeon ‘Simy’ Nwankwo concluded Crotone’s Serie A campaign with a 2-1 loss against Napoli, marking their relegation to Serie B after finishing in 18th place with 35 points. Despite Nwankwo’s seven goals in 22 league appearances, Crotone fell short of securing safety.
In the Belgian Championship play-offs, Moses Simon’s impact proved decisive as Gent secured a UEFA Europa League berth with a crucial 1-0 away victory against Club Brugge, securing a fourth-place finish in the six-team Championship play-off decider. Meanwhile, Anderson Esiti featured for Gent, but Samuel Kalu was absent from the squad.
Elsewhere in the Belgian Championship play-offs, Uche Agbo played a pivotal role for Standard Liege in their goalless draw against Sporting Charleroi. Standard Liege clinched second place in the play-off, earning qualification for the UEFA Champions League qualifying stage.
Moving to Spain’s Segunda B promotion play-off quarter-finals, Super Eagles goalkeeper Francis Uzoho manned the goal for RCD Fabril in a 2-1 away defeat against Extremadura. The second leg is scheduled for Friday, May 25, with RCD Fabril looking to overturn the deficit.
In a separate Segunda B play-off encounter, young Nigerian midfielder Samuel Chukwueze shone for Villarreal B, securing a 2-0 away victory against Athletic Bilbao B. Chukwueze showcased his prowess, contributing a crucial goal as Villarreal B gained a substantial advantage in the first leg.
The Nigerian contingent’s performances across European leagues presented a mixed bag of outcomes, with relegation heartache for some while others secured coveted European spots and advanced stages in promotion playoffs.