UCL: Mixed fortunes for Okereke, Azubuike

UCL: Mixed fortunes for Okereke, Azubuike

It was mixed fortunes for Nigeria U23 stars that were in action in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) qualifying round on Tuesday.

Forward David Okereke and his teammate Bonaventure Dennis progressed with their Belgian side Club Brugge but U23 captain Okechukwu Azubuike lost with his Turkish side Istanbul Bašaksehir.

Brugge took a 1-0 lead to Ukraine where they faced Dynamo Kyiv. The Belgians dug deep to force their hosts to a 3-3 draw in a thriller with Okereke playing for 81 minutes while Dennis was replaced in the 52nd minute.

Brugge’s South African star Percy Tau was sent off late in the game for a second bookable offence. Brugge advanced 4-3 on aggregate.

In Greece, Azubuike was not that lucky as Olympiacos goalkeeper Jose Sa produced a man-of-the-match performance to inspire the Greeks to a 2-0 win over Bašaksehir, for a 3-0 aggregate win.

Sa who saved a penalty in the first leg last week once again pulled off countless saves on Tuesday night before his side score twice in the second half.

Azubuike, played the entire duration of the game and was booked in the first half for a professional foul. After the 0-3 aggregate loss, Bašaksehir will now drop to the Europa League.

Elsewhere, striker Babajide Akintola provided two assists as Norwegian side Rosenborg beat Maribor 3-1 for a 6-2 aggregate score. Akintola’s compatriot Sunday Adegbenro played for 78 minutes in the game.

At the Johan Cryuff Arena in Amsterdam, Ajax defeated another Greek side PAOK Salonika 3-2 on the night and 5-4 on aggregate.

Nigerians Chuba Akpom (full ninety minutes) and Anderson Esiti (82′) featured for the losing side.

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