The 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League (UCL) season comes alive today with eight Nigerian stars eligible for a Champions League debut appearance tonight.
They include Chelsea’s Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham, Paul Onuachu and Stephen Odey of Genk, Lille’s Victor Osimhen, Peter Olayinka of Slavia Prague, Ademola Lookman of RB Leipzig and the returning Tyronne Ebuehi of SL Benfica.
Tammy Abraham, 21, has been in red hot form this season for the blues scoring seven times in five games and sits top of the English Premier League goalscorers chart. He will be expected to lead the line for Chelsea tonight in his debut UCL game against Valencia at the Bridge.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 16, 2019
Similarly, Fikayo Tomori of Nigerian heritage will file out for Chelsea in defence tonight as he makes his first Champions League appearance for his boyhood club.
Tomori opened his Chelsea account on Saturday with a screamer against Wolves and will hope to keep up the fine form as Valencia come visiting tonight.
Chelsea are unbeaten in three meetings against Valencia at Stamford Bridge (W1, D2). The only win came enroute the UCL title triumph in Munich 2012.
Chelsea have lost only once (round of 16 match against PSG) in their last 12 CL matches at the Bridge (W6, D5).
Also in Group H tonight, Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen will don the no. 9 Jersey for Lille away to last season’s semifinalists Ajax of Amsterdam as the UCL takes centre stage.
Osimhen just like Abraham has been in top form and taken the French league by storm with a return of five league goals in as many games as joint top scorer in France.
The Nigerian international will look to make his mark as he steps on to the pitch tonight for the first time in Europe’s top tier competition tonight.
This will be the first meeting between both sides in a UEFA competition. However, while Ajax got to the semifinal last season, this will be Lille’s first UCL match in the group stage since 2012.
Last five games: Ajax (W4, D1), Lille (W3, L2).
Tonight’s Champions League Group E fixtures could also see two Nigerian internationals Paul Onuachu and Stephen Odey of Genk make their UCL debut when they travel to Austria to take on Redbull Salzburg.
Onuachu opened his account for the season last weekend in his second game while Odey is yet to score in two games. They will both look to make it count should they be given the nod to make their UCL debut.
This will be the first UEFA meeting between both teams.
Salzburg are unbeaten in 18 UEFA home games.
Genk have never won a group stage game (D7, L5).
Early kickoff in Group F, will see another Nigerian eligible for the Super Eagles, Peter Olayinka come up against Inter Milan in Italy as he also makes his Champions League debut for Slavia Prague.
While in Group H, Ademola Lookman’s RB Leipzig will also be up against the returning Tyronne Ebuehi’s Benfica. Should any of them make an appearance, it would also be their first in Europe’s top flight competition.