The 2019/2020 UEFA champions league began with thirty-two clubs from Europe’s top 5 league. At the moment we are left with sixteen teams as they battle it out in the knockout stage.
Eight Nigerians played their part in the group stage but none could advance with their club to the next round. While some will settle for the Europa League, others it’s the end of the road.
Dennis Bonaventure Emmanuel and David Okereke failed to fire Club Brugge into the knockout phase and will now push for European glory in the Europa League.
Bonaventure played in all six group games and scored two goals. Both goals will be unforgettable as he got them against the Spanish giant, Real Madrid.
Bonaventure also bagged assist against Los Blancos on matchday 6, but he could not prevent his team loosing 3-1. Fellow Nigerian, David Okereke, played four matches and failed to score in any of the matches
Dinamo Zagreb could only give striker Iyayi Atiemwen seven minutes of action in the entire group stage. He came on as a 73rd-minute substitute against Manchester City on matchday 2 and didn’t impress enough to earn another bite at the cherry. He will not get a second chance this season as his team finished bottom of Group C.
The Russian side, Lokomotiv Moscow had a miserable Champions League outing. The team lost five of their six games and only spared their blushes with a matchday 1 victory away at Bayer Leverkusen.
Brian Idowu played 238 minutes, over four matches, on the pitch but couldn’t stop his club from conceding 11 goals.
Peter Olayinka announced himself to Grenot Rohr and Nigerians on matchday 1 with a 63rd-minute strike against Inter Milan. That would be his last goal in the competition for Sparta Praha.
Olayinka was substituted in 85th minute in that 1-1 draw against Inter and would go on to play every single minute of the next five matches. His presence did nothing to stop Sparta from losing four and drawing one of those matches, to finish bottom of the group. To be fair, it was arguably the toughest group of the competition with Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan.
Stephen Odey and Paul Onuachu suffered the same fate with Genk, failing to win a single match and propping the table in Group E.