Europa League: Ejuke, Iheanacho, Chukwueze, Olarenwaju Enjoy Mixed Fortunes

Samuel Chukwueze was on for the entirety of the encounter and bagged an assist as Villarreal bounded to the top of Group I with victory over Qarabag at the Tofiq Bakhramov Stadium on Thursday.

But compatriot Kayode Olarenwaju suffered disappointment as his goal could not prevent his Turkish club Sivasspor from slumping to defeat at home to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the group’s other game.

Spanish visitors Villarreal had levelled through Yeremi Pino in the 80th minute, just two minutes after Owusu Kwabena put the home side in front.

Chukwueze who had been impressive all evening then found Paco Alcacer with a beautifully threaded ball for the Spanish international to restore the visitors’ lead with five minutes left on the clock.

Alcacer wasn’t done just yet though as he sealed the win from the spot in added time.

The win means Unai Emery’s side top the group on goals difference but stay level on six points with Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv who fought back to pick up an excellent win at Sivasspor.

Olarenwaju opened scoring for Sivasspor in the 55th minute with his second goal in the competition but the home side were handed a hurdle after Samba Camara conceded a penalty and also saw red in the 67th minute.

Dan Biton scored from the spot to put Maccabi Tel Aviv level and the visitors took full advantage of their extra man to ramp up the pressure which duly paid off as Dor Peretz found a 74th minute winner.

Elsewhere, Chidera Ejuke lasted 75 minutes as CSKA Moscow were held to a barren draw by Dinamo Zagreb in Group K.

CSKA had the bulk of possession and fashioned the better chances but found the visitors nigh on impregnable.

The draw means CSKA are yet to record a win in this season’s competition and the Russians who drew their opener against Wolfsberger are second in the group on two points.

Wolfsberger, meanwhile, are top of Group K with four points after they scored a remarkable 4-1 victory at Feyeenoord in the group’s other game.

In Group G, Kelechi Iheanacho replaced goalscorer Jamie Vardy in the 70th minute as Leicester City won 2-1 at AEK Athens.

Iheanacho had set a record as the first Nigerian to assist two goals and score a goal in the same match in the opener against Zirya Luhansk but there wasn’t to be more of the same for the Nigerian in his short time on the pitch.

Vardy scored the opener for Leicester from the spot in the 18th minute and Hamza Choudhury doubled the Foxes’ lead six minutes before the break.

Maumer Tankovic halved the deficit for the hosts just after half time but Leicester held on for the win that level on six points at the top of the group with Braga who also won by the same scoreline away at Zorya Luhansk.

Chukwueze, Iheanacho and Ejuke have all been called up by Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr for next month’s 2021 AFCON qualifiers doubleheader against Sierra Leone.