Europa League: Emmanuel Dennis Upstages Odion Ighalo As Brugges Hold United

Emmanuel Dennis emerged the star in the battle of Nigerians in the Europa League as Club Brugges held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw in their round of 32 first-leg clash at Jan Breydel Stadion on Thursday.

With main attraction Odion Ighalo starting his second successive game on the bench for United, it was Dennis, reportedly a United target, who stole the limelight with a beautiful lob to put the Belgian Jupiler League side ahead in the 15th minute.

The Nigerian who announced himself to European and global audiences with a barnstorming performance against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the group stage of the Champions League earlier in the season was a thorn in the side of United’s three-man defence and was unlucky not to add to his tally.

United drew level in the 36th minute through Anthony Martial’s second goal in as many games to send both sides level into the break.

Just like in his debut against Chelsea on Monday, Ighalo was introduced for United’s goalscorer Martial in the 67th minute but struggled to impose himself on the game as both sides settled for a draw.

The two sides will meet again at Old Trafford on 27 February.

Club Brugges’ other Nigerian striker David Okereke was an unused sub in the encounter.

Elsewhere, Victor Moses started for Inter Milan as the Italian side put the loss against Lazio in Serie A behind them with a 2-0 win at Ludogorets Razgrad.

The ex Nigerian international lasted for 72 minutes before being subbed off moments after Christian Eriksen gave Antonio Conte’s side the lead with his first goal for the club.

Former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku made it 2-0 from the penalty spot to give the Italians a healthy lead ahead of the second-leg at the San Siro.

In Portugal, former U23 national team captain Azubuike Okechukwu was an unused sub as his Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir were beaten 3-1 by Sporting Lisbon.