Simy Nwankwo delivered the perfect riposte to being left out of the Super Eagles squad to face Sierra Leone next month as he grabbed his third league goal of the season in Crotone’s loss to Atalanta in Serie A.
The lanky 28-year-old who has been capped four times for Nigeria last played for the national team in the 2-1 loss to Argentina at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and he was overlooked once again by Gernot Rohr for the doubleheader Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Leone Stars.
Simy has however taken the snub in his stride and was back among the goals with his third in six league games this season.
The Nigerian international halved the deficit for hosts Crotone in the second half after Luis Muriel’s first half brace gave Gian Piero Gasperini’s side a two goal lead heading into the interval.
Crotone sought an equaliser but eventually ran out of time to grab what would have been just their second point of the season as they remain rooted to the bottom of the Italian topflight with a single point after six games.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles midfielder Kelechi Nwakali was a given a rare start by Huesca in La Liga but couldn’t prevent his winless team from being overrun by Real Madrid at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium.
Both Nwakali’s league appearances in La Liga before Saturday had been from the bench but but manager, Francisco Javier Rodríguez Vílchez named him to the starting eleven in the 4-1 loss to the defending champions.
Nwakali, 22, showed flashes of quality in the 57 minutes he spent on the pitch, and posted impressive statistics with a pass completion rate of 91%.
But his contributions paled in comparison to the superior firepower of Zinedine Zidane’s side who shrugged off their tepid Champions League in midweek with a 4-1 victory and consolidated on their win in El Clasico last weekend.
Former Chelsea man Eden Hazard put Madrid ahead just before half time with his first goal for the club in nearly 400 days on his first league appearance of the season.
Karim Benzema showed his uncomplimentary comments about teammate Vinicius Junior were firmly in the past as he doubled the home side’s lead on the stroke of half-time before teeing up Federico Valverde to make it three, nine minutes after the break.
Huesca pulled one back through David Ferreiro fifteen from time, but Benzema completed his brace in added time to seal the win for the champions.