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Premier League clubs Chelsea and Leicester City monitored the Africa Cup of Nations Group B clash between Nigeria and Burundi at the Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria on Saturday evening.
Of the 14 Super Eagles stars in action, five players Ola Aina, Kenneth Omeruo, John Obi Mikel, Wilfred Ndidi and Ahmed Musa have close links with the aforementioned clubs.
While Ndidi was surprisingly named the Man of the Match by CAF, Chelsea Academy product Aina had his best game in a Nigeria jersey and was the highest rated player (8.54) by football statistics website Whoscored.
Odion Ighalo capitalized on a no-look pass from Aina to net the game-winning goal in the 77th minute.
Reviewing their players on international duty Chelsea patted Aina on his back for his delightful assist : ”In the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, Kenneth Omeruo played the full game as Nigeria got their tournament off to a winning start with a 1-0 win over Burundi who were playing their first ever game in these finals.
”The newcomers hit the bar in the first half but were defeated 1-0 when former Watford striker Odion Ighalo converted a skillful back heeled pass from Ola Aina who recently left Chelsea for Torino.”
Leicester City were impressed by the performances of Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi and Samuel Chukwueze, who was courted by the Foxes prior to his switch to Villarreal.
”Ndidi’s performance was so impressive that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) presented the Foxes midfielder with the Man of the Match award at full-time,” Leicester City wrote on their official webpage.
”Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze were the Super Eagles’ main attacking threats, but Gernot Rohr’s side struggled to break down the competition’s lowest-ranked side.
”Shanghai Greenland Shenhua’s Ighalo, who spent three seasons at Watford, was finally able to produce a smart finish with 13 minutes to go, though, for the three-time AFCON winners.”