Ighalo makes Champions League debut in United defeat

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Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo has finally made his debut for Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League.

He had missed out on playing in the continental competition for some time since his arrival at ‘Old Trafford’ on loan from Chinese side Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.

The Lagos-born, Nigeria attacker signed for ‘The Red Devils’ in January 2020 in a loan deal that was meant to keep him with the English Premier League side until the end of the season, but after immediately impressing manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and with the ongoing Corona Virus pandemic, the two clubs agreed on extending the 31-year-old’s loan until January 2021.

 

When Ighalo joined the former English Champions, he made history by becoming the first Nigerian to play for the club, something he described as a childhood dream come true.

The striker chose jersey number 25 and started his second stint in the Premier League, having previously played for Watford. After three substitute appearances, Ighalo made his full debut in a Europa League round of 32 second leg match against Club Brugge on 27 February 2020 and scored his first goal in Manchester United colours, which was also his maiden goal in a European competition, as Manchester United won 5–0. 

A week later, he scored his first brace for the club as they beat Derby County 3–0 in the FA Cup. In Manchester United’s final game before the suspension of football due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ighalo scored a half-volley in a 5–0 win over LASK which was awarded Manchester United goal of the month for March.

 

The striker had played at all competitions except the UEFA Champions League and on Wednesday he finally made his long-awaited debut for ‘The Red Devils’ as they fell to a 3-1 home defeat to French side Paris Saint-Germain.

He came on in additional time to replace right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. After the defeat Manchester United is now equal on points with PSG, with the French side sitting top of the group with a better goal-difference. 

Ighalo has been struggling to get game time this season at ‘Old Trafford’ and with the arrival of Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani he will have to fight for his place in the coach’s starting line-up towards the end of his loan. 

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By Prince Sobayeni

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