The group stage of the 2023/2024 UEFA Champions League began on Tuesday, 19 September, with some exciting games across Europe.
Prime Business Africa presents some observations from what went down on Tuesday as, we look forward to Wednesday’s matches.
1. Haaland Goals Drying Up?
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland was not in the scorerssheet Tuesday night as the European champions came from behind to beat 1991 champions of the tournament, Red Star Belgrade 3-1.
Julian Alvarez scored a brace while Rodri reproduced his 2022/2023 UEFA Champions League final performance as they begin the defence of their title.
Haaland has been in some flux of late and has not been in consistent coal scoring form as last season in the competition.
Questions are already being asked as per whether the Norwegian can score effortlessly as he did last season.
2. Barcelona Back As UCL Contenders
The opposition may be only a lesser threat but Barcelona, produced a performance reminiscent of their glory days in European football on Tuesday night.
The 5-0 thrashing of Royal Antwerp that has Nigerian duo of Chidera Ejuke and Alhassan Ibrahim in their fold sent out huge indication that the Blaugrana are not joking this season.
The team’s big stars were all available.
3. Timely Reminder Of Nigeria’s Goalkeeping Needs
The UEFA Champions League may not be an African affair but it served us a huge reminder that Nigeria’s Super Eagles needs a quality goalkeeper.
That is not to say that the likes of Francis Uzoho, Dele Adeleye, Ojo Olorunleke and Maduka Okoye cannot hold their own on tjekr days but these keepers are not in the same class as 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner Vincent Enyeama.
Since the retirement of Enyeama, only Carl Ikeme came close to becoming the quality custodian in between the sticks for Nigeria but he suffered from leukemia (cancer of the blood) which ruined his playing career.
On Tuesday night, Goalkeeper Ivan Provedel scored a 95th-minute equaliser as Lazio held Atletico Madrid to a draw in their Champions League opener.
With just seconds remaining, Provedel went up for a late corner and glanced a fine header into the net from Luis Alberto’s cross.
Provedel becomes the fourth different goalkeeper to score a Champions League goal, after Jorg Butt (three between 2000 and 2009 – all penalties), Sinan Bolat (December 2009) and Vincent Enyeama (September 2010).
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Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.
In October 2004, Okosi joined Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspaper and Complete Football magazine as a reporter and later script writer for the Complete Sports studio.
He worked there for 13 years until October 2017.
Okosi also worked various times as Correspondent, Content creator and Editor at Sports Market International Magazine, Opera News, All Nigeria Soccer Media and Iconic Media Watch.
He also undertook freelance writing gigs for some local and international organizations.
Okosi is a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Association of Voiceover Artistes of Nigeria (AVOA), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He has been part of cast in some Nollywood movies and radio dramas including Blood Money 2, Scores To Settle, Dead End 2, Another Campus Tale and Battle Line.
Aside mainstream media and the entertainment industry, he has interests in scouting/unearthing of talents in the sports and creative sectors, exports business and property development.