Manchester Derby: Ighalo And Five Nigerian Stars Who Have Played In Famous City Derbies

Manchester Derby: Ighalo And Five Nigerian Stars Who Have Played In Famous City Derbies

On Sunday, Odion Ighalo will have the opportunity to play in his first ever Manchester derby, when Manchester United host Manchester City at Old Trafford.

Since His loan move from Shanghai Shenhua, Ighalo has impressed so far, scoring three goals in six appearances for the Red Devils.

And ahead of the big showdown in Manchester, Completesports.com’s James Agberebi takes a look at five Nigerian players, past and present, who have featured in big derbies involving teams from the same city.

Nwankwo Kanu  (Arsenal / London derby)

After just 12 games and one goal, Nwankwo Kanu joined Arsenal under Arsene Wenger in February 1999.

At Arsenal, Kanu had the opportunity to feature in big derby games which Includes London derbies.

And one game that readily comes to mind during Kanu’s time at Arsenal was his 15 minutes hat-trick against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, during the 1999/2000 season.

Trailing 2-0 with 15 minutes left to play, Kanu took matters into his own hands and scored three goals, to secure a 3-2 win for Arsenal.

Kelechi Iheanacho  (Manchester City/ Manchester derby)

Kelechi Iheanacho joined Manchester City following his impressive performance for Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets, at the 2013 FIFA U-17 WorldCup in the UAE.

And one of the highlights of Iheanacho’s time at City was his five-star performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Manchester derby, in Pep Guardiola’s first season in the 2016/2017 campaign.

Despite United parading top stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini, Iheanacho had an assist and scored, to help City to a 2-1 win 

Obafemi Martins (Inter Milan / Milan derby)

Diminutive forward Obafemi Martins was signed by Inter Milan in 2001 for a €750,000 transfer fee,  and in his first season he scored 23 goals for the youth team, helping them to win the Campionato Nazionale Primavera in 2001–02 season. 

His form for the youth side led to his first-team league debut the following season, starting in a match against Parma on 22 December 2002 which was won by Inter 2–1.

Graduating to the first team afforded Martins the opportunity to have a taste of the famous Milan derby against eternal rivals AC Milan.

And one of such memorable Milan derbies for Martins was in the semi-final second leg clash in the 2002/2003 UEFA Champions League.

Martins had the chance to go up against AC Milan greats like Paolo Maldini, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, Filipo Inzaghi and Andriy Shevchenko.

With AC Milan hosting the first-leg since both club share the San Siro stadium, Inter held their rivals to a 0-0 draw.

But in the second-leg AC Milan took the lead on the stroke of half time through Shevchenko to go 1-0 up on aggregate.

With six minutes remaining in the game, Martins who was brought on for legendary Uruguayan star Alvaro Recoba, equalised for Inter Milan, to make the remaining minutes nervy for AC Milan.

But it was not to be as AC Milan held on to qualify for the final on the away goals rule.

John Mikel Obi  (Chelsea / London derby)

After the transfer saga between Manchester United and Chelsea for the signature of John Mikel Obi was resolved, the former Super Eagles skipper kicked off his Blues career during the 2006/2007 season under Jose Mourinho.

And while at Chelsea, Mikel featured in high profile London derbies among which include the famous League Cup final against Arsenal, at the Millenium Stadium in 2007.

With Chelsea leading 2-1 thanks to a Didier Drogba double, Mikel who was brought on in the second half, got into a scuffle with Arsenal’s Cote d’Ivoire defender Kolo Toure late in the game.

The incident was followed by a huge fracas, in which Mikel was sent off while Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor of Arsenal were also dismissed.

It didn’t end there as Cesc Fàbregas and Frank Lampard were booked and Mourinho and Arsène Wenger were involved in an altercation on the pitch.

Joseph Yobo  (Everton / Merseyside derby)

After an option to make his loan move from Marseille to Everton permanent in 2003, Joseph Yobo became one of the most consistent players in the Toffees squad.

He was one of only seven players in the entire league to play every minute of every game throughout the 2006–07 season ; his teammate Joleon Lescott also being an ever-present throughout the season.

During his time at Everton, Yobo had the chance to feature in one of England’s famous city derbies, the Merseyside derby.

But the Merseyside derby of 29 November 2009, will be one Yobo would love to forget in a hurry as he scored an own goal in Everton’s 2–0 defeat to Liverpool.

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  • David 1 year ago

    I think NFF, Mr Rohr and the entire Nigerians has gotten back tammy Abraham
    and fikayo tumori into super eagles of Nigeria and even better than them these great future winners are tumori/kingsly ehizibue, tammy Abraham/ Cyriel Dessers. Which means losing a defender for a better one and a striker for a better striker.