Maduka Okoye’s stunning save helps Sparta stay unbeaten

Several European clubs continue their pre-season preparations ahead of the coming league campaign, with the Nigerian international playing a crucial role in his side’s narrow victory on Saturday

Nigerian goalkeeper Maduka Okoye produced several fantastic saves to inspire Sparta Rotterdam to a decent 1-0 win over Royal Antwerp in a game played behind closed doors in Belgium.

The 21-year-old, Sparta’s youngest goalie, is poised to remain the side’s first-choice goalkeeper following a spectacular outing last term.

And he was one of the stars of the show on Saturday with his many crucial interventions and the only Sparta player to last the entire duration of the game against the Belgians.

On a training field next to the Bosuil stadium, Nigeria-eligible striker Emanuel Emegha spurned several early chances to give the Eredivisie side the lead. Before a goal by Bart Vriends was ruled out for offside on the hour mark.

Ten minutes later, Antwerp had their biggest chance of the match, but Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye produced a world-class one-hand save to keep the game on leveled terms.

Sparta coach Henk Fraser then substituted the whole team except Okoye twenty minutes from time only to watch his side reduced to ten men shortly after following the dismissal of Meerstadt.

But a late own goal off a Reda Kharchouch cross just before time proved enough to give the Dutch club victory.

With that, Sparta remain unbeaten in their preseason friendly games.
In three previous exhibition games, Sparta defeated Heracles 2-1, drew 3-3 against AA Gent before last Tuesday’s goalless draw against Telstar.

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