Nigerians to watch out for in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round

The UEFA Champions League anthem will be blared across various stadiums in Europe from the third of August.

Teams from the lower echelon of Europe will battle to make their way to the Play-offs.

Malmo’s Innocent Bonke will square up against Rangers Nigerian duo of Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo. 25-year-old Bonke will be involved in a midfield battle with Steven Gerrard’s star midfielder, Joe Aribo.

Bonke was vital for his Malmo side as they cruised past HJK 4-3 on aggregate. While  Rangers, by virtue of a higher UEFA coefficient, begin their qualification journey against Malmo.

At the end of the tie, at least one Nigerian will have to bid goodbye to Champions League football.

On his return from injury, Olayinka provided an assist to help Slavia Prague to a 3-1 win. He will hope to exert himself when his Czech side faces Ferencvaros.

The Czech champions will be playing their first game in their qualification campaign while Ferencvaros are coming off a 5-1 aggregate victory over Ogenyi Onazi’s Zalgiris.

Spartak Moscow will be looking to Victor Moses to bring the pre-season form, which saw him score three goals in four games when they face Benfica.

However, it will be an uphill task for the Russian side as they are up against a Benfica side who are seasoned Champions League campaigners.

The Unsung hero for Midtjylland in their triumph against Celtic- Raphael Onyedika, will up against PSV Eindhoven’s Noni Madueke.

Onyedika faces the arduous task of helping his team shut out the lethal PSV attack, but he could draw inspiration from his clincher in the last round against Celtic.

Madueke, who has been subjected to many transfer talks this summer, has managed to put it all behind him and has played well for PSV in their Champions League qualifiers campaign.

The Nigeria-eligible forward scored a goal and assisted another in PSV’s 7-2 aggregate win against Galatasaray.

Genk strike duo Paul Onuachu and Cyril Dessers will be aiming to put the disappointment of their opening two Belgium Jupiler League games behind them.

They are up against Shakhtar Donetsk in the battle for a spot in the Play-offs. Onuachu has seemed unsettled at the Blue-whites with all of the transfer speculation surrounding him.

Meanwhile, Dessers has tried to step up to the high heights of the unsettled Onuachu, and he will hope to make his presence felt when both teams take to the pitch.

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