Simy Nwankwo, Super Eagles striker, on Saturday scored his 17th goal of the season to equal Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s 10-year-old goalscoring record — but his team, Crotone, lost 2-1 to Udinese.
Yakubu held the record for the most goals by a Nigerian in a single season in any of the top five leagues in Europe — English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Série A, Ligue A. He scored 17 goals with Blackburn Rovers in the 2011/12 season.
Nwankwo’s Crotone entered the fixture rooted to the bottom of the table with relegation breathing down their neck.
The defensive frailty that has consigned them to the bottom spot reared its head 40 minutes into the game. The defense was sluggish to respond after Alex Cordaz, Crotone goalkeeper, stopped a shot from Roberto Pereyra with his leg.
Pereyra capitalised on the listlessness, gathered the ball and laid it clean for Rodrigo De Paul who curled it elegantly into the top right corner of Cordaz.
Nwankwo replied for the home team a few minutes later. Udinese’s Nahuel Molina handled the ball within his team’s 18-yard box and a penalty was given. The lanky Nigerian sent Juan Musso, Udinese’s goalkeeper, the wrong way to score his 10th goal in seven consecutive matches.
In the 74th minute, Crotone were split open by De Paul once again, but this time he passed a couple of defenders before slotting the ball beyond a wrong-footed Cordaz.
Although Crotone remain the lowest-ranked team in the league with seven games to go, their Nigerian striker can’t seem to stop scoring.
A couple of weeks ago, Nwankwo matched George Weah’s record as he became only the third African to score in five consecutive Serie A games.
The 28-year-old is the league’s fourth leading goalscorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and Luis Muriel.