Nigeria Power Rankings: Aiyegun beats Chukwueze to the top

Samuel Chukwueze has been one of the most reliable players for Villareal, especially since the restart of football amid the coronavirus pandemic. Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

After three months of football all but grinding to a halt, action has resumed in full across most of Europe's major leagues, albeit without the presence of fans.

Germany was first to open it's doors to the game. They were soon followed by Spain, Italy and England.

As the action returned, Nigerian players celebrated the resumption with some fine performances for their various European clubs.

What better celebration than from Tosin Aiyegun in Switzerland. The day before he turned 22 years old, the forward helped himself to a brace as FC Zurich pummeled St Gallen 4-0 away from home.

And what quality strikes they were, both building on the same foundations of blazing speed and balance, but different finishing quality.

For the first, he outpaced his marker out wide, kept his balance and then beat him on the inside before rifling a rocket into the roof of the net. For the second, he cut into the centre to pick up a pass, again beat his marker with pace before finishing with a wonderful chip over the goalkeeper. Two breathtaking efforts, indeed.

A week earlier, he had also been on target but Zurich went down 3-2 to Young Boys.

The pre-birthday brace took Aiyegun's tally to seven from 18 games for the season, for a club he only joined last September. It also made him one of only three Nigerian players with three goals in June. And he deservedly has top spot in our top 10 rankings.

- Nigeria Power Rankings: March 2020

Rapid Vienna's Kelvin Arase was another player to score three in June. Like Aiyegun, he also plundered a brace, with Sturm Graz at the receiving end. His first goal wss a one-touch sweeping finish without breaking stride on a quick counter in a 4-0 win.

Arase added a third against the same opposition three weeks later to seal his spot on the rankings list.

Down in third place is Samuel Chukwueze. The 21-year-old has grown into one of the most reliable players for Villareal and especially so after the restart. He was involved in every one of the club's five games in June.

The youngster failed too score or provide an assist. But his pace, penetration and direct running has opened spaces and created opportunities that have provided the foundation for Villareal's excellent record of four wins and one draw in the period under review.

Kingsley Ehizibue has not just featured consistently for FC Cologne, he has been a great defender while at it. He was just as effective in smothering attacks as he was bombing forward to create opportunities, even managing to claim man of the match honours in the process.

There was disappointment for Partizan Belgrade in the Serbian Cup Fnal, but Sadiq Umar showed just how important he is for the club. His goal against city rivals Red Star was an excellent statement of his quality and consistency. In fairness, but for some fine goalkeeping, it could have been more. He also weighed in with three assists - the highest number for the club for the month. It was not just about the assists, but also the way he set them up with his intricate footwork and deceptive movement around the box.

That Olanrewaju Kayode's fantastic overhead kick was ruled out is a travesty. Perhaps if it had not been, he would have seen himself much higher up on this list than fifth position. Despite that, the forward's positive play and his consistent ability to torture defences in Turkey earns him a spot at number five on the list.

By the time Anthony Ujah scored his only goal for June, the Bundesliga season was all but done, but his combination with Sebastian Andersson has already guaranteed Union Berlin's place in the league for another season.

More importantly, it was good for seventh place.

Rounding up the 10 is Peter Eneji from Slovakian club AS Trencin. He was the third player to hit three goals in June. He is followed by defender Musa Mohammed, who appears to have overcome his injury problems to post consistent performances for HNK Gorika. Joshua Zirkzee, who helped Bayern Munich to another title completes the numbers.

Nigeria Power Rankings: June 2020

1. Tosin Aiyegun (FC Zurich)

2. Kelvin Arase (Rapid Vienna)

3. Samuel Chukwueze (Villareal)

4. Kingsley Ehizibue (FC Cologne)

5. Sadiq Umar (Partizan Belgrade)

6. Olanrewaju Kayode (Gaziantep)

7. Anthony Ujah (Union Berlin)

8. Peter Eneji (FK Senica)

9. Musa Mohammed (HNK Gorica)

10. Joshua Zirkzee (Bayern Munich)