Can Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen heal Lille’s Pepe-shaped wound?

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Can Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen heal Lille’s Pepe-shaped wound?

It took Victor Osimhen all but 19 minutes to not only announce his arrival to Lille FC, Ligue 1, but to throw down the gauntlet to any and all competitors for the Nigeria number 9 jersey.

And what a way to make that announcement for the new Lille man, who bagged a brace against FC Nantes in their season opener on the weekend. Nicolas Pepe… who?

For the first goal, Jose Fonte’s hoofed clearance all the way from the back looked anything but dangerous, especially as Osimhen was sandwiched between two defenders. 

But that was no problem for the young Nigerian. He brought it down off his chest, his slightly imperfect second touch dragged it away from the defender and set him up for the finish.

With 10 minutes to go, Osimhen struck again, this time from close range, to hand Lille all three points.

It was the perfect start for the 20-year-old, who only joined the French side this offseason, tasked with filling the big boots left by the £72 million departure of Pepe to Arsenal.

Trying to match the 22 goals scored by the Ivorian last season will be a tough ask for Osimhen, but there can be no better way to start than with a brace on his very first appearance. 

For comparison, Pepe scored seven goals in 29 appearances for Orleans at the same age. And he was not even in Ligue 1.


Victor Osimhen featured for Nigeria in the last African Cup of Nations. 

He, however, couldn’t contribute much as Odion Ighalo was in the form of his life. The ex-Nigerian international scored five goals to finish as the competition’s top scorer. 

It is Osimhen’s time with Ighalo retired from international football, he is next in line to lead the Nigerian attack. Assuredly Coach Granit Rohr would be glad his target man is finding good form in a good league.

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