Gift Orban proves worth for Gent in big pre-season win over Eredivisie side

Gift Orban proves worth for Gent in big pre-season win over Eredivisie side
Credit: Icon Sport

In-form Super Eagles prospect Gift Orban showed his class as KAA Gent defeated Eredivisie club FC Utrecht 2-0 in a pre-season warm-up game.

The performances of up-and-coming stars like Orban, Victor Boniface, and Jordan Torunarigha, who recently pledged his allegiance to the Nigeria national football team, saw the Belgian Jupiler Pro League move up the European top leagues' rankings into fifth place.

Orban and co are looking ready to hold on to their new position with a statement win in pre-season over Utrecht in Alkmaar.

The 20-year-old put in a great shift in the match.

FC Utrecht 0-2 KAA Gent: As it happened

Gent began their pre-season preparations in mid-June as they have a big season ahead of them.

They have retained their status in Belgian football after a number of years on the back burner thanks to the new generation which includes AFCON 2023 squad hopeful Gift Orban.

As they prepare to challenge for the Belgian league title and domestic cup while also improving on their fortunes in Europe, they set out on training camps in a neighbouring country, Netherlands.

They had successes in Zeeland where Orban scored three goals against lower-division teams. For their first game in their Alkmaar training camp, they came up against a much better opponent in Utrecht. Two goals from Andrew Hjulsager and Malick Fofana helped them dispose of the Eredivisie side.

The first goal came after eight minutes, thanks to some brilliant team play from Gent, which Hjulsager finished. Both teams traded blows for the rest of the first half but no other goals came.

Orban came on in the second half for his strike partner Hugo Cuypers and immediately started dismantling the Utrecht defence.

Nine minutes after the first half, Orban hit the post with a beautiful lob that was reminiscent of the goal he scored in Zeeland. Fofana was on hand to tap home the rebound to make the score 2 – 0.

The game ended with Orban having a few more opportunities but he could not add to his pre-season tally.

Gift Orban transfer news: Striker close to Lens move

Gift Orban is currently enjoying himself in pre-season with KAA Gent but fans of the Buffalos are apprehensive that he may just be training for another club.

Clubs in the Bundesliga, Premier League and Ligue 1 have shown interest in him. The most recent is RC Lens, who are going to be playing in the UEFA Champions League next season.

The French club identified Orban as an option to replace Loïs Openda, their star striker who led them to a second-placed finish last season behind Paris Saint-Germain in the league.

Openda has just been confirmed to be heading for Germany with Red Bull Leipzig by transfer news insider Fabrizio Romano. This means Orban is closer to an exit from the Chillax Arena than a return after their pre-season tour.

Reports indicate that a €20 million bid for Orban could be tabled by Lens to Gent soon, which will make the Nigerian the most expensive player from the Belgian league in recent years.

Goalball Live will bring further updates on Gift Orban and his future as it develops.

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago

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