Rising star Gift Orban has crashed out of the UEFA European Conference League with his side, KAA Gent, following a heavy loss in England.
Gent, who are currently fourth in the Jupiler Pro League in Belgium, went into the game with hopes of pulling off an upset. They found the London Stadium to be inhospitable and the result was an end to their European dreams.
Orban was unable to make a significant impact for his team as he has been known to do since he joined them in the January transfer window from Norwegian side Stabæk Fotball. He was, however, heavily involved in the build up to their only goal of the game, which ended up being a consolation for the team.
Disappointing end to the European competitions for the following 🇳🇬 Nigerians;
Victor Boniface's Union St Gilloise were dumped out by Bayer Leverkusen in the #EuropaLeague, while Terem Moffi's and Gift Orban's Gent were knocked out from the #ConferenceLeague. pic.twitter.com/5kn3uwvbXB
— Digit Sport (@digit_sport) April 20, 2023
Before the game, Orban had five goals in five appearances in the competition. Three of those goals came in a single game – a three-minute hat-trick that is the fastest in the club's history as well as the history of the Conference League.
He could have made it six in the first leg of the tie but the woodwork denied him. In the return leg, he was unable to muster an attempt before he was taken off in the 71st minute.
His night started badly. He got a yellow card in the 18th minute but was able to contribute towards Hugo Cuypers' opening goal to give his side a 2 – 1 lead on aggregate. The game turned around after that and David Moyes' side replied with four goals, three of which came in the second half before the hour mark.
Two goals from Michail Antonio, a penalty for Lucas Paqueta and a rare Declan Rice strike that is being considered as the goal of the tournament turned the scoreline on its head and sent the Belgian team along with Orban crashing out.
It is a tournament to remember for the young striker, whose brief stint with Gent has already attracted interest from the Premier League and other clubs across Europe. West Ham is one of those teams but it remains to be seen if they will take the risk on the 20-year-old.
Victor Boniface and Terem Moffi unable to save clubs
Meanwhile, Orban's fellow Belgian league striker Victor Boniface and his team Royal Union Saint-Gilloise were knocked out of the UEFA Europa League by Bayer 04 Leverkusen on the same night.
OGC Nice striker Terem Moffi was also knocked out of the Conference League by FC Basel after scoring a brace to give them a leg up.
Boniface ran Leverkusen ragged in the first leg but was unable to get on the scoresheet. His performance was evidence that the Belgians, second on the Jupiler Pro League table, could pull off an upset. However, they had another thing coming.
A 4 – 0 victory sent Boniface and his team packing on a night that the myth of the 22-year-old being a very tough striker to defend against was broken.
Moffi, on the other hand, started the move that led to Nice's opening goal in their clash against Basel by dispossessing a Basel player before making the pre-assist.
The Swiss team took the game to extra time and scored to knock the striker and his team out. They joined Victor Osimhen as a group of high-flying Nigerian strikers to fall at the quarter final stage of European competitions this season.
All four players can hold their heads up high, however, as they gave a great account of their abilities and the talent available in the country.
This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago