AFCON 2023: Okoye shows Nigerians what they will miss as he keeps a clean sheet in Udinese’s win

Okoye kept a clean sheet on his first league start for Udinese. Photo Credit|| IMAGO / LaPresse

AFCON 2023: Okoye shows Nigerians what they will miss as he keeps a clean sheet in Udinese’s win

Joba Ogunwale 17:06 - 30.12.2023

Okoye is not in Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations squad, but he appears to be the winner after making his league debut in Udinese’s win over Bologna.

Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has shown Nigerians a glimpse of what they will miss after keeping an impressive clean sheet in Udinese's 3-0 win over Bologna in their Italian Serie A clash at Dacia Arena on Saturday afternoon. 

AFCON miss is a blessing in disguise for Maduka Okoye

Okoye was left out of Jose Peseiro’s Super Eagles squad of AFCON in Ivory Coast next year, but it appears to be a blessing for him as he made his first league start for The White and Blacks. 

The Nigerian international was preferred in goal by Udinese manager Gabriele Cioffi ahead of the established number one, Marco Silvestri. 

It was an opportunity Okoye took well as he kept a clean sheet, helping Udinese claim just their second win of the season. 

Although it was total domination from the home side, Okoye still delivered an impressive shift on his first league start. 

The former Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper made four saves, including two from inside the box. Okoye also made one clearance and punched one ball to mark an impressive Serie A debut. Udinese took the lead in the 23rd minute through Roberto Pereyra before Lorenzo Lucca doubled their advantage three minutes after the break. 

The home side wrapped up the win four minutes later, courtesy of a Martin Payero strike. It was indeed a brilliant display from Cioffi’s men, but more importantly, a debut to remember for Okoye. 

Okoye seeking a new start at Udinese

Okoye would be pleased with how his Serie A debut went after a difficult few years. The Nigerian international’s career was on the right track when he moved to Sparta Rotterdam. 

However, his career took a wrong turn when he moved to Watford after two years with the Dutch club. 

Maduka Okoye has endured a difficult few years
Maduka Okoye is seeking a new start at Udinese (IMAGO)

Okoye's struggles at Watford were well established as he could not get a game time. With his career stalling, Okoye decided to leave Watford to join Udinese on a season-long loan deal in the summer. 

He made his bow for Udinese in the Coppa Italia defeat to Cagliari before making his league debut on Saturday afternoon against Thiago Motta’s men. 

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