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31 Mar 2018

Martins scores hatrick in Shenhua 4-2 victory

Out of favour Super Eagles forward Obafemi Martins was on fire for his Chinese Super league club Shanghai Shenhua on Saturday, grabbing a hatrick in the 4-2 defeat of visiting Hebei CFFC.
Martins, who decided against giving the visitors a breathing space, opened scoring in the 62nd minute after the visitors had scared daylight out of their host with a 48minute goal thanks to Zhang Chengdong.

Home fans at the Hongkou Stadium (Shanghai) were down cast at the end of the first half with the visitors on the driving seat as they looked with uncertainty to what will happen in the second half.

On resumption of play however Martins hit target in the 62nd minute after a timely assist from Columbian import Andrés Moreno, but the visitors shot into the lead again through Argentina’s Ezequiel  Lavezzi two minutes later in what could be interpreted to mean catch me if you can warning.

But that was the best the visitors could register as it became a Matins all the way affair from then on.

The Nigerian was on target in the 76th minute to level score at 2-2.  Teammate and Columbian ace Guarín Vásquez increased the tally before

Martins again returned just before the final whistle to seal the team’s fourth goal with assistance from Mao Jianqing.

The former Seattle Sounders and Newcastle ace who joined the Chinese Super League in 2016 has so far made over 38 appearances for the side scoring over 16 goals.  While it was victory song for Martins however, same cannot be said of Odion Ighalo just back to club duties after featuring in the friendly matches for the Super Eagles ahead of the world cup in Russia.  Ighalo who saw 90 minutes action for his club Changhun Yatai on Saturday, suffered a 2-1 defeat at home no thanks to visiting Guangzhou R&F.

He was equally shown a yellow card just before end of proceedings when the visitors converted a penalty.

Super Eagles Captain John Obi Mikel who missed double friendly matches against Poland and Serbia respectively may lead his Tianjin Teda teammates to war against Jiangsu Suning on Sunday. Mikel who doubles as the team’s captain missed the friendly matches trying to renew his work permit in China. It is however hoped that he would have smoothened all rough edges to take part in the remaining friendly matches lined up before the World cup which kicks off in on June 14.

Eagles will face Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in the group stage.

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