Super Eagles skipper, Mikel John Obi seems to be enjoying his time at the Riverside as he led Middlesbrough to their third consecutive victory against Stoke City with Oghenekaro Etebo also featuring for the visitors.
Following Bristol City’s slip, Boro knew the sixth place was up for grabs, and it was the perfect start against Stoke with what proved to be the deciding goal coming in the second minute.
Mikel released Jonny Howson with a delightful ball before delivering an incisive cross which Assombalonga converted from close range to give them an early 1-0 lead.
The early goal gave the visitors plenty of courage in the game as they fought off a late onslaught from Stoke to move back to the sixth position and remain in contention for the playoff rounds.
Having failed to win their previous seven games before handing the captain band to Mikel, the Riverside club have now gone three games without a defeat, keeping three clean sheets in the process with Mikel a vital part of the success.
Saudi Arabia League
Super Eagles stand-in captain, Ahmed Musa ended his three-month goal drought in the Saudi Arabian League in grand style as he scored twice and assisted another to help Al-Nassr to a comfortable 5-0 win over Al-Fateh.
With a chance to go top of the league momentarily, the hosts started like a house on fire and were awarded a penalty after eight minutes but Abderrazak Hamdallah saw his effort hit the woodwork before he made amends 20 minutes later to put Al-Nassr 1-0 up.
Musa then doubled his side’s lead on the 38th minute to net his sixth league goal of the campaign before Giuliano made it 3-0 deep into first-half stoppage time.
Musa then setup Hamdallah for his 29th league goal of the season before the Moroccan set up the Nigerian again twelve minutes from time to complete a comprehensive 5-0 thrashing.
Musa narrowly missed out on the man of the match award with a game rating of 9.2, completed 71% of his passes, won three duels and also completed 3 of his four dribbles.
With his brace, the 26-year-old has now scored seven goals in 22 league games whilst also adding a further seven assists to his name.
Nigerian international, Michael Babatunde continued his impressive display in front of goal for Moroccan side Wydad Athletic, scoring in their 2-1 away loss at Hassania Agadir.
Unbeaten in their last nine league outings, the Nigerian was surprisingly dropped to the bench by Coach Faouzi Benzarti but the decision proved faulty as they lost their fourth league game of the campaign.
Tamar Seyam gave the hosts the lead on the 38th minute with a stunning strike from 30 yards which beat the goalkeeper and found its way into the net.
Babatunde was then introduced at half time for Amin Tighazoui but the hosts doubled their lead on the hour mark when Karim El Berkaoui slotted past the onrushing goalkeeper for 2-0.
Babatunde then reduced the deficit on the 69th minute when he converted from close range but the goal proved to be a consolation as the hosts held on for all three points.
Despite the defeat, Wydad still remains on course for the league’s title with 52 points from 24 games, nine points ahead of closest challengers Raja with just six games left.
By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde