Super Eagles forward, Odion Jude Ighalo, has put aside his disappointing performance for Nigeria at the World Cup in Russia emerging the all-time leading scorer for Changchun Yatai after he netted against Chongqing early Thursday.
He now has 23 goals to overtake the previous record of 22 goals set by Marcelo Moreno at the club.
Ighalo was roundly criticized for his inability to convert begging chances to goals for Super Eagles in Nigeria’s last Group D crucial game against Argentina at the St Petersburg Stadium.
After Victor Moses cancelled out Lionel Messi’s early lead through a penalty, Ighalo lost a clear chance to bury the game with a sitter but wasted the opportunity before Marcos Rojo snatched the winning goal that sent the South American nation through to the Last 16.
But on returning to his club in the Chinese Super League, the former Watford marksman put that Russia 2018 debacle behind him to focus on helping his club earn respect in the league.
Ighalo’s goal came 19 minutes into the clash when he superbly volleyed a half clearance with his left foot to draw his side level, but his celebration was almost cut short as the referee had to consult the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to be sure the Nigerian was not offside.
The Eagles striker has been an instant hit in China since joining in January 2017, scoring 15 in his debut season and has already scored eight in just 12 league outings this term.
Only last April, Ighalo had equaled Moreno’s record, when he scored twice to down then leaders Shanghai SIPG. It was a feat that earned him the Player of the Month in China.
Ighalo scored 39 goals in 100 appearances for the Hornets including 20 as Watford secured promotion to the Premier League in 2014/15, and 17 during the club’s first campaign back in the top-flight two seasons ago.
Also yesterday, another player with Nigerian extraction, Dominic Uzoukwu was on target for Beijing BG in their 2-1 home loss to Dalian Transcendence in the Chinese League One.
Uzoukwu’s close-range goal in the fifth minute off an assist from Wang Jianwen took his tally for the season to six goals from 13 matches.
The 23-year-old Brazilian-Nigerian has been on the score-sheet against five different teams in the league following his move to Beijing BG in the January transfer window.
Though the São Paulo-born attacker has close ties to Brazil, he has stated that he will not turn down the chance to represent the Super Eagles if approached by the Nigeria Football Federation.