Nigerian midfielder Alhassan Yusuf was a standout performer for Royal Antwerp in his first Champions League start for the club on Wednesday night.
Off the back of connective substitute appearances against Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk in the first two UCL matchdays, Yusuf was given a starting berth against Porto at the Bosuilstadion.
The 23-year-old put on an assured display in the centre of the park, misplacing just three of his 48 passes while also winning three tackles.
Yusuf's best moment of the night undoubtedly came in the 37th minute when he pounced on a rebound in the penalty box to fire beyond Diogo Costa and put his side 1-0 up heading into the half-time break.
1-0 Royal Antwerp.
ALHASSAN YUSUF OPENS THE SCORE VS PORTO !!!!! pic.twitter.com/jW2rOlyz1W
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) October 25, 2023
However, it wasn't to be for Yusuf and Antwerp, who eventually fell to a 4-1 defeat following a hat-trick from Evanilson and Stephen Eustaquio's strike.
Yusuf was not the only Nigerian to feature for Antwerp against Porto as Chidera Ejuke also came on for a second-half cameo.
Both men have work to do if they are to avoid an early exit from the Champions League with Antwerp currently sitting at the bottom of Group H and still yet to pick up a single point.
Alhassan Yusuf makes history in 4-1 defeat against Porto
Following his opener against Porto, Yusuf joined a list of exclusive Nigerian players to have found the back of the net on their maiden UCL start.
Daniel Amokachi, Victor Ikpeba, Peter Olayinka and Lucky Idahor all marked their first start in Europe's premier club competition with a goal, and they now have further company in the record books with Yusuf also managing the feat.
Yusuf has started only one game across all competitions since August, but his most recent performance will surely put him in the manager's thinking for a place in the XI going forward.
Alhassan Yusuf scores a banger in his first UCL start and 4th start of the season across all competitions.
The Midfield Sultan is BACK!!!
Nice show of intelligence to run into d less concentrated space and anticipate a switch of play to that side and viola, Goal! https://t.co/XpPjV2ka6d
— David CL Mikel Okoye (@007Supernerd) October 25, 2023
Looking to bounce back from their European defeat, Yusuf and Antwerp now prepare for another tough assignment as they face off against Belgian heavyweights Club Brugge on Sunday.
This article was most recently revised and updated 5 days ago