'Liverpool fans in Nigeria wanted Odion Ighalo to score': Manchester United man makes debut and Twitter reacts

tom dutton

Some things transcend football rivalry.

Whether you thought Odion Ighalo's debut for Manchester United would do that is another matter.

Just over two weeks ago the boyhood United fan sealed a shock loan move to Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scrambled to sign cover for the injured Marcus Rashford.

On Monday, the 30-year-old was thrown on in stoppage time in United's 2-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, fluffing a late chance to crown his brief debut with a goal after being slipped through by Fred.

In doing so he became the first Nigerian to play for Manchester United and Twitter user @Sonjoe_Kutuh said: "In Nigeria, Liverpool fans, Arsenal fan, Man City fans and Tottenham fans were supporting Ighalo tonight. Our own!!!"

Another replied: "Even the Chelsea fans low key."

Headed goals from Anthony Martial and captain Harry Maguire earned Manchester United their hard-fought win, putting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side back in the hunt for a top-four Premier League finish.

VAR controversy made the headlines once again after two Chelsea efforts were ruled out and England international Maguire escaped sanction for a kick out at Michy Batshuayi.

But it was Ighalo's cameo which stole the headlines for many.

Squawka tweeted: "Odion Ighalo managed as many shots on target in #CHEMUN as the entire Chelsea team combined (1).

Odion Ighalo came on in the 91st minute."

Samuel Luckhurst wrote: "A Chelsea fan just shouted at Ighalo: 'Go back to China'. He turned around and just smiled at the prat."

@OvieO posted: "Man United have won 100% of matches Ighalo has played in.

"Man United have kept a clean sheet in 100% of games Ighalo has played in.

"Ighalo FC: We eating jollof!"

Ighalo's brief spell on the Stamford Bridge pitch made him the 200th player to feature for Manchester United, and came after just one training session with his new team-mates.

The January signing had been training away from the club's Carrington complex since signing on loan from the Chinese Super League amid fears surrounding the coronavirus.

There is no suggestion he contracted the virus, but following Ighalo's flight in from China the club put measures in place to be certain before allowing him to train alongside his new colleagues.​

It makes it all the more remarkable that Ighalo nearly capped his debut with a goal - a 'what if' moment many fans refelcted on at the final whistle.

@TheManUtdWay said: "OH MY! Ighalo was put in on goal and was so close to having a goal for United inside seconds of his debut. What a moment that would’ve been!"

@JibrilAdeyeye1 replied: "If Odion had scored that goal, Nigeria would have announced tomorrow as a national public holiday."

Ighalo was denied in stoppage time (Action Images via Reuters)

@RiZzyUTD added: "I would've celebrated like mad if Ighalo scored that. It wasn't to be though."

Ighalo will get another chance when United travel to Club Brugge on Thursday.

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