Super Eagles players had mixed feelings as the 2022/23 season of the English Premier League came to an end on Sunday.
With two Super Eagles players – Joe Aribo and Paul Onuachu – already relegated with Southampton, the last day saw Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi struggling for survival with Leicester City, while Alex Iwobi was also trying to escape the drop with Everton.
Leicester started the day in 19th position while Everton were 17th, only needing a win to escape the drop after a very difficult season for the second year in a row.
The relegation battle was a three-horse race as Leicester faced West Ham United, Everton battled Bournemouth, while Leeds United – who started the day as 18th, locked horns with Tottenham Hotspurs.
The Foxes who also needed a win with favourable results from other venues went close early on when Kelechi Iheanacho exchanged passes with James Maddison before hitting the crossbar with a curling effort.
They however took the lead through Harvy Elliot in the 34th minute, with Iheanacho the provided. Things were favouring them at that point, with Everton yet to score and Leeds 1-0 down at home to Spurs.
At half time, Leicester were up, while Everton and Leeds were on their way to the Championships.
Everton however took back the initiative in the 57th minute of their game, scoring through Abdoulaye Doucoure’s powerful finish from 20 yards out.
Even though Leicester went ahead to score the second goal through Wout Faes in the 62nd, before Pablo Fornals drew one back for West Ham in the 79th minute, the 2-1 victory was not enough to keep the 2015/16 Premier League Champions as Everton ran away with a 1-0 victory at Goodison Park.
Leicester’s relegation ended their nine-year stay in the EPL.
They were also the second Premier League champions to be demoted to the second tiers of English football after 1994/95 champions Blackburn Rovers who have been relegated twice – 1998/99 and 2011/12 seasons.