It was an uneventful afternoon on Sunday, October 15 at the Municipal de Ipurua as host Eibar played out a boring colourless goalless draw with visiting Deportivo La Coruña in a La Liga fixture.
The two mid-table La Liga teams had just nine shots on target between them in the game, a true reflection of the dull game.
But sometimes you have to go through the rough to get the diamond and from this game, history was made.
The Eibar and Deportivo La Coruna’s game has dominated the Nigerian sports media since Sunday because of 18-year-old goalkeeper Uzoho Francis.
Uzoho made his debut for Deportivo in the game, keeping a clean sheet to help his side get a point away from home.
He didn’t have much to do in the game especially in the first half when Deportivo dominated play. But he also showed impressive composure and attention in the game.
He did that very well, guarding his near-post very well to save a shot from the corner of his box in the 12th minute.
He had to wait until the 72nd minute before his next save, calmly collecting a tame shot. In the 80th minute, he showed how decent he was, staying on his toes during a corner kick to quickly dive to catch a shot from the edge of his 18-yard-box.
He was beaten in added time but the Eibar goal was rightly ruled out to be offside.
It was a record-making appearance for the Nigerian who became the youngest foreign goalkeeper to debut in the La Liga.
With the number of legendary non-Spanish goalkeepers we have seen in La Liga history,Uzoho’ achievement is a huge one.
“A day that will never disappear from my memory,” Uzoho said about his debut.
Where it all started
Uzoho’s professional football career came to prominence when he was included in the Golden Eaglets squad for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
He was with the team which had the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Isaac Success and Dele Alampasu. These talented youngsters led Nigeria to the title.
Uzoho, however, did not play in any game at the World Cup and was Golden Eaglets third goalkeeper at the tournament. He only made the cut following the injury to Adeyinka Adewale who was the first choice when Nigeria finished second at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) earlier in the year.
Deportivo La Coruna
While the likes of Alampasu continued to be in the local limelight, Uzoho had been quiet since his sojourn with the Golden Eaglets in 2013.
He was with the famous Aspire Academy in Qatar before he signed for Deportivo La Coruna in 2016.