Manchester United were impressive and then some when they won 5-0 against Club Brugge at Old Trafford, breezing through to the Round of 16 of the Europa League with a dominating 6-1 aggregate scoreline.
The night was made brilliant through a penalty goal from Bruno Fernandes, a debut goal from Odion Ighalo, a back-from-injury special from Scott McTominay and an outstanding late brace from Fred.
However, the Old Trafford crowd seemed most pleased by the goal from Ighalo.
The Nigerian striker, who was acquired late in the winter transfer window from the Chinese Super League, is a life-long Manchester United fan and has time and time again stressed how this stint was a dream come true for him.
Sure enough, after flirting with nearly scoring a goal on nearly all of his previous substitute appearances for the Red Devils, he was gifted a full debut by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during this game.
The 30-year-old did what he did best and coolly slotted in a sublime pass from Juan Mata to make it 2-0 in the first-half.
He then proceeded to celebrate in a thoughtful manner, raising his jersey to show a picture of his sister who had passed away recently. The picture held the date of her death- 12/12/2019. Ighalo had earlier promised that he would dedicate his first United goal to her.
Ighalo had this to say to MUTV after the game: “The T-shirt is for my late sister. I lost my sister in December, and she is very dear to me, she is a good United fan too. We hoped for this moment, but now I am in United she is not here to see what is going on. So it is a bit emotional for me. I promise myself that every goal I score I will dedicate to her. So she is up there watching me and doing well for Manchester United.”
It was a truly touching gesture that the football world rallied behind to hail and laud.
Ighalo’s tale is certainly an inspiring one for fans across the globe. Growing up in Nigeria supporting a club and then being able to play from them during the twilight of one’s career is truly a fateful set of events and one can only imagine the joy that must be coursing through him at the moment.
Fans clearly love him as made evident by the chants at Old Trafford and the social media activity. Now they’ll be eager for several more from him.