The Nigeria forwards featured prominently for their respective clubs at Stadion Maksimir in the European competition
Samuel Chukwueze and Iyayi Atiemwen were in action as Villarreal secured a 1-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb in the first-leg quarter-final of the Europa League game on Thursday night.
Chukwueze was handed his seventh start and his eighth appearance in the European competition this season, forming a three-man attack for the Yellow Submarine along with Gerard Moreno and Carlos Bacca.
The winger gave a good account of himself to help Unai Emery’s men extend their winning run to six games across all competitions this campaign.
His compatriot Atiemwen led Dinamo Zagreb’s attack but could not help his side to avoid defeat at Stadion Maksimir.
The Yellow Submarine dominated the opening 30 minutes but failed to find the back of the net and it was the Blues who came close to breaking the deadlock.
Atiemwen directed his header towards goal in the 11th minute but his effort was blocked as Chukwueze continued to dictate the pace and delivered a fine cross into the box three minutes later but his effort was not well-utilised.
Villarreal eventually broke the deadlock in the 44th minute of the encounter when Moreno converted from the penalty spot after Kevin Theophile-Catherine was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area.
After the restart, Chukwueze made several attempts to try and double his side’s lead and in the 59th minute, he fired a fine shot towards goal but goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic saved the effort.
Zagreb also made efforts to try and avoid defeat at home but the Yellow Submarine held on to their lead to clinch victory.
Chukwueze featured for 69 minutes, made 46 touches on the ball, completed two dribbles and had 58 percent successful pass rate before he was replaced by Moi Gomez.
Atiemwen, meanwhile, was on parade for 61 minutes before making way for Bruno Petkovic and struck three shots in the encounter.
The Nigeria stars will hope to make more impactful contributions in the second leg of the game at Estadio de la Ceramica on April 15.
Chukwueze has featured in 32 games for the Yellow Submarine this season, scoring two goals and providing six assists while Atiemwen has bagged six strikes in 22 appearances across all competitions for Dinamo Zagreb.