While the Chelsea players involved in the early part of the team’s pre-season were in action in Ireland on Wednesday night, over in Egypt, Kenneth Omeruo was winning his 50th cap and helping Nigeria into the last four at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The 25-year-old who spent last season on loan in Spain was in the Super Eagles defence as they beat South Africa in a quarter-final in Cairo thanks to an 89th-minute winner.
It was another player from the Spanish league, Samuel Chukwueze, who had put Nigeria 1-0 up in the first half, the Villarreal player converting from an Alex Iwobi cross, but South Africa equalised with 20 minutes left to play through a goal that was only awarded after a VAR review.
Omeruo and his colleagues were spared extra-time when William Troost-Ekong, who plays his club football in Italy at Udinese, netted his late goal. Former Blues Ola Aina and John Mikel Obi stayed on the bench.
Nigeria now play the winners of an Ivory Coast v Algeria clash, with Senegal up against Madagascar or Tunisia in the other semi, which is also on Sunday.