Super Eagles star Abdullahi Shehu featured in every single minute, but his best efforts failed to help Omonia Nicosia avoid a 2-0 defeat away to Dinamo Zagreb in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League.
Deployed in his preferred defensive midfield role, Shehu was instrumental to the Cypriot champions keeping a clean sheet in the first half of the encounter inside the magnificent Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb.
But Dinamo Zagreb’s quality eventually showed as second-half strikes from midfielders Lovros Majer and Kristijan Jakic powered the Croatian kings to a fine first-leg win.
Out-of-favour Super Eagles midfield dynamo Onazi Ogenyi suffered a similar fate in Budapest as his Zalgiris Vilnius side fell to a 2-0 away defeat to Ferencvaros.
Onazi, whose first goal in ages helped the Lithuanian champions edge Linfield 5-1 on aggregate in the previous UCL qualifying rounds, saw action for 84 minutes.
But the damage had already been done by the time the 28-year-old left the field of the Groupama Aréna as first-half goals from Myrto Uzuni and Tokmac Nguen had handed the victory to the home side.
The second leg of both encounters will be played next week.