The French Ligue 1 was spared a tragedy on Sunday night which would have involved one of Nigeria’s most talented stars
Girondins de Bordeaux’s playmaker Samuel Kalu collapsed and lost consciousness for a while, requiring medical attention during his side’s Ligue 1 clash with Olympique Marseille.
The Nigerian international later regained consciousness after receiving treatment.
Bordeaux disappointingly lost 0-2 at home to newly-promoted Clermont Foot on matchday one last week and needed to earn a positive result at Marseille on matchday 2.
It was, therefore, not a surprise to see Les Girondins manager Vladimir Petkovic name an attacking lineup that had Kalu partner Ui-Jo Hwang in the attack at the Stade Orange Velodrome.
But tragedy nearly struck less than five minutes into the encounter when the Super Eagles midfielder collapsed onto the pitch as Marseille number ten Dmitri Payet was about to take a free-kick for the home side.
Players from both sides quickly attracted the attention of the medics and formed a wall around the 23-year-old as he was being attended to.
However, Kalu made a surprisingly quick recovery and was back on the pitch in no time, but he was subbed off for Remi Oudin in the 14th minute.
After Kalu’s exit, Marseille raced to a two-goal lead before the halftime break courtesy of goals from former Everton man Cengiz Under and ex-West Ham star Payet.
But – in what would have made Kalu proud – the visitors fought back valiantly to draw level within six second-half minutes, thanks to strikes from Pembele and Oudin, to earn their first point of the season.
It would be recalled that Kalu also collapsed during a Nigerian team training session days before the Super Eagles kicked off their campaign at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The midfielder was later released from the hospital and allowed to link up with the rest of the squad, but he didn’t play a minute of football as Nigeria finished in third place.