Young Nigeria striker Folarin Balogun made his first senior appearance in Arsenal’s 3-0 home victory over Irish side Dundalk in the Europa League on Thursday night at the Emirates Stadium.
Balogun who has starred for the Gunners U23 team became only the first player from Arsenal Academy to make a debut under Mikel Arteta since the Spaniard arrived at the Emirates in December 2019.
The 19-year old forward replaced goalscorer Eddie Nketiah in the 74th minute as the FA Cup holders comfortably despatched their opponent in a night filled with fringe players.
Folarin Balogun has represented England 15 times and USA 4 times at junior level, but is still eligible to play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Balogun is one of the most highly-rated prospects emerging from the Gunners’ youth ranks and is tipped to have a massive future ahead of him, so much so that Championship club Brentford and Premier League Sheffield United showed an interest in him over the summer.
Arsenal broke Dundalk’s resistance as goals either side of the break secured victory in their second group B match.
Eddie Nketiah pounced from close range to give the Gunners the lead and Joe Willock blasted a shot into the roof of the net 125 seconds later.
Nicolas Pepe’s brilliant effort from the edge of the box seconds after the restart killed the game off.
They cruised after that but could not add a fourth against the Irish side.
Arsenal – who had never faced a side from the Republic of Ireland before – have now won both their opening Europa League games, while Dundalk have lost both of theirs.
Dundalk made a bit of history as the first team in the 10 years of the Europa League not to commit a single foul in a game.
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