Serbian Cup win could put Sadiq Umar back on Rohr radar

Sadiq Umar has not scored in the Serbian Cup so far. However, after his semifinal heroics with several several superb assists in victory over Red Star, there is little doubt he will be the subject of attention when Partizan Belgrade line up against Vojvodina Novi Sad in the final on June 24 in Belgrade.

None of Partizan's 13 goals in the run up to the final have his name on them, but two displays at the business end of the competition have laid down the gauntlet to the one team left standing that Umar has his sights set on claiming his first senior trophy.

A decent performance in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Radnik Surdulica set the scene for what was to be a red-hot display against city rivals Red Star in the biggest game of the competition.

Partizan vs. Red Star is a big European derby. And in Serbia, nothing else comes close. This year was an especially memorable occasion for Red Star, as it marked 29 years since their European Cup win.

After claiming the league title in May, what better way to celebrate their historic win than with the double, beating their big rivals in the semifinal?

Umar did not read that script. Or if he did, he appeared to be more interested in ripping it to shreds and raining on Red Star's parade. The 23-year-old turned up and spent the entire game setting up highlight reel after highlight reel.

On Partizan's first attempt at goal, Umar was intricate in gliding past two defenders, making it look way too easy. And when he finally set up the goal for Bibras Natcho, he did so by leaving a defender on his rear end with more fancy footwork, before delivering the cross for the Israeli to stab home.

He did not stop there. defenders were rinsed by Umar time and again, and the Nigerian can count himself unlucky not to have added his name to the scoresheet.

Wednesday's final also involves an exercise in picking bones. Partizan and have met Vojvodina in the final just once since 2007, when Serbia organized its own Cup competition outside of Yugoslavia or Montenegro.

That game ended when the Vojvodina players -- unhappy about the officiating -- walked off the pitch with Partizan leading 2-1. The game, and title, was eventually awarded to Partizan with a 3-0 scoreline.

It is hard to think the team from Novi Sad will not be eyeing their own hefty pound of flesh. And this is exactly the sort of beef that gets Umar's juices going.

Rousing himself for the big occasion has never been a problem for the Nigerian. In 2016, he emerged top-scorer for his team as Nigeria's under-23s claimed bronze at the Olympic Games. Two of the goals were in the crunch classification match against Honduras.

But he has come through trying times to get to this point, and that journey appears to have been one of both self discovery and preparation for his moment.

Considered one of the more talented prospects in the Italian Primavera, Jololo helped Roma claim the Campionato Primavera and was promoted into the senior squad after eight goals in three games. But that trip to the Olympics proved problematic. With Roma struggling at the worming end of the table, manager Rui Garcia was fired and Luciano Spaletti brought in as his replacement.

Umar was shipped on loan to Rangers in Scotland.

His time at Rangers did not go as either party envisaged and the move to Serbia was a reboot of sorts for the talented former junior international. It appears to be working, so far.

Last season, he tallied 11 goals from 16 league appearances and five from 12 Europa League games -- a solid return for the striker.

While he has yet to hit the same heights, Wednesday's final presents the perfect opportunity for another huge display.

And Nigeria's head coach will be watching for hints the striker can step up to the Super eagles.

"I will watch the game on TV, of course," Gernot Ror told ESPN.

"We wish him to win it."