Nigeria raced into the round of 16 at the AFCON 2019 following a second 1-0 win, this time against Guinea.
The single goal and another clean sheet for the Super Eagles means while the attack is yet to hit their full stride although the defence has been decisive – considering the average quality of the oppositions.
However, owing largely to injuries the Super Eagles head Coach Gernot Rohr ringed five changes to the starting XI that faced Burundi.
So, how did the Eagle fair in their second group game at the competition?
Here’s how we rate them:
Daniel Akpeyi 7/10
The 32 year-old was once again a contributory factor to the Eagles water tight defence.
He made a couple of saves albeit not testy enough. He also had a few moments of doubts but nothing to cause much worries.
Leon Balogun 8/10
His inclusion was widely criticized because the Center half was restricted to just 10 competitive matches all season for his club and has spells on the bench largely due to his fitness, but he settled in gradually against the Syli Nationale.
His composure may have been called to question a few times, but timely made tackles and a ruggedity that betrayed his frame saw him starve off some good attacking play by Guinea.
Kenneth Omeruo 9/10
The Center half is having the time of his life at the moment. He made very little errors of note on the defensive end, but his attempts to set up play with long balls didn’t quite help that aspect of his reputation.
But clinching the winning goal will do that reputation no harm and Omeruo delivered it with ease – even taking a glance mid air as he stabbed it, sending it straight into the far end of the back of the net.
Ola Aina 7/10
Still playing as a make shift left back, Aina didn’t look out of place.
A few more tackles, incursive runs, general awareness and contribution on both ends of the pitch kept his performance well above average.
Chidozie Awaziem 7/10
His partnership on the right flank of the Eagles attack as well as in the back four was one of five changes by Rohr and the player impressed on this audition.
He wasn’t expected to do much and he didn’t force it. He created cover for the midfield to with such very aggressive play.
Oghenekaro Etebo 6/10
His role was primarily as the DM for the Super Eagles in a two-man midfield.
On paper it wasn’t meant to be so difficult, but he didn’t get those tackles in and his passes let him down too.
He was presented a moment of glory though with a set piece right in front of goal.
His shot curled into the goalie who beat it away and probably would have done so all day.
Wilfred Ndidi 9/10
He put in some monster performance on both end of the pitch.
Ndidi practically bossed the midfield with aggressive tackles, winning second balls and initiating attacking play.
He looked close to getting a goal – it evaded him and maybe a caution as well.
Alex Iwobi 7/10
He didn’t look completely out of sorts, but the young midfielder didn’t live up to being the creative spark the team desperately needed for the most part.
His decision making were mostly wrong and final ball treacherous.
Iwobi looked a player in doubt on occasions, couldn’t shake off opponents and often gave away possession with the wrong passes or simply muscled of it.
He did sting the goalie with two long range efforts; basically the most exciting moments Nigeria created aside from the goal.
Ahmed Musa 5/10
It was hard to believe he played 90 minutes, the Super Eagles captain.
He showed very little enthusiasm for the most part and almost looked like he was begging to be elsewhere.
Usually the player the team would turn to, he perhaps took his captaincy role way more important than actually playing with his teammates.
Moses Simon 8/10
An assist from a corner kick and several attempts to break the resistance of the Guinean defence were just a few of the boxes he ticked.
He was also dependable on the defensive end of matters, dropping deep to win balls or just initiate plays.
Odion Ighalo 6/10
He had moments that were offered on a platter and a striker of his calibre should be putting such chances away, but he was begging for more.
Ighalo made easy tasks look hard and was often cut off from the supply route – no fault of his.
He was presented a golden moment in the game to take glory or be a great teammate: he opted for the former and regretted it – may be.
Paul Onuachu 5/10
Came on as a late substitute and really didn’t impact the game much.
Suddenly his frame seems to be a hindrance especially with defenders tag teaming to keep him with his back to goal and far from goal as necessary.
He wasn’t a threat.
Samuel Chukwueze 5/10
Undone in the game by the Coach who brought the speedster cum dribble on but deployed as a number 10.
A player who thrived on running against defenders and whizzing his way past them had to improvise an work with the two-yard confinement he was boxed into by the opposition.
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