Nigeria’s 1-0 victory over Sudan to reach a first African Nations Championship courtesy a 16th minute goal by Gabriel Okechukwu.
It was not all plain sailing for the Eagles, who lost first choice goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa after the player picked up a knock with only 12 minutes played.
But, his replacement, Dele Ajiboye did not disappoint as he made a number of fine and gilt edge saves.
So how did the players of the Eagles; individually, fare against the Falcons of Jediane.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa: 5
He saw only 12 minutes of action against Sudan following the knock he picked in the process to truncating an attack.
Stephen Eze: 8
The Center back has been solid in the course of the championship and his performance was on Wednesday was no different.
Eze and the entire Eagles defence were called to action severally and although they managed to lock out Sudan, there were a few nervy moments when he was caught napping.
Kalu Orji: 7
Returning from a knock he suffered in the quarter-final against Angola, Orji shored up the Eagles defence; partnering Eze but also came unde fire, but managed an above average performance.
Osas Okoro: 7.5
The right back was an enforcer all 90 minutes but had a lot of work to do on the night in defence and did not disappoint.
Ikuowem Udoh: 6
Hos poor passes and nervy and hasty clearances in the early stages of the game put the back four under pressure, but he also regained confidence at the latter stages even joining the attack during spells.
Austin Oladapo: 7
He Filled in for the injured Emeka Atuloma and though the gulf in class existed, Oladapo provided enough cover in the middle, tackled hard and was on his toes all 90+ minutes.
Ifeanyi Ifeanyi: 5
He was Nigeria’s creative spark in the heart of the midfield and was crucial until his sending off in the 59th minute. That action sent the team spiralling down and the player’s rating as well.
Rabiu Ali: 6.5
The Veteran was Nigeria’s second go to guy in the midfield for his creative flair, however, on the day Ali was found wanting and surprisingly played till the 78th minute.
Dayo Ojo: 7.5
Ojo made his mark against Equatorial Guinea and since then has grown in confidence, showing a great deal of same against Sudan. He was crucial in helping the team ease the pressure on the defence and came close to scoring to. His run through on goal from a counter attack produced the second red card of the game and balanced out the game with Nigeria 1-0 up.
Anthony Okpotu: 7.5
He provided the assist for the only goal of the game with a flicked on header. He was selfless; playing for the team albeit he also missed a clear chance to score. He would later be replaced after Nigeria was reduced to 10-men.
Gabriel Okechukwu: 8
The striker struck the only goal and was very solid upfront as a lone player when Nigeria was reduced to 10-men. He was naive on occasions but also ensured he kept the Sudan defence busy – with three players on him at different times – when he was on the ball.
Dele Ajiboye: 9
He came on for his first game of the championship and as replacement for the injured Ikechukwu Ezenwa. Ajiboye did not disappoint at all and proved to be just what the doctors prescribed. He made 13 saves – the most by any goalie in the knockout rounds – and very much won the game for the Eagles.
Abdullahi Musa: 6
He played 28 minutes coming on as a sub for Okpotu after the red card to Ifeanyi Ifeanyi. Musa was called on to provide defensive cover for the rest of the game and he managed to hold his own.
Ibrahim Mustapha: 6
Mustapha replaced Rabiu Ali as the clock wound down and got himself a yellow card for a slight dissent.
Salisu Yusuf: 8
The Coach had been forced to ring the changes to his starting line-up due to a piling list of injuries and got it right. Although his side played on the back foot; while in the lead, for spells in the game, Yusuf set up his team to contain the waves of attacking flurry thrown at them by the Sudan side.