Nigeria ended the aspirations of Clarence Seedorf to help Cameroon win a sixth African Nations Cup title following a dramatic 3-2 win over the holders on Saturday in a round of 16 clash at the Alexandria Stadium.
Both sides had finished as runners up in the respective groups and neither had scored more than two in the competition leading to Saturday’s encounter.
But, Cameroon had a slight advantage heading into the match-up as they were yet to concede a goal, while Nigeria lost their final group game to lowly ranked Madagascar.
A brace from Odion Ighalo and a match winner from Alex Iwobi secured a 3-2 win to send the Super Eagles through to the quarter-finals.
So, here’s is our rating of the 14 players who were giving minutes by Gernot Rohr against the Indomitable Lions.
Daniel Akpeyi: 6/10
The goalkeeper was breached twice in the game, although he had played 180 minutes without conceding. He was beaten in the near post and a second goal came from point blank range; there was little he could have done.
But, Akpeyi didn’t do enough to organize his defence and it saw the back four in disarray, switching off in the latter stages of the first half; when Cameroon scored their goals.
Kenneth Omeruo: 7/10
The Center Half was solid again in his performance, sweeping at the back even as he also covered for Ola Aina. He was beaten in an aerial challenge leading to Cameroon’s second goal and he was high up the pitch.
William Troost-Ekong: 6/10
He was ghosting in the game and didn’t really impose himself as the anchor in the heart of the Super Eagles defence.
Chidozie Awaziem: 6.5/10
The Right-back was busied by the Cameroon attack. Awaziem showed composure still and though he can be very casual momentarily; one of such moments producing the cross that lead to Cameroon’s leveler.
He also showed more of his knack to move up the pitch and was involved in Nigeria’s second goal, delivering an important cross inside the box for Ahmed Musa, who set up Odion Ighalo for his second of the game.
Ola Aina: 6.5/10
For the fourth game in the competition, Ola Aina has not looked out of place as a left-back. He was peppered and bamboozled by the more physical Cameroon players, but he held out.
Oghenekaro Etebo: 6.5/10
Few misplaced passes and even fewer upfield runs characterized his game on the day. He kept it simple, although the Nigerian midfield was quite leaky as Cameroon enjoyed spells, forcing the Eagles back into their defensive third.
Wilfred Ndidi: 6.5/10
He had an average performance by his standards, yet it was solid enough to help shore up as the partnership with Etebo scaled through the Cameroon hurdle by with a few skirmishes.
Alex Iwobi: 7/10
The 23 year-old was deployed as Creative midfielder; a test-drive that yet didn’t prove entirely successful, but a porous Cameroon defence and over ambitious midfield allowed him space and he punished them.
Iwobi scored his first goal for Nigeria in a competitive fixture since 2017 and his first goal since the Europa League final; the winner this time.
Ahmed Musa: 6/10
Poor decision making in the final third, poor passes and very little contribution in his defensive duties, but Musa made up for the lot as he provided a fine assist; selfless thing, to Ighalo for Nigeria’s leveler.
Moses Simon: 5.5/10
His best contribution to the game was in the defensive duties for Nigeria and he did very well. He was later substituted in the second half for a player with more attacking intent.
Odion Ighalo: 9/10
A brace and an assist for the Top 9. He barely put a foot wrong and perhaps could have scored earlier than his first goal but he was caught offside. He bossed the Cameroon defence and took his chances however they came.
Samuel Chukwueze: 6.5/10
He brought some excitement to the game for the Eagles with his runs. He would take on defenders; running at them and allowing the other forwards time and space.
His introduction sparked Nigeria into life; the team scored two goals five minutes after the youngster stepped on the pitch.
Paul Onuachu: 5/10
He replaced Ighalo with five minutes left to play and his impact, instantly, wasn’t entirely positive as he committed a foul and just couldn’t replicate Ighalo’s aura.
Leon Balogun: 5/10
The 31 year-old was introduced with two minutes of additional time left to play. Obviously for game management, to shore up the defence but he didn’t really have much to do.
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