The Super Eagles won their first match of their last five on Thursday, beating the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in a 2023 Nations Cup qualifier at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja.
The less said about the pitch the better as Jose Peseiro picked up a first competitive win. Some players gave a good account of themselves while some others were not quite up to the standards expected.
|Francis Uzoho||23||90||6.5/10||Uzoho made a fingertip save to keep the Leone Stars from extending their lead in the 13th minute. Some people will say he could have done better with the goal he conceded from a diving header but he looked assured and commanding in his box.|
|Ola Aina||25||83||6/10||Maybe the bad pitch played a part but Aina always tried to win the ball from the pass and sometimes his assumptions were wrong. The Torino defender created the first goal from a sumptuous cross but he has a lot to improve to become a world-class defender.|
|William Troost-Ekong||28||78||5/10||To desist from sounding like a broken record, Ekong’s positioning, pace, and ball distribution have always been lacking and his place in this new Super Eagles team remains shaky. Another poor performance followed by injury means he will be out of the Eagles’ spotlight for a while|
|Semi Ajayi||28||90||6.5/10||Ajayi mopped up and tackled well but his use of the ball has to improve. Showed some nerves when transitioning the ball up the pitch and took time to see available passing routes.|
|Calvin Bassey||22||90||6.5/10||Bassey continued to burnish his CV with another commanding performance though his eagerness to overlap without a definite defensive midfielder left the Eagles open at times. His lax positioning created the goal for the Sierra Leoneans.|
|Alex Iwobi||26||90||8/10||Iwobi was his usual buzzing self and popped up in front of the central defenders to direct the offensive plan of the Eagles. His goal, the equaliser was well taken even though the double pivot position meant he was missing from delicate defensive positions.|
|Joe Aribo||25||90||7/10||Aribo showed his penchant for the hard yards and availability to be flexible. The Rangers man was intelligent with his movement even though he had to curtail his forward runs into the Sierra Leone box to maintain defensive solidity.|
|Moses Simon||26||90||7/10||Two intelligent assists from the Nantes’ forward were a testament to his work rate and undoubtable talent. The give-and-go with Iwobi and the cushioned header to Osimhen showed his valuable contribution to the team.|
|Samuel Chukwueze||23||83||5/10||Chukwueze sparkled in some moments but he never laid down a permanent marker. His contributions were fleeting and the goal he missed in the second half captured his form for the team. It is hard to remember the last match Chukwueze played a decisive factor for the Eagles.|
|Umar Sadiq||25||45||5/10||It was hard to see what Peseiro had in mind by starting Sadiq with Osimhen. Apart from Osimhen’s penchant for running behind the defence, both strikers charted the same course and at times were in direct line of each other.|
|Victor Osimhen||23||90||6/10||Osimhen was a constant menace, hugging the shoulder of the last Sierra Leone defenders. His goal justified his relentless hard work and when he limped off near the end, he had given his all.|
|Oghenekaro Etebo||26||45||6/10||Etebo came on at the start of the second half to plug the defensive void and the counterattacks of the Leone Stars ceased. He made crucial tackles and interventions as the Eagles got more control and ball possession.|
|Ademola Lookman||24||9||NA||Not enough time for assessment|
|Kenneth Omeruo||28||8||NA||Was physical in confrontation as he helped the Eagles hold on to the win.|
|Abdullahi Shehu||29||7||NA||Not enough time for assessment|
|Terem Moffi||23||1||NA||Not enough time for assessment|
|Jose Peseiro||62||6/10||His starting a front two of Osimhen and Sadiq was a pleasant one though it did not work out as well as he intended. His prowling and shouting from the touchline in 90 minutes was more than Rohr achieved in five years. The next match against Sao Tome in Morocco should give a clearer indication of the development of his team.|
WATCH: Governor Yahaya Bello’s Roadmap to Hope 2023
Support PREMIUM TIMES’ journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie – +2348098788999