By Wale Mustapha
Nigeria surrendered a first half lead to Ivory Coast as the host nation came from behind for a 2-1 victory and claimed the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations title for the third time in their history on Sunday.
The entertaining final decided at the Alhassan Outarra Stadium, Ebimpe in Abidjan on Sunday saw the Ivorians scoring two second half goals from Frank Kessie and Sebastian Haller to rendered William Troost-Ekong’s headed goal in the first half a mere consolation.
Nigeriafootball.ng runs the rule on how Jose Peseiro’s men performed in the defeat.
Stanley Nwabali – 7.5/10
Nwabali kept the Super Eagles in the game with the saves in the first half, control his goal areas and was timely with the interceptions. He could have done better with the first goal though.
Olaoluwa Aina – 6/10
He was under pressure for the entire duration as he had to deal with Adingra’s pace. He could not have much time to join the attack and was unable to stop Adingra from delivering the cross for the winning goal.
Zaidu Sanusi – 6/10
The FC Porto left back did well with his tackles and interceptions in defense. He kept Max Gradel under check.
He could have done better with the chance he had to score in the first half.
Semi Ajayi – 6.5/10
Ajayi was rock solid in the first half and was all over Haller. He won three aerial duels and two interceptions.
He could not maintain the same defensive ability till the end, especially the let off with the Ivory Coast’s second goal.
William Troost-Ekong – 7/10
A leader in his usual ways. He made himself available for the big moment to Nigeria’s lone goal. He could have got the second from another corner. However, he was too slow to close down Haller with the winning goal.
Calvin Bassey – 5.5/10
The Fulham centre back had a terrible game. He made five faulty passes and hardly win any aerial contests.
Alex Iwobi – 4/10
Iwobi started well with his tackles and markings but phase out of the game in the the second period.
Frank Onyeka – 7.5/10
Arguably Nigeria’s best player of the night. Onyeka was all over the Ivorian midfielders.
He had six interceptions, two blocks and three tackles.
Ademola Lookman – 6/10
Lookman was kept out by Ivorian defenders, though he won few take ons and three free kicks.
He couldn’t not provide the needed initiatives to get past the opponent’s defense.
Samuel Chukwueze – 4/10
The AC Milan had no business starting the game as he was unable to initiative a single attack on the right flank.
Victor Osimhen – 6.5/10
The Napoli’s striker was a threat to the Ivorian defenders winning three aerial contests, three fouls and three take ons. He seemed lost in the second half as the Ivorians added more hands to put him under check.
Moses Simon – 6/10
He was an instant hit and did well with his dribbles and take ons. He also helped the team to defend well.
Yusuf Alhassan – 5/10
The young midfielder slotted in well when he came in for Iwobi. He reduced the Ivorians’ midfield control.
Kelechi Iheanacho – 6/10
The Leicester City wide man added more bites to Nigeria’s attack. He went close to find an equalizer but was denied by Ivorian defenders. His deliveries from set pieces were spot on bug could have done better.
Joe Aribo – N/A
He couldn’t make any significant impact.
Terem Moffi – 5/10
He seemed to have come in little late but did well to win two aerial contests and a take on.