By Wale Mustapha
Nigeria’s senior national team edged past the Djurtus of Guinea-Bissau by 1-0 victory to qualify to the knockout stage of the 2023 African Cup of Nations in Abidjan on Monday.
Opa Sangante inadvertently directed a cross from Moses Simon to his own net in the 36th minutes which handed the Super Eagles the victory.
Jose Peseiro’s men paid dearly for their profligacy and this saw the West African team finished second in Group A with seven points behind Equatorial Guinea following a 4-0 win over hosts Ivory Coast.
Nigeriafootball.ng chronicles how Super Eagles’ players performed in the win over the Djurtus.
Stanley Nwabali – 7/10
The Chippa United’s goalkeeper could not have much to do but was able to coordinate his back line and midfield which helped pushed the team forward when needed and formed a good shield at the back as well.
Bright Osayi-Samuel – 6/10
He was able to defend well, making clear cut interceptions and won aerial duels but fell short of ideas any time he joined the attack.
Hid deliveries were not as past as expected and failed to recover to defense in few occasions and almost cost the team.
Calvin Bassey – 8/10
Another commanding outing for Bassey at left back. He was able to use the physical ability to the best of the team and his quick thinking when adding to the attack was top notch.
Bassey also helped to make the defense more solid and ward off more threats from the Djurtus from right wing.
Semi Ajayi – 6/10
Ajayi could not live up to his last performance against Ivory Coast as he gave way possession earlier which had him got a yellow card.
Samuel Chukwueze – 7/10
Usual started with spark but Chukwueze fizzled out at the latter stages.
He was able to use his pace to pegged back the opponents and also denied their defenders from joining the attack but his deliveries on the flank still let him down.
Kenneth Omeruo – 8/10
Kenneth was able to fill the space for Troost-Ekong and led like a leader he is.
He didn’t make a single wrong tackles and was excellent with both aerial abilities and interceptions.
Frank Onyeka – 8/10
The Brentford midfielder as usual provided needed protection for the back and had to bump forward at some points.
His interceptions and clean tackles were fantastic especially in the first half.
Joe Aribo – 5/10
Aribo could not make a meaningful impact in the match as he somehow looked match rusty.
Moses Simon – 8/10
Simon had one of his best games in Eagles’ shirt at the tournament. He was a menace on the right flank with his runs and was able to deliver some cross with one of them led to the own goal. He truly deserved the match of the match.
Victor Osimhen – 7/10
The reigning African Footballer of the Year is still not convincing at the tournament with his missing chances.
No doubt, he kept the defense of the opponent busy all through but fell short of his main role, goal scoring.
Raphael Onyedika – 6/10
He was the perfect fit to replace tired Onyeka and the young midfielder did well to ward off attacks from the opponent. He was two aerial duels and one of long passes caused trouble in Guinea-Bissau’s goal area.
Alex Iwobi – 4/10
Just like Aribo, the Fulham man could not contribute much in the midfield.
His few passes were to the sides and to run down the time.
Ademola Lookman – 5/10
Lookman looked more sharper and direct when he came on for Chukwueze.
However, he was searching for individual glory by coming inside and tried to shoot rather than providing crosses for the striker.
Zaidu Sanusi – 5/10
He only came in to add to the numbers in defense as it was clear the team wanted to protect their slim lead.
He did not do badly but could have done better, especially when he had spaces to join attack.
Chidozie Awaziem – 4/10
He came in so late and could make a meaningful impact.