By Wale Mustapha
The Nigeria’s senior men’s national team secured a semifinal berth of 2023 African Cup of Nations, AFCON tournament following their 1-0 win over the Palancas Negras of Angola in the quarterfinal matchup on Friday.
Ademola Lookman scored the decisive goal following a brilliant cut back pass from Moses Simon in the first. Jose Peseiro’s men kept the dream to win their fourth title alive with another masterclass display against the Angolans.
Following the hard-fought triumph, Nigeriafootball chronicles how the team fared in the victory.
Stanley Nwabali – 8.5/10
Nwabali once again proved he’s best fit to man super Eagles’ goal post with his heroic performance against the Palancas Negra
His timely interceptions, quick start of the game, incredible kicks by both hands and leg,
identifying dangers and making important saves added to his archives as solution to Nigeria’s goalkeeping crisis.
Semi Ajayi – 7/10
Ajayi was able to show why he’s perfect fit for Jose Peseiro’s formation with three at the back.
He was able to do the job of forming a strong wall on the right side of defense with Aina and also presented himself as last man in defense on few occasions Ekong was caught napping.
William Troost-Ekong – 7.5/10
Ekong was more of a silent operator against the Angolans. He was excellent in most of aerial contests and his tackles went in on time. His only let off almost cost Nigeria from conceding in the second half but recovered on time to take good care of situations.
Calvin was outstanding with his primary responsibility as he was able to deny the Angolans from making meaningful incursions into Nigeria goal area. However, he was a bit rash in few of his tackles which got his name on the referee’s book.
How Nigeria’s Super Eagles fared in dominant win over Angola Aina put up another incredible performance against the Angolans warding off threats on the right side of Nigeria’s defense.
His recoveries were excellent and also did well in few occasions he had space to join attack.
He was however limited to few crosses and rooms in attack as caution for eventual threats from the opponent.
Sanusi Zeidu – 6/10
The FC Porto man was articulate with his defending against the Angolans putting the right foot forward at best time.
He won a number of fouls during recoveries and his low blocks were excellent.
However, as it was observed in other games, Zeidu still need more attacking sense when the moments present itself for him. Props
Frank Onyeka – 7/10
Onyeka had been described as the big tank placed in front of Nigeria’s defense.
The Brentford midfielder has been excellent with his tackles, aerial contests and interceptions.
He took his game to another level against the physical Angolans which later tell on him at the latter stage of the game. But he did excellently well with ball recoveries.
Iwobi did well to be the second shield for Super Eagles’ defense, a new role he’s fitting into and delivering well on it. He was handed a rare moments to take aim at goal but his techniques left him down.
Moses Simon – 8.5/10
Though there were more players that merited the player of the match award but no one would question the choice of Simon as winner of it.
The Nantes’ winger was able to utilized the needed spaces on both flanks interchanging positions with Lookman, a class act decision that left the Angolans’ defense in disarray all through the night. He was able to pick out his man for the final pass for the goal and more of it were provided which were not utilized.
Ademola Lookman – 8.5/10
Another incredible performance from the Atalanta man as he continue to put himself in the minds and faces of Nigerians as one of the that deserves more plaudits.
His sense of reading the game and making himself available have been fantastic. One of them saw him arrived at best time to poke home the winner. Lookman is indeed on the ascendancy with the Super Eagles.
Victor Osimhen – 7.5/10
A trojan in the attack, Osimhen delivered once again as expected with his marauding runs into important spaces that caused worries for the Angola defense.
One of his runs opened the opponent’s defense that allowed Lookman connected well with cutback pass from Simon for Nigeria’s goal. He could have capped the night a good goal but was chalked off for offside.
Alhassan Yusuf – 5.5/10
He came at the right time when the Super Eagles needed a fresh leg in midfield to cut off Angolans’ onslaughts.
He made two interceptions denying the Palancas Negras from gaining access to a vital areas.
Joe Aribo – 4/10
The Southampton midfielder was brought in to replace injured Onyeka with three minutes to see out the game.
He was only seen adding more numbers to Nigeria defense as the Eagles were on the back foot from them on.
Paul Onuachu – 3/10
He didn’t much to do as the game was almost settled, however, his only involvement was to kill the time which he didn’t disappoint.
Kenneth Omeruo – NA
Didn’t really make any impact as he was brought in at the final minute of the match.