Hey guys, I hope you had a wonderful weekend because I sure did. The Flying Eagles put a smile on my face after they beat Senegal 3-1 in the opening match of the 2015 Africa Youth Championship.
Believe me when I say the first group games are usually hard and playing against the hosts is much more harder so kudos must to to Manu Garba and the boys.
Two identical goals by Taiwo Awoniyi-- a quick over the top ball route one stay gave Nigeria a 2-0 leade before the Senegalese pulled a goal back through Sarr.
Ifeanyi Matthew's fantastic goal restored Nigeria's two goal advantage and the Flying Eagles were able to hold out for the win.
Here is my player ratings for those who started the game. The piece was originally done for supersport.com but reproduced here...
|Flying Eagles line up: Photcred-ShengolPix|
Nigeria’s Flying Eagles got her 2015 Africa Youth Championship campaign off to a flyer by thumping hosts Senegal 3-1 on Sunday.
A brace by Taiwo Awoniyi and a cracking effort by Ifeanyi Matthew gave Nigeria the three points and one step closer to qualifying for the 2015 Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Supersport.com rates the gladiators in the Flying Eagles team based on their performance and output in the game.
Did everything right on game day as he came up with two huge saves to keep Nigeria in the match when the Senegalese had a stranglehold on the game.
The MFM custodian stopped everything the hosts threw at him and his instinctive reaction save in the first half was world class. He could do no wrong in the game. Not at fault on the goal conceded by the Flying Eagles
The left back was a bit shaky when the game started as he couldn't cope with the physical play of the Senegalese who were more taller.
He later grew in confidence and was solid at the back while bombing forward to help the attackers when the Flying Eagles went on the offensive .
Skipper of the side who held his own at the right back position. Got into some beautiful positions in the Senegalese defence but his crosses weren't top notch.
He had a magnificent second half as he also joined up in the attack when needed. Showed his defensive side as Senegal tried to rally back into the game.
Bello had a yo-yo game. Had difficulties dealing with the size and physical side of the Senegalese attackers in the game but also grew in confidence as the game wore on.
Was caught out by Senegalese attacker Sarr on two occasions as his positioning was suspect both times. He needs to also improve on his fitness.
Izu Omego Prince
His partnership with Zaharadeen Bello was tested severely in the game. Omego did his best to curtail the hosts and won a lot of aerial balls.
The centre has to sort of who goes forward and who stays back on defensive plays with Bello as they bumped into each other on a number of occasions.
An unsung hero in the side who constantly harried and hustled for loose balls in the midfield and occasionally joined the attack.
Idowu did nothing spectacular in the game but was very efficient in his role of breaking up plays and feeding others.
One of the stand out performers on the Nigerian side. Full of running and had a great eye for picking out the attackers as he set up Taiwo Awoniyi's first goal.
Got tired in the second half before being substituted but had done enough to justify his starting position.
One of the two Ifeanyi's in the team. He was the pivot between the defence and attack and he did this to perfection.
He was also a bit jittery in the opening exchanges but gradually settled into the game and gave a good account of himself.
Scored Nigeria's third goal, a beauty of a curler from 25 yards. Matthew was the creative force in the middle for Nigeria.
The El-Kanemi Warriors play-maker has surely justified his place in the team ahead of Obinna Nwobodo whom many tipped to start ahead of him.
The FC Porto starlet started brightly and connected well with Taiwo Awoniyi in the opening exchanges.
His hold up play was fantastic and he created a couple of chances in the first half. Ezeh was part of the build up to Awoniyi's second goal. Tired out in the second half and was substituted.
|Taiwo Awoniyi: Photocred-ShengolPix|
Scored two goals in the game and was a nuisance to the Senegalese defence throughout the game. Profited from some careless defending but took his goals well.
His work rate was great and he also held up play quite good allowing Bulbwa and Ezeh to join up any time Nigeria went on the offensive. He's up and running already in the competition.