Monday, March 30, 2015

South Africa vs Nigeria: Player ratings

A goal in added time gave South Africa a 1-1 draw with Nigeria’s Super Eagles in an international friendly in Nelspruit on Sunday.

The game, coming four days after a drab 1-0 loss to the Cranes of Uganda, gave the Eagles an opportunity to redeem their image against a team they haven’t lost to in a competitive game.

Nigeria put on a much improved display in Mpumalanga than they did in Uyo, despite the fact that the football wasn't exactly pleasing to the eyes.

Player ratings for the game

Daniel Akpeyi:
Last minute replacement for Vincent Enyeama, who had to withdraw from the squad. Made two brilliant saves in the early stages of the game.

His penalty save against Andile Jali was top notch and his defenders didn't help clear the danger when he spilled later on for Zungu to equalise.

Nigeria's Man of the Match in an exciting game.

Rating: 8.5

Leon Balogun:

Another decent shift by the SV Darmstadt defender, who definitely would have done his growing reputation no harm.

Balogun was as good defensively as he was on the offensive side of the Super Eagles. He surely would have cemented his place in the team with his performances against Uganda and South Africa.

Rating: 6.5

Chima Akas:

The Sharks FC left-back looked lost for most of the game and gave away possession needlessly, especially in the first half.

He was quite poor in the tackle and was taken to the cleaners on a number of occasions by Oupa Manyisa. He hasn't adapted to international football yet.

Kingsley Sokari:

Had a rather quite game in an unfamiliar position in the midfield. He was more concerned with tracking back and helping in the defence than his creative duties.

Sokari was to be the creative man in the middle that had grafters like Ogenyi Onazi and Hope Akpan, but didn't have enough time to get going as he was substituted at the start of the second half.

Rating: 5.0

Ahmed Musa:

Captained Nigeria on the night and didn't exactly sparkle even though he scored a fantastic goal to crown his first match with the captain's armband.

Musa had a few chances to create something for Nigeria but poor decisions and a heavy touch denied him that.

He came alive after his sumptuous goal and will be satisfied with his output in Nelspruit.

Rating: 7.0

John Ogu:

Second-half substitute who added more steel to the Eagles midfield and did all the basic things right.
His left leg packs a shot and his 45-minute cameo would have done his recall a lot of credit.

Rating: 5.0

Moses Simon:
Started his first game for Nigeria and was largely anonymous for most parts of the first half, which was as long as he lasted.
He started in a diamond with Aaron Samuel at the tip but was stifled by the South African team.

Rating: 4.5

Odion Ighalo:

Came on as a substitute for Aaron Samuel in the second half and put himself about.

Ighalo's confidence on the ball was inspiring and he has done enough to show he can flourish in a good system.

Rating: 4.0

Nelson Ogbonnaya:

The Heartland defender is gradually proving to be a revelation in the Super Eagles set up.
Winning his fourth cap, Ogbonnaya put in a decent shift at the heart of the Eagles defence and had a couple of interceptions.

He's a bit rough round the edges but has shown enough promise

Rating: 6.0

Godfrey Oboabona:

Came on for Kenneth Omerou early in the second half when the Middlesbrough man picked up an injury. He looked a bit heavy and off the pace and was probably the weakest link in the Super Eagles defence.

He conceded the penalty kick that South Africa fluffed and looked out of sorts, which raised questions about his fitness.

Rating: 3.5

Steve Ukoh:

The Austria-based midfielder came on at the start of the second half and added a bit of stability to the midfield as the Super Eagles tried to take the game to the South Africans.

A much more improved performance from his showing in Uyo against Uganda and he might just be a quality squad player in the Eagles.

Rating: 4.5

Michael Babatunde:

The Volyn of Ukraine midfielder was one of the three players introduced at the start of the second half.
Babatunde, who had a decent World Cup outing in Brazil last year, marked his comeback to the team with a decent second-half showing. He wasn't spectacular but was effective in his duties

Rating: 4.5

Hope Akpan:

Started the game like he did in Uyo four days ago, sitting just behind the defenders and protecting the back four.

He put unnecessary pressure on the defence by holding on too long to the ball and was caught in possession twice in the first half, which nearly resulted in goals. He needs to be more disciplined in his holding midfield role

Ogenyi Onazi:

Rating: 5.5

He seems to have stagnated in his growth in the Eagles. The Lazio man hasn't made the expected transition to a mainstay in the team as he didn't shore up the midfield as expected, allowing Andile Jali of South Africa to run the show.

The midfield combo laced out by Amokachi didn't help him much as he kept duplicating roles and bumping into Akpan and Musa on some occasions.

Aaron Samuel:

The Guangzhou R&F forward was a lone man upfront in the first half but was able to get some shots on target.

He used his frame to great effect and was unfortunate to be denied service for most parts of the first half. He was later substituted by Odion Ighalo in the second half.

Rating: 5.5

Kenneth Omerou:

Lasted only two minutes before injury forced him out. Didn't do much to get a rating.

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