Saturday, September 2, 2017

Nigeria vs Cameroon: Player ratings- Agree or Disagree?

I don't know about you but I'm still in dreamland. I'm still reveling in Nigeria's 4-0 spanking of Cameroon on Friday night. The Super Eagles played a beautiful game and were never in danger after Cameroon's initial onslaught.

The AFCON champions were taught a football lesson by the Super Eagles who put on a masterclass to outwit, out-power and out-gun the Lions.

Everyone put in a decent shift and I'm glad we got the three points which have firmly cemented our place at the top of Group B.

Before kick-off, I was a bit apprehensive about the goalkeeping and left back areas but I'm glad both Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Elderson Echiejile stood tall-and were counted.

Action. Pic courtesy Pulse TV.

My player ratings -Do you agree or disagree

Ikechukwu Ezenwa: Hero of the day and for many reasons too. Elevated from third choice to first choice and he did enough to show he can be trusted to hold forth when things go North.

The FC Ifeanyi Ubah goalkeeper showed composure for most parts, plucked balls from the air and even did a 'Kidiaba' for good measure when the Eagles scored.

Ezenwa does the 'Kidiaba'

He came out with flying colors in his most important Super Eagles game (I'm sure there will be more if he keeps such form)

Game- 8.5/10

Shehu Abdullahi: He did all the simple things right and defended pretty well save for when he caught out twice by Bassagog. He showed confidence going forward didn't look threatened by the Cameroon attack.

The right back slot looks to be in his books except for Ola Aina, a specialised right back who can also play left back displaces him.

Game- 8/10

Elderson Echiejile: He was a huge disappointment vs South Africa and it came as a surprise that Rohr stuck with him against the Cameroonians. Fortunately, he repaid that faith and did extremely well against Vincent Aboubakar and Christian Bassogog.

Nothing fancy just effective. Playing regularly in Turkey has surely done him good physically and mentally.


Leon Balogun: Absolute rock in Nigeria's defence and was sorely missed against South Africa. The Mainz defender brought stability to the Eagles defence and his combination with William Troost-Ekong helped Nigeria keep a clean sheet for the first time since the qualifiers started.

He bested the Cameroon attackers aerially and was quite strong in the challenge as the Eagles stooped and conquered.

On the flip side, he and Ekong are trending on social media. Check the hashtag #OyinboWall. Crazy.

Oyibo Wall.

William Troost-Ekong: Alongside Balogun, he made the Eagles central areas impregnable with timely attackers and aerial clearances. Aboubacar and Moukandju had nothing on him as he answered all the questions thrown at him by the Cameroon attack.

He also showed plenty gusto in his play especially int he first half by bringing the ball out of defence and helping to set up attacks. Ekong's combination with Leon Balogun will surely gladden Gernot Rohr's heart.

Game- 8/10

Mikel John Obi: His presence was the reason Nigeria won. Forget the goals (errr...not quite) and watch the game again. He was a calming influence in the Nigeria team and brought his experience to bear for the Eagles.

Even when Nigeria was under pressure from Cameroon in the opening 15 minutes, like a true general, he took the mantle and steadied the ship.

For good measure, he showed more endeavor than I've seen him in an Eagles shirt for a long time and then popped up to score the second goal for Nigeria just before the break.

A huge performance from the captain considering he just came back from injury and wasn't exactly 100 percent reason why he was taken off in the second half.

Leader. Captain. Legend
Game- 9/10

Ogenyi Onazi: The Trabzonspor midfielder also put in a decent shift and had arguably his best performance in an Eagles shirt in two years. He was all over the park helping to start Nigeria's attack as well as tracking back to help the full backs when needed.

He made crucial interceptions and was always looking to get the ball off the Cameroon midfield- a job he did with aplomb.

Onazi also got forward when needed which lead to his inch perfect cross for substitute Kelechi Iheanacho to make hay for Nigeria's fourth goal.

Game: 8/10

Wilfred Ndidi: A gladiator in the middle of the park, an ant looking to bite and chew the ball off Cameroon - a job he did effectively.

He did give a few wayward passes but there weren't enough to create problems for Nigeria. His engine didn't tire one bit for the duration and looks like a future Super Eagles captain in the making.

Game: 7.5/10

Moses Simon: Took him time before he got going and when he did, it was for good measure. The KAA Gent man was in full flight from the flanks as he tormented the Cameroon to El Dorado and back.

His crossing seems to have improved too and like Onazi, he had probably his best game in ages. A few tweaks here and there and 'Daddy' will be unplayable.

Collins Fai and the rest of the Cameroon brigade will agree with me no doubt.

Game: 8/10

Victor Moses: My MOTM, just edging Mikel to it. To be candid, I wasn't sure what to expect from him when I saw the line-up.

He was in an advanced position in attack and knowing how his coach at Chelsea has deployed him, I was hoping his attacking instincts were still kicking.

Moses proved me wrong.

The Chelsea wing-back was brilliant all through, creating chances and tormenting the Cameroon defence with his directness and save for poor finishing, he could have gotten two goals before the break.

He did get a goal though, a brilliant finish into the bottom right corner of Ondoa's post as Nigeria tore Cameroon to rags on a cool windy Friday evening in Uyo.

Game: 9/10

Odion Ighalo: Who says China products are sub-standard? Errr.... Odion Ighalo and Mikel John Obi surely buried that myth by scoring for Nigeria and putting up a display worthy of note.

Ighalo was a thorn in the flesh of the Cameroon centre backs Teikeu and Ngadeu, in fact, both picked cautions for fouls on the former Watford man.

It was a vintage Ighalo showing his experience and composure to score Nigeria's first goal. He held off the Cameroon defender brilliantly and then cut the ball back to his left foot before slotting home.

Brilliant stuff.

An all round display and a goal got Ighalo a befitting ovation as he was substituted.

Game: 8.5/10


No grades for subs (sue me)

Ahmed Musa: He kept the pressure on Cameroon when he came on running at an already tiring Lions defence.

Kelechi Iheanacho:  Scored the fourth goal for Nigeria- his fourth in five games to cap a brilliant evening for the Super Eagles.

Mikel Agu: Replaced Mikel Obi and plugged in the holes as the Eagles held on for a clean sheet.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review. I agree with majority of your summations