HOW THE SUPER EAGLES OF NIGERIA RATED AGAINST ENGLAND

HOW THE SUPER EAGLES OF NIGERIA RATED AGAINST ENGLAND

A horrific first half performance followed by a thrilling second 45 showed the two sides of Gernot Rohr’s young Super Eagles as they lost 2-1 to England at Wembley on Saturday night.

Abysmal displays all over the pitch, including Rohr’s choice of tactics, left Nigeria exposed time and time again in the first half.

However, positives will be taken from the collective performance after the break, and how well they adapted to the coach’s formation tweaks after the break.

FRANCIS UZOHO 8

Save after save proved without a doubt who owns the Nigeria number one jersey. Without the 19-year-old stopper, the first half scoreline could have been very ugly. Uzoho made at least seven outstanding saves in the first 45, though he will be upset that he didn’t get more behind Harry Kane’s shot for the second goal. His handling of crosses was impressive, as was the way he organized his defence. His only shortcoming is his distribution; almost everything he sent out went to the opposition.

SHEHU ABDULLAHI 5

Usually one of the more reliable players in the back-four, Abdullahi didn’t have the best of games. Ashley Young got behind him within the opening three minutes, and that was the way it carried on for the remaining 42 as well. To be fair, he was not getting much help from his wide forward, and suffered from getting no cover from midfield too.

BRYAN IDOWU 8

Even in that horror first half, Idowu made only one significant error, allowing Kieron Trippier to get past him for a cross. Outside of that, his reading of the play and two excellent tackles — including one to stop a close-range goalbound effort — has marked him as the left-back of choice. As if that wasn’t already obvious …

WILLIAM TROOST-EKONG 7

Troost-Ekong was at fault for losing Gary Cahill for the first goal, but spent the rest of the game making amends, including combining with Idowu to make one decisive tackle and shield Uzoho when the goalkeeper coughed up a shot into traffic. He also showed great pace keep up with Danny Welbeck when the forward beat John Ogu.

LEON BALOGUN 6

Collided early on with Joel Obi, and never quite looked the same after. He rescued Idowu on the one occasion when the left-back made a mistake.

OGENYI ONAZI 5

An absolute nightmare of a game for Onazi. He tackled badly, his passes went astray more often than not, and he gave away the ball for the second goal. Not a game he will want to see again.

JOEL OBI 5

Obi was another who had a horror outing. He is a much better player than this, and perhaps in trying too hard to impress, he made things worse. He clashed heads with Balogun when he didn’t even need to be there, and then clattered into Idowu in a similar situation.

JOHN MIKEL OBI 8

The captain looked just as lost as the other midfielders in the first half, uncharacteristically giving the ball away too often. He improved considerably in the second half after the tactical tweak and took control of the midfield, glided past four England players at one point.

ALEX IWOBI 9

Looked slightly missing in the first half, especially without the support of Shehu behind him. But the real Iwobi emerged in the second and showed just how important he is to the side. He got into a great position to turn in Ighalo’s rebound.

VICTOR MOSES 7

The Chelsea man showed up in spells, books like he needs more training after taking time off for a second honeymoon. Looked dangerous when he took on players, turning Trippier and Harry Kane on separate occasions, but largely quiet for the most part.

ODION IGHALO 8

Ighalo showed great strength, and excellent hold-up play and movement. He lacked supply in the first half, but still found space to turn his man and get Nigeria’s first shot on target. His second shot came off the post for Iwobi to finish.

Substitutes

TYRONNE EBUEHI 9

What an excellent game! He kept pace with Sterling when he needed to, showed strength to dispossess the England man on another occasion, and great attacking instincts in a combination play with Ighalo to isolate Young. Nigeria’s Man of the Match.

JOHN OGU 8

Came on as third centre-back and immediately shut down England on the left side. Made at least three decisive interceptions to break up dangerous attacks, and had the presence of mind to play simple balls out. Beaten for pace on one occasion by Welbeck, but Ekong was there to rescue him.

KENNETH OMERUO 8

Came on at half-time along with Ogu to join Ekong in a three-man backline, and was excellent in plugging the holes previously exploited by the Three Lions. He dispossessed Raheem Sterling so cleanly on one occasion that the England forward didn’t even know he had lost the ball.

OGHENEKARO ETEBO 8

An outstanding outing from the Feirense man after replacing Onazi in a holding midfield role. Not only did he win tackle after tackle, but his passing and movement also allowed Mikel to take control of the midfield.

AHMED MUSA 8

Musa looked like a man on a mission when he came on, with his pace troublling Kyle Walker no end. He could have scored with his first touch, but for his cutback being just too heavy.

KELECHI IHEANACHO 6

Came on for Ighalo with 15 minutes left and proved a different proposition for the defence.

Colin Udoh
Football Editor, KweséESPN

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Nigerians in South Africa
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