By: Obiweluozo Martins
The Dream Team VI of Nigeria survived a scare over their opponent the Malians in the opening match of the African U-23 Championship in Senegal.
The Nigeria U-23 team ran out 3-2 winners over their fellow West African as goals from Junior Ajayi in the 16th and 46th minutes in between Usman Mohammed’s strike in the 34th minutes ensured that the U-23 Eagles held on late in the game to stay at the top of the group bagging the three points at stake to start off the tournament on a high .
Thus, the performance of the U-23 Eagles remains under focus as we cast light on how each player performed as regards to the game.
SoccerNet Nigeria evaluates the performance of the Nigeria U-23 team known as the Dream Team VI.
EMMANUEL DANIEL. (6.0)
Made a couple of saves early on but could not keep out any of Mali’s two goals as the defence was widely exposed .Not the best of the distribution from the goalie.
SINCERE SETH (6.0)
Had a decent first half with some nice defending and was credited with an assist for Usman Mohammed’s goal.
SEGUN ODUDUWA (6.0)
Put up a fine performance in the first period but faded away amid pressure from the Mali attack.
ZAHARADEEN BELLO (5.0)
Was not composed in defending as he was caught napping by the Mali attackers. Committed a foul for leg raising and was hurled off for a forgettable night.
NDIFREKE EFFIONG (4.5)
Joined the attack but his left back position was a source of weakness as Mali’s Traore utilized the area to the detriment of the team.
AZUBUIKE OKECHUKWU (5.5)
Had a nice game from deep in the first half but struggled to assert himself after the break following a tackle he received in the midfield.
USMAN MOHAMMED (6.0)
Was lively in the first period, dispatched a well time finish to double the lead but lost steam as Nigeria struggled in the second period.
STANLEY DIMGBA (6.0)
The winger acquitted himself well in the game as he supplied good crosses which resulted to two of the goals.
OGHENEKARO ETEBO (5.5)
Had a decent outing from the start but the Malians kept him in check later on as he was unable to link up the midfield with aplomb and was guilty of conceding a penalty.
TAIWO AWONIYI (5.5)
Not the best of games for the Liverpool man as he was muscled out by the Malians, also failed in an attempt to get in a cross in the second half.
JUNIOR AJAYI (6.5)
Scored a brace on the night and was starved of services after the intermission but was the reason Nigeria has to go home three points in their kitty.
AMAEFULE CHIZOBA (4.0)
Came on to add stability at the back and did enough to ensure that Nigeria secured to a narrow win.
GODSPOWER ANIEFIOK (4.5)
Was a tactical measure to solidify the defence as he came on to help out in defensive duties.