Nigeria took a 4-1 lead over Sierra Leone into the interval but somehow managed to end the game in a 4-4 draw in what should go down as one of the Super Eagles’ most disappointing matches on home soil.
Soccernet.ng‘s Imhons Erons highlights how the Nigerian stars fared on the night.
GK: Maduka Okoye – 5/10
A pretty terrible evening for the young Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper after conceding four goals in his first competitive game for Nigeria.
Sierra Leone didn’t test him much bar that Kwame Quee strike late in the first half, but shipping three goals in the second 45 would have seen his confidence taken a hit. A forgettable night for the youngster.
RFB: Kevin Akpoguma – 5/10
The Hoffenheim defender would have expected a more comfortable evening against the supposed African minnows, but he would have been shocked about how physical the African game can get.
Rohr, though, will have trouble explaining how he invited two right full-backs only to start a centre-back out of position.
CB: Leon Balogun – 7/10
The Rangers man was exceptional for the 61 minutes he was on the pitch complementing well with vice-captain Troost-Ekong.
But the Eagles’ defence seemed to fall apart after the Rangers man was injured and replaced by Gernot Rohr.
CB: William Troost-Ekong – 5/10
The Udinese defender tried in vain to marshall the Super Eagles defence line in the second half, but there is no excuse for how the team collapsed in the last 20 minutes of the encounter.
The whole team is to blame for the four goals conceded, but Troost-Ekong and his partners in defence should expectedly be the first in the line of criticisms to come in the coming days.
LFB: Zaidu Sanusi – 7/10
You could scarcely believe this is Sanusi’s first competitive game for Nigeria.
The Porto defender’s influence, energy, and composure on that left-wing show why the gaffer preferred him to Fulham’s Ola Aina and Paderborn’s Jamiu Collins.
Sanusi gets forward forward pretty well but needs to improve his defensive awareness.
He faultered with the team after the break.
MF: Oghenekaro Etebo – 6/10
Energetic all-round display in the first-half but found the going tough in the second half.
It was not one of his best games for the Super Eagles, and the team certainly missed the presence of a cultured defensive midfielder.
MF: Joe Aribo – 6/10
Like the entire team, Aribo impressed in the first half and was tamed in the second half, when complacency set in for Gernot Rohr and his men.
The Rangers ace needed a proper defensive midfielder besides him to fully focus on his playmaking duties but Rohr knows best.
MF: Alex Iwobi – 9/10
A few Super Eagles stars can lay claim to this game’s Man-of-the-match award, but Iwobi could boast the loudest claim after scoring twice on Friday.
The Everton midfielder handed Nigeria a great start with a fourth-minute strike that settled the home team’s nerves and scattered the away side’s game plan. He then made it 3-0 for the hosts in the 27th minute.
It was Iwobi’s seventh and eighth goal in his 39th game for the Super Eagles, and he would have enjoyed that brace.
He was at fault, though, for the Leone Stars equalizer and he would have gladly exchanged his double for a Super Eagles victory on the night.
RF: Ahmed Musa (c) – 6/10
The Super Eagles captain was a shadow of his fast, jet-heeled self, and it was no surprise to see him hauled off on the hour mark.
The scoreline was still 4-1 when he was substituted on the hour-mark, but he will not have escaped much of the bashings likely to follow this deflating draw.
LF: Samuel Chukwueze – 7/10
The Villarreal man is, without a doubt, a precocious talent, and it was all evident when he scored a worldie to make it 4-0 to the Super Eagles.
The former Golden Eaglets star left the Leone Star’s full-back marking him, Kamara, on his pants with an incredible piece of skill before firing into the roof of the net.
Chukwueze’s game, though, is still littered with unforced errors and one in particular late in the first half gifted the Leone Stars their opening goal in the first half.
CF: Victor Osimhen – 8/10
The Napoli striker made it 2-0 to Gernot Rohr’s men midway into the first half, finishing off a brilliant cross from fullback Zaidu Sanusi.
That was Osimhen’s fourth goal in three qualifying matches for Nigeria, with the 21-year-old steadily building his reputation as a prolific striker.
Passion, energy, dynamism. This lad is going places.