The Super Eagles delivered a composed performance to power past the Lone Star with a 2-0 win at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in the first group match of the World Cup qualifying series.
Starring quality players mainly plying their trade in the UK, Italy, Germany, and France, the Eagles dominated for the most part as Gernot Rohr’s men claimed a fine win.
Soccernet.ng‘s Imhons Erons reviews the Nigerian stars’ performances against the Liberians.
Maduka Okoye, 6.5
The Sparta Rotterdam shot-stopper had very little to do during the first half. And save for a clearance and a routine save, the young goalkeeper barely touched the ball after the break.
Okoye would be pleased to keep a clean sheet in the Eagles’ first game in Group C.
Ola Aina, 7.5
Aina is probably Nigeria’s best right full-back, and he once again was excellent in defence and attack. He was close to assisting Iheanacho to complete his hat-trick, but the ex-Man City man headed above the bar.
William Troost-Ekong, 7.0
The Watford defender rarely put a foot wrong all afternoon. He was beaten for the pace by an opposing attacker midway through the second half, but he would be relieved to see his goalkeeper unbeaten against the Lone Star.
Leon Balogun, 6.5
It was no surprise to see the Rangers’ centre-back in the first XI after his fantastic performance against Celtic last weekend.
The 33-year-old made a couple of errors in the first half but put in a few solid tackles to make his presence felt and help keep a clean sheet.
Jamilu Collins, 7.0
The Paderborn full-back showed with his defensive solidity why he was preferred in the starting lineup ahead of Porto’s Zaidu Sanusi.
Wilfred Ndidi, 7.5
Firm in the tackle, Ndidi was often in the right place to snuff out the dangerous attacks of the Liberians.
His expert control of proceedings from midfield and his marshalling of the area in front of the Eagles defence showed why he is constantly rated among the world’s best in his position.
Joe Aribo, 7.0
Aribo’s forward runs gave Nigeria the first sight of the goal a few minutes into the encounter.
But the Rangers talisman had a tough afternoon as his work was cut out by the physical Liberian central midfielders. Outmuscled a couple of times but, to his credit, he never stopped trying.
Alex Iwobi, 8.0
Iwobi struggled to get a grip of the match earlier in the first half as Liberia’s Allen Njie kept a close look on him.
But the Everton playmaker grew into the game, had a hand in his side’s opening goal before deftly setting up Iheanacho’s second goal with a clever, headed pass.
Moses Simon, 6.5
Ligue 1 side Nantes has enjoyed Simon’s fine runs and positive contributions this term, and he gave a bit of that for the Eagles with his solid showing. Proper delivery on a couple of occasions could have seen him bag at least an assist.
Kelechi Iheanacho, 9.0
The Leicester City man opened the scoring for the Super Eagles with his first competitive goal for the team since 2017 and added a second shortly after with an expert finish.
A man of the match display from the former FIFA U-17 World Cup winner.
Victor Osimhen, 6.5
Osimhen was left frustrated for the most part as his teammates’ passes failed to locate him even when he was well placed.
Not a good way to start the campaign for the Napoli lad, but there are plenty of opportunities ahead to help the team with his goals.
Paul Onuachu, 6.0
Onuachu had just over 20 minutes to affect the game but couldn’t as the visitors shielded their goal better in the closing stages.
Samuel Kalu, 6.0
The Bordeaux man featured in his first match for the Super Eagles since he collapsed in a Ligue 1 match last month. But there was not much time to wrought his magic.
Shehu Abdullahi & Ahmed Musa, 6.0
The veteran duo was introduced into the game too late to make any meaningful impact. Captain Musa looked sharp, though, the few times he touched the ball.