The Super Eagles delivered an excellent performance to secure a 2-1 win over Cape Verde in a thoroughly enjoyable game at the Estádio Municipal Adérito Sena in Mindelo.
Nigeria were missing eight UK-based stars, including seven starters from the team that defeated Liberia 2-0 in Lagos on Friday, but still had enough quality to tame the Blue Sharks.
Here’s how the Super Eagles fared against the Cape Verde Islands:
Maduka Okoye, 5.5
The Sparta Rotterdam shot-stopper had very little to do until he picked up the ball from the back of his net following Cape Verde’s opener.
With a surprisingly composed defence in front of him, Okoye didn’t have much to do afterwards.
Abdullahi Shehu, 6.5
The Cyprus-based fullback’s lung-bursting run forward on the overlap created Nigeria’s first sight on goal, but Ahmed Musa’s wasteful finish denied the defender an assist.
But he was nowhere near his area when Tavares race through to put the Blue Sharks ahead.
Kenneth Omeruo, 7.0
The Leganes star savoured his defensive partnership with Awaziem until the hosts broke through to net the opening goal.
Skippered the team brilliantly after Musa was withdrawn.
Chidozie Awaziem, 7.5
Awaziem could have earned Nigeria a penalty midway through the first 45, but the referee didn’t spot an opponent’s blow to Awaziem’s head in the danger area.
He cut out a few dangers at the back and was ever willing to snuff out Cape Verde’s attacks. Very solid performance from the Boavista man.
Jamilu Collins, 8.0
The Paderborn fullback managed to find the right balance between attack and defence, and it was his low cross that led to Osimhen’s equaliser. It was a delight to see him combine beautifully with Ejuke severally.
Innocent Bonke, 7.0
Bonke, on his debut, was asked to step for Wilfred Ndidi, and he didn’t do a bad job at all.
A few firm tackles from the Malmo man in the first few minutes showed the Cape Verdeans that he was a no-nonsense midfielder.
Kingsley Michael, 7.0
Circumstances threw Michael into the Super Eagles starting eleven in a crucial World Cup away fixture, but he didn’t look out of place one bit.
The Bologna midfielder kept his passes simple, his tackles firm, and his positioning spot on for the most part. A bright future awaits.
Ahmed Musa, 6.5
The skipper struck an early shot over the bar and looked overwhelmed by his assigned task of a playmaker.
Musa met a driven Osimhen’s pass with a lame volley early in the second half, and his afternoon didn’t get better from there on.
Chidera Ejuke, 8.5
Ejuke was the liveliest Nigerian player in the first half with his cute dribbles and tricky runs.
He caused a lot of problems on the left flank and was close to his first Super Eagles goal with a fine shot which the opposing goalkeeper acrobatically saved.
Man-of-the-match display from the former Heerenveen star.
Moses Simon, 7.0
The majority of the Super Eagles’ attacks in the opening half-hour came through the Nantes man down the right flank until Ejuke grew into the encounter.
A couple of over-hit crosses here and there watered down his quality display.
He started the second half brightly again but tired out and was replaced.
Victor Osimhen, 8.0
The Napoli man was at the right place to stab home the Super Eagles opener, his first goal in this World Cup qualifying series.