The Super Eagles of Nigeria went away to the Baba Yara Stadium to pick a 0-0 result against Ghana in the first leg of their Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier.
The game was pretty balanced, with both sides creating few chances, but nothing concrete really emerged as both sides had to settle for a goalless stalemate.
Some Super Eagles stars were excellent on the night, while some were pretty much average. Soccernet rates the performances of the stars that were in action for Nigeria.
Francis Uzoho, 8/10: Uzoho was brilliant on his return to the goalposts for Nigeria. The Omonia man filled in brilliantly for first-choice shot-stopper Maduka Okoye who is currently out with Covid-19. Uzoho organised his defenders properly and was always on hand to make brilliant interventions when he was needed.
William Troost-Ekong, 6/10: he was average on the night. His lack of game time at his club was clear to see as he struggled to keep up the pace with the Ghanaian attack. Stopped Ayew’s advances on occasions and filled in for the advancing Aina when he goes on his attacking forays. He’s had better days with the Super Eagles.
Leon Balogun 7.5/10: the Rangers man played smart football on the night. Although slower than the Ghanaian attackers, Balogun made up for it with some decent tackles. He took no prisoners and did well to coordinate the defence on the night.
Ola Aina, 7.5/10: Aina has not played a game for Torino since he returned from the Africa Cup of Nations. But he showed his club what they are missing out on, as he was disciplined on the night, repelling every attack that came his way. He also made some attacking bursts, but nothing came from them. However, he did his primary duty, which was to ensure that the right-wing was on lockdown.
Zaidu Sanusi, 6/10: the Porto speedster had a good showing, ensuring that he kept Abdul Fatawu in check. He brought his physicality into play and he occasional brilliant runs in attack. Overall, it was a disciplined show from the left-back.
Innocent Bonke, 6.5/10: Bonke was decent in the defensive midfield role. He struggled to flow with Aribo at times, but he was a pain in the neck of the Ghanaians. He made a few needless tackles, but his ball retention and distribution in some moments was brilliant.
Joe Aribo, 6.5/10: the Rangers man again struggled to gel with Bonke in the middle of the park, but his presence in midfield was surely felt. He was constantly in duels against the Black Stars, and most times, he came out on top. Showed excesses on some occasions and was hauled off before the hour mark. He could have done well to find Osimhen in the first half but he ballooned the ball over.
Kelechi Iheanacho, 5.5/10: the Leicester City man was tasked with creating opportunities for the Super Eagles, but he struggled in a very physical game. He however created the best opportunity of the night by any of both sides and was fluffed by Moses Simon. Stayed on in the game as he had intelligent combinations on occasions.
Moses Simon, 5/10: Simon was a shadow of the fiery winger we saw at AFCON. The Nantes man failed to create anything from the left. His dribbling was poor on the night. He offered some defensive assistance, but asides from that, he added nothing else. He also missed a glorious chance.
Samuel Chukwueze, 4/10: Chukwueze looked dangerous from the wings at times, but he could not create anything decent. However, he had a few good spells in the attack. Still, the Villarreal man could have done better and looked to make decisions late on the night.
Victor Osimhen, 6.5/10: Osimhen hassled and hustled all night as he fed from scraps all evening. Had an opportunity in the first half but couldn’t connect an overweighted Sanusi cross. Was a thorn in the flesh of the defensive pairing of Alex Djiku and Daniel Amartey but he’s had far better days in Nigerian colours.
Oghenekaro Etebo, 6/10: Steadied play when he came on and was a breath of experience to the Nigerian midfield. His calmness helped ease the attackers but picked up a needless yellow for dissent after Nigeria’s penalty was chalked off.
Emmanuel Dennis, 6/10: Looked a lot more composed than Chukwueze on the right. His introduction would have given the Nigerian bench new directions. His decision making was a lot better and may be in contention to start in the second leg.
Ademola Lookman, 5/10: A very difficult debut for the Leicester attacker. He didn’t do much in the game and struggled to cope with the strength of the Ghanaians and frenetic pace of the game. Not the flying start he’d have fantasised about.
Frank Onyeka, 6/10: Had a steady performance and brought composure to the Nigerian midfield. His runs were equally good. Had a brilliant moment in the at stages of the game as he sold a dummy to two Ghanaian defenders but failed to find a target man in the box.
Calvin Bassey, 5/10: Showed there is a lot to hope for, as he attempted some attacking bursts down the left. Was beaten for pace by Bukari on occasions but also proved some physicality. Not a bad debut for the Rangers defender but must have been a difficult one.