Victor Osimhen scored one penalty and was fouled for the second as Nigeria scored twice and thus took a two-point lead into the final matchday of the Qatar 2022 qualifiers. The 15th meeting between Liberia and Nigeria swung the Eagles way as they boasted nine wins from 14 matches before Saturday’s clash at the Grand Stade de Tanger in Morocco.
Coach Gernot Rohr recalled both Wilfred Ndidi and Alex Iwobi into the starting 11 while recently recalled Odion Ighalo failed to make the matchday squad.
There were defensive slips from William Troost-Ekong and Maduka Okoye and there were some good attacking forays from the Liberians, especially down Nigeria’s left flank where Jamie Collins was suspect and gave away some dangerous free-kicks.
These are the players’ ratings:
|Maduka Okoye||22||13||0||2021-10-06 00:00:00||90||Okoye was largely on holiday but when he was called upon, he made decisive interventions.|
|William Troost-Ekong||28||52||2||2021-10-05 00:00:00||90||There were some defensive slips from Ekong that could have led to goals for Liberia. The Watford centre-back does not look like the most assured defender with lofted balls-something Rohr has to urgently deal with.|
|Leon Balogun||27||42||1||6.5/10||90||The more assured central defender who tried to move the ball from defensive into offensive positions. He was solid in the tackle and had a good recovery rate.|
|Chidozie Awaziem||24||24||1||2021-10-07 00:00:00||90||Awaziem proves a reliable and aggressive defender and one not easily beaten in one-on-one duels.|
|Jamilu Collins||26||23||0||2021-10-05 00:00:00||90||Collins was the weak link and the Lone Star targeted the Eagles left flank constantly. The Paderborn defender committed careless fouls because of poor recovery.|
|Moses Simon||26||42||5||6.5/10||90||In a wingback role, Simon was aggressive in tackling back and held his position very well. He was willing to take on his man at every opportunity even though his last ball still needs improvement.|
|Wilfred Ndidi||24||41||0||2021-10-07 00:00:00||90||Ndidi’s return stabilised the front of the central defence and the Leicester man showed why he will continue to be invaluable for the Eagles into the future. A tackling machine that anticipates danger and snuffs it out unceremoniously.|
|Joe Aribo||25||11||2||2021-10-06 00:00:00||90||In the first half, Aribo was the main offensive protagonist for the Eagles and he recovered so many balls in midfield but he was a bit subdued in the second; probably on account of a positional change.|
|Alex Iwobi||25||49||9||5.5/10||62||The Everton man flitted in and out of the game. He also never simplified his approach in his attempted take-ons and lost the ball quite frequently.|
|Kelechi Iheanacho||25||35||10||5.5/10||86||Apart from the penalty he won for his side, it was hard to pinpoint any other positive contribution. Moves died at his feet as he tried too many touches before finding his teammates.|
|Victor Osimhen||22||20||11||7.5/10||90||His appetite for the game and his attitude not to settle shone throughout and he was rewarded with a goal and an assist. Always trying to gain an advantage and always provided a passing option for his teammates.|
|Chidera Ejuke||23||6||0||2021-10-05 00:00:00||28||Ejuke tried to force his way into the rhythm of the game but it did not work as planned. Towards the end, he helped the Eagles keep the ball to justify his inclusion.|
|Ahmed Musa||29||102||16||2021-10-06 00:00:00||7||Musa got almost everything wrong when he came on but he is now the highest appearance maker for the Eagles and he also scored the second goal-his 16th for the Eagles.|
|Gernot Rohr||68||54||5.5/10||In order to stop sounding like a broken record about the flat performances from Rohr’s team, it is worthy of note he is fulfilling his NFF-given mandate to qualify Nigeria for major tournaments.|
|Because if Jamilu Collins is the best player for the left wing-back role in Nigeria, then the team is in more trouble than we think!|
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