A second-ever meeting between Nigeria and Guinea Bissau went down at the Moshood Abiola Stadium on Friday, 24 March with the Djurtus recording a famous victory courtesy of a first half goal from Troyes’ Mama Balde.
This was the fourth consecutive loss under Jose Peseiro and despite fielding a forward three that had scored a combined 37 league goals. The Eagles started well and pressured their opponents, but they did not sustain this, as Baciro Cande’s men got better as the match progressed.
Below are the players’ ratings.
Francis Uzoho, 90 mins, 6/10
There was no fault to be apportioned to Uzoho for the goal apart from being too deep when his team is in offensive mode. If he had been on the edge of his box when Balde went for the lofted ball, maybe he would have been closer to saving it.
Bright Osayi-Samuel, 90 mins, 6.5/10
The bright spot for the Eagles. The 25-year-old Fenerbahce defender was good, both defensively and offensively. He was a threat every time he went forward and was physically adept in dealing with Piqueti and Fali Cande. In his second cap, he showed he may be the longtime solution for the right back position.
Kevin Akpoguma, 90 mins, 4/10
Akpoguma continues to show he does not have the pedigree needed to be a Super Eagles defender. The Hoffenheim defender was largely at fault for the concession of the goal to Balde and the Eagles did not miss him when he had to go off because of a head injury.
Calvin Bassey, 90 mins, 5/10
Bassey has not been having the best of seasons with Ajax and the lack of confidence and assurance was tangible in his one-on-one situations. Though he passed well from his defensive position, he needs a more exposed partner, who will call the shots in defensive scenarios.
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Zaidu Sanusi, 90 mins, 4/10
The Porto defender did not add anything Dálcio easily muscled to the Eagles’ offensive play off the ball and turned over by the running of Jefferson Encada, until the Guinea Bissau defender was yellow carded.
Wilfred Ndidi, 68 mins, 4/10
There is clearly something not right with Ndidi at the moment. The Leicester City midfielder had one of the best chances to score for the Eagles, but he dithered and was not convincing enough. Maybe, various injuries have taken a toll on the 26-year-old. For the second consecutive match for the Eagles, Peseiro pulled him off, even with his team chasing an equaliser.
Alex Iwobi, 90 mins, 6/10
The Everton midfielder played much deeper than usual in an attempt to influence the Eagles’ offensive play. The bumpy Abuja Stadium didn’t help him, and he had a goal scoring attempt deflected for a corner kick in the second half.
Kelechi Iheanacho, 45 mins, 3/10
The manner of approach to the match by Iheanacho was wrong. He offered no energy in the pressing moments when the Eagles needed to win back the ball and in the last third; he was tentative. Peseiro must be wondering what other position to deploy the Leicester forward with the No.10 role looking bigger and problematic to decipher for the 26-year-old.
Ademola Lookman,45 mins, 4/10
For the second consecutive match at the Abuja Stadium, Lookman did not cover himself in any glory, and just as his form has dipped at Atalanta, so it was on Friday night. The excuse would be the pitch, which was not the best, as compared to what he is used to but his ball progression was slow, and he seemed to run out of ideas in and around the Guinea Bissau box.
Samuel Chukwueze, 87 mins, 6/10
Another bright spot in the Eagles but he needs to improve his last touch in the final third to become a more offensively dangerous forward. The Guinea Bissau defenders were wary of getting too tight, and his partnership with Osayi can become better.
Victor Osimhen, 90 mins, 6/10
Osimhen tried his best, but he was caught offside too many times, even though he wanted the ball just a second faster than they delivered it to him. Peseiro did not help matters by sending on the sometimes awkward Paul Onuachu, as both strikers looked to take up the same goal-scoring positions.
Moses Simon, 45 mins, 6/10
Simon provided the spark off the bench, but he should have done better with the cutback from Chukwueze in the 57th minute. His running and crossing from the left flank pushed the Guinea-Bissau back, and he deserved not to have ended on the losing side.
Paul Onuachu, 45 mins, 4/10
Though the Southampton man almost nicked an equaliser in the dying moments of the encounter, his partnership with Osimhen was more disruptive than enabling.
Semi Ajayi, 35 mins, 5/10
Ajayi stepped in seamlessly and should get his chance to start next Monday in Morocco.
Frank Onyeka, 22 mins, 5/10
Onyeka, who is just back from injury, plugged the midfield gaps and made a last ditch tackle in added time.
Ahmed Musa, 3 mins, NA
It was too late and too little for the captain to make any meaningful contribution to the outcome of the encounter.
Jose Peseiro, 4/10
With unemotional eyes, the Eagles were just unlucky to have lost on Friday in Abuja, but the 62-year-old Portuguese did not help the Eagles’ cause with his reading of the game and what was required to salvage at least a draw. His tenure continues to disappoint many Nigerians, but he has a good chance to get back in the good books of many if his team produces a better performance on Monday when they face the Guinea Bissau team again.
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