The Super Eagles got the much-needed win over Guinea Bissau to give reprieve to the under-fire manager, Jose Peseiro, with a hard-fought 1-0 win that took Nigeria back to the top of Group A with nine points, with two matches left in the 2024 AFCON qualifying series.
A first-half penalty, expertly dispatched by Moses Simon, sealed the win, and even though the Eagles created chances to make the score line more emphatic, the lone goal was enough to give Peseiro more time to fashion a winning machine from the plethora of stars at his disposal before their matchday 5 encounter away to Sierra Leone in June.
Below are the players’ ratings:
Francis Uzoho, 90 mins, 5/10
Whatever was going through Uzoho’s mind in the 60th minute must never occur again. On a bumpy pitch where it was hard to comfortably control the ball, the goalkeeper should have had more sense than to dawdle. That singular mistake almost gave an equaliser to the Guinea-Bissau team.
Bright Osayi-Samuel, 90 mins, 7.5/10
Osayi-Samuel delivered another bright and accomplished performance, as he did in the first leg last Friday in Abuja. He enhanced his reputation by winning the crucial penalty that gave Nigeria the victory. He was strong in his defensive duties and frequently joined the attack to find the needed breakthrough.
Kenneth Omeruo, 90 mins, 6/10
Peseiro drafted in the Leganes defender after the shaky performances from Kevin Akpoguma and Calvin Bassey in the first leg, and the 2013 AFCON winner displayed his game nous by marshalling the defence to keep the home side at bay. He got a yellow card for a professional foul, which ensured the Eagles kept their lead for the first half and throughout the encounter.
READ ASLO: Super Eagles Rating: Moses, Eagles’ shining light; Iwobi, treading water
Semi Ajayi, 90 mins, 6.5/10
For the entire 90 minutes, Ajayi was calm and efficient. His performance prompted more questions about why Akpoguma and Bassey were chosen ahead of him. He was magnificent in dealing with Mama Balde’s strength and movement, and he won all of his one-on-one battles.
Zaidu Sanusi, 90 mins, 4/10
The Porto player played lackadaisically and was caught out of position a few times on Monday. Sometimes he looked like he was afraid to tackle or physically engage the opponent.
Frank Onyeka, 80 mins, 6/10
Onyeka did a good job shielding the defence but he gave the ball away on at least two occasions which could have been fatal for the Eagles. Onyeka was also too aggressive in trying to win back the ball but he stamped his presence in the midfield and gave Iwobi the cover to create from deep.
Alex Iwobi, 90 mins, 6.5/10
Iwobi was all over the pitch as he continued to operate from deep. He tried to create one-on-one situations for Simon and Samuel Chukwueze, though he will need to move the ball faster in the future to get the best from Victor Osimhen.
Moses Simon, 90 mins, 7/10
Cool as a cucumber from the penalty spot, Simon showed he will be the go-to Eagles forward, especially from the left flank, for the foreseeable future. If only his output in the last third can improve by 10%, the Nantes forward will be almost unplayable.
Samuel Chukwueze, 80 mins, 3/10
Chukwueze’s worst performance for his country. He appeared to want to referee the game at times, failed to connect with his teammates at others, and made poor decisions at others. It was a dismal outing for the Villarreal forward.
Terem Moffi, 60 mins, 4/10
Fans fought for his inclusion, but this did not work out for the Nice striker. He could have scored as early as the eighth minute, but that was as good as it got. He tried to knit things together just behind Osimhen and it was no surprise Peseiro withdrew him on the hour.
Victor Osimhen, 90 mins, 5/10
In Bissau, Osimhen was caught offside four times, and hit the upright once, as he failed to score in 180 minutes against Guinea Bissau. The top scorer in Serie A must learn and demonstrate patience, particularly with his teammates, who appear to dither in releasing the ball as quickly as he desires.
Joe Aribo, 30 mins, 6/10
Aribo’s introduction enlivened Nigeria’s attacks, and he almost scored 10 minutes after he came on for Moffi. He combined well with Simon and pulled Guinea Bissau’s central defenders out of their natural positions with his movement.
Wilfred Ndidi, 10 mins, NA
Not enough time to earn a score
Ahmed Musa, 90 mins, NA
Not enough time to earn a score
Jose Peseiro, 4/10
The embattled Portuguese tactician made five changes to the team that lost last Friday, indicating that he may not be the best at recognising and playing to his team’s strengths. He also demonstrated that he did not learn anything or plan adequately for a team that plays a low block and attacks on the counter.
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