Super Eagles player ratings vs CAR : Balogun top man; Ejuke electric; Awaziem, Osimhen shine
Published: October 10, 2021
 Super Eagles player ratings vs CAR : Balogun top man; Ejuke electric; Awaziem, Osimhen shine
Goals from Leon Balogun and Victor Osimhen earned Nigeria a convincing 2-0 win over Central African Republic in a 2022 World Cup qualifier staged at Stade Omnisport de Bepanda in Douala on Sunday afternoon.

Izuchukwu Okosi rates the performance of the players in the much needed victory.

The Starters

Goalkeeper

Maduka Okoye : The Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper returned to the starting lineup after missing the defeat in Lagos. He made a crucial save in the second half when he plucked the ball in the air from a dangerous cross. 6/10.


Defenders

Chidozie Awaziem : The right back who is adept at playing in central defence came in place of Ola Aina and took no prisoners with his no nonsense defending. Strong in the tackles. Assisted Leon Balogun's goal with a great cross. 8/10.

Jamilu Collins : Collins had a far more better performance in the return leg than hisĀ  error strewn outing in Lagos. He set up Victor Osimhen in 10th minute but the Napoli striker could not pounce on the opportunity presented to him by the left back. 6/10.

William Troost-Ekong : At fault with his fellow central defender Leon Balogun for the goal against Nigeria in the reverse fixture against CAR in the first leg, Ekong had a great game on Sunday.

His defending as well as his long balls deep into the Nigerian half for the attackers were splendid. 7/10.

Leon Balogun : The Glasgow Rangers man as previously stated, had a game to forget with Ekong in Lagos but on this day was one of the best players on the pitch for Nigeria.

Balogun was rewarded for his efforts with a goal in the 29th minute when he pounced unto a great pass from Chidozie Awaziem to hit home from close range. A man-of-the-match performance by the Glasgow Rangers center-back. 8.5/10.

Midfielders

Frank Onyeka : The Brentford defensive midfielder may not be exactly what Nigerian fans wanted as a replacement for the injured Wilfred Ndidi but Onyeka was equally impressive in the middle with his screening of the central defensive duo of Ekong and Balogun.

His passes were excellent albeit he was yellow carded in the second half of the match. 7/10.

Joe Aribo : Despite his undoubted qualities the Glasgow Rangers midfielder still receives rather harsh criticism from the Nigerian fans who take exceptions to his 'backward' passes.

However the left-footed versatile player showed his tough streak on Sunday as he got stuck in and broke plays. 7/10.

Ahmed Musa : The centurion made history in the game and played for 67 minutes in the 2-0 win. His presence was necessary as his experience brought a sense of reassuredness. 6/10.

Kelechi Iheanacho : The Leicester City forward had Nigeria's first shot at the goal with his free kick two minutes into the match. Full of endeavour. His link up play sometimes was great to watch. 6/10.

Moses Simon : The Nantes forward again was played on the right side of the wings where he was expected to sometimes fall back and help the right back, this time, Awaziem in defending.

Full of running but most of his final balls were disappointing. 5.5/10.

Victor Osimhen : The Napoli striker scored the second goal of the Match when he masterfully finished off a glorious pass from William Troost Ekong for his second goal of the qualifying campaign. 8/10.


The Substitutes

Chidera Ejuke : The Super Eagles seem to have found a good dribbling technician capable of stepping into the big shoes of the immaculate Austin Jay-Jay Okocha.

Ejuke was a thorn in the flesh of the CAR defenders from the moment he stepped unto the pitch as replacement for Ahmed Musa.

His dribbles created space for his teammates to take up good positions albeit no goak was scored from those efforts. 7.5/10.

Kenneth Omeruo : The experienced Omeruo came on in place of Leon Balogun who hobbled off injured. He had a nervous moment in the second half when he lost the ball but had his blushes saved by Ekong who cleared the ball. 5/10.

Innocent Bonke : Replaced Kelechi Iheanacho in the 74th minute. He brought steel in the midfield but had limited time to impress. 4/10.

Izuchukwu Okosi

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