How Super Eagles players performed in underwhelming draw against Leone Stars
Maduka Okoye – A more assured performance from the Sparta Rotterdam goaltender. In a generally poor team showing in the first half, Okoye was called to action more than a few times and he discharged himself acquitably, sparing his teammates blushes. 6/10
Kevin Akpoguma – Whatever Gernot Rohr hoped to achieve by playing Kevin Akpoguma at right back – instead of his preferred central defence – is obviously not working. For the second game running, Akpoguma posted another sub-par performance as he struggled under the Leone Stars onslaught until he was hauled off for Chidozie Awaziem. 3/10
Ola Aina – After a clamour for his restoration to the starting 11, Ola Aina was solid, even if not spectacular, at left back. He was slow to start and gradually warmed himself into the game, teaming up with Alex Iwobi on the flank to run and trouble the Sierra Leonans. 5/10
Leon Balogun – Assured in the heart of defence, Balogun provided cover for his goalkeeper and was always quick to cut off the Leone Stars advance before they could cause danger. On more than half a dozen occasions, he headed the ball out of danger to preserve a clean slate. 7/10
William Troost-Ekong – Displayed better understanding with Balogun in central defence but was caught out on a number of occasions. His moment of glory came in the dying minutes when he stepped in to ward off danger after a Sierra Leonan attack from the right flank. But for him, the Nigerian defence would have been breached. 6/10
Oghenero Etebo – As the lone defensive midfielder, Etebo was swamped as the Leone Stars ran him ragged in the middle of the park. A lack of support from his co-midfielders probably accounted for his injury for which he limped off and was substituted by Abdullahi Shehu. 5/10
Alex Iwobi – One of the leading lights of the team, Iwobi’s famed inconsistency came to the fore again albeit in a positive form. He was the focus of the Super Eagles pressure on the Leone Stars as he willed his team to take the game to their opponents. Little wonder his pull-out was nodded in by Kelechi Iheanacho though the goal was eventually ruled out for offside. 7/10
Joe Aribo – Very quiet game by his own standard. Probably affected by the weather, Aribo did not do many things worthy of recall until he was pulled out for Ajayi in the second half. And that coach Rohr would rather put in a defender in his stead spoke volume about his (non)performance. 5/10
Ahmed Musa – Captain of the side, Musa had a start-stop-start tupsy turvy game without rhythm and purpose, thus fuelling renewed call for him to draw the curtain on his Super Eagles career. It must be said however that he was the target of some malicious hacking by the Leone Stars. 4/10
Sam Chukwueze – Arguably Nigeria’s best dribbler, Chukwueze had an anonymous game for most parts and should consider this game one of his not too good outing in a Super Eagles shirt. 4/10
Kelechi Iheanacho – Scored a goal that was disallowed, made two backward passes from inside the opponents’ 18-yard area and that was the summary of his game. In a match where he led the line in the absence of Victor Osimhen, one would have expected more from the Leicester City man and his countenance, on being substituted, would probably mean he knew he could have done better. 4/10
Abdullahi Shehu – Subbed on for the injured Etebo, he was deployed in a midfield position which probably curtailed his effectiveness. He would have been better rated if he’d played in his natural right back spot.
Bonaventure Dennis – Came on for Iheanacho and had little time to make an impact.
Semi Ajayi – Sub for Aribo, Ajayi obviously would have done better in central defence though his physical presence helped to curtail the Leone Stars but he was caught in a clumsy challenge which could have been fatal.
Chidozie Awaziem – Stopped the opposition traffic from the right flank after coming on for Kevin Akpoguma. He hovever let slip a Leone Stars forward which could have resulted in a goal but for the timely intervention of Troost-Ekong.