Nigeria took a 4-1 lead Sierra Leone into the interval but somehow managed to end the game in a 4-4 draw in what should go down as one of the Super Eagles’ most disappointing match on home soil.
Soccernet.ng’s Imhons Erons highlights how the Nigerian stars fared on the night.
GK: Maduka Okoye – 5/10
A pretty terrible evening for the young Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper after conceding four goals in his first competitive game for Nigeria.
Sierra Leone didn’t test him much bar that Kwame Quee strike late in the first half, but shipping three goals in the second 45 would have seen his confidence taken a hit.
RFB: Kevin Akpoguma – 5/10
The Hoffenheim defender would have expected a more comfortable evening against the supposed African minnows, but he would have been shocked about how physical the African game can get.
CB: Leon Balogun – 6/10
No matter how well the Rangers man played, it does not look good that he was a part of a defence line that shipped four goals against attackers not better than the ones he often faced in the Europa League.
CB: William Troost-Ekong – 5/10
The Udinese defender tried in vain to marshall the Super Eagles defence line in the second half, but there is no excuse for how the team collapsed in the last 20 minutes of the encounter.
The whole team is to blame for the four goals conceded, but Troost-Ekong and his partners in defence should expectedly be the first in the line of criticisms to come in the coming days.
LFB: Zaidu Sanusi – 8/10
You could scarcely believe this is Sanusi’s first competitive game for Nigeria. The Porto defender’s influence, energy, and composure on that left-wing show why the gaffer preferred him to Fulham’s Ola Aina and Paderborn’s Jamiu Collins.
MF: Oghenekaro Etebo – 6/10
Energetic all-round display in the first-half but found the going tough in the second half. It was not one of his best games for the Super Eagles, and the team certainly missed the presence of a cultured defensive midfielder.
MF: Joe Aribo – 6/10
Like the entire team, Aribo impressed in the first half and was tamed in the second half, when complacency set in for Gernot Rohr and his men.
MF: Alex Iwobi – 9/10
A few Super Eagles stars can lay claim to this game’s Man-of-the-match award, but Iwobi could boast the loudest claim after scoring twice on Friday.
The Everton midfielder handed Nigeria a great start with a fourth-minute strike that settled the home team’s nerves and scattered the away side’s game plan. He then made it 3-0 for the hosts in the 27th minute.
It was Iwobi’s seventh and eighth goal in his 39th game for the Super Eagles, and he would have enjoyed that brace.
RF: Ahmed Musa (c) – 5/10
The Super Eagles was a shadow of his fast, jet-heeled self, and it was. I surprise to see him hauled off on the hour mark.
LF: Samuel Chumwueze – 8/10
The Villarreal man is, without a doubt, a precocious talent, and it was all evident when he scored a worldie to make it 4-0 to the Super Eagles.
The former Golden Eaglets star left the Leone Star’s full-back marking him, Kamara, on his pants with an incredible piece of skill before firing into the roof of the net.
Chukwueze’s game, though, is still littered with unforced errors and one in particular late in the first half gifted the Leone Stars their consolation.
CF: Victor Osimhen – 8/10
The Napoli striker made it 2-0 to Gernot Rohr’s men midway into the first half, finishing off a brilliant cross from fullback Zaidu Sanusi.
That was Osimhen’s fourth goal in three qualifying matches for Nigeria, with the 21-year-old steadily building his reputation as a prolific striker.
Passion, energy, dynamism. This lad is going places.