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Player ratings: Simon, Osimhen shine as Peseiro secures first win

Player ratings: Simon, Osimhen shine as Peseiro secures first win
June 09
21:27 2022

The Super Eagles of Nigeria started their 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers in Group A with a comeback victory against Sierra Leone on Thursday at the MKO Abiola stadium in Abuja. It was a game of fine margins as the vibrant attack bailed out a lethargic defence.

TheCable Sports rates the performances of the Super Eagles players.

Francis Uzoho (3/5): While the lanky goalkeeper could do nothing about the visitors’ goal, his superb save from point-blank prevented them from doubling the lead and served as a catalyst for Super Eagles’ victory. Another mistake reared its head in the second half following poor communication with the defence but the visitors could not capitalise.

William Troost-Ekong (3/5): The captain did not stay close to his man who provided the cross for Sierra Leone’s goal. Did not cover well for the attack-oriented Ola Aina and this led to chances for the visitors. Improved in the second half with Etebo’s introduction but a groin injury saw him stretchered off late on.

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Ola Aina (3/5): The full-back was always on the attack in the first half and the space left behind was capitalized upon by Sierra Leone to score their solitary goal. His forays, however, bore fruit in the second half, as his cross led to the winning goal. Also improved in his defensive duties in the second period.

Semi Ajayi (2.5/5): Like his central defence partner, Ajayi was slow to cover and made a mistake that led to a golden opportunity not being taken by the Leone stars. Unconvincing evening for the West Brom man.

Calvin Bassey (3/5): Revelation of the past season, the full-back lost his man in the lead up to Sierra Leone’s goal but combined well with Moses Simon on the left to trouble the visitors. The accuracy of his raking crosses improved in the second half.

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Joe Aribo (2/5): A tired leg given the task of sitting deep in midfield, Aribo left the middle wide open for the visitors who attacked from the flanks to capitalise when the balls arrived centrally. Improved after leaving the task to Etebo and pushing upfield. He, however, left little impact.

Alex Iwobi (3/5): Stationed beside Aribo with attacking duties and he pulled Nigeria level with a well-taken placed shot after exchanging passes with Simon. Continued to graft on in the second period on a good day in the office.

Samuel Chukwueze (2/5): Poor display from the Villarreal winger who was anonymous before Nigeria regained the lead and when he reappeared, the end product did not match his skillful displays. Wasted a gilt-edged opportunity to extend Eagles’ lead before he was substituted.

Moses Simon (4/5): Another stellar display from the Nantes man who provided two assists. He was a productive outlet on the wing and kept Sierra Leone’s defence on its toes throughout the encounter.

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Sadiq Umar (2.5/5): The languid striker did not connect with his strike partner in his 45-minute appearance. Held up the ball well early on but faded off and was substituted after the first half. Can do better.

Victor Osimhen (4/5): Like Simon, the Napoli striker was a constant threat and capped his display with a predatory striker’s goal. The in-demand striker could have scored more but for wayward finishing.

Substitutes

Oghenekaro Etebo (3/5): His introduction stabilised Super Eagles’ midfield, with the Stoke City man protecting the defence and stopping Sierra Leone’s attack through the centre despite receiving a yellow card — a few minutes after his introduction.

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Ademola Lookman (n/a): Saw his shot blocked moments after coming on for Chukwueze late on.

Kenneth Omeruo (n/a): Helped the defence to see out the last ten minutes of the match after replacing the injured Troost-Ekong.

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Shehu Abdullahi (n/a): Slotted in well at right-back for the final minutes.

Terem Moffi (n/a): Came on moments before the final whistle.

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