By Chima Azu
The Super Eagles of Nigeria rounded up their group matches with a 100% record winning all three games after defeating Guinea Bissau 2-0 in their third game to confirm top spot in group Group D.
Nigeria’s coach Augustine Eguavoen made some changes to his lineup by giving some of his first team players a rest, he introduced the likes of Uzoho, Jamilu Collins, Tyrone Ebuehi, Semi Ajayi. In attack it was Ejuke and Iwobi on the flanks, while Umar Sadiq partnered Iheanacho upfront.
The first half had some half chances with Nigeria creating most of it. The game was more of end to end in the first half but the Super Eagles had more possesion and were in control with their opponents having few chances on goal.
The second half started with the Eagles attacking, Iheanacho shot a long ball which almost caught the keeper of his line but the goalkeeper had to push the ball over the bar. The deadlock was broken in the 56th minute as Iheanacho assisted the Almeria striker Umar Sadiq with a lovely left footed pass to give Nigeria the lead.
Moses Simon came in for Ejuke and continued with his fine form by being a menace to Guinea Bissau’s defense. He dribbled passed three defenders and shot with his left foot which hit the crossbar and fell luckily for Troost Ekong to tap in one of the easiest goal he will ever score. The goal was first flagged offside but after VAR review, it was rightly awarded and that made it 2-0 for Nigeria.
Guinea Bissau came close in the dying minutes creating chances but couldn’t convert any and the game ended 2-0 in favor of the Eagles.
PLAYER RATINGS :
FRANCIS UZOHO 7/10 : The interim goalkeeper made few important saves but wasn’t too convincing. He will need to do a lot more to claim the number one shirt ahead of Okoye.
TYRONNE EBUEHI 7/10 : Venezia right back Ebuehi offered a lot going forward by making some overlapping runs unlike Aino. He gave could account of himself for the 76 minutes that he played before being substituted.
JAMILU COLLINS 8/10 : The Paderborn left back showed that his good enough for the first team with his performance. He made a lot of forward runs and made some good crosses as well. Collins played for the entire 90 minutes. He should be considered ahead of Zaidu.
SEMI AJAYI 7/10 : He didn’t start well and almost got out-paced by Guinea Bissau’s striker Balde. The West Brom defender had a decent game after that and made a crucial tackle in the dying minutes to give Nigeria a clean sheet.
TROOST EKONG 9/10 : The Super Eagles captain had an outstanding game. He covered his fullbacks well and made some timely tackles. His experience and form with Kenneth Omeruo at the heart of the defense have been outstanding so far.
KELECHI NWAKALI 6/10 : Kelechi had an average performance in his first start. He was very tidy with his passes and also controlled the tempo of the game. He didn’t offer much in the second half and was substituted in the 75th minute.
WILFRED NDIDI 9/10 : The Leicester combative midfielder is gradually proving why is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. Ndidi had a superb game and covered virtually every grass. He bullied his opponents in the midfield and stopped most of their attacking threats. He had arguably the best performance of the night.
CHIDERA EJUKE 5/10 : In his first start in the competition, he offered very little going forward but showed glimpses of how good he is. He came off for Simon in the 57th minute.
ALEX IWOBI 6/10 : The former Arsenal man had an average game down the right. He was later moved to the middle of the park where he gave some teasing passes. Iwobi played for the entire duration of the game.
KELECHI IHEANACHO 8/10 : Senior man Kelz once again showed why his one of the leaders in the team. He had a great game and almost scored a brilliant goal by forcing the keeper into a save after seeing him out of his line. Iheanacho gave the assist for the first goal but was later given a rest in the 85th minute.
UMAR SADIQ 7/10 : Despite scoring, the Almeria man didn’t really convince with his performance but it was far better than his previous games.