By Chima Azu
The Super Eagles of Nigeria defeated the Pharaohs of Egypt 1:0 in Garoua with Iheanacho scoring a stunner to give the three times African champions a well deserved three points which could have been more if the Eagles were more clinical.
Nigeria dominated the game by keeping more of the game’s (58%) possession and that showed with the numbers of chances created. The Eagles had 10 chances 4 on target and 6 were off target. Iheanacho converted one of those chances in the 30th minute after he controlled a header from Aribo and curled home a stunner with his left foot into the top left side of the post.
Moses Simon was a thorn in the flesh of the Egyptian defense with his skill and pace which brought about the first goal. Awoniyi was also a menace to the Egyptians with his strength and endless running.
The Egyptians had very little going forward, Mo Salah was relatively quiet and could only manage one shot on target. It was an all round domination by the 2013 African champions and they will be taking on Sudan on Saturday.
PLAYER RATINGS :
MADUKA OKOYE 6/10 : Nigerian goalkeeper was seldom tested as the Egyptian attack was toothless. But he held his own when Salah made a bursting run and nearly slotted the ball past him but Okoye saved it with his leg. That was virtually Egypt’s major attack.
OLA AINA 8/10 : The Torino full back rarely put any foot wrong, he had one of his best ever games for the Eagles. His only flaw which he needs to work on is his end product going forward but defensively he was rock solid.
TROOST EKONG : 7/10 : Dutch born Nigerian defender had a good game at the back and formed a good partnership with Kenneth Omeruo. He helped in marshalling the defense to keep Salah and co quiet.
KENNETH OMERUO : 9/10 : The Leganes defender had a superb game at the back. He was virtually everywhere in defense winning tackles and duels. He helped keeping the Egyptians attack at bay.
ZAIDU SANUSI 6/10 : The Porto left back offered very little going forward and when he did he never gave any teasing cross. But his defensive performance was encouraging but he can do better.
WILFRED NDIDI 8/10 : The Leicester midfielder was at his usual best breaking up play, winning duels and dictating the play. He had a decent game but obviously can do better as the competition goes on.
JOE ARIBO 7/10: Aside the assist he gave he didn’t really have an outstanding game but he stuck to the basics. The Rangers player combined well with Wilfred in midfield.
SAMUEL CHUKWUEZA 5/10 : The Villareal winger had a poor performance yesterday. He offered very little going forward and was lucky to stay on for 72 minutes.
MOSES SIMON 9/10 : Though Iheanacho got the Man Of The Match award, Moses Simon also deserved the award with his performance. Moses attacking threat led to the first goal. He was Nigeria’s best player going forward. The Nantes attacker kept giving the Egyptian defense something to worry about and also offered a lot defensively before he was substituted.
TAIWO AWONIYI 8/10 : Union Berlin striker had a superb game being a menace to the opponent’s defense. His physicality and runs were too much for the Pharaohs and he also had a hand in the goal.
KELECHI IHEANACHO 9/10 : Senior man Kelz as his fondly called scored a stunner and his partnership with Awoniyi upfront was superb. He had a good performance with his attacking play and was clinical in front of goal but can also do better.