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Nigeria U-17 Player Ratings vs Morocco: Poor finishing costs Golden Eaglets

Yahaya Lawali top once more, Odoh, Linus impressive

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets missed out on a chance to book their place in the last eight of the U-17 AFCON early after succumbing to a 1-0 defeat against Morocco’s U-17 team in Constantine. An early own goal from Tochukwu Ogboji gave the North Africans maximum points and helped them secure their place in the quarterfinals of the competition with a game to spare.

The Golden Eaglets were superior in every facet of the game except the one that really matters, goalscoring. The boys had 27 attempts but failed to find the back of the net. Here are the player ratings for the Golden Eaglets on the day along with a review of their performance.

GK- Richard Odoh (7/10)

Odoh could not have done anything about the goal as the deflection left him helpless. The young goalkeeper, however, showed great composure on the ball and displayed a good passing range and accuracy in his distribution. He was dominant in his box when it came to claiming crosses, and up to the task when called into action.

RB- Yahaya Lawali (8/10)

Mahanaim FC right-back Lawali has arguably earned himself a place in the team of the tournament already after another flawless display. The right-back was named Man of the Match by CAF for the second consecutive game despite being on the losing side. His crossing and dribbling down the right wing were impressive throughout the first hour of the match. Upon his transition to a central midfield role, the youngster also displayed his top-tier technical qualities and stood out on the pitch.

CB- Jeremiah Olaleke (7/10)

Outstanding in his role in the heart of the defence, Olaleke was a calming presence in the heart of the Golden Eaglets backline for the second game running. He was hardly tested but showed impressive defending when called upon in the game.

CB- Tochukwu Ogboji (6/10)

The scorer of the unfortunate own goal that cost the Golden Eaglets the points, Ogboji was otherwise solid at the back. The youngster lasted the entirety of the game and grew into it despite his early mishap. His long and short passing were on point and his tackling was impressive.

LB- Emmanuel Michael (7/10)

Highly-rated left-back Michael was a constant threat for the Golden Eaglets against Morocco, with his forays upfield often translating to attempts on goal. The 16-year-old impressed in the match, dominating the left flank as the side sought an equaliser. Was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.

CDM- Hope Linus (7/10)

16-year-old midfielder Hope Linus was the star in the middle of the park for the Golden Eaglets. His dribbling, passing and movement were sublime in the match, and he dominated the midfield with his size and intelligence. He was withdrawn in the final quarter of an hour.

CM- Usman Owoyemi (7/10)

Tripple 44 youngster Owoyemi was his usual disruptive self for the team all over the pitch. The youngster was full of running and energy as he closed down opponents and provided passing options to his teammates. He was impressive in midfield.

CM- Tochukwu Ogbabido (5/10)

Midfielder Ogbabido was tidy in possession for the Golden Eaglets but fell under the radar for large parts of the first half. The youngster was hauled off at the break by coach Nduka Ugbade after the game passed him by.

RW- Abdullahi Abubakar (6/10)

Still searching for his first goal of the tournament, Abdullahi was wasteful in front of goal for Nigeria. His link-up with right-back Lawali and his fellow attackers was commendable, but his final ball often let him down throughout the game.

LW- Favour Daniel (7/10)

Scorer of the lone goal in the win over Zambia, Daniel was full of tricks and combined well with his teammates. He was, however, also guilty of a below-par showing in front of goal. His decision-making in the box was sometimes questionable, but the game’s best chance came from his brilliance. He was impressive for large parts of the game until his substitution in the closing stages.

CF- Precious Williams (8/10)

Despite not getting on the scoresheet, 16-year-old captain Williams was hugely impressive once again. The youngster ran the attack with his movement and looked brilliant as he linked play all over the attacking third. His dribbling and decision-making were impressive in the game, as well. He was taken off in the second half for the second successive game.


CM- Isaac Aondoakaa (6/10)

Introduced at half-time for Ogbabido, Aondoakaa helped to keep the ball moving in the middle of the park for the Golden Eaglets. The youngster helped them keep things tidy as they sought to break down the Atlas Cubs.

CF- Light Eke (6/10)

Young striker Eke replaced captain Williams shortly after the hour mark. He managed to draw a brilliant save from the Moroccan goalkeeper with a snapshot in the closing stages.

RB- Quadri Adewale (N/A)

Replaced midfielder Linus, causing Lawali to move into midfield. Was not on the pitch long enough to earn a rating for his impact.

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