Odion Ighalo 77th minute ensured Super Eagles of Nigeria started their AFCON 2019 campaign with a 1-0 win against the Swallows of Burundi.
Odion Ighalo’s goal four minute after coming on was all that Gernot Rohr’s side needed in their first game to secure all maximum points.
It wasn’t a straight game for Eagles has they were tested by the debutants led by Saido Berahino.
Here is how the Super Eagles faired against the Swallows
5- Daniel Akpeyi
Daniel Akpeyi was not really tested but was in the right place at the right time. He had a decent game even though he almost let in a goal while trying to control a back pass.
8- Ola Aina
The Chelsea academy product was arguable one of the best Super Eagles players on parade on Saturday.
Ola Aina gave the assist of the tournament or probably the best assist in the tournament’s history with his defence splitting back heel pass for Nigeria’s only goal.
7- William Troost-Ekong
The Udinese central back was as impressive as expected. Without his oyinbo wall partner, Ekong played his heart out.
Looked injured at a point after a heavy challenge with a Burundi player but continued to the end.
7- Kenneth Omeruo
Best Nigeria’s central defender going into the tournament and he didn’t disappoint against Burundi.
Preferred to Leon Balogun on the day and was impressive, he almost didn’t put his foot wrong as he helped silenced Burundi’s attack.
6- Wilfred Ndidi
He is one of the best in the world in his position for a reason. The usual Ndidi’s stuffs were on display.
Tackles, interceptions and blocks to prevent the Swallows from penetrating Eagles defence.
5- Oghenekaro Etebo
Etebo was on the pitch the entire duration of the game but didn’t have any significant impact on the game.
Wasted Eagles ball from the corner kicks, the Stoke City man misplaced many passes and was a time running up and down with zero impact.
5- Mikel Obi
Mikel was deployed in the hole behind the striker, didn’t have the best game but gave a good account of himself before he was taken off for Ahmed Musa in the 58th minute.
6- Alex Iwobi
Think he was better when he moved into the attacking midfield position after Mikel Obi was withdrawn.
He was poor in the first half; but improved in the second half. Iwobi helped the team defensively and combined well with other midfielders, defenders, especially Ola Aina.
7- Samuel Chukwueze
Samu would be more effective if he releases the ball on time and reduce hugging the ball for the most time.
He was unplayable most times with his pace down the flank but wasn’t productive in the final third.
5- Paul Onuachu
Onuachu wasn’t impactful for the 73 minute he spent on the field. Tried his best but was unable to stamp his authority in the game.
Used his height to his advantage a times but was largely unproductive, hardly had a ball on target in the game.
9 – Odion Ighalo
Not how far but how well, Odion Ighalo scored the winning and only goal for Nigeria against Burundi on Saturday.
He scored a great goal with his first touch just four minutes after coming on. The Shanghai Shenhua striker showed why he finished the AFCON qualifiers as top scorer.
He was on the pitch for just 17 minutes and he helped finish off the Swallows of Burundi.
6- Ahmed Musa
The vice captain who replaced his captain at the start of the second half was too much for the Swallows to handle.
His direct run and pace gave the Swallows lot to handle, think Rohr should find a way to start him in the next game against Guinea.
4- Chidozie Awaziem
Came on for injured Shehu Abdullahi in the first half and had an okay game.
3- Shehu Abdullahi
Got injured in the 42nd minutes but was having an okay game before his injury.