Super Eagles player ratings in the goalless draw against Ghana in Kumasi
Super Eagles

Super Eagles player ratings in the goalless draw against Ghana in Kumasi

It ended goalless in the clash between Nigeria and Ghana at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Friday in FIFA World Cup first leg play-off.

There wasn’t much to separate between both teams as they shared the spoils in the much anticipated Jollof derby.

Super Eagles of Nigeria weren’t at their possible best but they avoided defeat in a 40,000 capacity stadium reportedly filled with 70,000 spectators.

Here is our the Nigerian players fared on Friday

GK. Francis Uzoho (9)

Francis has to be one of Nigeria’s best players on parade on Friday. He slotted in for injured Maduka Okoye like he never left.

He made a couple of saves in the first and second half. Francis was seen shouting and communicating with his defenders and calling them to order.

Should Maduka Okoye returns from his strange illness ahead of the second leg in Abuja on Tuesday, Francis Uzoho deserves to retain his place in the starting XI.

RB. Ola Aina (6)

Olaoluwa Aina had a decent game, wasn’t as productive as he would normally be in the attacking area but was generally decent all night.

LB. Zaidu Sanusi (6)

Shaky at the start of the game but grew into the game. Also had a decent game.

CB. Leon Balogun (9)

Leon Balogun bossed it defensively. He made a number of ball recoveries, last-minute tackles, and snuff all the plans of the Ghanaians.

The only but to his performance today was his ball-playing duty. He was caught a few times while trying to play out from the back.

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But in his primary role as a defender, he nailed it.

CB. William Troost-Ekong (6)

William Troost-Ekong was okay. Manhandled Felix Afena-Gyan but he was caught sleeping and ball watching a few times.

CM: Innocent Bonke (6.5)

Brought in to replace injured Wilfred Ndidi and did a good job protecting the back four and trying to link with the attack.

He was replaced after he appeared injured in the 62nd minute.

CM: Joe Aribo (6)

He looked like the only one on the pitch who could find the pocket of spaces. Had a chance to score a goal in the first half but missed.

Until he was replaced after he appeared injured in the 59th minute, he played good trying to run box-to-box.

It’s high time he is played in the advanced role instead of restricting him in the midfield.

SS: Kelechi Iheanacho (4.5)

Only Austin Eguavoen can explain why Kelechi Iheanacho played the entire duration of the game. He was lost and not in the game.

Dennis was caught on camera shouting at him to be involved at a point. He just didn’t connect. He was badly not in the game.

RW: Simon Moses (5.5)

Not one of his best games. Simon was overdoing his dribbles at a point. He had a chance to put Nigeria ahead in the second half but unfortunately, he fluffed his lines.

LW: Samuel Chukwueze (5)

Samuel Chukwueze needs to be used as an impact substitute going forward. It wasn’t a good day at the office for Samu.

ST: Victor Osimhe (7)

As expected Victor Osimhen ran his socks off. Maybe he could have scored a goal in the first half but he misjudged the flight of the ball.

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Substitutes

CM: Oghenekaro Etebo (6)

Etebo and Onyeka could be the go-to anchor with Aribo playing behind the striker. Etebo came in for Innocent Bonke in the 62 minutes and did a great job.

He ran box to box to help Nigeria on the night.

CM: Frank Onyeka (6)

Frank Onyeka came in for Joe Aribo in the 59th minute of the game and added more to the team in the field. Could have created a goal for Osimhen late one after selling a dummy to two Ghanaians late in the game.

His final cross let him down.

RW: Dennis Emmanuel (4)

Came in for Samuel Chukwueze in the 59th minute but didn’t impact the game much.

LW: Ademola Lookman (4)

Came in for Simon Moses in the 74th minute of the game for his Nigerian debut but he didn’t do much to change the game.

LB: Calvin Bassey (5)

He did very well after coming for Zaidu Sanusi to play the remaining 16 minutes of the game. He was flying forward at will and did his defensive duties as well.

Coach: Austin Eguavoen (5)

Ghana were there for the taking but Nigeria never took the opportunity. The game was begging for technical input instead coach Austin Eguavoen was making a like-for-like game.

Maybe he planned to not lose in Kumasi but we could have won the game easily.

Tope Adefala

Tope Adefala is an experienced sports writer, editor, and web designer. A former editor at Sportlineng.com. Talks sports with a great bias for Basketball, Tennis, Field Hockey and Football. Presently the media officer of Nigeria Hockey Federation. I have been in the business of Sports communication and marketing for more than 10 years. Not forgetting that I won West African University Games, Nigeria University Games gold medals. You can find me on Twitter @1topham.

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