Super Eagles player ratings vs. CAR: Osimhen unconvincing, Balogun restores pride as Nigeria cage the Wild Beasts
Nigeria returned to winning ways at the Japoma Stadium in Douala, Cameroon, with a convincing 2-0 victory over the Central African Republic on Sunday.
First-half goals from Leon Balogun and Victor Osimhen helped the Super Eagles put behind them the embarrassing defeat to the same opponents four days ago.
Aside from the goal scorers, a few Nigerian stars put up some impressive showings on a comfortable afternoon, and Soccernet.ng brings you how they rated.
Maduka Okoye 6: The Sparta Rotterdam goalie had little to do, but he was up to the task any time he was called upon as he added another international clean sheet to his record.
Chidozie Awaziem, 7: Awaziem’s brief was clearly defensive as he rarely got beyond Moses Simon to get in the crosses. But he justified his start ahead of Ola Aina with the long pass that led to the opening goal.
William Troost-Ekong, 7: Troost-Ekong communicated better with his defensive partners and led impressively from the back. The Watford man even offered the attack a helping hand and supplied the assist to Osimhen’s strike.
Leon Balogun, 7.5: Balogun received a lot of flak for his role in Nigeria’s defeat on Thursday, but he was one of the best on the pitch on Sunday.
The Ranger man worked his socks off in Douala and capped his excellent performance with his first competitive goal for the Super Eagles. He took his goal really well, smashing home a first-time volley from a deep Awaziem cross.
Jamilu Collins, 6: Defensively, Collins was solid and unwavering, but his runs forwards were scarce and far between. The Paderborn fullback still played a crucial role in helping the team secure their second clean sheet of this World Cup qualifying series.
Frank Onyeka, 6.5: Another player who appeared more ready for the fight than four days ago. Onyeka marshalled the area in front of his defence well and mopped up the loose balls when necessary. The Brentford man was tidy with his passes and composed when in possession of the ball.
Joe Aribo, 6.5: A much more improved display from the Gers star as he made his presence felt and was not bullied off the ball once. Aribo nearly claimed an assist with an intelligent through-ball for Osimhen, but the Napoli man failed to finish.
Kelechi Iheanacho, 6.5: The Leicester City forward was not afforded time on the ball in the opening half as the opponents out men behind the ball. But he lacked the pace and stamina to make a better impact when the space opened up in the CAR danger area after the break.
Moses Simon, 5.5: Simon showed a lot more sharpness, guile, and willingness to get better crosses into the box than he did on matchday three. But he still was not as effective as he has been in Ligue 1 for Nantes, where he is the undisputed assist-king.
Ahmed Musa, 6: The captain made his 100th appearance for the three-time African champions and would be pleased to celebrate it with a win.
There is nothing to celebrate about his performance, though, as he struggled to provide the creative spark the attack needed before he was substituted.
Victor Osimhen, 6.5: Osimhen’s positioning in the box has greatly improved, and he was yet again in the right place to direct Troost-Ekong’s cute cutback into the net to double the Eagles’ advantage in first-half stoppage time.
However, the Napoli lad was wasteful as he could have claimed a hat trick in Cameroon, with one of his efforts cleared off the line in the second half after he had rounded the CAR goalkeeper.
Chidera Ejuke, 6.5: The most impressive Nigerian substitute, Ejuke dazzled with his quick feet and naughty nutmegs, and he got close to getting his name on the scoresheet.
Kenneth Omeruo, 5.5: The Leganes centre-half tucked in beside Troost-Ekong after he replaced the bruised Balogun, and he helped to keep things ticking at the back.