By John Essien
The Super Eagles’ journey to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) took off on a good note, as goals from Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen helped the team overcome Sierra Leone in their qualifiers opener.
It was the Eagles first victory under their new Portuguese gaffer following friendly defeats to Mexico and Ecuador.
Here, we will look at how well every player performed individually against the Leone Stars as presented by GOAL.
Francis Uzoho: 7.5/10
The resurgent goalkeeper had a decent game. He made two huge saves either side of Sierra Leone’s opening goal, with the latter preventing the Leone Stars from doubling their advantage a minute before Alex Iwobi levelled.
William Troost-Ekong 4/10
Nigeria’s captain was beaten fairly easily by Musa Noah Kamara in the build-up to Jonathan Morsay’s goal and looked uncomfortable as the visitors appeared to have utilized his side of the pitch for the majority of their attacks.
He was forced off in the latter stages of the game after picking up an injury.
Semi Ajayi (6.5/10)
The Westbrom man allowed the Leone Stars breakthrough on multiple occasions, but appeared at ease compared to his centre-back partner.
Ola Aina (6/10)
Aina was caught out at times in the first half but grew into the game as it progressed. He contributed to the build-up to Nigeria’s winner. Consistently contributed to Nigeria’s attack with his forward runs.
Calvin Bassey (6.5/10)
Was brilliant in build-up play from the left-wing, but struggled to prevent Sierra Leonean buildups from his position. Was responsible for Sierra Leone’s only goal.
The Rangers man was a threat to the Sierra Leonean defense with his fine crosses.
Joe Aribo (5.5/10)
He was played out of position resulting in a questionable midfield pairing in the opening half but improved somewhat as the game wore on following Jose Peseiro’s switch to a 4-3-3.
Alex Iwobi (7/10)
Man of the match performance. Roamed the midfield and created threatening chances. Scored a beautiful goal.
Samuel Chukwueze (5/10)
The Villarreal wide attacker missed a glorious chance to make it 3-1 after being played in by Osimhen and was missing in the opening minutes of the game.
Moses Simon (7.5/10)
Despite some questionable deliveries from wide positions in open-play and at set-pieces, the Nantes winger set up both Super Eagles goals with the second especially noteworthy.
Sadiq Umar (4.5/10)
Struggled to get into the game and was unsurprisingly hooked as Peseiro looked to shore up the team’s leaky midfield after the interlude.
Victor Osimhen: (7.5/10)
Missed a couple of headers from Bassey’s deliveries but scored the decisive winner just before half-time.
Peter Etebo (5/10)
An early booking right after his introduction left him with little margin for error but was able to stabilize Nigeria’s midfield, giving Aribo the freedom to make important runs.
Ademola Lookman (N/A)
Played for just nine minutes.
Kenneth Omeruo (N/A)
Played for just nine minutes.
Abdullahi Shehu (N/A)
Played for just seven minutes.
Terem Moffi (N/A)
Only featured in added time.