The Super Eagles of Nigeria started their World Cup 2018 qualifiers with a hard earned 2-1 win away to Zambia in Ndola. Courtesy of goals from Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Collins Mbesuma pulled a goal back for the Chipolopolo but Nigeria survived a wave of second half onslaught to nick all three point.
Owngoalnigeria.com rate the players on parade for Nigeria.
Carl Ikeme: Man of The Match display by the Wolverhampton Wanderers net minder. Thrice kept Nigeria in the game with point blank save. Two from headers and another a one on one chance. Who still needs Vincent Enyeama? Certainly not Nigeria, at least for now…. 9/10
Wilfred Ndidi: Solid but far from spectacular display for the Genk central defender cum midfielder, who was surprisingly drafted in as a full back at the expense of Musa Mohammed. Showed good defending skills in not conceding fouls around the box. Did enough to earn a rating above average….6.5/10
Elderson Echiejile: Didn’t go forward as he loves to, targeted by the Zambians who had joy running at the full back. Suspect all through the game but was on hand thrice to bail out the central defenders when Zambia threatened through the middle….5.5/10
Kenneth Omeruo: Did enough to show his class early on but undid some of his good job with a careless act of defending, which Mbesuma profited from to pull a goal back for Zambia. Need to be decisive under pressure and should also learn to attack balls in the box and not wait for them to drop….6/10
William Troost Ekong: Strong in tackles and dominant in the air. Dovetailed nicely with Omeruo but still need to add finesse to his defending. Quick off the ground but struggled to match the strength of Mbesuma in one on one duels….6.5/10
Eddy Onazi: Had an erratic display in the first half, failing to shield the back four properly, constantly caught out of position but recovered to post a decent display in the second half. Still need to be calm in possession and play simple when the need arises….6.5/10
Mikel Obi: Came close to scoring with a well hit volley in the second half and made a well timed tackle to deny Zambia a chance in the box. He drove the team in the middle as a captain, combining defending and attacking to good effect. Had a hand in the second goal scored by Nigeria….7.5/10
Moses Simon: Started the game on a bright note, by running at the defenders of Zambia with pace and tricks but his wastefulness when it comes to crossing into the box blotted his fine display. Tired out in the first half and deservedly hooked off for Ahmed Musa….6/10
Alex Iwobi: So easy to spot when on the ball due to his class and calmness. Knows when to thread passes and see holes in defence others don’t see. A performance filled with class especially the manner in which he struck the volley that gave Nigeria the lead….8.5/10
Kelechi Iheanacho: Started on a slow note but ended the half on a high with a calm finish. Looked menacing all through and if he maintains his current goal rate for Nigeria, he could smash the all time record in record time….8/10
Brown Ideye: Wasted a clear chance when put through by Iwobi although the flag of the assistant referee saved his blushes. Set Iheanacho up for the second goal and gave the defenders of Zambia a lot to worry about. He used his body to good effect and was excellent in his hold up play with his back to goal….7.5/10
Anderson Esiti: Brought instant calm to the midfield of Nigeria. The half fit defensive midfielder won three tackles that could have caused panic in the Nigerian half….5.5/10
Ahmed Musa: Hard a low effort which forced the Zambian keeper into a punched save. Looked lively and tracked back to help the defence. Won freekicks that slowed down the Zambians. Not too bad a performance from the Leicester City big money buy….6/10
Shehu Abdullahi: A time wasting substitute worth a mention but didn’t get involved enough to earn a rating.