Nigeria 1-0 Benin ; Player Ratings – Ezenwa The Hero, Rabiu Ali Dazzles, Eduwo MOTM

708 eagle eyed correspondent was at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano where the Nigeria secured one of the tickets for the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN 2018), which will take place in Kenya.


Osas Mahawi rates the players on show for the Nigerian team in the game which they defeated their counterparts from Benin Republic 2-0 to progress on a 2-1 aggregate score.


Ikechukwu Ezenwa – Wasn’t troubled all through the game but still ended the game as the hero for the Nigerian side by saving a spot kick, which if Benin had scored would have eliminated Nigeria….9/10

Osas Okoro – Struggled against the pace of a very quick Benin Republic side but wasn’t afraid to join the attack from his role as right full back. Provided the cross nodded home by Kingsley Eduwo after a trademark run from deep….7.5/10

Chima Akas – Slow but hard to get pass due to his near perfect reading of play. Deadly from free kicks and rattled the woodwork with a well struck effort in the first half…. 7.5/10

Emmanuel Ariwachukwu – Big, strong and quick. He was very solid at the back on the few occasions Benin threatened, handled in the area for the penalty awarded to Benin which they missed‎…. 7/10

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Stephen Eze – Much was said about him in the build up to the game. He didn’t start brightly as he appeared jittery and gave away possession cheaply. His performance improved tremendously after Nigeria scored in the 22nd minutes. Solid but not spec‎tacular as claimed by many…. 7.5/10

Ifeanyi Ifeanyi – Had a game he won’t want to remember anytime soon. The Akwa United midfield supremo looked lost in the middle for Nigeria. Poor on the ball and very slow in tackles…. 6/10

Samuel Matthias – The free scoring El-Kanemi Warriors midfielder carried no threat for the duration he was on the pitch. Lost the ball countless times even when he wasn’t under pressure…. 5/10

Rabiu Ali – Pele like they call him in Kano was a delight to watch for Nigeria. Fought for every ball and distributed it nicely. Opened scoring for the Eagles and was deadly all through on a pitch where he has spent almost all his career…. 9/10

Alhassan Ibrahim – Showed his class when on the ball. His pass to Ali lead to Nigeria’s first goal but didn’t get involved in the box of the opponent, where he can be very deadly. Did well considering he played in an unfamiliar position…. 7/10

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Stephen Odey – Worked his socks off for the team playing from the left. Quick, strong and not scared to take on his marker. Got injured and had to be substituted in the second half but he was lively for the period he was on….. 7.5/10

Kingsley Eduwo – Man of the Match. Took his goal nicely and was a threat all game long. Strong in aerial duels, not scared of putting his body on the line and a willing runner. The best player on the pitch for both sides….. 9.5/10

Substitutes :

Raphael A‎yagwa – Added steel in the middle for Nigeria. Quick in breaking up play and no doubt gave the team more balance than Matthias who was yanked off in his favour…. 6.5/10

Sikiru Olatunbosun – Very direct and daring. Caused panic in the box of Benin Republic with his darting runs and close ball control. Didn’t do badly in helping out the defence as well….6.5/10

Ifeanyi George – His introduction didn’t go down well with the home fans and the Enugu Rangers man did nothing to correct their impression for the minutes he spent on the pitch…. 5/10

Osas Mahawi