Nigeria progressed to the final of the African Nations Championship after beating Sudan 1-0 in the second semi final of the championship.
the game which was settled by a strike from Akwa United forward Gabriel Okechukwu saw both team reduced to two men following red cards issued out by the centre referee.
Owngoalnigeria.com Osas Mahawi rates the players on display for Nigeria in the hard earned 1-0 win.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa – Went out injured early into the game after a brave decision to come out of his line to rescue a goal situation in the Nigerian box. Nigerians would be praying the injury isn’t severe enough for him to miss the World Cup later in the year, as he has been outstanding all through the tournament….. 5/10
Osas Okoro – He was his usual self, full of running down the flanks, whipped in quality balls and almost killed the game off with a well struck free kick from the foul on Dare Ojo that saw Sudan reduced to ten men, he however put Nigeria on the back foot severally when he lost balls in key areas of the pitch which almost profited Sudan ….. 6/10
Ikouwem Udoh – Had a far less impressive game as opposed to the game against Angola. Didn’t get enough support from Austin Oladapo who played ahead of him, which means he couldn’t go forward as he would have loved to, but still put in a good shift….. 7/10
Stephen Eze – Wasn’t his usual self. Started the game very well but failed to dominate the box like he has done in previous games. Had his partner Kalu Orji to thank for jobs he usually accomplish with ease….. 6/10
Kalu Orji – Did looked shaky at the start of the game but he was big, when the team needed him to be big in order to protect their lead. Controlled the defence when Sudan intensified their search for a leveller, but need to sort out why so many balls into the box of Nigeria were not dealt with either by him or his partner in defence Eze….. 7/10
Ifeanyi Ifeanyi – Once again failed to live up to the hype that surrounded his selection in the team. Got himself sent off for two bookable offence. The way he got the second yellow card was very poor considering how high he is rated….. 4/10
Austin Oladapo – Didn’t do enough defensively but was quite decent on the ball. Picked his men out with well hit passes. However he looked lost playing as a winger rather than his preferred role as a central midfielder….. 6/10
Dayo Ojo – His energy level is no doubt a plus for this team, but he however didn’t get involved in proceedings as may would have expected, particularly when Sudan had the numerical advantage . His late surging run lead to the foul which saw Sudan reduced to ten men….. 6.5/10
Rabiu Ali – At the age of 37, he still has the legs to cover grounds and make runs into the box. Thread through fine passes and also help the Eagles hang on to possession when they needed to….. 7/10
Gabriel Okechukwu – Took his goal well and made so many runs behind the defence of Sudan which could easily have lead to goal. Looked lively all through. Silenced his critics with the official man of the match award….. 8.5/10
Tony Okpotu – Okpotu had another miserable night leading the lines for Nigeria as the lone striker. His control was poor. Missed a big chance to put Nigeria two goals up. Not many were surprised when he was sacrificed following the red card to Ifeanyi Ifeanyi….. 4.5/10
Dele Ajiboye – Proved he is more than just a back up. Made unbelievable saves which helped Nigeria protect their lead. On the strength of his performance tonight he has no doubt make a case to be included in the senior national team of Nigeria for the World Cup in Russia….. 8.5/10
Ibrahim Mustapha – Added energy and pace when he was introduced but didn’t do enough to help the team when they were defending their lead….. 4/10
Abdullahi Musa – Brought on to shore up the defence following the red card given to Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, and he was got involved but didn’t quite get the timing of his marking right, and it resulted to fouls which Sudan almost used to their advantage….. 4/10