AFCON: Nigeria 1-2 Cote d’Ivoire Player Ratings: Eagles chose bad time for worst performance

 

 

The Eagles did not have the energy to fly high on Sunday, but they have to be commended for going all the way to the final

 

The Super Eagles fell at the last hurdle at the 2023 AFCON tournament on Sunday, losing 2-1 to the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, and it was a performance to forget.

The Nigerian national team chose the wrong day to put in their worst performance in the tournament and were totally undeserving of victory against the Elephants, who completed their redemption to produce a Hollywood ending.

Here are the player ratings:

Stanley Nwabali: 90 minutes [27, 9 caps]

Rating: 6/10

 

Though Nwabali conceded two goals in a match for the first time at AFCON 2023, he finished the tournament assured of his new No. 1 status. His first mistake proved costly, as the Ivorians equalised through Franck Kessie. Nwabali had strayed when the kick was taken and could not get back on his line. Though he tried to save the ball and got his gloves on it, it proved the turning point for the Elephants to march to victory.

Semi Ajayi: 90 minutes [30, 34 caps]

Rating: 6/10

Ajayi was one of the most nervous of the Super Eagles players, and that made him over-run the ball and lunge into tackles. The West Brom defender settled as the match progressed and tried to help the team chase an equaliser.

William Troost-Ekong: 90 minutes [30, 71 caps]

Rating: 6.5/10

Ekong was culpable for Sebastien Haller’s winning goal, as he was a microsecond slow in reacting to the Ivorian forward’s run, but that could not take away from the majestic performances he had put in from the start of the tournament. Admirably, CAF named the PAOK defender the player of the tournament.

Calvin Bassey: 90 minutes [24, 23 caps]

Rating: 6.5/10

Another good performance from Bassey; though he had moments of indecision that almost cost his team, he was also on hand to save a dangerous situation. He is one Super Eagle who will be around for the future, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Ola Aina: 90 minutes [27, 40 caps]

Rating: 4/10

Aina chose the worst day to be off-colour. Simon Adingra skinned the Nottingham Forest defender in almost all of their duels, and the Eagles conceded the two goals from his side of the defence. He also could not help his team on the offensive end, though Samuel Chukwueze contributed to this malaise.

 

Zaidu Sanusi: 90 minutes [26, 21 caps]

Rating: 5.5/10

Sanusi won the corner, through which the Eagles took the lead, but he committed too many fouls and looked suspect when opponents ran at him.

Frank Onyeka: 90 minutes [26, 24 caps]

Rating: 6/10

Onyeka ran his lungs out and should be proud of his performances at the tournament.

 

Alex Iwobi: 90 minutes [27, 76 caps]

Rating: 5/10

Iwobi was not on his game, turning over the ball with simple possession, and could not initiate the attack as expected. This was not one match the Fulham midfielder would remember fondly because the match passed him by.

Ademola Lookman: 90 minutes [26, 19 caps]

Rating: 6/10

Lookman was industrious as usual and tried his best to press and carry the ball forward, but there was no energy behind him, and the spaces between him and Osimhen just grew throughout the match.

Samuel Chukwueze: 56 minutes [24, 35 caps]

Rating: 3/10

Jose Peseiro will be scratching his head as to why he thought Chukwueze could make a difference. The AC Milan winger also has to reflect as the level of his game continues to decline, with many football fans asking why he continues to make the team. He contributed immensely to Aina’s poor showing, as he failed to track back and help on the right flank.

Victor Osimhen: 90 minutes [24, 35 caps]

Rating: 5/10

Osimhen tried his best, but he was too detached from the rest of the team to have any influence to trouble the Ivorian defence, which was well marshalled by Evan Ndicka and Odilon Kossounou. This was probably his poorest performance at AFCON 2023.

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