Low marks have gone out for Odion Jude Ighalo, Shehu Abdullahi and Bryan Idowu, for what has been considered poor performances by all three in Wednesday’s international friendly 1-0 loss to Czech Republic, through a 25th minute goal by Thomas Kalas.
Ighalo was rated 4 over 10, while Abdullahi and Idowu both got three marks, as Nigeria lost their final warm up game in Austria, just ten days before their opening match against Croatia in Kaliningrad, Russia.
At no point in the first half did Nigeria appear to be in the ascendancy and, shortly after surviving a scare, they deservedly found themselves trailing in the 25th minute – Kalas scuffing in from close range after Francis Uzoho parried Tomas Soucek’s header right to him.
Although a downpour briefly interrupted play in the early stages of the second half, Nigeria played with more intent after half-time and went close in the 63rd minute, as John Obi Mikel saw a header saved by Vaclik.
The closest Nigeria came to levelling before the break was Wilfred Ndidi’s 30-yard drive, which was brilliantly tipped around the post by Tomas Vaclik in the Czech goal, and the ratings for each Eagles’ player reads –
Francis Uzoho – Commanded his area very well and again proved right the decision of the coach to pick him as first choice ahead of Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi…..6/10
Shehu Abdullahi – Like the last game against England had a game to forget. Looked lost in his role as a wing-back and from all indication he has played himself out of the team for the opening game against Croatia….. 3/10
Bryan Idowu – Another who had a game he will like to forget in a hurry. Only difference with Abdullahi was that he got involved more but his decision making in the box of Czech Republic showed his limitations as a wing back….. 3/10
John Ogu – Another solid display from the Hapoel Be’er Sheva man in a rather different position than his usual role as a midfielder. Looked very composed as a the left side defender in the back three. Won tackles and aerial duels. His distribution was also spot on….. 6.5/10
Leon Balogun – Didn’t start the game in his usual commanding style but grew into it as the game progressed. Still not the same player who posted man of the match performance in almost all of the World Cup qualifiers he played…..5/10
William Troost-Ekong – Hardly comfortable with the ball at his feet but very assured in making tackles plus uses his pace very well in covering up for others…..5/10
Wilfred Ndidi – Returned and immediately showed his class with strong runs and almost scored with a well hit shot carved out of nothing. Clearly the livewire of this Nigerian team. 7/10
Mikel Obi – Covered lot of grounds but failed with most of his forward passes particularly in the second half when the Eagles dominated the contest. Still invaluable to this team but once again was guilty of losing his man for the goal scored by Czech Republic just like it was against England…..6/10
Alex Iwobi – Quick footed and and assured his possession. He failed to assert himself like he did against England on Saturday. Still did enough to earn a rating slightly above average…6/10
Victor Moses – Didn’t play to half of his potentials for the duration he was on but still looked deadly with the ball at his feet. Missed a chance begging to be converted. A sign of his lack of confidence right now…..5/10
Odion Ighalo – Played as a lone striker and aside straying offside carelessly , he didn’t help himself with his poor all round display. Appears to have played himself out of the starting line up…..4/10
Substitutes : Tyronne Ebuehi – Solid display from the newly signed Benfica right back. Sure to start against Croatia base on the strength of his performance in the last two games. Attacks and defends well , a trait which brought stability to the entire Nigerian team in the second half….. 7/10
Ahmed Musa – Struggled to get involved. Failed to use his pace against a tired Czech Republic back line.
Kelechi Iheanacho – Looked sharp but didn’t get into positions where he can wreck havoc. Although he played a bit far off from goal.
Simy Nwankwo – Couple of good touches but nothing extra ordinary from the giant Crotone forward.