Ighalo Takes Nigeria’s Highest Marks In Sfax Battle


Changchun Yatai of China striker, Odion  Jude Ighalo is rating highest among all players in the Super Eagles, following his man-of-the-match performance in Tuesday’s 3-2 win away to Libya in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, footballlive.ng can report.

Ighalo followed up his hat-trick of the previous weekend’s first leg in Uyo with a brace of goals that helped Nigeria eke out a historic victory in Sfax, Tunisia, such that no one would argue with pundits who rated him tops of the Eagles’ heroes on display.
Ighalo ranked highest in ratings for each of the players, which emerged as follow:
Francis Odinaka Uzoho: He got about his toughest test so far in Nigeria’s colours, as he gained his 12th cap, but was jittery at times. He, however, made three great saves and kept Nigeria in the game at a point the Libyans dominated. Rating – 5/10
Ola Aina: Appeared shaky for a large part of the game, and could be held accountable for lapses on both goals, as he seemed bothered more with linking up with Samuel Kalu on the wings, rather than concentrate on his defensive duties at right back. Rating – 5/10
Jamilu Collins: He looks to have tied down Nigeria’s left back position with another promising performance. He has ease in moving forward and falling back, good with crosses up field, and very stable. Rating – 5.5/10
William Troost-Ekong: He had a commanding performance in the center of Nigeria’s defense, and made six crucial interceptions. He also had three clearances and won two aerial duels, but could have done better in covering the shaky Ola Aina. Rating – 6/10
Leon Aderemi Balogun: He again played in the shadows of Troost-Ekong, but still popped up once in a while with some timely tackles and sorties up front during set pieces. He, however, looked suspect on both goals by the Libyans with poor reactions and timing of aerial duels. Rating – 5/10
Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi: He is, unfortunately, out of the next match in the qualifiers, after picking up another yellow card, but he never held back all night long and was the midfield marshal. A good link between the defence and attack, and moved the ball with ease. Rating – 7/10
Oghenekaro Etebo: He was full of his normal battling efforts, and good ball holding abilities. He had good linking play with the attackers and held his own in the middle of the pack. Rating – 6/10
Alex Iwobi: Proved he has what it takes to play as creative attacking midfielder, with another sterling role as Eagles’ playmaker and good contender to continue with a permanent custodian of the number 10 position in the team. Rating – 7.5/10
Ahmed Musa: He was a constant threat down the left wing. His lack of selfish play, creativity and leadership role set up the first goal for Jude Ighalo, before the stand-in captain grabbed Nigeria’s second of the night, despite initially tumbling and almost falling over the ball. Rating – 8/10
Samuel Kalu: He could not enact the same impact he had in the first leg, when his efforts saw him net a last minute wonder goal in Nigeria’s 4-0 win, but was still full of running and held the ball well. Rating – 5/10
Odion Jude Ighalo: He was like a house on fire, with several darting runs, remarkably good touches, held the ball up well, and showed great team work. He scored in the first half, got an assist and then hit the crucial goal that fetched three points, after Libya drew level. Rating – 9/10
The Substitutes:
John Ugochukwu Ogu: He made some interceptions and covered well for the back-four through the middle. Rating – 5.5/10
Henry Onyekuru: Came on in the 80th minute and added more life to the Eagles’ attack. Almost scored, after a swift turnaround and shot, but saw his effort go wide off the far post. Rating –  6/10
Semi Ajayi: The soft-spoken defender had a cameo role, but looked a little shaky in the few minutes he had on the pitch, ostensibly because he did not have enough time to settle down and play. Rating 5/10
Nigeria now top Group E with nine points, followed by South Africa with eight, Libya on four and Seychelles with only one.
The group winner and runner-up will qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.


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