Nigeria’s resurgence through the second round of the AFCON 2019 inspired some confidence in the team’s ability to perhaps wriggle and turn their way to the final, but Algeria won’t have it so.
Djamel Belmadi’s tactical game was on deck; on paper and in the game situation, as predicted and Algeria showed that superiority.
However, it wasn’t a stroll in the park for the Desert Foxes and here’s the rating for the Eagles who snoozed and those who came to the party.
Daniel Akpeyi: 6/10
It might seem a bit generous, but it actually isn’t.
Akpeyi did enough to keep Nigeria in the game and only a sublime strike like Mahrez’s or the Troost-Ekong turning the ball in his own net could beat the 32 year-old all night.
William Troost-Ekong: 6/10
His performance on the night was defined, not by the brave tackles made or aerial battles won. On this occasion when he could have been the hero, Ekong was drained and appeared the pantomime villain after unfortunately turning the ball into his own net.
Kenneth Omeruo: 6/10
He had a few questionable moments, but made up for those with great defensive plays at different moments in the game.
Jamilu Collins: 6/10
He was faced the full brunt of Riyad Mahrez’s brilliance on the night, a step-over and feint that almost sent the defender stumbling, but created space for a cross.
The recovery was late and an attempted blocked was nothing but a toe poke that sent the ball in a different trajectory until it ricocheted off Ekong’s midriff and into the net.
He like most would later find his confidence, however he was restricted to mainly defensive duties and had very little impact going forward.
Chidozie Awaziem: 7/10
Defensively, he was near perfect – picked up a caution and will now miss the third-placed match – but had near moments of calamity.
Wilfred Ndidi: 6/10
Looked out of sorts. Barely could impose himself and was played out of the park by the Algerian midfielders.
Oghenekaro Etebo: 6/10
He was overwhelmed by the Algerian attackers and had few standout moments defensively. To his credit, it was his effort from range that resulted in the penalty.
Etebo took the initiative with the Algerian defence repelling every limp attack attempted by the Eagles.
Alex Iwobi: 6/10
His numbers on the night were very restricted, an indication the midfielder didn’t have the best night although Nigeria created more goal scoring chances and more shots on target.
Samuel Chukwueze: 5.5/10
He played a half-spirited 78 minutes, but it was no fault of his. The Algeria succeeded in cutting off his supply route and isolated the winger.
A was on set piece duties on the night and made little impact with that to.
Ahmed Musa: 6/10
Chances for him came very few and far between upfront and he cut a frustrated figure for the most part in the game. On defensive duties he contributed just averagely.
Odion Ighalo: 7/10
He went close to scoring from open play but was let down by his finishing. He would make up for that later on though, scoring from the penalty spot to bring Nigeria level.
Henry Onyekuru: 5/10
Onyekuru made his first appearance in the AFCON, but didn’t make as much impact on it as the buzz that greeted his inclusion.
On the night, the winger struggled to impose himself; where no Nigerian did.