By Kennedy Pwaspo.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria, managed a slim win over a stubborn Burundi side who showed no respect to the Nigerians for the entirety of the game.
The Head Coach of the eagles, Gernot Rohr made a few changes to his starting eleven, with Daniel Akpeyi and Paul Onuachu starting ahead of Francis Uzoho and Odion Ighalo.
In a dramatic tie that seemed headed for a draw, it took tactical changes from the German tactician to change the course of the game, as Ighalo came in for Paul Onuachu; netting the winner in the 77th minute after an impressive backheel from Ola Aina.
Nigeria will take on Guinea on Wednesday, June 26, as they seek qualification to the knockout stages of the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
Here is the Super Eagles player ratings:
1. Daniel Akpeyi: Was jittery for most parts of the game and showed little confidence. He however redeemed himself with two great saves. 6/10
2. Shehu Abdullahi: Made some impressive runs in the opening stages of the game. He gave a good account of himself before picking up an injury that forced him out of the pitch. 6/10
3. Troost Ekong: Was average on the night, although made some timely clearances when needed. He was unable to keep the Burundi strikers in check, as he was beaten several times, both in aerial balls and on the ground. 5/10
4. Kenneth Omeruo: He was the better of the two central defenders. He had a stunning chance at goal with a brilliant overlap but failed to find the back of the net. 6/10
5. Ola Aina: Unarguably the man of the match. He displayed massive improvement from his previous showings in the eagles’ shirt after failing to make the world cup squad. His fine backheel pass to Ighalo gave Nigeria the winning goal. 8/10
6. Wilfred Ndidi: Displayed the quality he’s known for, although was troubled by the strength of the opposition midfielders. 6/10
7. Oghenekaro Etebo: His physicality helped control the midfield for some moment, but needs to improve on his passing accuracy. 5.5/10
8. Mikel Obi: Had a poor game. He didn’t show much prospects going forward. His aging was evident on the pitch with his frequent falls which won a few free kicks for the team. 4/10
9. Samuel Chukwueze: He was a delight to watch with his entertaining runs and dribbles, but was betrayed by his final ball. He squandered a great chance that would have sent the eagles ahead in the first half. He’s still a work in progress. Definitely, one of Nigeria’s super stars for the future. 7.5/10
10. Alex Iwobi: Had a good game starting from the wings, but got better operating from the midfield. He made great passes but needs urgent improvement on his shooting ability. 6.5/10
11. Paul Onuachu: Made a less than average showing of himself. Did well tracking backwards to win the ball in midfield. Had a few shots on goal, but haven’t proven to be worthy of dislodging Ighalo just yet. 4.5/10
12. Chinedu Awaziem: He replaced the injured Abdullahi. Was decent in defence. 6/10
13. Ahmed Musa: He came in for John Obi Mikel and added some glare to the attack. His interchange of passes and runs came in handy for the eagles. 7/10
14. Odion Ighalo: He announced his presence in the game shortly after replacing Onuachu with a spectacular goal which won the game for the eagles. Proved why he’s still the team’s best striker despite a trail of criticism in recent times. 8/10