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Algeria vs Nigeria: How the Super Eagles fared


Nigeria’s (top L-R) Leon Balogun, William Ekong, Anthony Nwakaeme, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Onyinye Ndidi, John Ogu, (bottom L-R) Abdullahi Shehu, Alexander Iwobi, Ola Aina, Oghenekaro Etebo, and Kelechi Iheanacho pose prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B qualifying football match between Algeria and Nigeria at the Chahid Hamlaou Stadium in Constantine on November 10, 2017. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

The Super Eagles ended their World Cup qualifying series with a 1-1 draw against the Desert Foxes of Algeria. Yacine Brahimi’s goal from the spot in the 88th minute drew the hosts level after John Ogu had put Nigeria ahead in the 62nd minute. Nigeria were already through to the World Cup prior to the match but the fixture saw some remarkable display from the players. Here is how they rated in Constantine.

Ikechukwu Ezenwa: Was far less convincing today and his rising stock might have taken a hit as he flapped at two set pieces into the box after he had committed himself to the balls. His distribution in the game also was under par. Lucky not to have conceded from open play as his poor handling of Aissa Mandi’s low cross presented left Islam Slimani with a gaping goal but the striker unbelievably missed. 5.0


Shehu Abdullahi: The right-back was solid defensively, limiting the mercurial Yacine Brahimi’s influence on the game. Unlucky to concede a non-existent penalty to same Brahimi. Always requested the ball and oft put it to good use on the right side of defense. 6.5

Leon Balogun: Not his ice-cool, unflustered self in the defence.  Even squared up against some Algerian players after their goal from the spot. Wasn’t helped by a defensive line that was higher than he is accustomed to. Also looked tentative when dragged out wide out of his comfort zone. 5.5

William Troost-Ekong: Enjoyed the thrill of battling Slimani, strong in the tackle and dominant. His strength and pace came to good use as he looked the more assured half of the Oyinbo wall. 6.0

Ola Aina: Not the best of full debuts. The youngster would hope to quickly get the jittery performance behind him. Offered width going forward on the left side but always made a mess of things with a poor decision. Got caught upfield a number of times but bettered his recovery and positional discipline as the game wore on. 5.0

Wilfred Ndidi: Always has a good tackling game in him, this was no different. Shielded the defence especially in the central areas, also put himself about. Was ineffectual going forward and contributed very little to the attack. 5.5

John Ogu: Made a positive impression. Had the composure his midfield partners lacked, didn’t shirk his defensive responsibilities and was assured in possession as he always looked to get the ball forward. Scored a 25 yard curler to a cap a brilliant display. 7.0

Oghenekaro Etebo: Covered a lot of ground with his energetic running but to scant effect. Should have been more decisive and efficient with the ball between the lines. Looked lacking in ideas when he got the ball but without the ball he was impressive as art of the midfield press.5.0

Alex Iwobi: Has the deplorable state of the pitch to blame. Got into promising positions but his final balls let him down. Easily turned over possession to the opponent with a number of poor touches and passes. Was less influential till he switched over to the right. Was substituted for Ahmed Musa in the 80th minted 5.5

Kelechi Iheanacho: A forgettable performance for the forward who started out on the left and looked promising in the first few minutes before the isolated and disappointing role centrally. His set-pieces were a mixed bag with some teasingly good and others flat and disappointing. 5.0

Anthony Nwakaeme: Got a volley on target but did little else. Looked confused on when to drop deep and run in behind when plying centrally. Tried to do better on the left in the second half but hardly got on the ball. Went off for Onyekuru in the 71st minute. 5.5

Henry Onyekuru: Dribbled to create a shooting opportunity but the ensuing shot that looked goal-bound was deflected behind. 5.5

Ahmed Musa: N/A

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