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Despite injury Keita showed he is a great player, says Balogun


(Top L to R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, Nigeria’s forward Odion Ighalo, Nigeria’s defender Kenneth Omeruo, Nigeria’s defender William Ekong, Nigeria’s defender Leon Balogun, Nigeria’s defender Chidozie Awaziem, (bottom L to R) Nigeria’s forward Moses Simon, Nigeria’s midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo, Nigeria’s defender Olaoluwa Aina, Nigeria’s forward Ahmed Musa, and Nigeria’s forward Alex Iwobi, pose for a team photo ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Nigeria and Guinea at the Alexandria Stadium on June 26 , 2019. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

Brighton & Hove defender, Leon Balogun was one of the most impressive players in the Nigerian team that beat Guinea 1-0 on Wednesday.

The 2018 World Cup stalwart, who did not feature in the opening game, stood alongside Kenneth Omeruo in the Eagles’ central defence to ward off all that Guinea could throw at Nigeria. But he came out of the game with a very high rating for Guinea Captain, Naby Keita.

Although the Liverpool midfielder was not fully fit, Balogun admired his performance in his second competitive e game since he copped an injury in the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League against Barcelona.


“It was a tough game against a good team, but we came out of it unscathed. We had some new players in the team, including me, but we did well.

“They were very dangerous on counter-attacks. When Naby Keita has got the ball, he always sees something, he knows how to create chances. Even if he has to protect the ball he does a very great job.

“But at the end we were better, that’s why we qualified.”

Balogun is looking forward to another victory on Sunday when the Eagles meet Madagascar.

“Madagascar won’t take it easy, they also want to qualify, they’ve still got chances after their draw against Guinea in the first game, so it won’t be an easy one but definitely we can be more relaxed than them.”

Madagascar got closer to the second round with a 1-0 defeat of Guinea yesterday in Alexandria.

Sunday’s game could now be a battle for the leadership of Group B.

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