Nigeria Player Ratings: How did the Super Eagles fare vs. Seychelles?
Goals from Ahmed Musa, Chidozie Awaziem and Odion Ighalo carried Nigeria to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Seychelles on Saturday, as the Super Eagles boosted their prospects of reaching the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The win took them to within a point of group leaders, Libya, and South Africa, who drew 0-0 in Durban.
Just about everything went right for Gernot Rohr's side, who picked up the win, bagged some goals, delivered a performance to please the fans and kept a clean sheet.
Samuel Kalu even made his debut for the Super Eagles, and offered a glimpse of what he has to offer over the coming years.
Chidozie Awaziem's injury in the second half must come as big minus for both player and country, especially at the start of a new season.
The defender was carried off, and his reaction - fist beating the turf - does not bode well.
Speaking of new season, Kenneth Omeruo and Bryan Idowu looked off the pace as the Super Eagles took their foot off the gas in spells and allowed their hosts opportunities...and at least two good looks at Uzoho.
Let's just put that down to early-season rustiness!
Manager rating (out of 10)
8 - Gernot Rohr
There was little surprise in his starting eleven, except perhaps the dropping of Oghenekaro Etebo for Ogenyi Onazi.
He needed his wards not to underrate Seychelles and to do a professional job, and they did just that, although he arguably waited too long to bring on Henry Onyekuru, especially after the game was all but won.
Player Ratings (out of 10. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK FRANCIS UZOHO 7
Had very little to do for the entirety of the game. Did make one first half save and batted away a floating ball for a cornerback in the second, and there was a little uncertainty in his footwork when the Seychellois got in behind Omeruo.
DF CHIDOZIE AWAZIEM 8
It's a shame his day ended so badly after what was an adventurous performance from him in his second consecutive Nations Cup qualifying start.
The defender bombed forward at every opportunity, combined well with Kalu, tracked back to the opposite to cover for Idowu and took his goal with the expertise and awareness of a centre forward.
DF BRYAN IDOWU 6
On his first game on African soil, Idowu looked an anonymous bystander.
His day was summed up by a ball which he mis-controlled into touch under no pressure at all. He barely got forward or crossed a single accurate ball.
DF LEON BALOGUN 8
The defender was strong as expected, won his battles in the air and tackled well on the ground. He did look somewhat discomfited by the pitch.
DF KENNETH OMERUO 7
Omeruo hasn't played a game this season and it showed. He picked up a yellow card for a professional foul after he was beaten way too easily in the first half.
There was then a mistimed a high ball, letting it bounce behind him and only inaccurate shooting prevented a goal.
MF OGENYI ONAZI 8
This was a much better game than the last time he suited up for for Nigeria. The defender made decisive interventions, forced turnovers and created opportunities.
His only black mark was his tardy passing, but it was an overall excellent display.
MF WILFRED NDIDI 8
With the opposition offering next to no threat, Ndidi found himself pushing up for large parts of the game.
He offered better distribution than his midfield partner, but could have been a bigger influence.
MF KELECHI IHEANACHO 7
The Leicester City man was deployed in the Mikel role, and struggled to impose himself.
He took on three defenders in the first half and ballooned over, and delivered the well-taken freekick from which Awaziem scored.
The forward was later booked for a professional challenge in midfield with the rest of the team caught upfront.
FW AHMED MUSA 9
It would seem to appear that scoring spectacular goals is becoming second nature to Musa, as he hit the ball as clean as a whistle for the Eagles' opener.
He had other opportunities and could easily have gone home with a hat-trick.
FW SAMUEL KALU 9 (MOTM)
As close to a 10 as is possible, and perhaps a goal would have guaranteed that after a truly remarkable debut.
His pace, quick feet, direct running and take-on ability were a constant trouble for the Seychelles defence, and he won the penalty that Ighalo dispatched for the third goal.
FW ODION IGHALO 8
The troubled forward put away the penalty kick that gave the Super Eagles the third, having earlier set up Musa for the opener with an unselfish piece of outrageous skill.
He held up the ball effectively, and almost scored from open play himself despite the attentions of a centre-back double-team
MF OGHENEKARO ETEBO 7
The midfielder was dropped for Onazi, and Etebo restored energy to flagging Nigeria after being introduced.
He made key interventions in the heart of the park, and almost set up Onyekuru for a goal late on.
DF SEMI AJAYI N/R
FW HENRY ONYEKURU N/R