Super Eagles player ratings vs. CAR: Balogun poor, Aribo disappointing, Osimhen lame as the Wild Beasts pull off massive upset

Group C leaders Super Eagles struggled all afternoon against the Central African Republic at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, only for the Gernot Rohr-tutored side to succumb to a late sucker punch.

5,000 fans watched as one of the biggest upsets in world football played out. 

This is how the Eagles players fared on a forgettable day for Nigerian football. 

Francis Uzoho, 4: Former Deportivo La Coruña star Uzoho beat Sparta Rotterdam’s Maduka Okoye to the number one gloves, earning his eighteenth cap for the Super Eagles. He would be disappointed not to keep a clean sheet after conceding late.

Ola Aina, 3.5: Good interplay between Aina, Simon, and Aribo, but he did not get into position often enough to send the needed cross into the box for Osimhen. Many of his crosses were wayward. 

Leon Balogun, 3: It ended as a terrible evening for the Rangers centre-back, having continued his partnership in defense with captain Troost-Ekong. He had a sharp volley fly just above the bar in the second half but was involved in the mixup that led to the CAR winner.

William Troost-Ekong, 3.5: The skipper took matters into his hands a few times, taking the ball forward and looking for headers from corners as the attackers in front of him found no way past the opponents. He failed to clear the ball that led to the visitors’ sucker punch.

Jamilu Collins, 4: His defensive awareness bailed Nigeria from conceding in the first half as the visitors got the ball into the net, but the striker had fouled Collins before his strike. He surprisingly offered little in attack.  

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Frank Onyeka, 3: Not the most challenging competitive debut for the Brentford midfielder as Nigeria dominated possession, and the whole team pressed together when without the ball. Outran by the opponents a few times.

Joe Aribo, 3.5: Aribo looked overwhelmed in a crowded midfield in the opening half and did not improve at any point afterwards.

Moses Simon, 4: With the Wild Beasts defending in numbers, Simon did not have space to run into in the first half. Wasteful at the start of the second half when he could have laid the chance for the better-placed Osimhen.

Chidera Ejuke, 4: One of the best players in the Russian Premier League, Ejuke was kept quiet in the opening stages of the match. He grew into the game twisting and turning but still found the stubborn CAR defence impenetrable.

Kelechi Iheanacho, 4: Iheanacho was involved in Nigeria’s buildup play in the early stages, and he got the team a fine attempt on goal, which went just wide. He suffered an injury earlier on and was replaced at the interval.

Victor Osimhen, 3.5: A terror to defenders in the Italian Serie A, the Napoli lad could not find his range against the CAR defenders who mostly dealt with his threat expertly. There were not many chances in the game for him but the few had, he fluffed.

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Substitutes

Taiwo Awoniyi, 3: The Union Berlin hotshot was introduced for his senior debut at the break for the injured Iheanacho as the home side looked for a breakthrough. He nearly broke the deadlock, but an opponent blocked his shot, and he missed his header meters away from the goalie shortly after.

Samuel Kalu, 3.5: The Bordeaux man came on for Simon with 20 minutes left. He showed his dribbling skills soon after, but his final ball left much to be desired. Looking to make more impact, Kalu then struck a free-kick wide off target.

Ahmed Musa, 3: No meaningful impact from the Fatih Karagumruk man for the minutes he spent on the pitch.