Various Nigerian players were in action for their clubs over the weekend. Find below how selected ones rated:
Daniel Akpeyi – Chippa Utd. (0): The Super Eagles net-minder, rumoured to have received an invite to the national team ahead of March friendlies, watched from the bench throughout as his team drew 0:0 against Baroka FC in South Africa.
Elderson Echiejile – Cercle Brugge (6): The traditional left back – spotting jersey 21 – was given a defensive midfield role in the 3-4-3 formation assembled by his coach in Belgium; he played well. Elderson was making a dangerous run into the 18 yard box to support the attack when his teammate Crysan scored to put them ahead against U S Gilloise. The match would end 1:1.
Leon Balogun – Mainz (7): The Super Eagles defender, who was yellow-carded in 63 minutes, appears to be getting used to a 3-man defensive wall. Playing to the right of 2 other defenders, Leon as was unyielding and convincing in his interceptions against Salomon Kalou’s Hertha Berlin in German. His club won 2:0; Anthony Ujah was introduced in the 90th minute.
Tyrone Ebuehi – Ado Den Haag (7): The defender, who was deployed in his customary left back position, did not put any foot wrong as his team ran away 2:1 winners against Bartholomew Ogbeche’s Willem II in Belgium.
Wilfred Ndidi – Leicester City (7) : A trademark long range fearsome shot that almost crashed the back of the net, but for a fantastic save by Sheffield United’s goalkeeper, was the highlight of Ndidi’s
game in his team’s 1:0 victory in the English FA Cup tie. He was solid in the heart of the midfield.
Oghenekaro Etebo – Las Palmas (7): Playing more as a central midfielder for his club in Spain, Etebo was solid in tackles and assured in his ball distributions. He seems at home in this deep midfield role although his occasional runs with the ball remind one of his abilities as a winger. Etebo’s side lost 1:0 to Sevilla.
Kelechi Iheanacho – Leicester City (6): Iheanacho clocked 90 minutes in his team’s FA Cup tie against Sheffield United. Playing as a support striker, the under-17 world cup winner tried hard to peel off defenders and run into space but United’s defenders made it hard for him. He did execute basic push passes and linked up well with Vardy up front. Leicester won 1:0.
Imoh Ezekiel – Las Palmas (7): With his team losing 1:0, newly signed Ezekiel was thrown in the fray in 42 minutes to inject pace in the wings and create goal scoring opportunities. On occasions, Ezekiel was a menace to Sevilla’s defence with his piercing runs and ball distributions. He tried to head the ball in the net in dying minutes but clashed with the goalkeeper. He played well but his side ultimately lost 2:1.
Anthony Nwakaeme – Hapoel Be,er Sheva (7): The winger was simply a delight to watch in Israel as he capped an all round brilliant performance with a well taken goal just before half-time to give his team a 2 goal advantage against M. Petach Tikva going into the break; they won 3:0.
Brown Ideye – Malaga (8): What a performance! From the blast of the whistle, Ideye was up for it against Valencia and he made his mark by flicking a corner kick into the back of the net in 27 minutes; 1:0 to Malaga at that point.
Although Ideye was lively and dangerous throughout, almost crashing the back of the net with headed efforts in 34 and 57 minutes, his side would end up losing this match 2:1.