The Super Eagles of Nigeria played out an impressive 1:1 draw against the Samba Boys of Brazil on 13 October 2019.
Afrofooty brings the player ratings for this fascinating encounter:
Francis Uzoho (6.5/10): Dealt with looping efforts, low drives and most of what the Brazilians threw at him very well as the Super Eagles sat back to soak too much pressure for long periods.
His 26 minute save from a looping header was camera-friendly. He parried a low tame shot shortly afterwards from Firmino in an unconvincing manner before going off injured after poorly timing a corner which could have led to a goal.
He tried his best but could do nothing to prevent Brazil’s rebound goal.
Chidozie Awaziem (6.5/10): He was beaten in 27 minute which eventually leading to Fermino’s feeble effort on goal. Awaziem matched the Brazilians physically and was willing to put his body on the line.
Offered precious little going forward but, for the most part, did his defensive duties
Although he was calm in possession, Awaziem hardly got into position to deliver any deadly passes. For the sit-back-and-soak-pressure formation Rohr wanted, Awaziem showed focus and concentration to do his part in ensuring that Brazil did not score more than 1 goal.
William Ekong (6/10): He showed some nerves and limited composure earlier on but grew into the game as it progressed. Ekong is showing decent partnership with Semi as they helped repel some promising Brazilian attacks. He was beaten easily in 57 minutes.
Owing to his experience, one would have expected Ekong to be alive to the threat of the Brazilians from corner kicks but the defence went to sleep allowing the Brazilians to equalise. He had some noteworthy blocakges.
Semi Ajayi (7/10): The Wes Brom man has grown in leaps and bound with his composure and all round solidly convincing display against one of the strongest attacking force he would ever have played against.
An outstretched leg defended a dangerous cross that could have caused problems before his world class sense of positioning led to a goal-line block to deny Coutinho in the second half.
He also had time to block a crossed effort in 91 minute to cap a fantastic performance that should make it a difficult decision to drop him to the bench on subsequent matches.
Jamilu Collins (6.5/10): His side was bombarded early on but he held his own (with some support from Simon). In fact, Jamilu suffered particularly in the first half as the Brazilians chose his side to attack from, predominantly.
Yet, the German based defender stood firm, held his own and repelled waves and waves
of attempted incursions into his area. He tried to make something happen at times with purposeful play out of defence but overall his attacking threats were curtailed partly due to Rohr’s tactics of soaking up pressure.
Wilfred Ndidi (6.5/10): A very competent defensive midfield play as he worked tirelessly to shield the back four while attempting to instigate attacking moves with short passes.
Ndidi tried not to get dragged out of position but he still showed the tendency to commit fouls in dangerous areas.
His timing, positioning, bags of energy and readiness to intercept were key to the success of Rohr’s ‘soak pressure and counter approach’.
Ndidi also showed some organisation skills as he tried to rally those around him to maintain their focus.
Joe Aribo (8.5/10): The Rangers man was quiet early on and started coming alive after 20 minutes. Once in the game, Aribo was very cunning in his play in the way he tried to pick his moment to inflict maximum damage.
That moment came when he showed precision, pace and persistence to power himself across the Brazilian defence before smashing the back of the net to give Nigeria an unlikely lead. After the goal, he never looked back as he tried to implement Rohr’s counter-attacking tactics with give-and-goes and surging runs into dangerous areas – such a run led to him being fouled in 92 minutes after exchanging passes with Azeez.
He also won back possession for his team on occasions.
Alex Iwobi (5.5/10): His lack of centre-midfield orientation was again evident in this game as he appeared content to operate from the left in certain times thereby leaving a void in the centre of Nigeria’s midfield.
Iwobi was meant to be the one to allow the Super Eagles dictate play from the midfield while in the process releasing the likes of Chukwueze and Simon with long balls.
These were not on display.
However, Iwobi played his part in containing the Brazilians while trying to deliver simple passes. More was expected of the Everton man who showed tiredness as the game wore on.
Samuel Chukwueze (8/10): His delicious in-swinging crosses early in the first and then
the second half to Osihmen were a joy to behold. In fact, Sam is starting to forge good partnership and synergy with Lille sharpshooter.
His bursts into the dangerous areas and his threats in Rohr’s counter attacking philosophy were very effective in making the Brazilians take notice. Chukwueze had goal bound effort in 86 minute after some hard work that preceded it. His take-ons were very credible and his danger was evident every time he touched the ball.
A very good day in the office for the youngster.
Moses Simon (6.5/10): Very solid play in both parts of the pitch. Simon tracked back well to support the defence while he also tried to drive forward with some unconvincing runs. His tackles were also timely and neat.
His ball control and simple pass for Aribo’s goal were sublime. His signature predictable take-on led to corner kick in 76 minutes.
Overall, Simon had a highly solid albeit not overly spectacular display. But nowadays, those are the sort of displays to expect from the Nantes winger.
Victor Osihmen (7/10): Good effort on goal early on with a decent shot that could have gone in on another day. Osihmen did well to try to lose his marker and showed from this display that, yes, he is in the Super Eagles to stay.
His touches were credible and his positioning was that of a quality centre forward – Osihmen also showed some aerial threats. The Lille man showed understanding with those around him and could have punished the Brazilian defence but for the fact that they were switched on to his threat.
Maduka Okoye (5/10): He made some routine saves after coming on. He looks confident; Okoye did not appear fazed by the occasion.
Paul Onuachu (4.5/10) : He ran into some blind alleys whilst looking uncomfortable in the set up he was asked to play in. Never looked like causing the Brazilians any problems.
Dennis Bonaventure (5/10): He came in and slotted seamlessly into Rorh’s ‘soak pressure’ philosophy.
Azeez (5.5/10): Showed focus and positional discipline as he helped repel the Brazilians later on while also having enough time for some healthy give-and-go with Aribo which led to the latter being fouled on the way to going to cause harm.
Peter Olanyinka (5/10): Showed focus in slotting into the team to deter the Brazilians from scoring one more goal.
Shehu Abdullahi (N/A): His time on the pitch was to minimal to be rated.