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Nigeria vs Ireland Player Ratings

The Super Falcons were administered a dose of their own medicine today when an equally organized and obdurate Ireland forced a 1:1 draw in the last group stage fixture. 

Despite Ireland having the lion's share of possession, the Super Falcons carved out the neatest goal scoring opportunities with Kanu and Oshoala coming agonizingly close to powering Nigeria to the top of the group. 

Below is my brief compilation of player ratings:

1, Chiamaka Nnadozie: It was a rather inconsistent performance from the usually-assured goaltender today. On the one hand she played the ball out from the back competently on occasions whilst executing decent punches and catches laced with commendable saves. On the other hand, she did drop the ball needlessly whilst mistiming a run and missing the ball altogether which looked amateurish. 

Her shortcomings do not overshadow her overall performance but they mounted to sow seeds of doubt in a manner that slightly stained the overall quality of her output. 

I give her 5.5/10 

2, Michelle Alozie: she came to her own in the second half in trying to help her team score a goal. She surged forward with mixed success as at times she ran into a cul de sac of bodies or she was just simply unsuccessful in her dribble. 

But, Alozie worked tirelessly, combining delightfully well with Gift Monday to create openings and delivering promising crosses whilst demonstrating an innate ability to read the game defensively in order to keep Ireland attackers at bay with interceptions, tackles and clearances. 

It's a 7.5/10 from me. 

3, Osinachi Ohale: Being that - Like Nigeria - Ireland didn't execute high press, Osinachi saw a lot of the ball. She did try to create openings and execute long passes which kept things moving for Nigeria, although some of those balls fell into enemy hands. 

She commanded her area well and I didn't notice any significant missteps from her. She had a job to do and she stuck to it. 

I'd say 6.5/10.

4, Ashleigh Plumptre: With eyes behind her head, she was able to intercept a number of through ball attempts which could have been problematic. Deep in the 18 yard box, Plumptre put her body on the line to block a number of efforts that could have caused harm. She was also neat and tidy in possession on some occasions. 

However, she did get beat on at least one 1v1 situation whilst she wasn't always success in her dribble attempts. 

It's a 6/10 all day. 

5, Tosin Demehin: It is with heavy heart that I have to say that she hasn't particularly made the centre back shirt hers. Her touch was heavy on one occasion which led to an unnecessary throw in. Her tackle and subsequent clearance further up in the defensive midfield position looked unpolished. 

Her redeeming qualities are decent composure in a number of 1v1 situations whilst her defending, when performed with a clear head, looked calm and assured. It was a mixed bag of competency and crudeness. Eliminate the crudeness and a star will be born. 

I still give her a 6/10 for team work and and effort. 

6, Halimat Ayinde: She was a portrait of excellence in the dispensation of several key aspects of her defensive midfield role. Her ball control was sublime which helped Nigeria retrieve and retain possession. It also helped to win freekicks. A driven pass from her located Ajibade whose follow on through ball almost unlocked Irish defence. 

Ever the team player, Halimat bailed out defenders like Alozie on occasions. Her high press and recovery efforts were commendable. 

I have no compunction issuing 8/10. A bit generous but hey, Ayinde didn't put much foot wrong. 

7, Christie Ucheibe: Rather uncharacteristically, she performed under the shadow of Ayinde. I can think of 1 poor pass and 1 laughable long range shot. I can also recall a high work rate which produced tackles, interceptions and possession recovery work.

I think she would have loved to influence the game far greater than she did but all in all, it was an acceptable level of performance.

It's a 6/10 I think. 

8, Toni Payne: What a player! A starting point will be the compelling drive, taking 2 defenders out of the picture before delivering a glorious inswinger to Kanu. 

She commanded her area agency and authority in trying to create openings for Nigeria to score. Admittedly, some of her efforts were met with mixed results. A poor shot outside the box 18 after a rich daring run was disappointing. Some of her long balls were ineffective and the less said about one corner kick the better. 

But, Payne was tenacious. With her there was no lost cause. She got stuck in a gave a performance that had far more to admire than to criticize. 

No qualms in issuing 6.5/10. 

9, Rasheedat Ajibade: I think the Irish players had her number as she couldn't dial through in a number of phone-booth exchanges with defenders. 

The Irish players did not allow Ajibade’s A game to come to the fore. She did thread a delightful through pass to Oshoala whilst she was effective in helping the team recover possession. She filled in to bail out Ucheibe on one occasion whilst one of her crosses caught the eye. 

In all, Ajibade supported the team in pressing and putting pressure on the Irish defence in the second half in pursuit of a goal that never materialized. 

6/10, no,  I would say 6.5/10.

10, Uchenna Kanu: She rose highest to connect a Payne inswinger with a powerful header which drew an excellent save off the goalkeeper. Kanu was supportive of the defence in retrieving the ball and keeping things tight. 

She would steal the ball off an Irish pass in front before locating Oshoala with a glorious pass of her own - Oshoala should have done better. I seem to remember her bailing Plumptre out at the back one time whilst executing a number of eye popping passing deliveries. 

Kanu really came to her own today. 

It's an 8/10 from me, truly a standout performance. 

11, Asisat Oshoala: It was nice to see her come deep to win the ball from midfield before helping Nigeria recycle possession. She managed to create space for herself in a crowded defence. She was at the back of two truly presentable chances for Nigeria by driving into the heart of Ireland's 18 yard box but she just didn't have the finishing touch on both occasions. 

Let's say 6/10 because her positioning was excellent but her precision let her down on the day. 

12, Ifeoma Onumonu: An excellent defense splitting pass of a freekick caught the eye. Tracking back to help the team retrieve possession was another of her strong points in this game. Her hold up play and neat passes in harmless areas were also noteworthy. She also displayed some neat ball control skills but she never looked like scoring. 

It's a 6/10 from me. 

13, Gift Monday: Her chemistry with Alozie down the flank was beautiful as they exchanged passes that opened up Ireland and led to some tasty crosses. Her buccaneering run to the edge of the 18 yard box past a body of Irish defenders injected helped inject flair into the Super Falcons' presentation. 

She was lively. I'd say 6.5/10?

14, Onome Ebi: She did put her body on the line and looked the part when she came on. 

5/10 due to insufficient time on the pitch. 

Randy Waldrum: Introducing Gift Monday helped to inject flair in the team's play. The the 4-2-3-1 formation helped Oshoala break free which, on another day, could have produced 2 goals. His halftime brief produced results as the Super Falcons looked more aggressive and offensive in the second half. His team got the job done. 

He gets 7/10 from me. 

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