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Nigeria 1-0 Zambia: How Solid Super Eagles Players Rated

Nigeria 1-0 Zambia: How Solid Super Eagles Players Rated

By Kayode Ogundare:

The Super Eagles posted a solid if not spectacular performance to become the first African nation to book a ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 victory over the Chipolopolo of Zambia.


Completesportsnigeria.com provides an overview of each player’s performance in the historic match at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

Ikechukwu Ezenwa – Did not really see much of the ball but was alert and responded smartly the few times he was called upon to act. He intelligently parried Alex N’gonga’s first-half strike from 30-yards which bobbed dangerously onto the upright for a corner and that was about the most he had to do all day long. 7/10

Zenith Ziva

Shehu Abdullahi – Arguably his best performance in a Super Eagles shirt. The Cyprus-based player displayed uncanny intelligence to limit the dangerous Fashion Sakala and was also very adventurous, one of his forays upfront resulted in the exquisite cut-back that assisted the only goal of the game. Booked for a dangerous foul on 63 minutes. 9/10

Elderson Echiejile – Put in his fair shift on the day before being stretchered off on 80 minutes. The Zambians looked to penetrate from his side of the pitch and he got a torrid time from Augustine Mulenga but discharged himself creditably while on the pitch. 6/10

Troost Ekong – Undoubtedly one of his most difficult game for Nigeria as he had to contend with the unrelenting Alex N’gonga all day long. Uncharacteristically generous with the ball, he gave possession away more than was average for his game but, to his credit, was also usually available to provide cover for his golkeeper. 7/10

Leon Balogun – A rock in the heart of the defence, Balogun posted another five-star performance as he battled to contain N’gonga and the tireless Edward Mwepu. He towered over the opposition and screened his goalkeeper excellently.  8/10


Wilfred Ndidi – Again, the Leicester City star belied his spare frame to post another impressive display for the Eagles, mopping up all the stray balls in front of the back-four while providing cover for captain Mikel Obi to move freely across the pitch. His long throws, now becoming a trademark, also troubled the Zambians a great deal. 8/10

Ogenyi Onazi – Was on the pitch for just 30 minutes but, in that half hour, the Super Eagles vice-captain made his presence felt with his tireless running and ability to break-up opposition play. One of his forays upfield led to his injury, a suspected hamstring. 5/10

John Obi Mikel – Like a true general, Mikel led his troop to the promised land, winning a World Cup ticket for Nigeria while leading from the front. Mikel showed, right from the first day, that he was a capable leader and his influence on and off the ball was such that he was able to dictate the tempo of the game while putting in a hard shift too. 8/10

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Moses Simon – Full of guile, Simon tormented the Zambian defence while on the pitch and coulod have gotten a goal but chose a spectacular over-head kick when he could have decided on something else. Fatigue set in and he was hauled off in the 66th minute for Alexander Iwobi but he did enough to show he merited his place in the team. 7/10

Victor Moses – One of the hardest working players on the pitch, Victor Moses was a thorn in the flesh of the Zambians and created most of the chances from which Nigeria could have easily gotten goals. He bears the brunt of many vicious kicks in the game but a World Cup ticket in the kitty will be enough compensation for the Chelsea man. Still one of Nigeria’s best players. 8/10

Odion Ighalo – Spurned two glorious chances to put Nigeria ahead, one in each half, but that does not take away his contribution to the team’s victory. Most times he cuts a lonely figure upfront without anybody to assist but his hold-up play and footwork is still one of the best in the business. Unlucky not to have scored one or two either. 7/10

Mikel Agu – Came on for the injured Onazi but it took him time to get into the game. He was booked for dangerous play but the moment he got into his strides, he settled down and combined well with Ndidi to provide cover for the back-four. Also cut off the attacking threat of Zambia on more than a few occasions. 6/10

Alex Iwobi – The inspired substitution that turned the game on it’s head. He came on in the 66th minute for Simon and eight mniutes later he scored the goal that will take Nigeria to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, same way he scored Nigeria’s first goal in Ndola against Zambia on Matchday One of the qualifying series. Apart from the goal, Iwobi also caused a lot of anxious moments with his uick-thinking and tireless running. A MotM performance packed in that 24 minutes showing. 8/10

Ola Aina – Not the debut he envisaged but Ola Aina got thrown into the deep end for his first international with Nigeria having to defend a one-goal lead against the relentless Zambian who kept knocking and asking questions. Aina did well in the 10-minutes he was on the pitch and could have easily gotten an assist in the last minute for his effort to Victor Moses which nearly resulted in a second goal. 6/10

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  • well done guys. Nigeria has landed in Russia after a hard fought victory. Zambia mostly sat at the back for likely turn around. but thank God for the well deserved victory

  • Welldone boys,u have been able to shut d mouth of boastful nyirenda and Zambians ,they tried their luck but we were too much and too big for them.they should go and be playing nations cup and CHAN tournaments, that’s their level,world cup is for big guys

  • Apostle Austin 4 years ago

    Father has given us victory so we are victorious??? Papa God dey for our side! We are unshakeable nothing do super eagles
    Our redeemer is alive that’s why super eagles of Nigeria is back to live forever and ever more Amen!
    I thank God for our players for all their contribution!!! And they have made us proud.

  • am pleased with the fact that we were able to absorb their pressure and still won..

  • Calvin 4 years ago

    Congratulations eagles..a well deserved victory inspite of hard fighting Zambia..thank you for shoting the mouth of a lousy Zambia coach.. thank you

  • methinks d analyst was too generous with these ratings, especially for Ighalo, Mikel and Moses. They should have done much better. Congrats anyway

  • phadah 4 years ago

    yeah maybe ,but u should also put into consideration d fact that diz match was played under excessive pressure ,yet dey managed to win.If it wea d super eagles of old,we may have drawn or even lost d match,buh we won.xo to b d ratings wea fair.

  • Awotoye Niyi 4 years ago

    Now d real work has just started, we have to fortify ourselves seriously b4 d world cup starts. Pls dat UYO PITCH is deteoriarating let dem do something fast

  • You will not get helped by poor officiating at the World Cup. Anyway the ref is a Mswana. What do they know about football? Those are just cattle herders. You are luck indeed but that is how far it goes

  • Ayodele Oloyede 4 years ago

    Kudos to the super Eagles and congratulations to all Nigerians. Thank God we did not need the calculators this time neither do we have to pray for other teams to lose.

  • Olaegbe ibraheem 4 years ago

    I’m so pleased for Super Eagles performance despite the fact Chipolopolo of Zambia dominated the possession playing counter attacking style. Russia 2018 place granted

  • Ihemriorochi chika princewill 4 years ago

    My prediction on outcome of Nigeria vs Zambia match was right,what next?

  • Am Imo River.contracts to all d players.dis is d fact,the 1st goal of the Zambia dat was disallowed was a clean and clear goal but d referee’s decision is very final.the eagles problem is dat they underestimated the visitors and it nearly caused us a lot.what should have happened,i d referee did allow dat Zambians 1st goal in the first half??.

  • collins 4 years ago

    good playing guys….i was so happy,world cup 2018 we owns it