By Gbemidepo Popoola
Though it was not vintage Super Eagles, it was as clinical a display as we will see at this AFCON tournament as Ademola Lookman proved why he has to be considered before the frustrating Samuel Chukwueze.
Victor Osimhen’s endeavors will pay off in goals very soon, as his hard work pressuring defenders is reaping great rewards in Cote d’Ivoire.
Coach Jose Peseiro has seemingly found the winning formation that has ensured defensive solidity, as they made it three consecutive matches without conceding a goal.
A big feat for a team, that always found a way to concede against any opposition before the tournament.
Here below, are the ratings of the performances of the players who played against the Cameroonians on Saturday.
Stanley Nwabali: 80 minutes [27, 4 caps] GK
Nwabali was rarely called upon, he was majorly on break, but when he was called upon, he duly delivered, making clearing punches, and relieving the pressure on his defenders.
That was until he was sent to the treatment table by Georges-Kevin N’Koudou. Nigerians will be praying he gets better before Friday’s quarter-final encounter against Angola.
Semi Ajayi: 90 minutes [30, 27 caps] DF
Oluwasemilogo Ajayi believed he had given the Eagles the lead in the ninth minute, but his left foot had strayed offside. The West Bromwich Albion man sometimes looks shaky on the ball.
But, overall the defender stood his ground in the duels and the area balls overload the Cameroonians planned on utilizing.
William Troost-Ekong: 90 minutes [30, 68 caps]
Rating: 7/10 DF
Cool, composed, and calculated.
The Eagles captain was a colossus at the back, he was a symbol of calmness in the defense and made sure he was always well-positioned to thwart Cameroon’s attacks.
The PAOK in Greece man, won all eight duels and made five clearances as he marshaled the team to another clean sheet.
Calvin Bassey: 90 minutes [24, 13 caps]
Bassey put up another exceptional performance, and he was extremely deserving of the assist for Lookman’s second goal.
The Fulham man contested 17 duels and won 13. He also made three successful tackles from four and had one interception. Whether in a back three or as the left wing-back, Bassey continues to shine, as his stock continues to rise.
Ola Aina: 90 minutes [27, 34 caps]
Ola Aina was once again in imperious form and had his goal-bound shot not been blocked by Nouhou Tolo, in the closing minutes of the encounter, it would have been the icing on his cake.
He rendered Cameroon’s most dangerous player on the pitch, Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, largely inconsequential.
Frank Onyeka: 90 minutes [26, 16 caps]
Frank “the Tank” continues to go about his work quietly but very effectively and efficiently for the Super Eagles.
The Brentford man’s driving run in the second half almost won a penalty for his team, but it was more his intuition and strength that helped in defusing Cameroon’s midfield, ably led by his namesake, Frank Zambo Anguissa.
He won 50 percent of the 14 duels he contested.
Alex Iwobi: 90 minutes [27, 67 caps]
Alex Iwobi’s semi-assist for the second goal is more like what he is usually known for, given the more conservative nature of his role in Peseiro’s formation.
Playing as a deep-lying midfielder, he had to juggle between the DM and CM roles, and he duly delivered on that.
He was at the right place at the right time, ensuring there were no gaps for the Cameroonians to exploit.
Zaidu Sanusi: 80 minutes [26, 15 caps]
Zaidu Sanusi fluctuates from the very good to the ridiculous in seconds.
He more often than not is usually unsure of his next move on the ball, but the Porto man still managed to shine forth in his primary defensive duties, even though he gave away some needless fouls and made many wrong passes when transitioning.
Moses Simon: 6/10 [28, 62 caps]
Moses Simon is one winger who continues to frustrate his teammates and fans alike.
He can be so much more than what he is, but incorrect decisions and a paucity of ideas in the final third continue to let him down.
The Nantes man was however in a bullish mood when joining in on defensive duties, which allowed the overlapping full-backs to roam successfully.
Ademola Lookman: 90 minutes [26, 12 caps]
Ademola Lookman took his goals well, even though his first needed some luck to squirm under Fabrice Ondoa.
His second showed all the goal-scoring instincts honed in Serie A with Atalanta.
But it was the Atalanta man’s overall performance that has been a thing of joy for Nigerians. His work rate when in and out of possession was nothing short of magnificent.
With all attention on Victor Osimhen by defenders he used the opportunity to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
Victor Osimhen: 90 minutes [24, 31 caps]
When Victor Osimhen is not scoring, he is making assists, as his press made Nigeria’s first goal.
The reigning Africa’s Men’s Best Player of the Year duels, against the Cameroonian defenders ensured they were jittery all night.
The Napoli man was a handful, which created the gaps that Lookman exploited to score.
Francis Uzoho: 10 minutes [25, 30 caps]
The former No. 1 had little or nothing to do in his time on the pitch.
Kenneth Omeruo: 10 minutes [30, 62 caps]
Omeruo had one clearance, which allowed Bassey to push forward.
The Kasimpasa man also marshaled the Cameroonian legend Aboubakar very well, throughout his time on the pitch.
Does his bit in holding up play, and a bit of time wasting, whenever been called upon.
Bright Osayi-Samuel: NA
Manager: Jose Peseiro [63, 21st game as Eagles manager]
Jose Peseiro was once again spot on with his selection and tactics, as he almost completely nullified the threat of the Indomitable Lions.