5 February 2018

Nigeria/Morocco: Players Ratings - How Nigeria's Super Eagles Fared Against Morocco

Photo: CAF
CHAN 2018 - Ekundayo Solomon Ojo (Nigeria)

The Super Eagles simply ran out of gas - the dismissal of Moses Eneji for two yellow cards five minutes apart just exacerbated an already dire situation.

The Atlas Lions were the best team in the tournament, who did not need an early Christmas present, which the red card to Eneji became. Also, the rain, which came down in buckets, did not help the Eagles' cause in any way, but they lost to a better team on the day.

Name Rating Narrative

Dele Ajiboye 6/10 Ajiboye made save after save but still conceded four goals. The Plateau United goalkeeper was the main reason the Eagles made the final in the first place and he has no reason to be embarrassed - it could have been worse.

Orji Okagbue 6/10 Still carrying an injury but played manfully through the pain barrier. In the latter stages, with the Eagles down to 10 men, the lack of fitness showed as gaps and cracks started appearing more frequently. All in all, he acquitted himself well.

Stephen Eze 5/10 Not his usual calm and unflappable self, he made unforced errors, which could have been caused by the rain-soaked pitch. Apparently lost all sense of communication with his defensive partners and the goalkeeper as shown by the third goal.

Ikouwem Utin 6/10 One very bright spot from the final was the showing of Utin. Despite being down, the Enyimba player continued to push forward and one of his passes almost put Gabriel on the path to goal.

Emeka Atuloma 4/10 Atuloma still could not pass to save his own life. Might be carrying an injury that limited his mobility as the Moroccans excelled in the space he was supposed to be patrolling. A chastening experience.

Rabiu Ali 4/10 Totally anonymous in the first half and it was almost a relief when he was pulled off. Did not have the legs to help the midfield and was ponderous in possession. This final showed his 37 years.

Osas Okoro 5/10 Was tested for speed and endurance and he failed on some occasions. The ball behind him was a tactic exploited by the Moroccans all game as they found joy down his flank. He tried his best.

Dayo Ojo 6/10 He ran and ran until there was no more to give. Tried his manful best to stem the wave after wave of Moroccan attack down the middle but did not get as much help as he would have wanted from his teammates.

Gabriel Okechukwu 5/10 Okechukwu could not replicate his heroic performance from the preceding two rounds as he was made to feed on scraps.

Emeka Ogbugh 4/10 Another disappointing performance from one who was expected to deliver so much. He could not engage his marker in one-on-one duels and did not do enough to help his fullback.

Moses Eneji 3/10 A disappointing debut for the 18-year-old who showed all his inexperience with that second tackle. Offensively he could not affect the game as maybe Sunday Faleye would have.

Substitutes

Tony Okpotu 4/10 Okpotu, despite scoring two goals in the competition was a great flop. He tried to put himself around when he came on but effectiveness was lacking.

Augustine Oladapo 5/10 Sent on to help stem the Moroccan attacks but he was swallowed.

Ibrahim Mustapha NA Not much time to affect any part of the game that was already lost.

Coach Salisu Yusuf 4/10 Just like the WAFU tournament last year, Yusuf took an Eagles team to a final and was walloped 4-0. It would be hard to explain the tactics in the final when the crew knew Morocco had very fast and effective flankers. Going to a 4-3-3 with leggy Rabiu Ali was not the greatest tactic.

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