Awaziem brought aggression, which transmitted to the whole team, as the Eagles translated more ball possession to three points.
After suffering a first World Cup qualifying defeat in 40 years last Thursday in Lagos, to the Central African Republic, the Super Eagles gained back some redemption with a 2-0 victory over the Central African Republic on Sunday at the Stade Omnisports in Douala.
Gernot Rohr made three changes to the starting line-up; Maduka Okoye came on for Francis Uzoho; Chidozie Awaziem replaced Ola Aina at right-back while Ahmed Musa, winning his 100th cap, replaced Chidera Ejuke on the left-wing.
Maduka Okoye6/1090Practically not needed as the Eagles could have played without a goalkeeper for large swathes of the match. When he was needed, he claimed balls into the box calmly.
Chidozie Awaziem6.5/1090Awaziem replaced Aina and his aggressive nature permeated the defense line. He defended and attacked diligently and was almost unbeatable in one-on-one situations.
William Troost-Ekong6/1090Ekong was more of the recycler at the back. He tried to give more passing options but his range was limited, with most of his passes sideways to his central defensive partner but he popped up to provide the assist for the second goal.
Leon Balogun6.5/1074Balogun was the brunt of criticisms in the 1-0 loss to the CAR last Thursday but he earned personal redemption with his first-ever goal for Nigeria in his 38th appearance. Balogun lost concentration on the ball and lost the ball and had to be substituted in the second half.
Jamilu Collins6/1090Collins was much better on the ball than his display in Lagos. The Paderborn defender was solid in the tackle and tried to help his team attack the CAR down the left as Ahmed Musa played in-field.
Frank Onyeka6/1090Onyeka looked stolid last Thursday but in Douala, the Brentford midfielder looked more at ease and did not overplay. Effective in receiving the ball in tight positions and holding on to possession.
Joe Aribo6.5/1074Aribo was more effective, more mobile, and decisive on the ball. Always showed up in the pockets to receive and create offensive connections.
Ahmed Musa5.5/1067On his 100th appearance, Musa did not convince in an offensive midfield role but his urgency on the ball and the penchant to go forward with every ball received helped put the CAR under continuous pressure.
Moses Simon6/1090Simon was the same. Lots of endeavour but a quite minimal end result. The Nantes forward was very diligent in tracking back and assisting Awaziem to block the CAR's attacking forays down Nigeria's left flank.
Kelechi Iheanacho5/1074Iheanacho can be a luxury player in matches where grit and aggression are the currency. The Leicester man almost played for himself and made bad decisions on passes and shots.
Victor Osimhen7.5/10 90Osimhen got the goal his endeavour in both matches merited. His goal was well taken and he should have had a brace but his goal-bound effort in the second half was cleared on the line.
Chidera Ejuke6.5/1023Ejuke almost scored a 'golazo' when he dribbled past all the CAR defensive players in the 74th minute but for a save from the CAR goalkeeper. The CSKA forward will do well to raise his head when in possession to be able to create scoring chances for his teammates.
Bonke Innocent6/1016Added aggression to the Eagles midfield.
Kenneth Omeruo6/1016Slotted seamlessly into the backline to repel any CAR attack as the match was closed out.
Nothing much changed in the strategy and tactics. The only shift was a more aggressive and focused set of players who played like they had something to lose. The positions and play that showed lethargy last Thursday in Lagos had marginal improvements but the game plan was still the same-possess the ball until the CAR lose concentration to strike.