Nigeria’s Super Eagles began the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign with a 2-1 win over Benin to top the Group L table after Lesotho and Sierra Leone ended the other group action in a draw.

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IZUCHUKWU OKOSI in this piece first published on AllNigeriasoccer.com here rates the Eagles players who were in action :

The Starters

Goalkeeper


Daniel Akpeyi : Performed decently well in his return to the national team. Exposed by his defenders for the Benin goal scored by Stephane Sessegnon.  His distribution was excellent. 7/10.

Defenders


Ola Aina :  Won the penalty scored by Victor Osimhen in the first half.  His defending was assured as well as his forays going forward. Substituted off for Chidozie Awaziem. 8/10.

Jamilu Collins : The left back was overrun a couple of times by the Benin forwards.  4/10.

Semi Ajayi : Preferred over Kenneth Omeruo. He had aerial presence and was almost on the score sheet in the second half from a rebound from a Samuel Kalu freekick. 6/10.


William Troost Ekong : Captain of the Eagles before the introduction of Ahmed Musa. He was calm in his game but was also culpable as the Nigerians conceded quite early. 6.5/10.

Midfielders

Wilfred Ndidi : The Leicester City star broke up plays at will and a few times carried the ball upfront.  6/10.

Joe Aribo : A winning competitive debut for the Rangers midfielder whose composure and ball retention played a huge role in the Super Eagles win. 7.5/10.

Alex Iwobi : The Everton man was the playmaker for the Super Eagles and he had an above average performance. Iwobi  was also a willing outlet from the left wing when Samuel Kalu fell back to help Jamilu Collins in defence. 6/10.

Attackers

Samuel Kalu : What a performance by the Bordeaux man. He scored a sumptuous solo goal for Nigeria’s second in the 2-1 win. Aside the goal the forward had a few other scoring chances, letting fly thunderous strikes from outside the Benin penalty box. 9/10.


Samuel Chukwueze : The Villarreal winger was a thorn for his markers down the right side of attack. Had some decent shots on target. 6/10.

Victor Osimhen : The man in form scored Nigeria’s first goal from the penalty spot to restore parity for the Super Eagles. He missed a chance to double his tally in the second half when he fired a weak shot that however won Nigeria a corner kick as the Benin keeper parried the effort wide. 7/10.

The Substitutes

Chidozie Awaziem : Came off the bench to replace Ola Aina. He brought calmness to the defence and the Benin forwards could not penetrate through his position. 5/10.

Moses Simon : Came in the second half to help stretch the visitors. Aside his attacking displays Simon has a defensive side to his game and his acrobatic clearance with Benin going for an equalizer surely was impressive. 5/10.

Ahmed Musa : The captain was a late second half introduction in the game and his experience and know-how was important for the team to see out the game 2-1 up. NA

Izuchukwu Okosi