Super Eagles player ratings : Simon steals the show; Iheanacho, Omeruo impress; Aribo creates; Ndidi solid:: All Nigeria Soccer

Super Eagles player ratings : Simon steals the show; Iheanacho, Omeruo impress; Aribo creates; Ndidi solid

Super Eagles player ratings : Simon steals the show; Iheanacho, Omeruo impress; Aribo creates; Ndidi solid

A superb first half strike from Kelechi Iheanacho was enough for Nigeria to secure all three points in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations opener against Egypt on Tuesday evening.


The Super Eagles were the dominant force and more threatening side throughout the game while Egypt defended deep with Mohamed Salah isolated up front.

The Super Eagles players rose to the occasion and rates the players’ individual performances below :

The Starters


Maduka Okoye : The Watford loanee had a relatively quiet game but was instrumental in denying Egypt an equaliser with Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah prowling in the penalty box. 7/10.


Ola Aina : The Torino right-back was prominent in attack especially in the second half, also produced clearances and blocks in defence that thwarted the Egyptians. Solid performance. 7/10.

Zaidu Sanusi : On his Africa Cup of Nations debut, he stuck like a glue to Mohamed Salah all through the game although he received plenty of help from teammates to keep the dangerous Pharaohs silent. 6/10.

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Kenneth Omeruo : A leader’s performance by Omeruo who started the move that led to Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal. The defender was good at bringing the ball out of the defence area. Unfortunately he went off injured. 8.5/10.

William Troost-Ekong : The onfield captain was better compared to his recent performances for club and country but was almost embarrassed by Salah in the 72nd minute when he thought the Egypt captain was offside. 6/10.


Wilfred Ndidi : The Leicester City defensive midfielder was solid in midfield,  broke plays at will but some of his long passes on the evening could have been better. 7/10.

Joe Aribo : The Glasgow Rangers midfielder did not impose himself early on in the game but grew into it as the game wore on.  He set up Moses Simon for one of the team’s five chances in the first half.  Aribo also assisted Iheanacho’s goal with a cushioned header. 7.5/10.

Kelechi Iheanacho : The official CAF Man of the Match scored a brilliant goal. This was his first goal in a competitive tournament for Nigeria and what an occasion to do it. Massive. 8.5/10.

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Moses Simon : But for Iheanacho’s goal, Simon would have been the official Man of the Match winner. The Nantes winger was a constant headache for the Egyptians with his dribbles, feints and pace albeit his crosses were not the best. 9/10.

Samuel Chukwueze : The game against Egypt was definitely not one of Chukwueze’s best game for the Super Eagles.

Aside one promising move early in the second half which resulted in a corner kick, he was largely anonymous when the team threatened to trouble Egypt. Subbed off in the second half   5/10.

Taiwo Awoniyi  : The Union Berlin striker led in the absence of Victor Osimhen, Emmanuel Dennis and Odion Ighalo. He showed promise and was a physical threat. He is expected to come good as the team progresses. 6/10.

The Substitutes

Sadiq Umar : Brought on to replace Awoniyi in the second half but struggled to make same impact as the man he replaced. 4/10.

Chidera Ejuke : Had one of Nigeria’s attempts at goal in the second half but his shot was repelled by  Mohamed El Shenawy. As the game petered away, he went on a counter attacking run but shot straight at goal when he could have teed up Alex Iwobi. 6/10

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Semi Ajayi : Came off the bench to replace injured Kenneth Omeruo. Helped shore up an already strong back line. 5/10.

Kelechi Nwakali : The midfielder was brought on to replace Iheanacho. He didn’t have much time to impact the game but his talent will be there for all to see eventually. 5/10.

Alex Iwobi : Iwobi came on in the 90th minute and instructive headed out for a corner kick a cross by the Egyptians. He was in a good position to double the lead but Chidera Ejuke went for personal  glory towards the end of the game. N/A

Izuchukwu Michael

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