It was always going to be a tall order coming up against Barcelona at Camp Nou for Chidozie Awaziem and his Leganes teammate. They lost 2-0 but the loss itself was far from a disaster for La Liga’s bottom team.
Leganes did play well and should have scored at least twice-an effort hit the post while another was cleared off the line. They frustrated Barcelona who put in a disjointed performance and had Lionel Messi well checked.
From a Nigerian perspective, however, it was a disappointing watch seeing Awaziem struggle for most of the game. One would have expected Awaziem to have trouble defending Messi-a well-known problem in world football-but with the Argentine enduring a difficult night from the right, it was starlet Ansu Fati that ran circles around the Nigerian defender.
From a nutmeg early in the game, Awaziem struggled against Fati all night and only got close to him when he fouled the 17-year-old for the game’s first freekick. With ease, Fati dribbled past Awaziem a couple of times in what was a bad look for the defender.
Fati was Barcelona’s best player in the opening half and deservedly scored the game’s first goal of the night.
Awaziem deserves all the criticism he gets for getting owned by a 17-year-old in a league game. Even more disappointing was how his flaws were so glaring while defender the youngster.
He rushed into tackles, failed to properly mark his man and made a couple of hasty decisions on the night. It was a poor all-round performance from the Nigerian.
It’s usually nights like these against league giants like Barcelona that players show their true worth; Awaziem has either failed to do that or truly showed how much he can do.