The Super Eagles could not make it to the final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a 2-1 loss to Algeria in a semi-final clash on Sunday, July 14.
A William Troost-Ekong own-goal gave the Algerians the lead in the first half before Odion Ighalo levelled for Nigeria from the penalty spot mid-way into the second half. The game was heading to extra-time before Riyad Mahrez blasted a freekick into the net with the last kick of the game.
It wasn’t a good performance by the Super Eagles who were dominated by the Algerians especially in the first half. They fought back well in the second half and looked the more energised side heading into extra time but Mahrez’s last-gasp winner ensured the game would end after 90 minutes.
This is how the Super Eagles fated in the game.
Daniel Akpeyi (Goalkeeper)
Akpeyi did nothing of worth in the game against Algeria. Was wrongly positioned for the two goals his conceded on the night, especially the second. Stood behind his wall without covering the free space where Mahrez blasted the ball into.
Cost Nigeria the game and should never be in goal for the Super Eagles because of this.
Chidozie Awaziem (Right-back)
Awaziem played as a right-back again on the night when he did nothing right and nothing wrong either. To his credit, the Algerians didn’t find delight in that left channel.
William Troost-Ekong (Central defence)
Was unfortunate to score an own-goal in the first half but as a professional and at that level, that was unacceptable. Defended well for the rest of the game although his positioning and discipline were suspicious.
Kenneth Omeruo (Central defence)
Omeruo was targeted by the Algerians who had Baghdad Bounedjah on him to exploit his lack of pace. It was Bounedjah who robbed him of the ball in a dangerous area and the Algerian striker should have scored from that situation.
Looked jittery in the early minutes although he did recover.
Jamilu Collins (Left-back)
After his strong performance against South Africa, Collins was the weak link in the Super Eagles defence. Struggled on one-one-one situations against Mahrez and it was him that the Manchester City star beat before his cross which was turned in for Troost-Ekong for an own-goal.
Wilfred Ndidi (Central defence)
Ndidi had one of his worst games in a Super Eagles shirt. Struggled to keep his line in midfield and also struggled with the ball on his feet. He failed to keep possession and caused the freekick with which Mahrez scored the winner at the death.
Oghenekaro Etebo (Central midfield)
Etebo was full of energy all game but without purpose. Defended well in midfield but lacked the skill set to create anything with the ball on his feet. It was his effort from outside the area that earned a penalty for Nigeria.
Alex Iwobi (Central midfield)
The best Super Eagles player of the night. Tried his best to push the attack every opportunity he got, but he had no support either from his midfield partners Etebo and Ndidi.
Ahmed Musa (Forward)
A very poor outing from Musa who could not get better of his marker all through the game. His final was terrible again when he got the chance to give the final pass.
Samuel Chukwueze (Forward)
Was the man to watch out for after his heroics against South Africa and the Algerians watched him closely. He didn’t get the space to cause havoc for Algeria although he kept trying till he was taken off.
Odion Ighalo (Striker)
Ighalo was isolated upfront on his own and was not given the chance to do anything in the game. Still tried to engage the Algerian defence and did well to step to take the penalty which gave the Super Eagles a lifeline in the second half.
Henry Onyekuru (Forward)
Onyekuru was brought on for his first game of AFCON 2019 but didn't get the chance to use his pace against the Algerian defence. He was thrown in to play from the right-wing which has never been his best position.