PLAYER RATINGS

Ghana 0-0 Nigeria: Aina, Uzoho shine; Iheanacho, Chukwueze melt in the Kumasi heat

All to play for in the second leg as Super Eagles hold Black Stars scoreless on the road

Samuel Chukwueze (IMAGO/Shengolpixs/Tobi Adepoju)

Nigeria played out a goalless draw against arch-rivals Ghana in Kumasi on Friday night.

Despite both sides having reasonable chances to take an important advantage into the second leg on Tuesday, neither was able to seize their moment, leaving this World Cup qualifying play-off perfectly balanced ahead of the return in Abuja.

The performances on the night are rated here, on a scale of 1-10.

The Omonia goalkeeper made a number of important saves to keep Ghana at bay, and was commanding both in his handling and in his vocal direction of the backline. Was a little reticent to come off his line and clear the danger on a couple of occasions, which ever-so-slightly marked down his grade, but does not detract from a strong showing overall.

A stud and then some. The Torino man was one of the few on the night who seemed totally unfazed by the atmosphere, and came out on top with consummate ease against a seasoned campaigner like Jordan Ayew. Also made some searing runs from deep to progress the ball, and created Nigeria's best chance of the first half with an extravagant pass with the outside of his boot.

The Watford defender put up a good display, and worked well in tandem with his centre-back partner. His shows of strength did not always come off though, and he was turned with ease on a couple of occasions through the game. All in all, was where he needed to be positionally throughout the proceedings.

This was the Oyibo Wall's Best outing for a while, and Balogun more than played his part with some superbly timed sliding tackles to sweep up danger. Struggled with the trickery of Afena-Gyan every now and again, but showed all his experience and composure in his defensive work. Passing and decision making in possession were a little hit-and-miss, however.

The Porto man is a frustrating one, because he shows flashes of ability and dynamism, but never quite puts it all together in a satisfying package. Was largely solid against a tricky opponent in Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, but could have done so much more with the space he enjoyed in certain situations. Good performance.

Bonke was pretty average, all things considered. Gave away a bunch of fouls, did little to help the team gain any sort of foothold in possession, and was missing in action for Ghana's clearest sight of goal in the first half, when Issahaku was able to latch onto a second ball and line up a shot from the edge of the box.

No help for the Rangers man, who initially found the physicality tough to handle. To his credit though, he rose to the challenge rather than shrink from it, and by the second half, he was strutting his stuff. If only some of his teammates had played on his wavelength. Missed Nigeria's best chance in the first half.

Anonymous, effete and lacking in desire and invention. The Villarreal man's dismal form in international colours clearly transcends the shores of Cameroon. Has almost certainly played himself out of a starting spot for the return leg.

Neither midfielder nor forward, neither fish nor fowl. Matches of this intensity and aggression simply do not allow the time and space Iheanacho seems to need to spin his web. He spent the game, which he somehow completed, offering little of any value of impact. Did however play the pass for the biggest chance of the match, so he was at least better than Chukwueze in that respect.

Nothing came off for the Nantes, but it was not for want of trying. His decision-making was very one-dimensional when one-on-one with the full-back, and to worsen matters he frequently got the ball caught under his feet. While not an open goal, he did fail to convert the game's best chance.

Osimhen is nothing if not a fighter. However, here he got no change at all out of Alexander Djiku and Daniel Amartey. The referee let a lot of fouls on him go, and that only exacerbated the sense of isolation that hung on the Napoli marksman throughout the game. Didn't help that his strike partner was having an existential crisis for much of the proceedings.

The introduction of the Brentford man brought much-needed dynamism in the middle of the pitch, as his willingness to carry the ball up the pitch disrupted the Ghanaians somewhat. Won a good foul on the edge of the Black Stars’ box, and a brilliant dummy sent left-back Gideon Mensah off for a hot dog.

Came on after Bonke went off injured and immediately his quality in possession imprinted onto the match. Did not look any worse for wear on account of his long injury lay-off either. Helped the Super Eagles establish a measure of control for a period in the second half.

Did little of note in his time on the pitch, although he did get back well in one situation, tracking a runner deep into the Nigeria half in order to intercept a scooped through ball.

Calvin Bassey: N/A

Ademola Lookman: N/A

Topics:

Recommended articles

Adebayo's double not enough for 'magnificent' Luton in six-goal thriller

Adebayo's double not enough for 'magnificent' Luton in six-goal thriller

Flamingos lose 1-3 to Fenerbahçe in friendly

Flamingos lose 1-3 to Fenerbahçe in friendly

'This is a massive injustice' - Xavi complains about missed penalty for Barcelona against Inter Milan

'This is a massive injustice' - Xavi complains about missed penalty for Barcelona against Inter Milan

'It will shake us up' - Calhanoglu after scoring first goal in 5 years to down Barcelona

'It will shake us up' - Calhanoglu after scoring first goal in 5 years to down Barcelona

Xavi preparing for 'three finals' to avoid second straight Europa League season

Xavi preparing for 'three finals' to avoid second straight Europa League season

Raphael Onyedika's Club Brugge shock Atletico Madrid in style

Raphael Onyedika's Club Brugge shock Atletico Madrid in style