Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria: Player ratings, match analysis

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria: Player ratings and match analysis of Super Eagles' victory over AFCON 2024 host

Ivory Coast vs Nigeria: Player ratings, match analysis
William Troost Ekong celebrates with his teammates after firing Nigeria to a precious lead against Ivory Coast on Thursday. Nigeria beat the hosts 1-0. (Photo credit: GOAL)

The Super Eagles of Nigeria shocked host nation Ivory Coast on Thursday with a gritty display, which earned the 2013 champions a 1-0 win.

It was Nigeria’s first win on Ivorian soil, and it moved the Super Eagles into the second spot on the log, second behind Equatorial Guinea, who beat Guinea-Bissau 4-2 earlier in the day. 

Ivory Coast must now avoid defeat in their final group game and also hope things go their way in other groups.

How did the Super Eagles line up? We look at player ratings for the game.

GK: Stanley Nwabali, 8/10

The South African-based shot-stopper got many Nigerians wondering why they'd had to put up with the erratic Francis Uzoho all along. 

Nwabali was assured in goal, and his distribution was solid; he made a few saves and commanded his area very well.

RB: Ola Aina, 8.5/10

The Nottingham Forest fullback has been a revelation in this tournament. 

His pace and skills troubled the Ivorians, as he sometimes doubled as a winger. He has a fine shout for the man of the match.

LB: Zaidu Sanusi, 6/10

It was not a stellar performance from the FC Porto man, but he was able to shut down his flank. He was replaced late on when Nicolas Pepe came on for the hosts.

RCB: Semi Ajayi, 7/10

Semi-Ajayi was a disaster against Equatorial Guinea, but he repaid the faith the coach had in him with a good performance. He was good on the ball, won all his aerial duels, and made important clearances.

CB: William Troost Ekong, 8.5/10

It was the captain’s performance from start to finish. 

He was defensively solid, and when it was time to take responsibility for the penalty, he stepped up confidently to fire the Super Eagles into the lead, and that proved the winner. 

He won duels, made clearances, and organised his defence expertly.

LCB: Calvin Bassey, 9/10

Not many understood his role at the start; it felt like he was going to be a DM, but he slotted in at LCB well, helping Zaidu out on many occasions. 

He went into every tackle intelligently and was gritty when he needed to be; he was immense at the closing stages as Nigeria tried to close things out.

LCM: Alex Iwobi, 7/10

Often criticized as many hastily compare him with his illustrious uncle, Jay Jay Okocha, he came into his own in the game against CIV with great interceptions, purposeful runs, and neat passes. He had a decent game.

RCM: Frank Onyeka, 7/10

He had a lot of battles to fight against the likes of Frank Kessie and Seko Fofana, and he held his own. He went into tackles, got kicked, and carried the ball out of tight spaces a couple of times.

LWF: Ademola Lookman, 8/10

Ademola Lookman is having a great AFCON. 

He was a menace down the left wing, and a testament to that was the struggles and the eventual removal of Ivory Coast captain Serge Aurier. 

His fitness is something Nigeria must keep an eye on.

RWF: Samuel Chukwueze, 5/10

Arguably the weakest link in the Nigerian rank. He was showboating at a time when the team needed a goal and ran the ball off too many times. For all his promises, he underdelivers too much.

ST: Victor Osimhen, 7/10

The African footballer of the year missed a chance quite early in the game, but he made up for it by winning the penalty, which eventually earned Nigeria the win. 

He held up play well, brought his teammates into the game, and should have scored in the second half from a free header.

Substitutes:

Bright Osayi came on and didn’t leave a mark. He had a chance to score but fell when he could have passed the ball.

Paul Onuachu was great at the tail end; he held up play, won free kicks, and helped the team seal the win.

Moses Simon wasn’t different from the Chukwueze he replaced; he was anonymous in his cameo.

Kenneth Omeruo showed experience in defense as Calvin Bassey went to left-back.

Name

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Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria: Player ratings, match analysis
Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria: Player ratings and match analysis of Super Eagles' victory over AFCON 2024 host
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