The U23 team of Nigeria were yesterday beaten 2-0 by the Libyan counterparts in the first leg of the qualifiers for the U23 Cup of Nations which was played in Tunisia, the adopted home ground of Libya.
Led by Coach Imama Amapakabo, the Nigerian team who were forced to finish the game with ten men following the sending off of goalkeeper Abubakar Adamu in the first half conceded in each half of the game.
Sports&study.org rates the players on parade for Nigeria in the encounter ahead of the return leg which will take place in Nigeria by the weekend.
Adamu Abubakar: Looked very uncomfortable with crosses and also badly positioned for the first goal scored by Libya. Got a red card for handling the ball outside his area. The former Nigeria U17 goalkeeper had a game he will want to forget in a hurry….. 2/10
John Lazarus: Didn’t do badly in defense but offered almost nothing in attack and was also guilty of playing high up the pitch when defending deep is needed after the red card to Adamu. Was missing from his defensive duties when Libya scored their second goal….. 4/10
Ebube Duru: The most experienced in the defense but yet couldn’t inspire with his performance. Wasted chances with the ball at his feet in the opponent’s half, no thanks to his poor decision making. His crosses were also wayward….. 3/10
Joshua Akpudje: At fault for the first goal scored by Libya as he backed out from closing down the forward before he struck the ball. Made some interceptions and tried to play from the back. Had a shaky game all through….. 3/10
Stephen Egbe: Anonymous for large spell of the game and just like his partner in central defence didn’t do enough to close down the first goal scorer for Libya. Committed needless fouls with his poorly timed tackles in dangerous areas….. 3/10
Azubuike Okechukwu: Started the game very well but faded badly in the second half. Had a near zero understanding with Nwakali in the midfield and was missing from his defensive midfield role for both goals conceded by Nigeria….. 4/10
Kelechi Nwakali: Didn’t cover himself in glory with his laid back style of play. Lost possession more than any other in the first half. Had a better second half but sometimes guilty of delaying a quick pass to lunch attack. Not quite at same level he was last time he played for Nigeria….. 4/10
Blessing Olabiran : Strong and determined in his approach, the Tambov forward was very positive going forward but looked lost when it matters most. Not scared of going into challenges but had no understanding with his teammates in attack….. 5/10
Samuel Chukwueze: Lost possession in vital areas and most times played himself into difficult position by trying to get past one too many players. Didn’t get a shot away and by his standard he should and could have done better….. 4/10
Dennis Bonaventure – Showed quick pair of hell to win a free kick for Nigeria at the edge of the box of Libya before he was sacrificed following the red card to goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar. Struggled badly with the synthetic pitch for the time he was on….. 3/10
Taiwo Awoniyi: Saddled with the responsibility of bailing the team out in terms of goal scoring. He didn’t get enough service to threaten as expected. Played very well with his back to goal. Individually he didn’t try to create something for himself….. 4/10
Olawale Oremade: Very composed and commanded his area better than Adamu. Not at fault for the goal conceded and he dealt with crosses at ease….. 5/10
Chidera Ezeh: Not as sharp as expected and didn’t change the tide of the game in favor of Nigeria following his introduction….. 2/10