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FLYING EAGLES PLAYER RATINGS: SEE WHO CLAIMED MAN OF THE MATCH AS NIGERIA OPEN CAMPAIGN WITH QATAR ROUT

Friday, 24 May 2019

/ by Colin


Goalscorer Okechukwu Offia gets a double high five from Jamil Muhammad/FIFA.com


Captain Ikouwem Utin led from the back - and front - as Nigeria’s Flying Eagles opened their FIFA Under 20 World Cup campaign with a 4-0 rout of Qatar.
Maxwell Effiom reacted quickest when Utin’s shot was parried by goalkeeper Shehab Mamdouh. The defender then sliced through four opposing players before cutting back for Okechukwu Offia to guide home on the back foot.
Manchester City youngster Tomiwa Dele-Bashiru extinguished Qatari hopes with a curling ball from a slide rule pass before Aliu Salawudeen put the cherry on the cake with a sweeping effort from a corner kick.
Man of the Match honours go to Utin, but how did the others fare?

OLAWALE OREMADE 7
Big, confident but largely untested. Only really serious threat he had to deal with was a low cross early in the first half and he cut it out - like everything else - with  ease. 

ZULKIFILU RABIU 8
Made two great direct contributions to the win. Peeled off to receive a great cross field ball from Kingsley Michael, then returned the ball with a looping cross to Michael from where Utin drove in to set up the first goal.
And then made to excellent quick fire blocks to deny Qatar’s Yusuf who was through on goal after the Nigeria defence had been sliced open with a one-two on a quick counter attack.

IKOUWEM UTIN 9 
Such a dangerous attacking threat all through the game, it was hard to know if he was playing left back or left wing. Set up the first two goals and provided a constant stacking outlet on the right while keeping his defensive duties.
Man of the Match

ALIU SALAWUDEEN 8
Showed great striker’s awareness to turn and shoot inside the box from a corner kick, but his most telling contributions were of course at his place of primary assignment, cenreback where his combination with Valentine Ozornwafor denied the Qatari much of a sniff at goal

VALENTINE OZORNWAFOR 8
Strong and aware at the back and was always available to quickly cut off any balls to feet, especially to the lone foraging Yusuf. With Utin spending so much time upfront, covered a lot of ground on the left side of defence.

KINGSLEY MICHAEL 8
Very involved on the left side of midfield. Started the move that led to the opening goal with that cross field ball, and constantly tried to link up with Utin to create further opportunities.
Setup Dele-Bashiru for the third goal with a visionary slide rule ball

JAMIL MUHAMMAD 7
Sat deep - when he could - to cover both an adventurous defence and his midfield partner. But like the others, ranged forward on plenty of occasion.

TOM DELE-BASHIRU 8
Neat and tidy with excellent ball-playing skills. Dele-Bashiru was the engine that kept the team’s movement going in midfield. Always available for a pass and made the right decisions each time. Great run to receive the pass for his goal, polished touch to keep it in front of him and an even better finish with the outside of his foot. Stung the goalkeeper with a shot late on

MAXWELL EFFIOM 8
Great awareness and reaction to open the scoring from the saved shot. Never stopped running and taking life uncomfortable for the Qatari defence.

OKECHUKWU OFFIA 8
Like Effiom, showed quick reflexes to get a touch on Utin’s cutback and dried it past the goalkeeper for the second goal. Could have had a second goal after interception a pass but rushed his shot with time and space

MUHAMED TIJANI 6
Put a lot of effort into running, but was mostly motion without real movement. Dropped deep to receive passes, and ended up getting lost in the crowd. No surprise he was hooked with 20 to go.




SUBS
AKOR ADAMS 7
Brought a much stronger presence into the central striking position, and it was his cushioned header into the box from a corner kick that Salawudeen swept in for the fourth goal. Offered good link up play with Effiom

NATHAN OFOBORH
Not quite the same smooth effect as Dele-Bashiru whom he replaced, but provided stability as the Flying Eagles closed out the win. Even had time to set Adams away with a long raking ball that needed a desperate clearance for a cornerkick


SUCCESS MAKANJUOLA 6
Even coming on with just under 10 minutes to go, Makanjuola was always looking to take over the game and had an excellent chance to get on he scoresheet that he bent into oblivion 

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