The Super Eagles were dumped out of Russia 2018 by a late goal in a 2-1 defeat to Argentina.
Playing against the oldest starting eleven at the World Cup, the Gernot Rohr named an unchanged line-up from the 2-0 win over Iceland.
Several players performed admirably and Nigeria should have earned at least a draw. However, we were our own enemy as Odion Ighalo missed two glorious opportunities with the scoreline at 1-1, while the whole defensive unit of Balogun, Troost-Ekong and the dreadful Omeruo atrociously pushed up the defensive line with five minutes to go and five Argentine players attacking, gifting them an unlikely winner.
Francis Uzoho (4 stars)
Brave goalkeeping to dash off the line and close down Higuain who was ready to convert. He also denied Messi with a fingertip save from a free kick. Could not do anything about both goals.
Brian Idowu (2 stars)
Good outing from the Russia-born full back. Gifted Argentina when he could have just chested down for his keeper. Better defensive display in the second half but got tired late on during the onslaught and did not close down the cross for the winning goal
William Troost-Ekong (3 stars)
Improved display. Marked Higuain out of the game. Cut out a dangerous Pavon cross with an Argentine lurking behind and mopped up behind Balogun and Omeruo. However, he was part of the aforementioned duo who stepped up at the wrong time to allow Argentina space for their winning goal.
Kenneth Omeruo (1 stars)
Lacked confidence for most of the game and looked fidgety with Messi lurking. Allowed Messi wander out of sight for the opener. Put pressure on the defense with another poor attempt of a clearance. Was not assured all night.
Leon Balogun (2 stars)
Unbalanced Tagliarfico to shoot wide when he got a sight of goal. His usual busy self but was part of a defense that stepped up at the crucial moment when they should be defending deep.
Wilfred Ndidi (3 stars)
Helped the Super Eagles stay in the game with his midfield battles which he revved up after he was caught ball-watching few yards off Banega as the midfielder spread the ball to Messi for his goal. Rasping shot flashed just high of goal.
Oghenekaro Etebo (4 stars)
Impressive game again, Etebo’s stock rises even further with a battling display that made sure Banega and Mascherano were in his shadow for most of the game. With a style of play reminiscent of Michael Essien, the Super Eagles’ midfield has a new star for another couple of years. Didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.
Mikel Obi (3 stars)
A normal day in office for the captain. Started at the base of midfield and kept the side ticking with his passes and hold-up play. Switched to higher gear after Nigeria equalised.
Victor Moses (3 stars)
Was not allowed to move out of defensive duties with Argentina attacking mostly through his wing and Di Maria stayed tight on him off the ball. Got more involved in the second half and calmly converted from the penalty spot. Tried to disturb Rojo from scoring the winner as his centre back had deserted their duty but could not.
Ahmed Musa (3 stars)
Willing runner, wanted the ball and looked like making something out of it. Kept the attack ticking and was very much involved. Subbed late on after Argentina’s winning goal.
Kelechi Iheanacho (1 stars)
Dilly dallied when gifted the ball with Nigeria three on two defenders. Slow to react to situations and was the weakest link in attack. Hauled off at halftime.
Odion Ighalo (0 star)
Should have scored two goals when free on goal to but his misses haunted us the Super Eagles at the end. Abject.
Late substitute after Argentina’s second goal. Couldn’t be involved
Substitute in added time, no chance.