William Troost-Ekong broke the deadlock via a headed goal at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara. Still, a header from Frank Kessie and a cushioned finish from Sebastien Haller sealed a third AFCON trophy for Ivory Coast.
Soccernet.ng rates the performance of the Nigerian players as they sealed a silver medal at the AFCON 2023 tournament in Ivory Coast.
1. Christian Nwabali 7/10: The Chippa United goalkeeper was Nigeria’s best performer on the night. He made five saves to deny the hosts, denying Seko Fofana from range twice. There was not much he could have done to stop either goal from going in.
2. Ola Aina 6/10: The Nottingham Forest full-back struggled against his Ivorian opponent. Simon Adingra was his nightmare and he couldn’t keep up. He looked jaded as time went on and could barely kick a ball.
3. William Troost Ekong 7.5/10: The PAOK central defender came up trumps for the Super Eagles after he scored the opener. He could have done a bit more in stopping the second goal, but Sebastien Haller’s strength couldn’t be handled by the 30-year-old. He won the Player of the Tournament award.
4. Semi Ajayi 5.8/10: The West Bromwich Albion defender was not involved in defending with the team as a unit. He didn’t help Ola Aina on the right-hand side either, leaving the wingback isolated.
5. Calvin Bassey 6.8/10: The physicality of the Ivorian team shook the Fulham central defender a little. He however didn’t back down, and although he was shaky a few times, and won all of the duels he was involved in.
6. Zaidu Sanusi 3/10: The Porto defender played a huge part in the two goals Nigeria conceded. He left Frank Kessie unmarked at the back post for the equalizer, and kept the ball in play for the Ivorians, leading to the chance converted by Sebastien Haller. The 26-year-old also had a chance to score at the other end, but his first touch let him down, and that pretty much summarizes the tournament he had in Ivory Coast.
7. Frank Onyeka 6.5/10: The Brentford man won the most tackles in the game. His dirty work in the middle of the park restricted the opposition to chances from long range, but as he grew tired, they got more chances to break through the middle. He was replaced by Joe Ayodele-Aribo with four minutes left on the clock.
8. Alex Iwobi 5.5/10: The former Arsenal midfielder never got going. He simply didn’t tick, as his passes were sloppy and he kept playing it safe rather than attacking the opposition. He wasn’t secure defensively either and was subbed off with eleven minutes to spare.
9. Ademola Lookman 6.3/10: The Atalanta man created one chance all game and just one of his four crosses found the target. He was locked down by Serge Aurier and struggled to break free. He was replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho in the final eleven minutes of the game.
10. Samuel Chukwueze 5/10: The A.C. Milan winger was taken off just ten minutes into the second half. In that time, he completed just four passes and barely had any meaningful impact. He won just one duel from the eight he was involved in.
11. Victor Osimhen 5.5/10: The Napoli man didn’t have any shot on target and created no chance. He lost the most duels on the pitch, failing to win a single one, and had the fewest touches as well.
Moses Simon 5.5/10: The Nantes man came on to add pace to the attack of the Nigerian team but he was well closed down.
Kelechi Iheanacho 5.5/10: His introduction saw some intricate passing in attack for the Super Eagles as the Leicester City man tried to weave his way through the Ivorian defence, but his only attempt was blocked by a body of orange shirts.
Joe-Ayodele Aribo, Terem Moffi, and Alhassan Yusuf: Didn’t make any considerable impact in their short time on the pitch.