Player ratings from Super Eagles game as Nigeria edge South Africa in penalty shoot-out

William Troost-Ekong broke the deadlock from the penalty spot for Nigeria at the Stade de la Paix in Bouaké, but a well-struck penalty by South African midfielder, Treboho Mokoena levelled the scoreline.

Both teams struggled to find the back of the net despite the game being a thrilling end-to-end encounter for each side. rates the performance of the Nigerian players as they sealed qualification to the final of the AFCON 2023 tournament in Ivory Coast.

1. Christian Nwabali 8.5/10: The Chippa United goalkeeper’s performance today will seal a place in the heart of Nigerian fans and their history books for many years to come. The 27-year-old made four saves in 120 minutes to keep Nigeria in the game and then raised the bar by saving two penalties in the shoot-out, showing South African Ronwen William Hayden who the boss is.

2. Bright Osayi-Samuel 7/10: The Fernabache full-back made his second start in the tournament this evening, playing 119 minutes before he was replaced by Kenneth Omeruo. He put in a good shift, completing 91% of his passes and could have had an assist for himself, had Osimhen’s goal counted.

3. William Troost Ekong 7.6/10: The PAOK central defender was colossal at the back for Nigeria. As the team captain, he stepped up to convert the spot kick that broke the deadlock, and showed his expertise from twelve yards in the shoot-out as he sent the ball into the top corner, leaving the opposition goalkeeper no chance.

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4. Semi Ajayi 6.8/10: The West Bromwich Albion defender was a threat for the opposition in the air. He was sent up-front by Jose Peseiro a few times to help relieve Osimhen of some of the aerial pressure in attack. He won every duel he went into.

5. Calvin Bassey 6.9/10: Bassey was bullish at the back. The Fulham man was beaten a few times, but he dug in and made sure he recovered the ball regardless. Like Semi Ajayi on the other side, Bassey won all of the duels he went into, showcasing his strength.

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6. Ola Aina 6.8/10: The Nottingham Forest full-back was drafted into the left-hand side following Zaidu’s injury. He put in decent deliveries with his left foot, despite being on his weaker side. His scuffed penalty kick, however, is not something he’ll want to remember for a very long time.

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7. Frank Onyeka 7/10: The Brentford man played a hundred and two minutes in the centre of the park before he was replaced by Alhassan Yusuf. He looked Jaded as the game grew, but never shied away from going into tackles to disrupt South Africa’s play.

8. Alex Iwobi 6.5/10: The former Arsenal player didn’t have the best of games tonight. He was taken off after 63 minutes as he couldn’t cope with the intensity of the South African midfield. He had a shot on goal earlier in the game but went mute after, and that pretty much sums it up.

9. Ademola Lookman 6.2/10: The Atalanta man missed the golden chance to put Nigeria two goals up, but wanted to score in a spectacular fashion. In a hundred and two minutes of football, he completed just sixteen passes but created the most chances in the game. He was identified as a threat by the South Africans and they did well in shutting him down.

10. Moses Simon 5/10: Just like Lookman on the other side, the Nantes winger completed just eleven passes, and not a single cross. He couldn’t beat his man, and was dispossessed way too many times. He was replaced by Samuel Chukwueze a few minutes past the hour mark.

11. Victor Osimhen 7/10: Osimhen’s close control won the initial penalty for Nigeria. He tested the South African goalkeeper a few times and thought he’d scored until his goal was ruled out due to a foul in the build-up that led to the goal.

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Yussuf Alhassan 5.5/10: The Antwerp midfielder replaced Iwobi and committed the foul that led to South Africa’s equalizer. He struggled to sit deep and his instinctive runs to always chase the ball left some space in the middle of the park.

Samuel Chukwueze 6/10: His introduction brought a bit of spark into the game for Jose Peseiro’s men as he played a part in the initial penalty, but his decision-making cost Nigeria a few times.

Joe-Ayodele Aribo 6/10: The Southampton man came on to replace Frank Onyeka and kept things tidy in the middle. He didn’t offer much going forward but was careful in possession to avoid any errors leading to goal.

Kelechi Iheanacho 6.3/10: Iheanacho had his first minutes of football in Ivory Coast when he replaced Ademola Lookman in extra time. He saw his two attempts on goal saved but showed up when it mattered by burying the winning penalty in the shoot-out.

Terem Moffi 6/10: Moffi came on for Osimhen in the final ten minutes of extra-time. He had a chance to score but was tripped. He stepped up to take the first spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out and did well under pressure, sending the ball down the middle from twelve yards.

Kenneth Omeruo: The Kasimpasa defender came on in the final minute of the game to replace Bright Osayi-Samuel, but his spot kick was cooly placed, leaving the goalkeeper no chance.