Ukraine 2-2 Nigeria: 5 Things We Learnt
Super Eagles of Nigeria in an international friendly match against Ukraine on Tuesday ended in a 2-2 draw at the Dnipro.
Nigeria went two goals ahead then concede two late strikes in the space of five second half minutes to drag the encounter into an interesting stalemate.
Our reporter looks at the five biggest talking points that can be deduced from the match.
Semi Ajayi is the real juice
How in the Seven Kingdoms did this beauty of a defender miss the squad to the Africa Cup of Nations?
Ajayi rarely put a foot wrong, even teasing the Ukrainian attackers with his natural ability to hold on to the ball, confidence to pass it with ease and defensive instincts to snuff out danger.
No man is perfect but it would not be out of place if the West Brom defender have had a ten out of ten ratings for his endeavour but for the two goals that got past his defence line.
Kenneth Omeruo should be looking over his shoulders because any glitch and his jersey would be ripped off him by Ajayi, and no one would complain.
Super Eagles flanks is fire
Samuel Kalu is back and Samuel Chukwueze is steroids on wheels. Nigeria’s first two goals came from the left flank where Kalu was a constant menace.
Close ball control, pace on turbo and a sack load of tricks at dazzling levels, Kalu was the symbol of everything good about the Eagles going forward. He created the opening that led to Iwobi’s assist for the first goal and was also the player felled for the penalty that Osimhen converted. He may just be 26 but Ahmed Musa’s time has a starter in the national team may be coming to an end.
Uzoho is up for the goalkeeping challenge
Nigeria needs a first choice goalkeeper and the Super Eagles number one jersey is up for grabs. After neither of Akpeyi, Ezenwa nor Uzoho laid valid claim to the spot in the past few years, Gernot Rohr was forced to invite a little known, Germany-based talent in Maduka Okoye.
But on the evidence of the Ukraine tie, Uzoho is clearly up for the fight. Two point blank saves in either half, an improved composure in the box and a better handling of the ball shows Francis Uzoho has come in leaps and bounds since is below par performance at the World Cup.
If Okoye thinks he’s going to walk straight into the team, then he probably has not been paying attention to that guy Uzoho.
Joe Aribo is the new Austin Jay Jay Okocha
Okay, may be that’s taking it a tad too far but the Glasgow Rangers midfielder was worthy of the number ten jersey he wore on the night.
Heck, the boy can dribble and has incredible energy to push play from box to box.
Attack great; defence work in progress
For 75 minutes, the Super Eagles were absolutely fantastic going forward and decent at the back. But the attack would ultimately rue missed chances and the defnse would suffer from a lapse in concentration.