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Winners & Losers

What an abject showing! Nigeria winners, losers and ratings as Super Eagles are swept aside by Portugal

07:32 GMT 18/11/2022
Jose Peseiro Nigeria Sierra Leone 2022
Jose Peseiro’s men were beaten 4-0 by the Selecao, continuing their poor run under the Portuguese tactician

Ignore Nigeria’s perceived improvement after half-time against Portugal and focus on proceedings when this was anything resembling a contest.

Fernando Santos’ crew shut down the Super Eagles and barely broke a sweat at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in the opening half where the Super Eagles only shot at goal once.

At the other end, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix gave the West African nation a tough evening in the attacking third while Bernardo Silva produced a typical performance in attacking midfield.

The thrashing means Jose Peseiro has claimed only two victories since taking over the Nigeria job in May. A series of losses in friendly games is likely to dissatisfy fans who do not like to lose regardless of the circumstances.

  • Antonio Silva Benfica

    The Winners

    Antonio Silva:

    The debutant was comfortable on his Portugal bow for most of the evening, getting in the way of crosses into the box and clearing the ball from harm’s way where necessary.

    While the 19-year-old is unlikely to get a starting berth in Qatar, it was a debut to remember and one to build on with his Selecao career still in front of him.

    Silva will hope to replace legendary centre-back Pepe, likely competing in his last World Cup finals in 2022.

    Bright Osayi-Samuel:

    Despite the concession of a first-half penalty, Osayi-Samuel had a solid debut at right-back for the Super Eagles.

    He thwarted Nuno Mendes’ threat on the counter-attack a couple of times and won a late penalty at the other end which could have made the game interesting had Emmanuel Dennis halved the deficit.

    The Fenerbahce wide defender came out on top in a plethora of his duels too and could leave the encounter with his head held high regardless of the result.

  • Nigeria's Terem Moffi

    The Losers

    Rafael Leao:

    Unless Fernando Santos was saving Leao for the World Cup opener against Ghana next week, it was surprising that the AC Milan wide attacker did not come off the bench against Nigeria.

    While Leao’s form has been fluctuating of late, the tune-up encounter against the Super Eagles was a perfect game to give the attacker minutes to stake a claim for a starting berth versus the Black Stars.

    However, the Milan forward was not called upon even though the Selecao had a comfortable evening.

    Terem Moffi:

    With Victor Osimhen absent, the in-form Moffi had a chance to stake a claim for the central striking position against Portugal.

    This went awry, but it was not for the want of trying. The Lorient man was mostly isolated at the Jose Alvalade and often misplaced passes or delayed his passes on the occasions the ball fell to him.

    Moffi barely got a kick before his substitution on the hour and it was telling that Paul Onuachu appeared more involved than the Lorient striker.

    Emmanuel Dennis:

    The Nottingham Forest man is yet to win the hearts of the Super Eagles support and refusing to let go of the ball for Nigeria’s 81st-minute penalty caused exasperation.

    Captain William Troost-Ekong and Onuachu seemed to be keen on taking the spot-kick, while Jose Peseiro was seemingly gesturing for a different taker.

    Dennis’ weakly placed effort was tipped onto the post from Rui Patricio and the West African nation went on to concede twice after the Forest striker’s miss.

  • William Troost-Ekong

    Nigeria Ratings: Defence

    Francis Uzoho (4/10):

    Could do little with the concession of four but made a few decent saves, notably thwarting Joao Felix after the break.

    William Troost-Ekong (5/10):

    Played a few impressive diagonals in the game but frequently struggled to progress the ball or pick out advanced players between the lines.

    Kevin Akpoguma (3.5/10):

    Was unconvincing in possession and seemed to defer to Troost-Ekong to play forward passes.

    Did little to stake a claim to start regularly.

    Bright Osayi Samuel (7/10):

    Conceding a harsh first-half penalty aside, the wide defender gave a good account of himself on his first Nigeria start and made up for the aforementioned decision by winning a penalty for the Super Eagles at the other end.

    Calvin Bassey (5/10):

    A mixed evening for the Ajax man who could have done better on the overlap.

    Defensively, Bassey may feel he could have tracked Diogo Dalot’s run in the build-up to Portugal opening the scoring, although Moses Simon did not cover himself in glory either.

  • Alex Iwobi


    Wilfred Ndidi (3/10):

    The Leicester City man has played only 129 minutes since returning from injury and it told in a subdued showing where he struggled to impose himself.

    Alex Iwobi (6/10):

    Iwobi improved as the game wore on and his passing range was a highlight of an otherwise forgettable night.

    Joe Aribo (4/10):

    A disappointing appearance for the Southampton man who looked half a yard slow and reacted late to loose balls at Jose Alvalade.

    The attacking midfielder was unsurprisingly replaced with 20 minutes remaining.

  • Ademola Lookman of Nigeria and Leicester City.


    Terem Moffi (3.5/10):

    Moffi often looked isolated but did little when he got the ball, frustrating with his hold-up play and combination.

    In truth, it was a surprise the Lorient man lasted as long as he did before his 58th-minute withdrawal.

    Ademola Lookman (3/10):

    The Atalanta man went into Thursday’s encounter in fine form but struggled to get into the game on his less favourable position on the right.

    Hooked at the break by Peseiro.

    Moses Simon (4/10):

    Frequently seemed to do damage all by himself, ignoring passing options.

    Simon had Nigeria’s only effort in the opening half.

  • Emmanuel Dennis

    Subs & Manager

    Frank Onyeka (4.5/10):

    Onyeka did seem livelier than Ndidi and even offered a greater threat higher up the pitch after replacing the Leicester City man.

    Samuel Chukwueze (5/10):

    A Rio Patricio save prevented the Villarreal man from halving the deficit after the break and Chukwueze could be pleased with his showing off the bench despite the hammering.

    Paul Onuachu (5/10):

    Onuachu had a better outing than Moffi, dropping deep to get involved in play and bringing others into the action.

    Peter Etebo (3/10):

    The midfielder nearly scored at the wrong end after coming on with 20 minutes to play, although he did impress with his passing accuracy.

    Booked with nine minutes remaining after preventing a Portugal counter-attack.

    Emmanuel Dennis (1/10):

    It is never a good look when a player’s intransigence in taking over penalty-taking duties flops but Dennis’ embarrassing disregard of teammates and possibly Peseiro did not look good.

    Jose Peseiro (2/10):

    After a commendable start, the Portuguese tactician's honeymoon period seems to be over. The Super Eagles’ incoherence in and out of possession is troubling and they looked tactically undercooked in Thursday’s 4-0 loss.