Nigeria Sets New Record In Margin Of Victory

Agadir, MOROCCO: Nigeria romped to a 10-0 win over hapless Sao Tome & Principe in an AFCON qualifier to set a new record for margin of victory for the national team. It outstrips the 10-1 win by Nigeria in 1959 over Dahomey (now Benin Republic).


It could have been worse, Nigeria had three other goals disallowed. The disallowed goals underlined Nigeria's eagerness to win big but also marked some poor officiating by the refereeing crew as replays showed atleast one of those calls to have been poor.


It outstrips the 10-1 win by Nigeria in 1959 over Dahomey (now Benin Republic). It could have been worse, Nigeria had three other goals disallowed.


The disallowed goals underlined Nigeria's eagerness to win big but also marked some poor officiating by the refereeing crew as replays showed at least one of those calls to have been poor.


Nigeria clearly outclassed the Islanders and the losers must now dread a visit to Nigeria to complete the second leg of these qualifiers.


The Islanders played this game as the "home" team, choosing Agadir in Morocco because of the poor state of venues at their home. But one must clearly wonder if the result could have been any different.


The gulf in class was wide and it seemed men were playing against school boys as Nigeria dominated from start to finish with the Sao Tome goalkeeper putting up a herculean effort to no avail.


On the other hand, Nigeria's goalkeeper Francis Uzoho might have taken a holiday break or fallen asleep without much damage. He was only called to make a save early in the second half when a poor back pass by Bassey created a decision to quickly come out to stave off an opportunity for the Islanders.


The gulf in class was wide and it seemed men were playing against school boys as Nigeria dominated from start to finish with the Sao Tome goalkeeper putting up a herculean effort to no avail.


On the other hand, Nigeria's goalkeeper Francis Uzoho might have taken a holiday break or fallen asleep without much damage.


In the end, the goal count was Victor Osimhen with four (adding two assists) equaling the Nigerian individual record held jointly by Rashidi Yekini, Joseph Aghoghovia, and Elkanah Oneali.


Osimhen's current scoring clip of 0.68 is ahead of Yekini (0.58) and Usiyen (0.60) but behind Elkanah onyeali at 0.79. Others on the scoresheet today were Moffi with a brace, Simon, Etebo, Lookman, and Dennis.

Nigeria led by only three goals at the interval, under the Agadir heat, but pushed the pedal to widen the margin after the interval before the match officials mercifully ended the game that essentially turned into a practice walk out by the Nigerians.


LINE-UP

Francis Uzoho (23)25 -- Ola Aina (2)29 +57 (57th Abdullahi Shehu (12)42), Calvin Bassey (18)6 (69th Leon Balogun (6)46), Semi Ajayi (5)21, -- Oghenekaro Etebo (8)42 – Ademola Lookman (13)4 (69th Emmanuel Dennis (17)7) Alex Iwobi (18)59, Moses Simon (cpt - 15)53  (57th Ahmed Musa (7)106 )- Victor Osimhen (9)23, Terem Moffi (19)7 (69th Umar Sadiq (17)7).

RATINGS

Francis Uzoho -- 6.2 -- Francis gets a rating for merely being present in this game. He was virtually on vacation and was only called to make a solitary save when Bassey miscued a back pass.

Ola Aina -- 6.4 -- Ola Aina is increasingly having challenges with defensive duties. Going into attack, he has been excellent but poor on several occasions when defending. Today he was booked for the second consecutive game and will have to sit out the next AFCON qualifier.


Semi Ajayi -- 7.0 -- Ajayi had an excellent game against the Islanders controlling the center of the defense. He only had one miscue, conceding an unnecessary corner kick from distance following a minor pressure as he sought to back pass to his goalkeeper in the second half.

Calvin Bassey -- 8.0 --Bassey was the strength of Nigeria's defense but had a miscue that nearly led to Nigeria conceding to the Islanders if Uzoho did not quickly come out to save.

Zaidu Sanusi -- 6.5 -- Zaidu seemed uninterested in this game and the lack of focus was embarrassing as he lost two passes, from Iwobi, into the touchline when no opponent was in sight. He was one of the underperformers in a game that Nigeria thoroughly dominated.

Oghenekaro Etebo -- 7.5 -- Oghenekaro had a tremendous set piece goal from the edge of the box and he showed his class sitting in front of the center backs and controlling traffic going forward and defending.


Alex Iwobi -- 8.5 -- Alex controlled the game with exquisite passing, both long and short, and clearly is at the top of his game. There is no question that he is the king in the middle of the park for Nigeria. Doubt that at your own peril. The only reason he does not get a perfect score is his failure to notch a goal or assists in a match when it seemed so easy to put the ball into the net.

Ademola Lookman -- 7.0 -- Ademola started slowly and appeared timid in the opening half but improved as the game wore on. He ended up scoring his first goal for Nigeria plus an assist.

Moses Simon -- 7.0 -- Simon was the captain for the day and produced a goal and an assist early to kickstart Nigeria. Simon did not complete the game and missed a chance that seemed easy to score but overall it was a good outing.


Terem Moffi -- 7.0 -- Moffi had a brace today, his first goals for Nigeria after coming up empty in previous several appearances. He must surely hope for opponents like the hapless Islanders. Today, he did well but also cluttered a few opportunities.

Victor Osimhen -- 9.0 -- Victor was always going to score against the Islanders and that was predictable when the fixtures were announced. He notched four today plus two assists and is now on a tremendous goal scoring clip that has suddenly skidded past Seguin Odegbami, Thompson Usiyan,  and Rashidi Yekini in the record book. However, he missed at least two clear chances and had one ruled out for offside.

Shehu Abdullahi -- 6.2 -- Shehu made series of errors in his first few minutes but otherwise was average in this game. He did not present much improvement over Ola Aina, who he substituted.


Ahmed Musa -- 6.8 -- Musa was the most impactful of the substitutes today and was lively. However, one must note that this was not really a game against some major African opponent. He ended up with two assists.

Leon Balogun -- 6.3 -- Leon had very little to contribute but it was nice to see him back in action for Nigeria. He had a few attempts going forward but otherwise there was nothing remarkable.

Emmanuel Dennis -- 6.5 -- Emmanuel seemed uninterested with a few miscues but ended up scoring from the spot after he was upended and he also had a goal ruled out on account of offside.

Sadiq Umar - 6.4 -- Sadiq  had one significant run at goal from the left and had a shot saved and did his part to create busy moments but failed to have his name on the scoresheet on a day that Nigeria had an avalanche of goals.

Written by Prof. Chuka Onwumechili as cited by Sports Central... 
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