Nigeria 1-0 Egypt: What did we learn?

Paul Onuachu lit up Asaba on his first start for Nigeria, but what other significant events were worthy of mention against the North Africans?

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    Is Paul Onuachu the real deal?

    On his first start for Nigeria, the Midtjylland forward wasn’t weighed down by nerves to deliver one of the best individual performances by any player in the green jersey for a while. 

    He only needed eight seconds to open his account for the Super Eagles, and his goal was a thing of beauty. 

    For a big guy, Onuachu’s ability on the ball is underrated, and while he seemed to be overly individualistic a couple of times, it doesn’t soil what was a good maiden start. 

    The gigantic frontman used every inch of his frame in holding the ball up for teammates, and the fact that his colleagues know the ball will stick allows them play off him. 

    While Onuachu was on the receiving end of some rough treatment by the Egyptians, it should be seen as nothing but a compliment given his performance. 

    Has Gernot Rohr finally found the perfect target man for his tactical scheme? 
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    Leon Balogun proved his worth

    For someone who hasn’t had ample game time under his belt recently (Tuesday’s friendly was his third game of the year and first since early February), Balogun delivered an impressive performance against the Pharaohs.

    Two moments in the closing stages, in particular, helped his side to a clean sheet. 

    Both moments came at a time in which many of his teammates had tired, but the Brighton & Hove Albion centre-back kept his concentration up to snuff out the danger.
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    ​ Widemen were unimpressive going forward

    Having seen Henry Onyekuru and Moses Simon get goals in the Super Eagles’ final Afcon qualifier against Seychelles, it made sense to play the pair against the North Africans.

    However, they weren’t up to scratch in the final third. While Onyekuru showed flashes of his quality, it only came late on, when the away side got weary. Simon, on the other hand, was on the periphery of proceedings for most of the game. 

    In all fairness, the pair did put in an admirable defensive shift, so maybe it wasn’t all doom and gloom. 
  4. ​ Should anything be made of Ikechukwu Ezenwa’s double save?

    Even though the Katsina United shot-stopper’s saves in quick succession in the game’s closing stages sealed the win, they were routine saves any goalie worth his salt should be making. 

    The only reason both stops garnered so much rave reviews is because of Francis Uzoho’s constant gaffes in goal which have raised questions about the Anorthosis Famagusta stopper’s ability. 

    Ezenwa's stops don't change the fact Nigeria still lack quality in that department.

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    Performances have to improve going into the Nations Cup

    As has been the case in the last 12-18 months, Rohr’s charges secured a win after playing poorly.

    While the ability to grind out results while not playing particularly well is often said to be the ‘hallmark of champions’, those dire displays are persisting, and it’s bound to affect performances in the long run. 

    Rohr’s side need to improve on the pitch as their prolonged dreary showings may not be enough to see off daunting challenges at this summer’s tournament.