Rating Both Sets of Players in Uruguay vs. Nigeria Confederations Cup Match
With Nigeria all but out of the Confederations Cup, Uruguay look set to take the second qualification spot barring something inconceivable happening when they meet Tahiti and the Super Eagles take on favourites Spain.
On Thursday, Uruguay beat Nigeria 2-1. Diego Lugano's tap in and Diego Forlan's scythed shot proved too much for Nigeria to overcome, even with a John Obi Mikel equaliser.
Although Uruguay and especially their star player were not playing at an optimum level, Nigeria's speed and enthusiasm were waylaid by their inexperience, leaving the West Africans with some thinking to do before next year's World Cup.
This is how both teams rated.
Vincent Enyeama, goalkeeper: 5
Other than the two goals, for which he can't take much blame, and one or two fairly routine saves, he didn't have much to do. However, his tendency to concede regularly is becoming an issue, and he needs to look more commanding around the box.
Efe Ambrose, right-back: 4
He initially looked slightly nervous when defending but got forward well enough. The second half saw a drop in performance, though. Ambrose was culpable for Forlan's winning goal, when the Nigeria right-back was 30 yards up the pitch. By the end, he didn't know whether to go forward or stay back.
Godfrey Oboabona, centre-back: 5
He was fairly average. He dealt relatively well with the Uruguay front three, who were luckily not on song, but he was not imposing enough. His inexperience was evident during the first goal.
Kenneth Omeruo, centre-back: 7
He could have done with more solidity from his defensive partner, but he was good overall. He got at the Uruguay attackers, making important tackles and interceptions, including an excellent 94th-minute challenge on Edinson Cavani, who would have been through on goal.
Uwa Elderson Echiejile, left-back: 5
Like Ambrose, he had plenty of energy to get forward on the overlap but not enough when covering at the back. He couldn't force his way down the right for much of the game but did play a cutting pass to Brown Ideye through the midfield in the buildup to Nigeria's goal.
John Obi Mikel, central midfielder: 7
After a frantic opening 10 minutes, he settled down and started to play. He was the most composed player on his team and dealt well with being constantly outnumbered. He scored a good goal, leaving Diego Lugano for dead, but his performance fell away in the second half as Uruguay's midfielders asserted themselves.
John Ogu, right midfielder: 6
Although looking nervous, he settled into the game and worked well with Mikel after the equalising goal. He Fell away in the second half though and was replaced by Sunday Mba in the 66th minute.
Fegor Ogude, left midfielder: 3
He was rather cumbersome in midfield, with clumsy tackling and an overzealous approach that compromised his efforts. In the second half, he became anonymous and was way below par.
Sunday Mba: 4
By the time Mba was called upon to rescue the Nigeria midfield, it was too little, too late. He failed to make any real impact but saved his rating by a glut of effort.
Nnamdi Oduamadi, right-winger: 4
Unfortunately he had to be stretchered off after half an hour. When he came back, he struggled, only to be substituted 10 minutes later by Michel Babatunde in the 41st minute.
Ahmed Musa, left-winger: 6
This Nigerian exerted himself the most. His pace and trickery caused Diego Godin and Martin Caceres problems all night, but he was either not given the options by his teammates or made a poor final pass. The potential is there, but he must be frustrated with his decisions.
Brown Ideye, striker: 3
Ideye can't be accused of wasting many chances, but the few that he did get were not taken advantage of, including a couple of free kicks in good positions. He made a poor decision in the box, choosing to turn rather than lay the ball off, and couldn't assert himself. He went off for Joseph Akpala in the 74th minute.
Michel Babatunde: 3
There's not much to write home about. After coming on, he attempted to get involved, but, like most of his teammates, he looked to be lacking that quality on the edge of the box.
Joseph Akpala: 3
After suffering through the domestic season, he didn't take the chance to prove himself at international level and just drifted about.
Fernando Muslera, goalkeeper: 5
He had some cardiac-arrest moments in the first half, including fumbling of shots and not dealing with crosses. However, he bucked his ideas up in the second half and looked much more assured.
Diego Godin, right centre-back: 7
He had some early trouble dealing with Ahmed Musa's pace before the Nigerian switched sides, but he soon settled into a much more typical performance. He was imposing in the air and dealt well with any through balls that Nigeria attempted.
Diego Lugano, centre-back: 5
Both ends of the Lugano spectrum were on show. The captain got into the box to convert Diego Forlan's low cross but was caught rooted to the ground when John Obi Mikel skipped around him to equalise. Despite just holding on, he did not look great defensively in the latter stages.
Martin Caceres, left centre-back: 5
He handled the opposition relatively well and managed to stifle Ahmed Musa, despite the latter having superior pace. His capabilities going forward were not allowed to show, but to say he had a solid night defensively is a fair appraisal.
Sebastian Coates: 6
Although he was booked about two minutes after coming on, the Liverpool player shored up the defence and made some good clearances and tackles during Nigeria's final push.
Maxi Pereira, right midfielder: 6
It was a middle-of-the-road showing from Pereira, who looked somewhat tired going into the second half. However, he kicked on from Uruguay's second goal and did his defensive duties, including halting a Brown Ideye chance in the box with a good tackle.
Egidio Arevalo Rios, central midfielder: 7
The most effective of the Uruguay midfield, he put strong challenges in and kept tight enough to John Obi Mikel that the Nigerian captain was unable to play freely. He was slightly overwhelmed initially but regained his composure later on.
Alvaro Gonzalez, central midfielder: 5
He allowed Nigeria too much space around him, which put his team under concerted, if not effective, pressure at times. He improved in the second half but overall did not assert himself well.
Cristian Rodriguez, left midfielder: 4
The effort was there, but the quality was absent. He gifted possession to Nigeria far too easily, and other than forcing Vincent Enyeama into a save, he was largely a peripheral figure. He went off for Alvaro Pereira in the 88th minute.
Alvaro Pereira: 3
He came on far too late to have any impact.
Diego Forlan, centre-attacking midfielder: 8
Even with Forlan aged 34, the old saying that class is permanent rang true. Although not a stellar performance by any means, it was an exhibition of how quality shines through even when its possessor is no longer at full speed. He sliced Cavani's pass into the net with deadly conviction.
Luis Suarez, striker: 6
By his standards, this showing was below par, but, as ever, he still caused problems for the Nigerian defence with some typical jinking runs. He played a crucial part in the winning goal and ran his boots off when not in possession. He was replaced by Sebastian Coates in the 82nd minute.
Edinson Cavani, striker: 4
An assist was the only thing that saved his rating. Whether it was confidence, fatigue or his desire to impress certain people at Real Madrid, Cavani couldn't buy a decent shot, let alone a goal. Through on goal from Forlan's looping free kick, he headed it over from seven yards, which is not what we have come to expect from the Napoli star. He wasted plenty of chances wasted and was a disappointment overall.