Bassey bounces back, Dessers shows flashlight: Super Eagles vs Mexico match ratings

The Super Eagles lost 2-1 at the AT&T Stadium to El Tri of Mexico with some players offering enough hope for the future

A Santiago Gimenez 12th minute goal and an own goal by William Troost-Ekong gave the Mexicans a narrow win in Arlington as Cyriel Dessers scored on his full debut.

While Nigeria looked lethargic for large spells, they played through the stress and offered some glimmer of hope on the direction for the future, albeit, it’s early days into Jose Peseiro’s Super Eagles tenure.

From Calvin Bassey’s beautiful display to Dessers’ flashlight, Soccernet has rated every player based on their performance on Sunday morning.


Francis Uzoho

The Omonia Nicosia looks to have put the Ghanaian debacle behind him as he posted a solid performance. Much improved distribution, especially with his left leg, which is supposed to be his weak foot, he looked assured in goal also and coordinated the defense well.

Totally left to dead for both goals, he made a few saves in the game and it was good to see him snap out of the dark clouds of his monumental error in Abuja. – 6.5/10


Chidozie Awaziem

Again, the Alanyaspor defender proved he’s not a player that should be made to sit as often as he has in the last few months in the Super Eagles.

Composed on the ball, alert off it, although with a few nervy moments. His passing was good as he played in the first half as the right centre back and in the second half as a hybrid between the right centre back and the right back.

His versatility is always a place of comfort in emergency situations. Good game overall. – 6/10


William Troost-Ekong

Sometimes lethargic, sometimes Ekong – energetic, high-powered, and alert. He was caught off guard on a number of occasions and struggled to cope with the pace of the Mexican attackers on some moments.

He marshaled the defense well and showed much-improved passing between the spaces. Unlucky to have scored the own goal as he lost footing, but positioning and direction could be a lot better. Also shares in the blame for the Mexico opener. He, however, has had worse days in a Super Eagles shirt. – 4/10


Semi Ajayi

The West Bromwich Albion defender has often been overlooked in the Super Eagles but that may be difficult to do if he keeps up with what he showed against Mexico.

Solid on the ball and off it, helped cover for the advancing Bassey many times and did his central defensive duties just well too. Decent performance on all rounds. Dealt with the pace of the Mexican attackers and formed a good understanding with his defensive partners. – 6.5/10


Moses Simon

Not spectacular by any means. He struggled to break through the Mexican left in the first half and didn’t look to do much in helping the attack.

Looked defensively solid in the first half as he played as a wing-back but didn’t offer much throughout the game.

Jose Peseiro must find the Nantes’ star’s best position if as a wing-back or a winger. Directness is always a weapon but his decision making can be suspect. – 4.5/10


Calvin Bassey

Without a doubt the best Super Eagles player on the night.

Looked great in possession and aware without the ball. Very tidy performance with constant show of drive, solid decision-making, desire and energy.

Knocked on the Mexican door constantly till he found an opening and delivered an inch-perfect cross for Dessers.

The Rangers defender is in the form of his life and it’s good to see him bounce back in such powerful fashion after his far from memorable game against Ghana in Abuja. – 8/10


Innocent Bonke

Struggled to cope with the pace of the game before his injury. Looked to struggle with the ball on occasions also. Not much improvement on his previous Super Eagles appearances.

He was hauled off after picking a knock in the first half. – 4/10


Alex Iwobi

The Everton midfielder is confident and that’s evident in his game. Back to showing glimpses of the early promises he gave in the Super Eagles, Iwobi ran endlessly for 93 minutes. Sometimes he was a link between the defense and the attack, other times he slotted in as a defensive midfielder when Bonke got knocked and he did well at both ends. Had an equally energetic partner in Joe Aribo.

Although he struggled in the creative end of his duties, he grew into the game and showed why he may be an important part of the new dispensation. – 6/10


Joe Aribo

Aribo was tidy in possession and linked up well with Iwobi and the attack. His energy ensured he kept track of the Mexicans’ fast football and when he found a good pass, he was quick to release his teammates. Not an excellent game, but enough to show how important he can be to the team. – 6/10


Terem Moffi

While he struggled in the opening minutes of the game, his constant running and energy meant he was a good point of pressing by the Super Eagles.

Looked to help link the attack to the midfield after settling into the game but struggled to spark in a generally difficult game for the team from an attacking perspective.

He was substituted for Ishaq Rafiu in the 80th minute. – 4.5/10


Cyriel Dessers

Scored on his full debut for the Super Eagles. It doesn’t get better than that on most days. It would have been a better night for the Feyenoord forward if his goal helped the Super Eagles nick a draw.

He was sharp throughout and constantly looked for an opening to wreak havoc. He finally found one as he got on the end of a beautiful Bassey cross. – 6.5/10


Sani Faisal

The left-footed attacking midfielder played in the right wing-back and didn’t look out of place. Although a quiet performance, he did the simple things efficiently as he came on for the injured Bonke.

Not a bad Super Eagls debut. – 5/10


Ishaq Rafiu

The Rivers United forward showed glimpses of why he’s the top scorer in this season’s NPFL.

Good dribbler and has an eye for the pass, although he struggled with decisions on some occasions and still looked raw in his delivery sometimes, he could be a real handful when he gets going. Definitely did enough to get a look-in again from Peseiro. – 5.5/10


Chiamaka Madu – N/A

Victor Mbaoma – N/A



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