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How Nigeria rated against Serbia

Published on: 28 March 2018

Nigeria's unbeaten streak came to a resounding end last night in a 2-0 defeat Serbia, with Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic netting twice.

It was perhaps the reality check the Super Eagles needed ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup after year-long unbeaten streak which also included victories against Argentina and Poland.

So which players would have impressed coach Gernot Rohr as he ponders his squad for Russia, and who have done their chances harm?

FRANCIS UZOHO 6

While this was an improvement on his performance against Poland four days earlier, it was still nowhere near being at World Cup level. He regularly mistimed balls, found himself out of position on occasions, and even let a ball slip under him and cross the line for what should have been a goal. His shot-stopping, however, looked solid.

TYRONNE EBUEHI 7

Looked composed in the face of a double assault from Kostic and the out-drifting Tadic, but suffered from a lack of support. Barely offered anything going forward and looked tentative defending, but hardly put a foot wrong either.

BRYAN IDOWU 6

His second -- or should we say third -- audition was good, but unspectacular. Defended well and lunged forward when needed, but left space behind him that needed constant covering. Made one decisive intervention that could easily have been a goal. Needs to do more to displace the two players ahead of him.

WILLIAM TROOST-EKONG 8

Produced another immense performance next to a different partner. Constantly faced pressure but was always quick to defuse it, including one clearance off the line after Uzoho mistimed a ball.

CHIDOZIE AWAZIEM 7

Late replacement for Leon Balogun in the starting XI, the youngster acquitted himself with some excellence. Dominated in the air, made superb interceptions, and although he did have a couple of bad moments, looks like he can step in with a few more games under his belt.

OGENYI ONAZI 7

Worked his socks off. At some point looked like the only holding midfielder in the team with Wilfed Ndidi advanced and Joel Obi going forward. Blocked a goalbound shot and had another effort cleared over the bar.

JOEL OBI 6

Tried to do too much. Needed to stay disciplined and sit alongside Onazi, but got himself all over the field, especially in the early stages. Worked well until he gassed out and then couldn't cover for his forward players. Has the talent to be in the World Cup squad, but needs to not overdo it.

WILFRED NDIDI 5

Whatever Rohr was trying to do, it did not work. Ndidi is a holding midfielder ... period. A Breaker of Attacks, an Interceptor In Chief. Trying to reinvent him as a creative force just did not work and took away from his strengths. He created zilch which, to be fair, is not his fault.

VICTOR MOSES 7

Much better game from him than four days ago in Poland. Got going early, took players on, and had a goalbound shot blocked. Combined with Iwobi to open up the Serbia defence but ended up smothered.

ALEX IWOBI 6

It is hard to rank Iwobi. On the one hand, his forays into the middle showed he can be a more than capable creator in the absence of John Mikel Obi. On the other hand, those infield forays showed a lack of discipline that left his fullback exposed time and again.

AHMED MUSA 7

For the first time, Ahmed Musa started as a central striker in what looked like an attempt by Rohr to exploit the pace of his front three. The CSKA man held the ball up well in the first half, outpaced Ivanovic to win a free-kick in the second, and then when Ighalo came on could be found tracking all the way back to make a crucial block to stop a goal. If there was any doubt before about Musa going to the World Cup, this game dispelled it.

ODION IGHALO 7

Came on for Victor Moses and was an instant impact sub. Outmuscled the defence and had three good chances to find the net.

MOSES SIMON 5

Replaced Onazi with 15 minutes to go and barely registered on the radar but for one long-range attempt at goal that skewed wide. Way wide...

JOHN OGU 5

His most important contribution was a bit of handbags with Mitrovic which led to both being booked.

OLA AINA & Mikel AGU

Not enough time to earn a rating.

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