Player – Efe Ambrose
Match- Nigeria v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Stadium – Arena Pontanel
Goal Scorer – Odemwingie
Well this was much better both from Nigeria and from Efe tonight. It was a fast, open start and this set the tone for the rest of the match. Bosnia had most of the possession (60%) and were pressing for an early goal but I was impressed by Nigeria’s counter attacking style. They showed a lot of pace and, in Eminike, had an excellent target man. You may remember that he scored two goals against us in Moscow in that classic game which was won by a late header from Sammi. Eminike’s complete dominance over Spahic led to the only goal of the game. He skinned Spahic down the right and then crossed for Odemwingie to drive in the goal which would prove to be the winner.
I thought that Efe was excellent tonight. Odemwingie had been given a clear brief to track back and so, when Bosnia were attacking, Nigeria often had a back five with Odemwingie covering the right back position and Efe moving slightly more centrally. Efe seemed more confident in this system and gave a very assured performance throughout the game. His one major slip was playing Dzeko onside for a disallowed goal that should have stood. In the replays you can see Efe literally make a two footed jump to try and play Dzeko offside but the linesman somehow didn’t spot him at all!! Efe made several good interceptions and generally used the ball well. He even tried a couple of long throws in the second half, not something I remember him doing with Celtic, but I think Adam Matthews will continue to perform this function for us!!
Tonight we saw why Nigeria are the African champions. I was particularly impressed by Eminike (can we sign him?), Odemwingie (who put in a huge shift for the team) and their young centre half Omeruo who was outstanding. This win now puts Nigeria in pole position to qualify as they either need a point against Argentina, who have been pretty unconvincing so far, or for Bosnia to take at least a point against Iran. Fingers crossed for a Celt in the last sixteen of the World Cup. We just need Efe to nullify Messi!!
Player Rating 4/5
This was Efe pretty much at his best. Calm in possession (phew!), tackling well and reading the game well.