The duo put in a sublime performance against the Indomitable Lions to reaffirm just how central they are to the Super Eagles’ success
Nigeria thumped fierce rivals Cameroon 4-0 in World Cup qualifying on Friday evening to take a commanding lead in Group B of 2018 World Cup qualifiers HIGHLIGHTS.
The dominant display from the men in green was made possible partly thanks to Victor Moses and captain John Obi Mikel.
The duo returned to the side having missed the previous game against South Africa but returned to end any potential doubts about Gernot Rohr’s tactical nous with a pair of commanding performances.
Mikel may be 30, while Moses has been in and out of the squad in recent years, but the two players-who were central to Nigeria’s success at the 2013 Nations Cup-once again demonstrated the kind of influence that no one else in the squad can match.
Mikel had been ruled out for more than three months with injury and there were doubts earlier over his fitness before the game, but the former Chelsea man showed no signs of rustiness; bossing the midfield, linking up well with the attack and showing the leadership skills he’s known for.
He delivered a superb pass to Odion Ighalo for the game’s opening goal, before tapping home the second from Moses’ corner. It was an all round masterclass from the Tianjin TEDA midfielder, whose qualities don’t appear to have been diminished at all after moving to the Chinese Super League.
Moses has irked fans in the past for allegedly snubbing the national team deliberately, but that wasn’t the case in Uyo where his pace unsettled the Indomitable Lions, and no one could question whether he ‘turned up’ or not!
He was lethal from set pieces, and while Ighalo was flagged offside from his free kick, his corner found Mikel for the second goal before he netted the third himself.
Mikel and Moses have often turned it on in the big games in the past, and both delivered this kind of performance in the 3-1 victory against Algeria last October, where they were also on the scoresheet.
Without them, it could have been another struggle, as Nigeria fans witnessed against Bafana Bafana.
However, with these two former Chelsea teammates back in the side, there’s calm once again, and their influence clearly extends beyond the pitch.
There’s confidence in the team and appears to be an assurance that the World Cup berth is guaranteed as long as both men make the starting XI.
Nigeria visits the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Monday and with the belief that Rohr’s charges can get all three points which would ensure they finish top of Group B, we can expect another big performance from the Premier League-winning duo. SPORTS HIGHLIGHTS