Leon Balogun lasted 57 minutes as Nigeria failed to beat Tunisia in Austria on Tuesday night, with the scoreline reading 1-1 come full time – but Nigeria supporters were impressed with the Rangers defender’s display.
Balogun, 32, a summer signing at Rangers on a free transfer after leaving Brighton, started in central defence alongside former Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo. It was the German-born star’s 32nd cap for his country.
In a pretty equal match, Nigeria probably should have been leading at half-time. Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring with a near-perfect turn – before curling the ball into the top left-hand corner.
It should have been 2-0 moments later, only for Iheanacho to miss from the penalty spot. Tunisia took advantage, as Olympiacos defender Mohamed Drager equalised for his country – finishing into the roof of the net after a pull back.
Balogun, though, impressed. He looked calm and assured in possession, but hungry and aggressive in his defending. He played the best part of the first 60 minutes before being replaced by Boavista’s Chidozie Awaziem.
Many Nigeria fans applauded Balogun’s display and despite Nigeria’s side boasting talents such as Iheanacho, Everton’s Alex Iwobi and Nigierian legend Ahmed Musa – many supporters felt Rangers ace Balogun was their best player.
I beg to disagree… the back line was more coordinated after the switch by Akpoguma in position.. guess I can see what he is more comfortable with. Leon Balogun showed more hunger and determination.. I can't speak for Omeruo; he has got his off and on moment.
— OGU ONYINYECHI (@YinyeSwit) October 13, 2020
Only @NGSuperEagles player to emerge with overwhelming credit from these two internationals is 32-year-old Leon Balogun, a known quantity. Not sure that's what was required from these friendlies.#NGATUN
— Solace Chukwu (@TheOddSolace) October 13, 2020
– ejuke would be a great addition
– okoye with a great match yet again
– leon balogun remains our most reliable defender
– akpogoma was completely awful
– feels like chukwueze is not ready
– iheanacho's work rate has improved
— theamazingone (@GoaHarnjoreen) October 13, 2020
Mehn I'm loving Leon Balogun's game. His mojo is back. There's nothing like a player who plays regularly. Without game time, a player will easily become rusty. The move to Rangers was a good one as far as match fitness is concerned.#NGATUN
— Okwy Onyia (@okwyonyia) October 13, 2020
Leon Balogun the lone bright star #NigvsTun
— Saidu tunde (@saidu_tunde) October 13, 2020
TBH: Balogun is d only one playing with hunger n determination. That's exactly what regular game time at club level does to u. #NGATUN
— K£l£chi B£rnard (@woramangra) October 13, 2020