Joe Aribo shined during his first competitive outing on Wednesday evening as he completed the entire 90 minutes of Nigeria’s 2-1 win over Benin in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying – and Nigeria fans applauded the Rangers ace.
Aribo, 23, had previously earned two caps for Nigeria in friendlies against Ukraine and Brazil – scoring in both games to the delight of both Nigeria and Rangers fans. It saw Gernot Rohr opt to start the former Charlton ace on Wednesday night.
Steven Gerrard’s summer signing started in the middle of the park alongside Leicester City superstar Wilfried Ndidi, protecting the back four and feeding Everton ace Alex Iwobi in the number 10 role. The trio combined to dominate possession.
However, Benin surprised many by taking the lead after just three minutes as former West Brom and Sunderland ace Stephane Sessegnon scored following a mistake from the Nigeria defence. It took Nigeria a while to make the breakthrough.
But striker Victor Osimhen finally dispatched a penalty after Ola Aina was fouled in the penalty area. Bordeaux ace Samu Kalu completed the comeback, taking on a couple of Benin players before finding the back of the net.
After the match, Nigeria fans took to Twitter to heaps praise on Aribo who made just his third appearance for Nigeria and his first competitive outing. Many believe he has finally filled a hole that needed plugging for a while.
Aribo has broken into that team for good. He a phenomenal player, a joy to watch.
— adeyemi adebusuyi (@itzharbey) November 13, 2019
Joe Aribo is a baller regardless of that horrible live telecast of the game by the @NTANewsNow.
— OMOBOLANLE (@bolanlesuly) November 13, 2019
When that J. Aribo of a boy is in possession of the ball I just shut my eyes, expecting that soon as I open it I'll see the ball in the net.
That's how much confidence a quality player can put in the mind of his fans, far better than any option we've had in that position for yrs.
— Uniport Graduate (@charlescapone4) November 13, 2019
My favourite Super Eagle right now is Joe Aribo.
— Akinwunmi Odunsi-Eshilokun, MOG 🌣 (@gr8akin) November 13, 2019
I said after watching Joe Aribo for just the second time in our game against Brazil,that he was better than Mikel & was the best thing since Okocha.People who started watching football because everyone was said it was too early..Yet again,he has been the stand out man.#NGABEN
— Umar Sa'ad Hassan 🇳🇬 (@Alaye_100) November 13, 2019
Aribo has been really impressive. He almost scored his third in as many games but was thwarted by Benin goalkeeper. He then set up Osimhen moments later but Benin goalkeeper was up to the task once more
— Joba (@olumcjobson) November 13, 2019