Nigeria 0-1 Algeria: 11 Things We Learned

By Musa Sunusi Ahmad

Super Eagles of Nigeria lost narrowly (0-1) to the African champions, Dessert Foxes of Algeria in their Friday’s international friendly games played in Austria, reports.

Here are the 11 things we learned in the Nigeria Vs Algeria encounter.

[1] The defeat to Algeria means that Super Eagles lost their first match in 2020, tasted first loss in their last four games and back-to-back defeat to Dessert Foxes

[2] The Super Eagles started the match sluggishly, slow in the tackle, losing every 50:50 ball, not pressing high and conceding possession to the Algerians. They only turned things around after conceded the lone goal and in the second half.

[3] Starting Semi Ajayi in the defensive midfield role and combined him with Frank Onyeka flattened the midfield and cut off the link between the midfield and the attack. This to a large extent affected the general performance of the team on Friday.

4) Super Eagles midfield was woefully inadequate with the absence of Ndidi, Aribo and Etebo too glaring for all to see. In the first half, the Ajayi/Onyeka combination was simply not functional.

[5] The most positive aspect of the game was the energy of the fullbacks. Ebuehi and Sanusi in particular was exceptional from the flanks operating brilliantly. They both, however, need to work on their crossing.

[6] The Eagles actually had more possession in the second half dominated the play more, however, they lacked a cutting edge up front. For me, this all stemmed from the inability of Paul Onuachu to hold the ball up. Had Victor Osimhen played in this game, I believe Super Eagles wouldn’t have lost the game. Also, Cyriel Dessers was suppose to be introduced into the game for Nigerians to have a feel of what he has to bring to the team.

7] This team also lacked creativity and initiative when it came to set pieces. Eagles wasted so much scoring opportunities when they played corner and free kicks aimlessly.

[8] Tribute must be paid to Eagles goalkeeper, Okoye and left back Zaidu Sanusi for their sterling performance fitting and settling in perfectly into the game. With their performance in Friday’s match, they have found their way not only into the team but also Nigerians hearts.

[9] At the back, Ekong and Balogun were by and large OK but they gave away too many fouls. Against sharper attackers, they would have been caught out. Rohr should work more on the central defense and possibly get a replacement for Balogun to further cement the back-line.

[10] In summary, the game has revealed that Nigeria’s Super Eagles lacked coordination, depth and need to practise more on set-pieces (free and corner kicks). We simply do not have second string midfield to step in when Ndidi, Etebo and Aribo at least for now. Rohr needs to accept that Onuachu is not the understudy one for Osimhen we are looking for.

11) The loss means that next Tuesday’s match against Carthage Eagles is a must win if we want to at least maintain the 29th position on FIFA’s rankings.

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