It is a Monday morning and the feeling is right all around Nigeria following the 3-1 World Cup qualifier victory over Algeria in Uyo on Saturday. Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi scored his 1st goal in over 3 years for the Super Eagles, sandwiched by Victor Moses’ brace.
The match was easier than we expected. Maybe the Algerians, best team in Africa based on the latest FIFA ranking, came for a draw. The noise about Mahrez were no where to be found as the Eagles kept their cool to grab all three points.
David Akpeyi was preferred in goal over Ikechukwu Ezenwa but looked shaky in goal especially in the first 15 minutes of the game. He could do little to prevent the Algerian consolation in the 67th minute. We must be grateful for Carl Ikeme. I don’t think he would have allowed that goal but let’s not dwell on Akpeyi.
Etebo Oghenekaro was a machine on Saturday. He kept cleaning up everything in the middle. Mikel was freer and expressed himself better, grabbing a goal for himself. At the back, Leon Balogun was a rock. Upfront, Moses was on fire grabbing a brace for himself, earning a yellow for taking off his shirt. Iheanacho couldn’t add to his goal tally after missing a late opportunity to add his name on the score-sheet. Iwobi had his tricks but apparently couldn’t play 90 minutes.
I like the introduction of Musa – the pace merchant. He provided the third goal for Moses’ brace and Iheanacho could not convert another of his assists. Musa missed a goal himself but his second half introduction yielded positive fruits. Ndidi was also decent when called upon. You can watch the goals here:
So that was the positive side of the weekend. The dark side came from far away Papua New Guinea. The Falconets were beaten black and blue by Japan in their opening match of the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup. It was their worst defeat ever and the worst by any Nigerian side since June 199 when the Falcons lost 7-1 to USA in the Women’s World Cup hosted by USA.
It was a poor start and the ladies must defeat Canada to have any hopes of qualifying to the knockout stage of the U-20 Women’s World Cup. Recall that Nigeria reached the last 4 of each of the last three u-20 Women’s World Cup. Can they do it again this time around? Canada were whitewashed 5-0 by Spain in the other group game.
So that’s the lot on the green side of football. Tomorrow, we would look at the Blue or the Red side.
Enjoy your week.