Victor Moses converted a 61st minute penalty to give Nigeria a 1-0 win over hosts Poland in Wroclaw.
It was a cold night in Europe for the Super Eagles who defeated Argentina 4-2 in their last grade A friendly. Unbeaten in 10 consecutive friendly matches, the Eagles went in with much confidence wrapped in a very positive team spirit. Did you see the oneness in the team before the match? Songs and high spirit.
Before the game, a good number of the invited players couldn’t get to Poland. Captain Mikel had some Chinese issues while Junior Ajayi couldn’t secure a visa. Has the opportunity gone for the North African based player? Akwa United’s Gabriel Okechukwu couldn’t make it, as well as Daniel Akpeyi.
Without Akpeyi, it was down to Francis Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa who had to prove to Nigerians why they should be number one in Russia. The latter have been injured since the semi finals of the 2018 CHAN in Morocco but made his debut for Enyimba in their 3-2 Confederation Cup win over Energie of Benin.
Rohr gave the nod to Uzoho who was shaky in the first half but had a good second half denying Robert Lewandoski one-on-one. When you keep a clean sheet against one of best strikers in the world, you can feel satisfied. Uzoho was vocal, barking out instructions but must take time to watch his flops in the first half to correct them. Will he be in goal against Serbia? Maybe not. If he does, then he will be number 1 in Russia.
The clean sheet also come through hardwork from the Oyinbo Wall – Ekong and Balogun. Shehu Abdullahi put in a good shift but was almost always overran by the Poles. The home side did put the ball across the line but without Goal Line Technology or VAR, Michael Oliver waved play on after it was cleared. Lucky.
We missed Mikel and the eye for a calculated pass. Ndidi and Joel Obi did well winning balls in the centre but the conversion upfront was short. Iheanacho couldn’t do the Mikel role.
There were numerous half chances. Iwobi was like the Arsenal Iwobi and made little of his dribbling. Moses’ shots kept going off target until he won a penalty in the second half and converted from the spot. He should be doing more.
Musa came on with his electricity but the Poles ensured that current didn’t travel to spark any goal. The Eagles could have scored more goals if they utilized most of the counter attacking chances that came their way. They would need to work on that to kill off games like this.
In all, Nigeria didn’t have clear cut chances. Fabianski didn’t make a save. The Eagles were lucky. They were energetic but an extra level of coordination would produce more fruits. We miss Mikel but have to get a worthy replacement. I love this team.
The jersey caught my attention and it would be the first Super Eagles kit I would buy. I love it and my friends do too. Gosh. I wonder why it is taking ages to make it available to the market. Well, Aba and Ojuelegba boys have it in the market. No time.
Bring on Serbia.