The Super Eagles ended their training camp in Faro, Portugal, in style on Tuesday when they trounced Portuguese second division side Farense 5-0 in a game described by coach Stephen Keshi as dress rehearsal for the team’s opening Africa Cup of Nations game against Burkina Faso on January 21.
The match played at the Browns Sports and Leisure Club in Faro was barely five minutes old when right back Efe Ambrose’s surging run into the danger area of the Portuguese was met with a vicious hacking. Centre referee Luis Costa wasted no time in pointing to the spot. Chelsea star John Mikel Obi stepped in to coolly slot home the opener.
Farense made things difficult for the Eagles as Senegalese born striker, Sone Diop, Falardo and danger man Fabio Texeira attacked sporadically in search of an equalizer that never came till the end of the first half. The Eagles on the other hand had plenty of chances to have buried the game in the first but Nosa Igiebor hit the cross bar thrice, Mikel followed suit with a fiery shot that also hit the bar and Emmanuel Emenike also missed a sitter.
In the second half Keshi made sweeping changes. Kenneth Omeruo was brought on for Joseph Yobo, Juwon Oshaniwa for Elderson Echejile, Ogenyi Onazi for Mikel, Sunday Mba for Igiebor, Obiorah Nwankwo for Fegor Ogude, Ikechukwu Uche for Brown Ideye, Gabriel Reuben for Ambrose mid-way into the half, same as Vincent Enyeama who was replaced by Chigozie Agbim.
There was no immediate impact with the changes until the 75th minute when Emenike’s run down the left wing of the pitch, off a quick throw by Agbim, was clinically finished off by Ikechukwu Uche for one of his three goals of the evening.
Uche was to score another in the 80th minute after nice footwork by Ejike Uzoenyi left him face to face with goalie Sergio Serrar. He blasted into the roof of the net. He completed his hat trick for the evening after a fine interchange of passes between him, Onazi and Ejike.
Just as the referee was about blasting the final whistle, Ejike was to set up Emenike for the final goal for a comprehensive whitewash of the Farense side. The referee did not allow for a restart after the fifth goal.
The Nigerian side will depart Faro by 12:30 Portuguese time for Lisbon from where the team will connect a flight to Paris, France and from there to Johannesburg, South Africa. The team is expected in Nelspruit, venue of two of its first two group games on Thursday morning.
Nigeria will start their Afcon campaign in Group C against Burkina Faso on January 21.