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Peru 1-0 Nigeria: Paolo Guerrero goal earns hosts narrow victory over Super Eagles
The Blanquirroja defeated the Super Eagles by a lone goal in Lima in an encounter that showed the depth of Stephen Keshi's team
By Lolade Adewuyi
Peru defeated Nigeria by a lone goal in an international friendly played at the Estadio Nacional, Lima on Thursday.
Hamburg’s Paolo Guerrero scored the only goal of the encounter in the 37th minute.
Nigeria had encountered a number of problems on their way to Lima for this encounter and were not expected to put up much opposition to their hosts, who also had the advantage of altitude working for them.
It was not a surprising lineup fielded by coach Stephen Keshi, who left his five foreign-based players on the bench as he kept faith with the home-based team which played against Egypt in April.
Peru started the more confident side as they sent in long balls in an attempt to trouble the visitors but the front line led by Claudio Pizarro and Guerrero could not hit the target.
This gave the Eagles some confidence as they began to have more time on the ball in midfield where Gabriel Reuben and Ejike Uzoenyi held their ground against their more established opponents.
This enabled attacker Kalu Uche to attempt runs against the Peruvian defence, but he was cut off in the final third.
The first shot on goal in the game came from Jefferson Farfan whose free kick from 25 yards was palmed for a corner kick by Chigozie Agbim.
The Blanquirroja’s breakthrough finally came on 37 minutes from a counter attack as Guerrero’s right-footed low shot into Agbim’s far post gave the hosts the lead.
The Peruvians had two quick efforts to increase the tally but failed to find the target.
Nigeria missed their own chance of going level when Kalu Uche’s header off an Uzoenyi corner kick hit the goalkeeper’s back.
The second half saw Peru make three changes as Guevara, Ampuero and Alvarez came on for Lobaton, Yoshimar and Galliquio.
Nigeria also made changes as Nwankwo Obiorah and Nnamdi Oduamadi came on for the duo of Gabriel and Uzoenyi.
Azubuike Egwueke and Guerrero got into a scuffle when tempers flared as the game wore on. However, it was the visitors who had the upper hand in the second period as they searched for an equaliser.
Keshi’s addition of Raheem Lawal, Gege Soriola and Sunday Mba helped to change the complexion of the game as the Eagles edged possession but could not find the needed opportunity to stun their hosts.
Oduamadi on the left wing kept the Blanquirroja on the defensive but his final ball could not find the needed connection to break the hosts’ defence.
Guerrero almost gave his side another goal from the same situation where he notched the first goal but Agbim managed to get a hand to the ball to give away a corner kick.
Nigeria will take the confidence gained from the encounter into their 2014 World Cup qualification match against Namibia on June 3 in Calabar.
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