Nigeria 4-4 Sierra Leone: What did we learn?

Ahmed Musa - South Africa vs. Nigeria
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Goal highlights some takeaways from the Super Eagles’ collapse against the Leone Stars at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Friday

  1. Second-half collapse was beyond embarrassing!
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    Second-half collapse was beyond embarrassing!

    Well, this is pretty obvious given how sharp and excellent Nigeria were for majority of the opening half only to be the complete opposite following the break.

    Throwing away a 4-0 lead is unacceptable at this level and Gernot Rohr’s men have a lot to answer for having let down every supporter with a disgraceful showing after half-time.

    The in-game management was poor all-round and their inability to see out a seemingly unassailable advantage should rankle.

    They thought the game was over and got awfully lax in and out of possession. Shocking!

  2. Midfield needed reinforcing...but there were no replacements
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    Midfield needed reinforcing...but there were no replacements

    Rohr’s squad selection befuddled supporters given the paucity of options in the middle of the park.

    There was always the feeling that Oghenekaro Etebo and Joe Aribo would start but there were no replacements in the side containing a plethora of defenders and attackers.

    The bench on Friday night comprised four attackers, six defenders and two goalkeepers, leaving the starting pair having it all to do in Benin.

    As Etebo and Aribo — who barely got a kick in the final minutes — tired, Rohr had nobody on the bench to come on and shore up a creaky midfield.

    Nearly every supporter was bemused by the imbalance in the squad when the announcement was made...not Rohr, apparently and he has to carry the can for what ensued on Friday.

  3. Chidozie Awaziem over Kevin Akpoguma, please!
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    Chidozie Awaziem over Kevin Akpoguma, please!

    Ideally, Ola Aina should be the starter in this Super Eagles side, but there’s a feeling a defensive full-back on the right gives the side greater balance — due to Zaidu Sanusi’s attacking nature on the left and relative freedom afforded to Samuel Chukwueze on the right flank.

    However, if that’s the logic, why was Akpoguma selected to play from the off when Awaziem has shone in that defensive full-back role in the past and the Hoffenheim wide defender underwhelmed in last month’s internationals?

    It only increases the spotlight on the German tactician who many reckon is biased with his selections.

  4. Iwobi finding his shooting boots is a good thing

    Iwobi finding his shooting boots is a good thing

    For someone criticised for not scoring enough, Friday’s brace was encouraging for Iwobi as he not only scored but twice in the 4-4 draw.

    The Everton attacking midfielder took his first goal well, while the distance from which he took the second surprised observers given that he rarely strikes the ball sweetly in normal circumstances.

    Now, the goal will be making sure the ex-Arsenal player hits the target with more regularity in future.

  5. Kelechi Iheanacho over Ahmed Musa is a no-brainer
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    Kelechi Iheanacho over Ahmed Musa is a no-brainer

    In truth, there were several contenders for the fifth slot — not least how Victor Osimhen makes this side significantly better, Chukwueze’s first-half brilliance, Etebo and Aribo being a midfield disaster waiting to happen or Sanusi’s promising first-half before the irritating mistake late on — but Iheanacho playing as the second striker in place of the Super Eagles captain makes the cut instead.

    The selection of the unattached skipper raised eyebrows already and his performance left little to be desired.

    If Rohr’s considering the 4-4-2 as a long-term thing, Iheanacho has to be the second striker, not Musa.

    Indeed, opting for the former CSKA Moscow attacker over the Leicester City frontman only emphasises claims about the tactician’s favouritism.