The Super Eagles of Nigeria, secured a significant victory yesterday by defeating the hosts, Ivory Coast, in the second game of the AFCON 2023 tournament. Captain William Troost Ekong scored a penalty in the 55th minute after Victor Osimhen was fouled in the area. This win elevated Nigeria to 2nd place on the table with 4 points, nearly guaranteeing qualification to the next round.
The team displayed a spirited performance, showcasing improvement from their previous game, to light up the spirit of the fans and supporters of the team.
In what was a game of resilience, what lessons did we learn?
Nwabali Looks Reliable
Stanley, displaying promise in the first game, confidently started the second match, which proved to be a better test. He exhibited calmness, good ball-handling skills, and made notable saves, consistently showing confidence.
The position has lacked such qualities recently, and with Nwabali’s reliable performances, there’s reason for excitement.
Back 3, the way forward?
Due to Al Hassan Yusuf’s absence, Calvin Bassey joined Troost Ekong and Semi Ajayi in a back 3 pairing. Their compactness, rigidity, communication, and passion proved impenetrable for Ivory Coast. It remains to be seen if Coach Jose Peseiro will continue with this defensive setup.
Agile Osimhen needs to calm down
While Victor’s foul in the box led to the penalty that secured victory for Nigeria, there’s a need for composure from the top striker. After missing a potential game-winner against Equatorial Guinea, he also missed an opportunity for an early opener against Ivory Coast. More calmness is essential.
The midfield problems
although Jose Peseiro’s setup and tactical approach were excellent yesterday, the lingering midfield issues need attention. Addressing concerns with passing through the middle and closing down spaces is essential.
Eagles take on Guinea Bissau on Monday for the final game of the group stage, and will hope to win and seal a top spot finish in the group.