NIGERIAN diasporans in the US have lamented the Super Eagles’ 0-1 loss to Ecuador in New Jersey yesterday saying suffering two defeats on the bounce within a week is a very demoralising development.
Last night, at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, Nigeria lost its second friendly game 0-1 within a week, having lost by two goals to one to Mexico in Texas in Saturday. Although last night’s performance represented an improvement, the Eagles still played well below par and did not show any signs of winning the game.
Ecuador took the lead with early goal by Pervis Estupinan and Nigeria were unable to level the score despite having several clear opportunities. Within three minutes of the start, an in-swinging free kick beat Nigeria’s defence, with Chidozie Awaziem and Faisal Sani culpable for ball-watching, allowing an unmarked Estupinan to head home.
While Ecuador had the larger share of the possession, the Super Eagles created the brighter opportunities. There was a penalty shout in the 13th minute when an Alex Iwobi through ball was reached by Terem Moffi who rounded the Ecuadorian goalkeeper and was caught but the referee waved on despite protests by Super Eagles players.
In goal Francis Uzoho made a beautiful save for Nigeria just past the half hour mark before Cyriel Dessers forced a save from the Ecuadorian goalkeeper. Then a half volley by Moffi hit Dessers’ feet on its way to the goal as Super Eagles were denied another scoring opportunity.
Nigeria had another penalty shout on the stroke of half time but were denied to the disappointment and anger of manager Jose Peseiro and some players who confronted the referee after the end of the half. During the break, Awaziem was replaced by Ola Aina while Emmanuel Dennis came on for Sani to help break the deadlock.
One fan at the stadium said: “We had many chances but we could not convert them to goals. It’s so disappointing, we should have won the game, we had chances to win. I don’t know why we could not win any of the two friendlies in the US.”
One other fan said the team played better in the second half of the game but could not score. Mr Peseiro is using these games as preparations for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations, qualifying matches against Sierra Leone and Mauritius.
He had earlier praised the players from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) for their performance in the game. He added that the team showed character and resilience, making special mention to the four NPFL players who had the chance to debut with the national team.