NIGERIA’S Super Eagles succumbed to a lone goal defeat last night losing to Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions in a friendly match played in the Austrian capital Vienna going down to a 36th goal by Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Anguisa.
Although there were a lot of withdrawals ahead of the math with many big names pulling out of the game, Nigeria by and large fielded a strong team. Several regulars like Maduka Okoye, William Ekong, Chiogizie Awaziem, Wilfred Ndidi, Oghene Etebo and Alex Iwobi, all played yesterday but their play was disjointed, especially in the first half.
In the 36th minute, Anguissa caught goalkeeper Maduka Okoye off guard with a ferocious grounder after latching on to William Ekong’s interception nine minutes before the break at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt. It was no more than Cameroon deserved as they dominated the first half.
In the second half, the Eagles were much improved and were far the better side, creating quite a few goalscoring chances but were undone by lack of precision in the final third and good goalkeeping. Cameroon’s goalkeeper Simon Medjo put in a man-of-the-match performance, particularly with a double save in the 64th minute from Ekong and later Etebo, who both peppered his goal.
Before the winning goal, Moses Simon had seen his shot blocked by Anguissa as he broke down the left. Shortly after that, Paul Onuachu’s close-range header had been thwarted by Medjo’s reflected save.
Nigeria’s Okoye was also busy at the other end, saving from Karl Toko Ekambi. Ekong and Abdullahi Shehu had to spirit the ball away from danger in the 35th minute just a minute before Cameroon scored.
In the second half, Ndidi began pulling strings in the middle of the park with Iwobi and Etebo also upping their game but poor final balls, robbed the Eagles of many scoring chances. Finishing was also an issue with Simon, Onuachu, Ndidi and Iheanacho all guilty of wasting chances.
In the 66th minute, coach Gernot Rohr decided to introduce skipper Ahmed Musa, his favourite player. Although this brought more urgency to Nigeria’s game, there was still not enough creativity and even when chances presented themselves Musa’s shot was diverted from goal with 14 minutes left, while Iwobi also blasted over the bar with three minutes left.