Other Sports

Depleted Super Eagles too strong for Cape Verde

Nigeria begins qualifying campaign with two wins from two

Nigeria’s Super Eagles secured a fortuitous 2-1 come-from-behind win over Cape Verde in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier Group C fixture in Mindelo to pick up maximum points from both of their World Cup qualifiers in this international break.

The Super Eagles side that travelled to honour their match against the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde was a depleted one, with only 19 players making the trip to Mindelo for the match. Hero of the 2-0 win against Liberia in the first match Kelechi Iheanacho was forced to miss out on the match alongside a host of Super Eagles regulars such as Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Oghenekaro Etebo, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo because their UK-based clubs refused to permit them to travel to Cape Verde, a country regarded as a COVID hotspot in the UK.

France-based winger Samuel Kalu and Venezia defender Tyronne Ebuehi also missed out after testing positive for COVID after the match against Liberia. Torino defender Ola Aina was also excused from making the trip due to personal reasons. As a result of the unavailability of most of the squad, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr handed full debuts to Bologna midfielder Kingsley Michael and Malmo midfielder Innocent Bonke in midfield against Cape Verde.

Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa made his 100th appearance for the national team in their match against Cape Verde. Nigeria dominated the early exchanges in the game, but found themselves behind after only 19 minutes of the game.

A long ball over the top caught the high defensive line employed by the Super Eagles on its heels as Cape Verde forward Dylan Tavares peeled away before unleashing a fierce shot from a tight angle that beat Maduka Okoye at his near post.

The Nigerian players responded well to going behind and began to play on the front foot, with CSKA Moscow winger Chidera Ejuke particularly impressive on the left flank. Cape Verde’s lead lasted only 10 minutes as Nigeria levelled matters through Victor Osimhen as the Napoli man scored his 7th goal in only 13 matches for the Super Eagles.

Ejuke released Super Eagles left fullback, Jamilu Collins, down the left flank before the defender played in a dangerous cross which was almost turned home by a Cape Verde defender, forcing goalkeeper Vozinha into a desperate save. Osimhen pounced to stab home from close range to restore parity in the 29th minute.

Super Eagles continued to ask the questions, with Ejuke and captain Ahmed Musa forcing the Cape Verde goalkeeper into making several saves before the interval.

The second half resumed in a similar fashion, with Nigeria doing most of the probing and Cape Verde looking to hit them on counter-attacks. The game lacked any real quality that could decide the game until a momentary lapse in concentration saw the game change in favour of the Super Eagles.

With his forward passing options cut out by players in green and white shirts, Cape Verde midfielder Kenny Santos chose to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper from around halfway into his own half. He only managed to score a comical own goal that saw him lob his goalkeeper from over 30 yards out to practically hand all three points to the Super Eagles in a match of low quality.

Super Eagles won the game despite putting up a disjointed performance with a largely second-string side to go three points clear at the top of their World Cup qualifying group. They looked bereft of ideas and lacked cohesion but were able to get away with a priceless away victory. They would face a double-header against Central African Republic during the next international break in October.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Articles

Back to top button
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
SportsRation We would like to show you notifications for the latest sport news and updates.
Allow Notifications