The Super Eagles of Nigeria played a 1-1 draw vs Equatorial Guinea in their opening group game of the 2023 AFCON. Here are three observations from that match.
IF OSIMHEN FAILS TO FLY, THE EAGLES SUFFER
Nigeria’s Super Eagles depend on reigning CAF Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen to score goals and help the team to victory.
Against Equatorial Guinea, Osimhen was not at his prolific best and so missed several goalscoring opportunities.
He may have scored the equalizing goal from Ademola Lookman’s perfect cross, it was the failings of Osimhen in front of goal that cost the Eagles maximum points vs Equatorial Guinea.
PESEIRO’S SUBSTITUTION PATTERN
Pesiero should consider alternative tactics, suggesting that there are moments when substituting a defender for a midfielder or forward, accompanied by a formation adjustment to increase offensive pressure in the final third, might be more effective. In football, strategic substitutions is a tool top managers use to navigate challenging matches successfully.
In recent instances, the substitution pattern has involved players like Osayi-Samuel stepping in for Ola Aina, and in vs Equatorial Guinea, Calvin Bassey replacing Semi Ajayi, all while the team was actively seeking a goal. The consistency of these second-half defensive substitutions has prompted concerns about the team’s ability to capitalize on such game-changing moments.
The call for a more dynamic approach to substitutions stems from the belief that tactical adjustments and introducing attacking-minded players could potentially enhance the team’s chances of securing crucial goals.
ALHASSAN YUSUF IS GOLD
Nigeria may have discovered gold in the clash vs Equatorial Guinea. Royal Antwerp of Belgium midfielder, Alhassan Yusuf was golden with a stellar performance to mark his debut.
Yusuf was everywhere in the middle of the pack. His energy helping him mark and also add to the teams attacking play, with at least three clear-cut chances created.
The midfielder went off injured, a situation Nigerians will hope is not going to keep him out of the crucial game vs Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday, January 18, 2024.
Additionally, Stanley Nwabili who replaced Francis Uzoho in goal for Nigeria was not tasted enough for proper judgement if he is the solution to Nigeria’s search for a new goalkeeper.