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Villarreal star strike condemns wasteful Super Eagles to defeat

Peseiro's men lose to Ecuador in New York

Nigeria’s Super Eagles were defeated 1-0 by Ecuador in Jose Peseiro’s second game in charge of the team at the Red Bull Arena in New York in an international friendly.

Having lost the first game of his tenure against Mexico, Nigeria’s Portuguese manager Peseiro was eager to avoid a defeat against Ecuador, a side ranked 46th in the world, 16 places below the Super Eagles.

The match had hardly begun when the South American team took the lead in the third minute after some lax defending by their African opposition.

A free-kick from the right wing was floated into a dangerous area by Ecuador winger Angel Mena, and Villarreal left-back Pervis Estupiñan snuck past the ball-watching Chidozie Awaziem to head the ball past a motionless Francis Uzoho from close range.

Nigeria responded well as they tried to draw level in the game. FC Lorient striker Terem Moffi missed his side’s first clear-cut chance. The striker was played in by Alex Iwobi, and he proceeded to round the keeper before going down in the box with minimal contact from the goalkeeper. The referee waved play on and asked Moffi to get on with the game.

Super Eagles goalkeeper Francis Uzoho was called into action soon enough as he had to pull off a stunning save to deny Jose Cifuentes from range.

Nigeria continued to pile on the pressure and soon, it was the turn of Cyriel Dessers to miss a gilt-edged chance. The Feyenoord man was played in by Iwobi and was face-to-face with the goalkeeper before deciding to fire his effort straight at the goalkeeper.

In the second half, Watford star Emmanuel Dennis was introduced for Katsina United midfielder Faisal Sani, who had been anonymous throughout the first 45. The first thing Dennis did was to shoot over from a promising position in front of a gaping goal after Calvin Bassey sent in a brilliant low cross.

Both sides were guilty of missing chances as the game wore on, with Ecuador the more wasteful of the sides in the second half.

The Super Eagles have now lost to Ecuador and will return to Abuja for their camping ahead of next week’s 2023 AFCON Qualifier opener against Sierra Leone.


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