NIGERIA VS CAR: REVENGE AND REDEMPTION MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
Following a humbling defeat to Central African republic right in front of their fans at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, the Super Eagles of Nigeria looked desperate to redeem their image and revenge against the wild beasts of Central Africa Republic during the reverse fixture in Douala.
Gernot Rohr’s men were offered a reality check last Thurday despite sitting atop Group C and holding an impressive record of going undefeated on the home soil for 40 years in the world cup qualifying tournament.
Popular expectations were that the Super Eagles would tan the leather off the wild beasts during last Thursday’s home fixture. But it turned out to be a heroic, appalling and disappointing loss to the Super Eagles on their home soil! This actually raised eyebrows in various quarters with some people still in utter disbelief, there were even speculations that the Lagos match was fixed.
Having being punished for supposedly underatting the team placed 90 steps below them on the FIFA monthly rankings, the Super Eagles gave the matchday 4 tie a better approach at the Japoma Stadium in Douala on Sunday.
They really needed to find a way past the rearguard of Captain Saint-cyr Ngam-Ngam, Peter Guinari, Flory Yangao, Sadock Ndobe and Melky Ndokomandji, as they could not afford another loss as this would mean that the Super Eagles will be knocked off the top spot in the group. Infact, a draw in Sunday’s match could have been very disastrous for the Eagles because the Cape Verde recorded a lone goal win over the Lone Stars.
Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr had earlier expressed confidence and positivity towards the Sunday tie, promising that his side will make amends and rectify the mistakes that cost them a disappointing loss in Lagos last Thursday. Rohr equally expressed delight about his boys playing on a good pitch where they can express themselves well and deliver on the needed result.
“We have to play our football on this great pitch and we can do it better than Thursday. We have to get a good result because everybody knows victory is necessary.” He said.
“We couldn’t do it the other day but now we have the opportunity and that’s why the team will not change so much. We need two or three fresh players into the team and also we need good communication between us and we are confident that tomorrow’s game will be good.”
The Franco-german coach finally featured Captain Ahmed Musa in the reverse fixture in an heroic milestone for the forward. The Kano-born player earned his 101st cap at the Nigeria’s senior team on Sunday and brought a difference to the forward line of the team and leadership for the entire team. However, football pundits were of the opinion that Musa shouldn’t have started ahead of the likes of Ejuke and Onyekwuru because he has not being having enough playing time and this had affected his recent form.
First half goals from the duo of defender, Leon Balogun and Napoli forward, Victor Osimhen sealed a comfortable win for the Super Eagles at the Japoma Stadium in Doula on Sunday. Ejuke was a revelation in the game as he made a lot of dazzling dribbles. However, he had poor decision making due to the fact that he should have layed the ball off to Osimhen on a couple of ocassions which he failed to do. Also, Onyeka stepped up and put up an impressive performance in the absence of injured Ndidi.
In a post match interview, Rohr hailed the tenacity of his boys while noting that central African Republic isn’t an easy side to tackle;
“It was good reaction of my team, we lost the other day, very unlucky, in the last minute, everybody wants to take a revenge. They did it very well, even we could score a third and fourth goal. We changed the system, we played only the three in the back and this helped us also and with the leadership of Musa to win the game. It is not easy to win central African Republic, you saw it, they made a lot of foul but fortunately, we don’t have any big injury”
Currently, Gernot Rohr’s boys sit in the first position in Group C with 9 points ahead of their closest rival, Cape Verde that has garnered 7 points so far. The second round fixtures continues in November when Nigeria will face the lone stars of Liberia and blue Sharks of Cape Verde respectively.