Some Lessons in Super Eagles Win Over the Elephants

Some Lessons in Super Eagles Win Over the Elephants

Ivory Coast vs Nigeria AFCON 2024:

5 things we learnt from Super Eagles victory.

Stanley Nwabali might be the real deal
Chippa United’s Stanley Nwabali came under a lot of criticism for his performances in Nigeria’s previous two games. The 27-year-old replaced Francis Uzoho between the sticks but conceded thrice in his first two appearances.

However, Nwabali proved his worth on Thursday, as his three saves kept the Super Eagles in the game. The question is, can he keep this up?

The defenders are starting to find their footing
All in all, this was a solid defensive effort. The Super Eagles defence held their own against an Ivory Coast side that had scored 18 times in their previous four matches.

Not only that, the Ivorians were unable to register a shot on target. This is a huge improvement for Nigeria, who had conceded in six consecutive games before their clash with Ivory Coast.

The importance of scoring first
Nigeria had conceded the first goal in six prior games, they managed to win just one of those matches. The problem with conceding first is, you’ll end up playing catch-up.

This wasn’t the case on Thursday, as the Super Eagles opened the scoring for the first time since October last year.

The difference is clear. When you score first, you can sit back and defend your lead.

Super Eagles still struggle in front of goal
Don’t let Nigeria’s victory fool you, the offense is still trying to find its stride. To put things into perspective, Peseiro’s men registered just one shot on target in 90 minutes of play, which came from a penalty.

This is not a particularly good look for a team with players like Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman.

We can’t always rely on penalties, and if the Super Eagles can’t find other ways to score, they’ll have some issues in the long run.

Super Eagles looked like contenders
after a string of disappointing performances, Nigeria finally looked like contenders on Thursday. Peseiro’s side held their own against an in-form Ivory Coast side that was on a seven-match unbeaten run.

If they can go toe-to-toe with a team like Ivory Coast, perhaps the Super Eagles have a good shot at a fourth AFCON title. It’ll be interesting to see if Nigeria can put up the same performance when they meet Guinea-Bissau next week.

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