Five lessons from Nigeria’s loss to Czech Republic
Without a doubt, it was a better performance from the Super Eagles against Czech Republic, but yet another loss. Indeed, the team fared better than it did in the 2-1 loss to the Three Lions of England a few days ago. But nonetheless, here are few thoughts from the match.
Fluidity at a glimpse
In contrast to the team’s display against DR Congo and England, we saw a team that was able to thread passes from the defensive positions, midfield and attack, but lacked consistency in completing number of passes before the opponents stopped their run of play.
Midfield lacked bite
Yes, we saw passes, flows and a few dribbles from the likes of Alex Iwobi and the captain, John Obi Mikel, with better understanding, which should amount to a ‘panicking’ show for the opponent. But that didn’t happen. Instead it piled more pressure on the team’s defense that often joined the attack, due to too many loose passes in opponent’s final third.
We saw tackle after tackle and consistent interceptions of play. Thus, it is no gainsaying that Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi contributed above average in ensuring the Oyinbo Wall was covered, as well as general stability of the team. With these, Ndidi’s absence at any time could spell danger for the Gernot Rohr led side.
After the sticks he received for a nightmare performance against England, Francis Uzoho seem to have done well to cover himself with some glory and provided a performance enough to silence his critics. But the Nigerian goalie can certainly do better in ball timing and communicating with his back line, as evident in the goal scored by Tomas Kalas in the first half.
Far from defensive abilities and technical know-how of their manager, Karel Jarolím, the only reason Czech Republic kept a clean sheet in the match was because the Super Eagles attack lacked fire power to put the defense on their toes. Odion Ighalo had two attempts on goal all through the match and his substitute, Simeon Nwankwo barely had anything to do in the game following his introduction in the 69th minute.
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