By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
Nigeria’s Super Eagles on Friday lost their first friendly match 1-0 to Algeria.
An early goal by Ramy Bensebaini in the 6th minute was enough to hand the defending African champions a victory over Nigeria.
Ramy Bensebaini poked the ball into the net from close range after the Eagles defence failed to clear their lines from a corner kick.
The match ended with Algeria posing more attacking threats by firing five shots on target compared to Nigeria’s two.
The consolation however was that the Super Eagles had more ball possession than the Algerian Foxes.
Many Nigerians were not so impressed by the performance of the Nigerian players.
Some Nigerians blamed Coach Gernot Rohr for deploying a wrong strategy and alos making a wrong team selection for the starting lineup.
Others expressed disappointment for the lone goal loss, in Twitter posts.
Debola Adebanjo, a sport journalist with the BBC, said the North African side didn’t spare Nigeria.
“Algeria’s organization can’t go unnoticed, better shape of the ball and understood how Nigeria wanted to play through the wings and blocked them everytime; ruining Nigeria’s rhythm at every opportunity. Algeria are the team to beat,” she said.
Another fan, Peter Nwosu, said Paul Onuachu, the team’s forward on the field of play, was not good enough.
“Imagine playing a 6ft:7in striker who was struggling to win aerial duels and then we had wingers who were only interested in cutting in and taking aim at the goal, surely that was a mismatch.
“Eagles definitely deserved to lose, maybe even by more goal margins. In Maduka Okoye, though, it does seem like we might have found ourselves a good goalkeeper,” he said.
May Johnson said Coach Gernot Rohr was to blame for the poor performance of the team.
“If we had the chance to ask Super Eagles players individually if the game plan was to break down of the Algerian defence then you would understand where the problem is.
“There was no actual tactical plan to break down the defense. For me, Rohr is to blame,” Johnson added.
James Iloba said: “Watching the Nigerian team play was like watching some high school boys hurriedly put together to play set.
“Pass back all the time and not an iota of excitement, they didn’t play like a Nigerian team today. Maybe their way of supporting the #EndSARS campaign,” Iloba added.
Nigeria will next take on Tunisia in the second friendly game on Tuesday at the same venue in Austria.