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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: What did we learn from Nigeria’s victory over Egypt?

14:41 IST 12/01/2022
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The Super Eagles secured an impressive 1-0 success over the Pharaohs in their opening game of the biennial showpiece. GOAL in conjunction with Coca Cola looks at the lessons we learned from the match.

  • Iheanacho Nigeria 2022

    Nigeria 1-0 Egypt

    The result was great, but the performance was all the more gratifying.

    A Kelechi Iheanacho stunner, on his Africa Cup of Nations debut appearance, sealed the win for Augustine Eguavoen’s side against the seven-time winners.

    It was the West African nation’s fourth win over the Pharaohs in their ninth encounter at the finals, extending Nigeria’s advantage in this Afcon rivalry.

    In this feature, GOAL picks what stood out in the three-time champions’ commendable display.

  • Nigeria - Super Eagles

    Fewer long balls, clearer patterns of play

    An exasperating lack of invention or sophistication meant Gernot Rohr’s final months was typified by a recurring inclination to send aimless long balls over the top.

    It irritated a citizenry who felt their talent-laden side could play much better football than was being served up.

    Against Egypt, there was a well-defined plan to play through and hurt their North African opponents, something that had become a rarity in the Franco-German's last months.

  • Joe Aribo, CAR

    Joe Aribo’s two-fold role

    A criticism of the previous manager was the underutilisation of Aribo, who tended to play deeper for the Super Eagles with little scope for pushing forward.

    While the Rangers midfielder played alongside Wilfred Ndidi in a midfield pairing on Tuesday, he moved into advanced positions whenever Nigeria had possession, making him an attacking menace.

    He set up Iheanacho’s brilliant strike and should have assisted Moses Simon earlier had the Nantes man not hit the side netting.

    After persistent complaints, perhaps this was Aribo’s finest Super Eagles showing in a while.

  • Alex Iwobi, Ola Aina, Moses Simon of Nigeria

    Watch out for Nigeria’s counter-attacking potential

    The fast 92nd-minute break that nearly led to a second goal underscored this, but there were moments where this side’s impending threat in transition surfaced from time to time.

    While their decision-making at times led to promising moves breaking down, still, the situations they nearly fashioned bodes well if they iron out wrinkles.

  • Mohamed El Shenawy - al ahly 20-1-2021

    Mohammed El Shenawy prevented a bigger loss for Egypt

    The final score read 1-0 but it could have been worse had the Al Ahly stopper not been in great form.

    El Shenawy thwarted Taiwo Awoniyi and Chidera Ejuke from point-blank range after half-time, keeping the final score respectable for the North Africans.

    Altogether, the 33-year-old made four stops in the entirety of the game, arguably ending as his team’s best player on the day.

  • Troost-Ekong Nigeria Egypt 2022

    The Roumde Adjia Stadium underscored the importance of a quality surface

    While Rohr’s Eagles hardly covered themselves in glory, the bumpy pitches did not help.

    The quality surface in Garoua aided the team’s approach and their level of performance might have been at a lower standard had its condition been sub-standard.

    There have been calls to abstain from the Teslim Balogun Stadium, owing to the poor state of the surface, and Tuesday’s showing over Egypt might precipitate more appeals.