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Dennis misses a penalty as Nigeria are embarrassed by Portugal in pre-World Cup friendly

5:01 AM SGT 18/11/22
Wilfried Ndidi of Nigeria against Portugal's Bernado Silva.
Nigeria suffered their second straight loss following a 4-0 defeat to Portugal in a friendly match at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon on Thursday.
  • Nigeria found the going tough against Portugal
  • Dennis missed his spot kick later in the second half
  • Debutant Osayi-Samuel impressed for Nigeria

WHAT HAPPENED? The Super Eagles were put to the sword from the beginning when Diogo Dalot found himself in plenty of space on the right and teed up his Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes in the box for a 1-0 lead after just nine minutes.

Portugal’s second goal arrived via a questionable penalty call. Debutant Bright Osayi-Samuel, who was having a good game at right-back for Nigeria, was adjudged to have handled the ball when it struck his arm as he turned his back. Fernandes stepped up and sent Francis Uzoho the wrong way for 2-0 inside 35 minutes.

Nigeria got the opportunity to pull one back later but Emmanuel Dennis missed from the spot after Dalot fouled Osayi-Samuel. The Nigeria players argued about who would take it before Dennis took the ball and missed. Portugal then scored two late goals from Goncalo Ramos and Joao Mario.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro started with an experienced lineup with William Troost-Ekong, Kevin Akpoguma, Calvin Bassey and Osayi-Samuel at the back while Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Wilfred Ndidi featured in midfield as Moses Simon and Ademola Lookman played either side of Terem Moffi upfront.

While new boy Osayi-Samuel impressing, Bassey had a first half to forget as he constantly lost his markers. The Ajax Amsterdam man did more attacking than defending and it was during one of his forays forward that Dalot found himself in space to create the opening goal.

Bassey also lost Fernandes on the stroke of halftime with only poor finishing preventing the United playmaker from making it 3-0.

Meanwhile, Simon looked lively on the left of Nigeria’s attack although his final balls let him down as he could not get a clear pass into the path of either Moffi or Lookman.

Peseiro made changes in the second half with Frank Onyeka on for Ndidi, Samuel Chukwueze replacing Lookman while Paul Onuachu came in for Moffi but Nigeria still lacked fluidity even after Portugal reduced the tempo with the Villarreal winger getting their first shot on target later in the second half.

ALL EYES ON: Fenerbahce right-back Osayi-Samuel was thrown into the deep end in what was his first match for his country but he was unfazed by the opposition, standing tall against any challenge thrown at him.

He was among the handful of Nigeria players who ended the match with top marks.

THE VERDICT: While Nigeria are full of African stars, they looked far from a star team given the lack of understanding among those selected against Portugal.

WHAT’S NEXT? Nigeria will have to wait until March for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers while Portugal now head to Qatar where meetings with Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea await in the group stage.