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WC Qualification Africa

Nigeria 1-1 Cape Verde: What did we learn?

12:31 PM EST 11/17/21
Odion Ighalo - Nigeria vs Cape Verde
Nigeria squeaked through on Tuesday as a nation held its collective breath

  • Victor Osimhen

    The Super Eagles top Group C

    Nigeria avoided defeat at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Tuesday to scrape through to the playoff round of World Cup qualifying.

    Gernot Rohr’s team did what they had to do, although it was a tense final 20 minutes for the West African giants in Lagos.

    What should have been a comfortable success after Victor Osimhen’s early strike turned into a nail-biting affair, causing even more complaints from the exasperated support.

    It was enough for the Super Eagles to progress by the skin of their teeth, but performances have to improve.

  • Gernot Rohr

    A game of two halves

    Despite Stopira pegging Nigeria back only four minutes after Victor Osimhen’s goal, Gernot Rohr’s team mostly played on the front foot for the rest of the half.

    It took a few fine stops from Vozinha in the Cape Verde goal to stop the West Africans netting even more before the interlude.

    However, the performance level dipped remarkably after the break, leading to an anxious final 20 minutes for the German boss and fans in which a goal for the visitors would have eliminated the African giants.

    In fairness, the home side’s game management wasn’t particularly impressive, with their possession play highly unsatisfactory in the second half.

  • Gernot Rohr

    Gernot Rohr needs to eschew the back three

    While the German tactician altered his formation for the final three games, there’s little point playing the system if it is unsuited to many players in your squad and is not utilised effectively.

    Jamilu Collins was largely non-existent in the first half and, while he did send in some decent crosses after the break, isn’t as adept in that position as Zaidu Sanusi or Ola Aina.

    In addition to not utilising the flanks productively, forwards like Samuel Chukwueze, Chidera Ejuke and arguably Kelechi Iheanacho may struggle to find a place in variations of the formation.

  • Moses Simon

    What is wrong with Moses Simon?

    Try as he might, Simon just does not seem effective in the green and white of Nigeria.

    Nantes’ creative force — especially from crosses in open play and set pieces — just doesn’t seem to produce the same chances for the Super Eagles.

    He was stretchered off after the hour mark, worryingly for his club and Rohr with the Africa Cup of Nations imminent.

  • Odion Ighalo

    Odion Ighalo should have gone off earlier

    The returning striker was a surprise starter against Cape Verde but should he have played for as long as he did on Tuesday?

    Barring a 15-minute spell where he bungled a huge chance fashioned by Alex Iwobi, set up Joe Aribo’s effort and failed to direct a headed effort from Osimhen’s cross on target, Ighalo was hardly in the game.

    Thus, you wonder how he managed to stay on till the 78th minute despite being ineffectual.

  • Victor Osimhen, Nigeria

    Nigeria need luck of the draw to participate in Qatar 2022

    Nigerians are already apprehensive about the draw for the playoff round.

    Fans of the Super Eagles hope to avoid the big guns because there’s a sense that the level of recent performances won’t be enough to see them through to next year’s showpiece.

    Not only are they anxious about their prospects against sides like Egypt, Ghana and Cameroon, but they are equally not confident of beating the less fancied nations either, owing to recent stodgy displays.