The Super Eagles of Nigeria stretched their unbeaten run on Tuesday as they recorded a lone goal victory over the Pharaohs of Egypt.
Since crashing out of the World Cup nine months ago, the Super Eagles have won all their matches except two. Against the seven-time African champions, the Coach Gernot Rohr tutored side held their own to record yet another win; their second in four days.
PREMIUM TIMES was at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba for the thrilling friendly. Here are five of the many lessons learnt from the game.
Giant striker Paul Onuachu, big catch for Nigeria
The last time the Super Eagles beat Egypt was on March 5, 1990 at the Africa Cup of Nations in Algiers. Rashidi Yekini scored the solitary goal in the eighth minute.
Now the country has found another gangling striker in the mould of Onuachu who scored the fastest Super Eagles’ goal ever in Tuesday’ game against Egypt.
Apart from his goal, Onuachu ticked all the right boxes all through his stay on the pitch against the Pharaohs.
His ball sense, ability to take on defenders and much more are all top notch. Indeed Nigeria has a big catch in this 24-year old.
Ezenwa makes case for more respect
Ikechukwu Ezenwa has been a regular face with the Super Eagles but he has often been condemned to the bench.
Coming in for Daniel Akpeyi who unfortunately had very little to do in the first half, Ezenwa proved his critics wrong as he made two fantastic saves that showed that he deserves some level of respect and not be seen as a decoration in the national team.
Early goals can kill any team
Conceding a goal in less than 10 seconds is not what any team will want and that was the greatest undoing of the Egyptians who indeed matched the Super Eagles pound for pound after falling behind in the first minute
More to Egypt than Mo Salah
Many wanted to see Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah in action and even though the African Footballer of the Year was not in action, his compatriots showed that they can hold their own without the star.
That said, it is not impossible that Salah’s individual balance may have carved out a goal for the Pharaohs whose unbeaten run under their new Mexican manager has now been halted
Super Eagles play better against good opposition
The Super Eagles beat the Pirates of Seychelles 3-1 on Friday, but it was not the best of performance from the three-time African champions.
However, against the Egyptians, they did far better with the likes of Henry Onyekuru, Onuachu, John Ogu, Shehu Abdullahi and others, all putting up a good shift in the high-profile friendly.
As captured by the Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr, the Super Eagles did not have a good game.
They had a great game.