A first goal for Cyriel Dessers was not enough as an own goal from Super Eagles captain William Troost-Ekong condemned Jose Peseiro to a losing start as the national team manager.
El Tri of Mexico settled better than the Super Eagles of Nigeria on the artificial turf of the AT&T Stadium in Texas on Sunday morning.
Peseiro’s first match in charge of Nigeria saw a familiar lineup. Troost-Ekong led out the Eagles who filed out in a 3-5-2 formation. Dessers, winning his second cap was paired with Terem Moffi while Semi Ajayi and Chidozie Awaziem joined Ekong as the back three.
The Mexicans had the Eagles pinned in and won their corner kick in the ninth minute as they searched for the opening goal. They found the goal their possession dictated in the 12th minute but Ekong and Awaziem could have reacted better and faster to a headed knockdown from Jesus Gallardo.
Santiago Giménez reacted fastest to the loose ball and lifted it over Uzoho, even though the Nigerian goalkeeper got a piece of the ball. Six minutes later, Uzoho was called into action again but this time he parried a shot from Andres Guardado.
Giménez should have doubled Mexico’s lead in the 20th minute when he got on the end of a ball in the Nigerian box but he blasted wide. The Eagles settled into the game and had some time on the ball as they pressed the Mexicans in their half.
Guardado shot from outside the box and Uzoho made a comfortable save in the 32nd minute. The Eagles failed to create clear-cut chances but were more comfortable on the ball with Alex Iwobi buzzing around the centre of the pitch.
The first half ended with Innocent Bonke in need of medical attention as the referee added on one minute.
Sani Faisal came on for Bonke at the start of the second half with Ajayi and Awaziem swopping flanks.
A good cross was headed towards goal by Dessers in the 54th minute which the Mexican goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota fumbled into his own net.
Mexico went back in the lead immediately as Ekong scored an own goal. The Eagles had restored parity for less than two minutes. Awaziem had been left for dead by Gallardo whose cross Ekong diverted past Uzoho.
Victor Mbaoma came on for Moffi, Chiamaka Madu replaced Cyriel Dessers, and Ishaq Rafiu was sent on for Moses Simon as the Eagles chased an equaliser.
Three minutes were added but the Eagles could not create another scoring opportunity.
Nigeria’s next match is against Ecuador on June 3 in New Jersey.
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