Victor Osimhen Makes Barren Return As Super Eagles Could Only Draw Black Stars
Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen’s return ended in a barren draw as the Super Eagles of Nigeria we’re held to a draw in the first leg of their World Cup playoffs today, March 25, 2022, against the Black Stars of Ghana in Kumasi.
The match was an end-to-end spectacle of lovely football, with both sides giving as good as they got all through the game. Following this barren draw today, the Super Eagles now have it all to do in the second-leg encounter to be played in Abuja, Nigeria.
There were a couple of highlights in the match and lots of talking points, but here are our six most important points from the game below:
(1) Officiating was surprisingly top-notch! Yes, surprisingly, because this is Africa, and honestly, things tend to get quite ugly when one team plays at home, and it’s a high-stake match.
The officiating team led by Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed gave an excellent account of themselves on the night, though, and ensured that the match flowed perfectly without any needless drama. Kudos to them for such a fantastic job.
(2) Wilfred Ndidi’s enterprise and skills were sorely missed! Leicester City’s midfield enforcer, Wilfred Ndidi, was a notable absence in the middle of the park for the Nigerian team tonight, as his usual command and play control was direly missed.
Outstanding performers on the night, however, were Joe Aribo, Victor Osimhen, Leon Balogun, Ola Aina, Troost-Ekong, and goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
(3) Central Defense stood firm! The Troost-Balogun partnership looks good to curb any defensive catarrh in Qatar if the Eagles make their flight to the World Cup there eventually.
The duo gave a world-class cover for goalkeeper, Uzoho, and they handled the rampaging attacks very masterfully. Special mention and recognition for Balogun, though, as he played his heart out and wore his badge on his sleeves all game.
If they keep this level of performance up and hopefully improve as well, there should not be any worries about that part of the team’s play during the tournament. We all know the golden rule about football tournaments: Good attackers can win you matches, but you need an excellent defense to win trophies! This team looks to have found its defensive mojo and at a great time to do so too.
(4) Victor Osimhen is a beast! SC Napoli’s goal machine, Victor Osimhen, breathed a much-missed bite and wonderful life into the attacking lineup of the Super Eagles tonight.
He was a constant and very impressive thorn in the flesh of the Ghanaian team’s entire backline with his runs into space, deft touches on the ball, and fantastic hold-up play every time the ball was pumped up long to him up the field (which was an awful lot of times too, by the way).
(5) The Eagles need to improve their cohesion in the final third: The best part of the team’s play tonight was while they had the ball in their half. Once the ball proceeds out of defense into the middle of the pitch, it almost becomes a struggle to string meaningful passes together and find each other.
This resulted in a lot of forced plays up the pitch as the midfielders struggled to link up with point men Victor Osimhen and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanachor.
Although they looked much improved in the second half, clear-cut goal-scoring chances were very few, too, as the team struggled to bring the strikers into the game well enough to find the needed goal in the match.
All is left to play for now during the second leg scheduled for Tuesday, March 29, 2022, in Abuja, Nigeria. Hopefully, the Eagles will be able to get the job done and take their place as one of Africa’s five representatives at the Mundial later this year.
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