Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Ukraine 2-2 Nigeria: Where the game was won and lost

Goal looks at the decisive areas as the spoils were shared in an exciting encounter between the two sides in Dnipro
Tuesday's friendly against Ukraine marked an important inflexion point for the next phase of the Super Eagles rebuild. 

With a starting 11 featuring players all 25 or under (except for captain William Troost-Ekong), this was a telling glimpse into what the future holds for the Nigeria national team.

At the end of the day, the scores were level, but an exciting, end-to-end game had ensued, and Nigerian fans got the first glimpse of a player of whom many a song will soon be composed.

 

YOUTH

In shipping two goals in a minute to throw away a two-goal lead, the inexperience and lack of game management that comes with youth came to the fore in Dnipro. Calmer heads would have worked wonders, especially after Ukraine pulled one back, but the ball was given up right away for yet another sucker punch. 

However, the other side of that coin was a coruscating counter-attacking display that really could have seen the Super Eagles go up by as much as four inside the opening half alone.

The sheer pace of the front four, with debutant Joe Aribo joining in, overmanned the Ukraine defence time and again.

In the Samuels Kalu and Chukwueze, there was nimble footwork and menace, and the latter in particular was guilty of some poor decision-making, electing to shoot on a few occasions when he might have been better served sliding in a teammate.

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