Nigeria and Algeria share lots of similarities and lookalikes – the name of the two countries sound alike with 7 letters each, both countries have their national colors as Green and White.
Come along and get more, Nigeria won her median nations cup on home soil beating Algeria in the final, also Algeria won her median nations cup on home soil beating Nigeria in the final, what a magnificent coincidence.
These are some facts leading to the semi-final clash between these two sides, the Super Eagles came with an unchanged line up from the quarter-final victory against South Africa with a 4:2:3:1 formation, while the desert foxes came with a 4:1:4:1 formation.
Algeria ensured that they packed their midfield full disallowing Nigeria to fully link up with the attackers, they were technically superior to the Super Eagles, they dominated possession, picked holes in the Nigerian defense with their neat long and short passes, especially in the final third.
The Algerian team put the Nigerian team under siege and put the Eagles defense under severe pressure forcing them into a couple of errors and ultimately an unfortunate own goal.
The Eagles raised their game in the second half and they also began to neat passes together in the midfield forcing the Algerian team to commit more fouls and getting booked.
The Algerian team ensured that they cut supplies to the attacking wingers, Musa and Chukwueze, but the midfield tried their luck from distance with Iwobi and Etebo leading the trial.
The VAR came to the aid of the Eagles with a lifeline penalty that was coolly converted by Ighalo with less than 20 mins to go. Unfortunately, the Eagles technical bench showed contentment while the foxes bomb forward in search of the winning goal.
The foxes had some nail-biting misses before they got a freekick at the death of the game. The technically gifted former African footballer of the year Ryan Mahrez converted the freekick with the last kick of the game.
Overall, the Super Eagles never showed enough desire to win the game, they made the Algerian team dictate the game, the Eagles goalkeeper lacks confidence and composure, the defense tried but they actually needed a leader which Leon Balogun sometimes provide.
They needed to know that not all balls should be kicked away as long balls, one of the defenders must provide another option of traveling with the ball to the center or opposition half before releasing a defense-splitting pass, the Coach was always very slow to react when necessary, he made just a substitution suggesting he has no option B.
Maybe he could have simply changed to a 3:5:2, formation that could have helped the Eagles venture more into attacking positions, he could have substituted the tiring Ighalo for Osimeh or Onuachu, Moses Simon could have been introduced for an exhausted Musa.
The Super Eagles have a way of losing concentration when it matters most and this must be dealt with. They must also perfect the acts of converting set piece, especially freekicks just as we were victims on Sunday Night.
Conclusively, ending up among the last four is commendable but we can do better, I suggest Nigeria needs a better Coach. However, Go Eagles now for the usual golden bronze.