The Super Eagles of Nigeria have officially wrapped up their friendly match tour in the United States of America with another loss to La Tri of Ecuador.
The Super Eagles built on their decent showings against El Tri of Mexico by dominating the game in terms of chance creation after am early slip up that saw Villarreal defender Pervis Estupiñan score in the third minute.
However, wastefulness especially from returning striker Cyriel Dessers, who grabbed the goal against Mexico, led to the scuffing of all the chances created.
Left-back Chidozie Awaziem and midfielder Sani Faisal lost concentration when a free kick was whipped in and the ball went past them to Estupiñan, who put the South Americans ahead.
The game was marred by controversial refereeing with two legitimate penalty appeals waved away by the referee. However, Nigeria attacked Ecuador relentlessly in the first half but were unable to muster anything from the chances they created.
Missed opportunities from Dessers, Emmanuel Dennis, Semi Ajayi and two saves from Francis Uzoho in the goal for Nigeria saw the match end 1-0 and Ecuador counting themselves lucky to have been let off the hook.
Peseiro: We were better than against Mexico
Super Eagles manager Jose Peseiro spoke after the game and praised the performance of the team against Ecuador.
He opined that the team played a lot better than they did in Texas and also assured that there are going to be even more changes until the team finds its feet again.
“I think we played much better than Mexico,” Peseiro said in his post-match press conference. “Today I saw more pressure, we created more opportunities, we created some against Mexico, but today I saw more and some organization in how we played.
“Against Mexico, we trained two times; for some players, it was once. The reason for the improvement is we have now trained four times, so we had to improve.”
Pinnick satisfied with US friendlies
Both games gave a glimpse of what is to come under the new manager as the attacking play of the team was a lot better than it used to be.
Fans are not keeping their hopes up, however, but NFF president Amaju Pinnick believes that the team is on the right track and that they have achieved the objectives set for the US tour.
“I am happy and I can tell you that we fulfilled our objectives of restoring the spirit of the Super Eagles following the failure to qualify for the FIFA World Cup,” Pinnick said.
“We lost both games against Mexico and Ecuador narrowly but we were up for it and never finished on the back foot. Given the number of first-team players that were not available, we have to praise the boys who showed up here and gave their all.
“They have given us confidence going into the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The despondency is over and we can now march forward in sure-footed manner.”
The team will now return to Abuja to prepare for their first qualifier game for the 2023 African Cup of Nations in Cote d'Ivoire. They will be taking on Sierra Leone before they travel to Sao Tome and Principe for the second group game.
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 weeks ago