Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria: 4 things we learned in Super Eagles big win

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria: 4 things we learned in Super Eagles big win
Credit: Icon Sport

The Super Eagles of Nigeria took on hosts Ivory Coast in both teams' second Group A match of the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The game which was controlled and dominated by Jean-Louis Gasset's men could only end in a frustrating defeat for the Elephants and to the delight of Nigerian fans.

Nigeria opened the scoring in the 55th minute mark from a William Troost-Ekong's penalty after the VAR adjudged Victor Osimhen to have been fouled inside the area.

Ivory Coast threw all the weight they could in the affair but a defensive perfection from the Super Eagles ensured that the hosts got beaten for the first time by Nigeria at home.

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Credit: Icon Sport

These are the important takeaways from the game!

Four things we learned from Super Eagles important win

Super Eagles put up a defensive masterclass

Coach Jose Peseiro got his lineup right in this game and was duly rewarded for his bold style. His decision to start with five defenders paid off as Calvin Bassey, William Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi, Ola Aina, and Zaidu Sanusi combined with perfection to ensure Nigeria did not concede for the first time in six matches.

The backline did enough to keep Ivory Coast at bay, ensuring three efforts from the Elephants were blocked as they chased for the equalizer.

Super Eagles ended their trend of conceding first

Peseiro's troops before today's game have conceded first in their last six games, a worrisome trend that has generated fear and anxiety ahead of the heavyweight clash with the AFCON hosts.

However, the team stood up to their biggest challenge yet in this tournament and ensured they won without taking in any goal. If they can keep up with this, they look set to make the round of 16 and see how it goes from there.

Brilliant team performance

It's been a long time since fans saw the Super Eagles play very compactly and with an eye to come out with all three points.

Super Eagles players celebrate scoring
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Peseiro’s men did a good job controlling the game at some points in the encounter after they took the lead, limiting the opposition from posing any serious threat as they fell back to defend and hang on to their lead.

The Super Eagles were comfortable, confidently playing the ball and even created chances during the last ten minutes of the game and the added time as well.

Another day of wasted chances

Although Nigeria won, we cannot leave out the fact that the team scuffed some scoring chances.

Following the disappointing 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea in their opener that was characterized by lots of chances missed, the Super Eagles were expected to turn a new leaf, but instead, the trend continued as several chances to score Ivory Coast went begging in the game.

Nigeria played 11 shots with big chances falling to Osimhen, but could only score one goal through a penalty. Out of the 11 efforts, only one went on target.

Osimhen won Nigeria's penalty but he needs to be clinical in front of the goal along with other players in the team if they're to go far in this competition.

Next in line for the Super Eagles

The three-time AFCON winners will take on Djurtus of Guinea-Bissau next Monday in their last group stage match of the ongoing tournament.

With four points now in the group, a win over Guinea-Bissau, who are already out of the tournament, will ensure they finish top of the group if Equatorial Guinea fail to beat Ivory Coast. A draw too will just be enough to reach the knockout phase.

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

Joseph is a graduate engineer turned sports writer, he has covered lots of sports stories, match previews and predictions across various leagues on the planet.