Nigeria 1-1 Equatorial Guinea: 4 things we learned

Nigeria 1-1 Equatorial Guinea: 4 things we learned
Credit: Icon Sport

The Super Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday afternoon took on the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea in both team's Africa Cup of Nations opening Group A match. The action took place at the iconic Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan.

Being the second match of the group, the Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea encounter presented both sides the opportunity to go level with Ivory Coast who had taken maximum points from Guinea-Bissau yesterday.

However, with both teams looking to announce themselves early on in the group, it was the Super Eagles who disappointed mostly after lots of scoring opportunities came their way, they ended up playing a 1-1 draw with Juan Micha's side.

These are four things we learned from the action after the full-time whistle ensured both teams earned a point in their first match of AFCON 2023.

Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea: 4 things we learned

After an interesting 90 minutes of football that highlighted both teams' desire to win but lacked finishing touch, here are four takeaways from the match.

Lack of combination play in midfield

The first-half of the game was characterized by sheer lack of cohesion between the midfield players and Victor Osimhen in attack.

Alhassan Yusuf and Alex Iwobi didn't properly connect well with the African Footballer of the Year who's a proven goalscorer capable of deciding the result of the game.

However, in the second half, the midfielders did a lot better for the attackers who instead fluffed their lines.

Super Eagles tendency to concede first

The last six Super Eagles matches have seen Peseiro's men breached first. It's become a worrisome trend particularly coming into the AFCON where they'll play teams with good organization.

After going behind, the team finds it difficult to get themselves back into the game and win. Out of the last six games where they've conceded first, Nigeria have only one win, four draws, and one loss.

Wastefulness of Super Eagles forwards

The match was particularly characterized by indecisiveness in the final third. Having controlled the match in the first 30 minutes of play, created quite a number of good scoring chances, the Eagles failed to hurt Juan Micha's men with at least 2 goals before the break.

In the second half, the wastefulness continued with the biggest chance falling to Osimhen 13 minutes from time in a one-on-one position with the opposition goalkeeper, and of course Osimhen fluffed his lines.

Inability to use the flanks

After parading Moses Simon and Ademola Lookman in the flanks, the players in the midfield failed to distribute the ball in these wide areas in the first half an hour.

We saw how the equalizer came from a cross down the flank from Lookman. Playing with your strength can make all the difference in these sort of games and the Super Eagles really have the firepower down the flanks.

We also saw this trend continued in the second half, and if the Super Eagles are looking to go far in this competition, Peseiro needs to work on this poor use of the wide men with Ivory Coast next in line.

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.