Nigeria 3-2 Mozambique: Super Eagles win first friendly in 5 years

Nigeria 3-2 Mozambique: Super Eagles win first friendly in 5 years
Credit: Icon Sport

It was a game full of errors but the Super Eagles of Nigeria held on to defeat the Mambas of Mozambique 3-2 in their friendly game on Monday evening.

The match was played in front of a sparse crowd at the 5,000-capacity Estádio Municipal de Albufeira in Portugal. The win was Nigeria’s first friendly win in five years and it was achieved without Victor Osimhen and Kelechi Iheanacho, who both had to leave the Super Eagles’ camp in Portugal for different reasons.

The 15-match winless friendly run has now come to an end, thanks to goals from Terem Moffi, Frank Onyeka and Moses Simon.

Super Eagles hold on to grab win as Onyeka scores first goal for Nigeria

José Peseiro named a different Super Eagles starting XI to the team that faced Saudi Arabia on Friday. Jordan Torunarigha got his first start as did newcomer Fisayo Dele-Bashiru. Frank Onyeka also got his first start in a while, following his lengthy absence from the team due to his injury and the resulting lack of game time at his club, Brentford. Francis Uzoho kept his place in goal despite an error in the Saudi Arabia game.

The Super Eagles were just barely getting into their groove when a defensive error allowed Mozambique to pounce. Uzoho was caught napping, making him culpable in Genny Catamo’s sixth-minute goal. It served as a wake-up call to the three-time Africa Cup of Nations winners and their attacks intensified.

Moffi would add to his goal tally for the Super Eagles when he tapped home a free ball, following a counterattack down the right side. The game dragged on with not many clear-cut chances until another counter-attacking goal by the Super Eagles in the 20th minute of the game. Onyeka finished home a great cutback from the edge of the 18-yard box.

More dull action continued but the Nigerian team showed that they could contend in the middle of the pitch by winning every duel. Then in the 38th minute, Mozambican defender Edmiilson Dove was sent off for stopping Joe Aribo in his tracks after the Southampton man stole the ball from him in Mozambique’s half.

Nigeria’s third goal did not come until the stoppage time of the first half. Dele-Bashiru saw his free-kick stopped by a handball which Moses Simon knocked off the woodwork and into the net. The Super Eagles were unable to muster any serious attacking threat in the second half before and after Mozambique’s 55th-minute goal to make it 3-2.

The game served as a boost for the team who gave up the lead twice in the Saudi Arabia friendly.

Key takeaway from the Super Eagles' victory against Mozambique

The Super Eagles might have been victorious but it was far from straightforward and ultimately a cause for concern, especially considering that Mozambique played with ten men for close to an hour of the game.

While Jose Peseiro might have a host of quality options to choose from in attack, it is not the same at the opposite end of the pitch. The defence remains rather porous and the inconsistency of Francis Uzoho with questionable mistakes leaves a big question mark ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in November and the AFCON in January.

More specifically, the Super Eagles look very weak at defending set-pieces, conceding four goals in the last two friendly games, with three from free-kicks.

This is something to be addressed or there could be more disappointment to come ahead of upcoming fixtures.

This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago

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