Qatar 2022: How Super Eagles fought for a draw with Cape Verde to reach playoff

On how to plug the loopholes in the team, Rohr said the Eagles needed to play more quickly, especially from the defence.

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Super Eagles

The Super Eagles had to dig deep to secure a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Cape Verde on Tuesday in Lagos to reach the final round of African qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup finals.

The match was played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. The Eagles scored in the opening minute through Victor Osimhen. The Eagles were pegged back about five minutes from a Mendes Stipora goal after heading in from a corner kick.

The Eagles, after that, failed to hit the back of the net despite intense pressure, with Odion Ighalo failing to connect a pass from Osimhen in the 30th minute.

However, the second stanza of the high-intensity game was nervier for the Nigerian team as the visitors became more daring with a good string of passes in the Eagles’ half.

Both teams made substitutions to change the course of the game, with Shehu Abdulahi coming in for the injured Moses Simon.

Kelechi Iheanacho also came in for Ighalo, while Paul Onuachu replaced Osimhen.

Speaking on the sidelines of the match Super Eagles’ coach Gernot Rohr stated, “Sometimes a draw might be an escape because we want to qualify, and we know that a draw will do that.”

He added, “It was not an easy game because the Cape Verde team has a very good technical team. They secured their goal at a moment when we believed we had the match in our hands. But we missed lots of chances, especially in the first half, and we deserved to score a second goal. But as it was not coming, we had to defend.”

On the inclusion of Ighalo in the team, Rohr said the decision was to allow him to impact the forwards, given his wealth of experience.

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“We need a lot of patience with Ighalo. He has not been with the team in about a year, so he needs time to find the complexity and the harmony in the team,” Rohr added. “We saw an interesting thing in the match with Ighalo’s patnership with Osimhen, as he needs to learn from him. The chance to score our goal came in through Ighalo.”

On how to plug the loopholes in the team, Rohr said the Eagles needed to play more quickly, especially from the defence.

“The improvement I want to partnership team is using the opportunity we have to score and be more offensive. We need to play quicker from the defence. One or two touches, coming from the defence. Our defenders are too slow bringing the balls from their area,” he further explained. “But, as it is now, we have finished with 13 points from six matches. It is not the best result, but we have two more points than the second-placed team.

“After this group stage, we are optimistic now that we have more time to prepare. Some of our players are just coming out from injuries.”

(NAN)

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