Players of the Super Eagles have received accolades from excited Nigerian football fans, following the team’s 2-0 victory over Cotton Sport FC of Cameroon in a build-up match ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, SportsDayOnline.com reports.
Although a section of the Nigerian football followership was critical of why their national team should play against a ‘mere’ club in their preparations for the upcoming 33rd AFCON, the players showed no complexes through the game.
Eagles’ interim handler, Augustine Eguavoen also showed some tactical acumen in his tinkering of his squad, as the former defender, captain and head coach tried out some experimental ideas, as he used two different starting line-ups for each half.
There were two big surprises in the teams fielded by Eguavoen, with Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi, who were guaranteed starters under former coach Gernot Rohr, starting on the bench.
Maduka Okoye started in goal and the back four contained Ola Aina, William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo and Zaidu Sanusi.
Wilfred Ndidi and Joe Aribo started as the holding midfielders with Kelechi Iheanacho, Chidera Ejuke and Ahmed Musa in front of them, while Taiwo Awoniyi led the line.
Eguavoen made his first substitution when Musa, who scored the game’s first goal in the opening half, was replaced by Iwobi, following which the Everton star and FC Porto fullback, Sanusi retained their places for the start of the second half as others gave way.
The Super Eagles starting lineup for the second half is as follows : Francis Uzoho, Olisa Ndah, Semi Ajayi, Chidozie Awaziem, Zaidu, Frank Onyeka, Kelechi Nwakali, Iwobi, Chukwueze, Moses Simon, Sadiq Umar.
Henry Onyekuru later entered the game as a substitute to replace Iwobi and Nigeria doubled their advantage through Chukwueze after a great run by Simon to set him up.
Shortly after the goal, Sadiq was taken off for Peter Olayinka and the three-time African champions will turn their attention on training then play a mock intra-challenge match among themselves before their opener against Egypt on Tuesday.
Eagles’ first half line-up: Okoye, Aina, Omeruo, Troost-Ekong, Sanusi, Ndidi, Aribo, Iheanacho, Ejuke, Musa (Iwobi), Awoniyi; second half: Uzoho, Ndah, Ajayi, Awaziem, Zaidu, Onyeka, Nwakali, Iwobi (Onyekuru), Chukwueze, Simon, Umar (Olayinka).