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Nigeria vs Burundi: 5 things we learnt from Super Eagles’ 1-0 victory



Nigeria began their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign, with a narrow 1-0 win over newcomers Burundi on Saturday.

Substitute Odion Ighalo scored the only goal of the game in the second half.
What are the five things we learnt from the match?

1. No, not Akpeyi: If there is a problem, Daniel Akpeyi is not the answer. Standing in for Francis Uzoho, he was a bag of nerves and indecision. His errors almost led to the team conceding a few times. I won’t be shocked to see a different man between the sticks against Guinea.

2. Iwobi in 10, please: Even with the return of John Mikel Obi to the squad, a lot of fans and pundits expected Gernot Rohr to play Alex Iwobi as the no. 10. Instead, he stuck the Arsenal man on the left wing and went with Mikel Obi. The Eagles only played with a better tempo, when the captain was withdrawn and Iwobi went central.

3. Solid defence: Credit must be given to Nigeria’s defence. Yes, it is just Burundi. But they were very coordinated and alert. The central partnership of Troost-Ekong and Omeruo was solid, while Ola Aina was a streaking force down the right and provided the assist for Ighalo’s winner.

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4. Berahino, where art thou? The Stoke City striker only netted three goals last season. And his anonymous display for Burundi in Alexandria today, was further proof of his shocking decline, from when he was possibly the most in-demand Premier League striker.

5. Guinea, a different beast: Rohr has a lot of work and tinkering to do, before their next game against Guinea on Wednesday. The Syli Stars will be superior opposition and will give the Eagles a run for their money. One of Rohr’s first decisions has to be starting Ighalo ahead of Onuachu.