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Nigeria vs Algeria: 5 things we learnt as Super Eagles lose semi-final



Nigeria failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations final, following their 2-1 defeat to Algeria on Sunday night.

The Eagles had drawn level thanks to Odion Ighalo’s penalty, following William Troost-Ekong’s unfortunate own goal.
But Riyad Mahrez stepped up and curled a wonderful free-kick in the 94th minute, to secure his country’s place in the final against Senegal this Friday.

So, what are the five things we learnt from the game?

1. Akpeyi, again: For so long, Akpeyi has gotten away with it. But when it really mattered, he didn’t cover himself with glory. The Kaizer Chiefs’ goalkeeper did not set his wall up for that Mahrez and his position was suspect. Not saying he was responsible for the loss. But this game should have at least gone into extra time.

2. Argentina carbon copy: Watching the game against Algeria, Nigerians could be forgiven for having flashbacks to the last group fixture at the 2018 World Cup against Argentina. At 1-1, anything was possible. But the players and coach conspired to throw it away with their slackness and lack of reaction respectively.

3. Dodgy subs: Although, he was double-marked most of the time, Chukwueze was the better wide player for the Eagles. But when Rohr had to make a change, it wasn’t the ineffective Musa that came out. Onyekuru, who came on, hardly had time to influence the game. Also, maybe an extra body in midfielder would have helped stem the late onslaught.

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4. Deserved winners: Make no mistakes. This was not a close encounter as suggested by the final scoreline. The Algerians were by far a superior team to the Super Eagles. Ighalo’s equalizer came out of nowhere and breathed excitement into the game. But the Desert Foxes deservedly won it.

5. What next? A third-place playoff. Rohr should be looking to win that game, so that the team does not leave Egypt empty-handed. After then, can he now begin a post mortem of Nigeria’s outing at the competition? It however remains to be seen if he will still be in the job for much longer.