Portugal 4 Nigeria 0: Eagles friendly woes continue

Super Eagles failed to break their 13 friendlies without a win as Jose Peseiro’s side fell 4-0 to 2016 Euro champions Portugal at the 50,000-capacity Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon on Thursday night.

The European giants scored the first goal in the 9th minute through Bruno Fernandes and the midfielder added the second from a penalty spot in the 35th minute.

Goncalo Ramos who came in as a substitute for Andre Silvain in the 66th minute made it three for the home side eight minutes before full-time. Joao Mario got the back of the net to make it four as Fernando Santos side head to Qatar on Friday.

Nigeria’s last friendly victory came way back in March 2019, when they saw off seven-time AFCON champions Egypt 1-0 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium courtesy of an early strike from Genk forward Paul Onuachu.

The defeat also means that the 62-year-old Portuguese tactician has failed to get a win in his four friendly matches for Nigeria.

Peseiro lost his first match to Mexico 2-1 in an international friendly on May 28. In June, the Eagles lost 1-0 in their second game against Ecuador and a 2-1 defeat to the Desert Foxes of Algeria in another international friendly in Oran in September.

On Thursday, Peseiro adopted a 4-4-2 formation with Calvin Bassey playing from the left back, Bright Osayi-Samuel in the right back position, and Kevin Akpoguma and William Troost-Ekong paired up in the central defence.

Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi and Everton’s Alex Iwobi were deployed in the midfield as Moses Simon and Ademola Lookman played from the flanks. Surprisingly Joe Aribo lead the attack with Terem Moffi.

The Portuguese dominated play in the early minutes of the first half and were close to opening the scoring.

They however got the opener in the 9th minute through Bruno Fernandes from a superb assist from Diogo Dalot.

Despite the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s midfield led by Bernardo Silva, William Carvalho, , Otavio, and Bruno Fernandes controlled play for almost the entire duration of the first half.

The European champions got a penalty in the 35th minute and the Manchester United midfield maestro sent Nigeria goalkeeper Uzoho the other way to double the Selecao lead.

The Eagles were close to getting a goal but Aribo’s shot was deflected by Dias for a corner kick.

At the start of the second half, Peseiro brought on the duo Samuel Chukwueze and Frank Onyeka for Ademola Lookman and Wilfred Ndidi respectively and the team came alive with much improvement.

Chukwueze was close to getting Nigeria the first goal in the 70th minute after making a brilliant run from the flanks but could not beat the goalkeeper.

After an improved performance in the second half, Nigeria had the opportunity to reduce the deficit after Osayi-Samuel was brought down in the box for a penalty but Emmanuel Dennis failed to score from the spot as his shot was saved by Rui Patricio.

The Eagles were made to pay for their missed opportunity and they conceded two goals in the space of two minutes as substitutes Ramos and Ramio scored to add to Nigeria’s friendly misery.

The result means Nigeria are yet to win in any of their last 14 friendlies.

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