International friendly: Mali beat Nigeria 2:0

NIGERIA’S senior men’s football team, Super Eagles, lost 0-2 to Mali in an international friendly match played at the Stade de Marrakech in Morocco in the early hours of Wednesday, March 27.

The Super Eagles, who defeated the Black Stars of Ghana 2-1 last Friday, March 22, struggled to repeat the tactical formation against Mali as defence errors marred their game.

Nigeria’s interim coach Findi George’s formation before the commencement of the match saw four changes to the team that played against Ghana in the international friendly match fixture.

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The tactician introduced captain Kenneth Omeruo, Jamilu Collins in the defence, Raphael Onyedika in the midfield, and Moses Simon in the attack while Benjamin Tianimu, Bruno Onyemaechi and Cyriel Dessers were benched.

Frank Onyeka was not in the starting 11 due to injury.

Eighteen minutes into action, Mali scored an early goal through El Bilal Toure, who slotted the ball past Stanley Nwabali from close range after a defensive error from Chidozie Awaziem.

To adjust the tactical formation, Nigeria’s interim coach substituted Moses Simon for Cyriel Dessers, who scored a first-half penalty against Ghana in the 34 minutes.

Despite the change, Mali displayed confidence as they dominated possessions, building firm resistance at the defence to keep the Super Eagles’ attack at bay.

Mali kept the Super Eagles trailing behind, 1-0, till the end of the first-half match.

The resumption of the second half saw a slow start from both sides, but a few minutes later, the Super Eagles ramped up the tempo as they had a flurry of corner kicks in search of an equaliser.




     

     

    Their high intensity to restore parity could have produced a result in the 65th minute but substitute Dessers missed an opportunity inside the box after Mali’s goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa came close to abort the attempt.

    Also, Samassa became a threat to the Nigerian forward as he denied Kelechi Iheanacho from a long-range drive a minute later.

    In the 87th minute, Mali doubled the lead through Kamory Doumbia, whose superb shot went past the Nigerian goalkeeper Nwabali from inside the box.

    The second goal sealed Mali’s 2-0 victory against Nigeria.

     

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