Nick 1-0 victory in Austria
An early goal from a left footed shot by Borussia Mönchengladbach star, Ramy Bensebaini was all that Algeria needed to confirmed their superiority over Nigeria in an international friendly played on Friday night in Austria.
With this victory, the Dessert Warriors, who eliminated Super Eagles 2-1 in the semi-final of 2019 AFCON in Egypt, have now extended their unbeaten run in all competitions and matches to 19 games.
Interestingly, it was an early pressure by the African Champions that got rewarded with the opening and only goal of the night. It came just after six minutes of play, when fullback Bensebaini followed up a rebound from a header off a corner which the disorganized Super Eagles defence failed to deal with effectively.
Holding on to the ball with tailored made passes, the Algerians were impressively on the front foot and continued to press forward with the Nigerians struggling hard to settle into the match.
Nigeria’s moment of hope came in the 22nd minute as Everton’s Alex Iwobi fired the Eagles’ first shot at the Algerian goal, but his tamely effort screamed wide off target.
However, gaining confidence as the game wore on, it was Nigeria that finished stronger of the two sides after debutant, Zaidu Sanusi’s cross in the 39th minute found Striker Paul Onuachu and eventually led to a corner kick.
Three minutes later, the FC Porto defender powered forward again and forced a save from Alexandre Oukidja, before Samuel Kalu shot directly at the Algerian goalkeeper a few minutes later.
When the second half resumed, Algeria again began the brighter of both sides as the Eagles’ players continued to falter and give away possession easily.
Sometimes lacking in effective team coordination, the Coach Gernot Rohr men clearly relied on counter-attacks to get things going for them in the encounter. On one of such occasions, the impressive Tyronne Ebuehi drove from defence to shoot at goal on the hour mark, but again the effort failed to hit the mark.
Hoffenheim defender Kevin Akpoguma, who was recently cleared by FIFA to change international allegiance from Germany, made his Eagles debut when he replaced Ebuehi in the 67th minute
However, it was the African champions, who continuously pressed forward searching to double their lead, and the few times Nigeria surged upfront, it proved quite difficult going past the very well-organised North Africans’ defence line.
With just few minutes left of play, things almost got worst for the Eagles but an alert Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye was on hand to tip away a goal-bound effort by substitute Yacine Brahimi in the 84th minute of play. – With additional agency reports