GOAL highlights the striking lessons from the Super Eagles’ biggest victory in the national team’s history
In only his second competitive game since taking charge of the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro guided the three-time African champions to a 10-0 hammering of Sao Tome and Principe.
Thus the West African nation has set a new record for their biggest margin of victory, a record that stood since they defeated Dahomey (now Benin) in 1959.
In this feature, GOAL picks out what stood out in the rout.
Many Nigerians were appalled by the quality of the playing surface in Abuja, and it was evident in the team’s performance against Sierra Leone last Thursday.
On Monday, the team moved the ball with greater ease at Stade Adrar and often connected effortlessly for the 90 minutes.
Indeed, there will be greater calls from Nigerians for a pitch that is fit for purpose for the team’s home games.
Joe Aribo and Alex Iwobi in midfield was deemed too risky, despite the lowly-ranked opposition, and Etebo justified Jose Peseiro’s decision to recall him, netting an amazing free-kick after 55 minutes.
The Stoke City loanee may have been errant with a few passes in the opening half, but he improved in that regard after the break, strikingly releasing Ademola Lookman in the move leading to Victor Osimhen’s second and Nigeria’s fourth.
He also made crucial interceptions and often covered for Calvin Bassey whenever the Rangers defender made aggressive runs upfield.
Admittedly, they reverted to swinging in deliveries as the game wore on, but the inclination to surprise the Sao Tome outfit early on was noteworthy.
The Super Eagles tried to mix things up initially, taking short kicks and working their way into the box to varying degrees of success.
Maybe it was merely a coincidence, but could unpredictable, training ground set-piece routines become the norm under Peseiro?
Alex Iwobi was the pacemaker in this regard, leading the team’s harrying of the Sao Tome players immediately after Nigeria lost possession.
They made several recoveries in the Central African half, especially in the first half and the Everton man ought to receive significant plaudits.
Indeed, whether this proves to be lasting remains to be seen.
While this might come off as controversial or hypercritical, the Napoli frontman did not have the perfect game, despite scoring four times and assisting another.
Of course, scoring is half the job if you are a striker but Osimhen might have left the ground believing he should have netted more.
The forward was caught offside time and again, failing to remain in line with the last defender owing to his keenness to run onto passes over the top, ergo losing out on a couple of extra goal involvements.
Osimhen’s ill-timed runs caused Luciano Spalletti a headache last season and somewhat cost Nigeria in their failure to beat Ghana in March.
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