The Super Eagles of Nigeria played out a 1-all draw with the Selecao of Brazil in an international friendly match at the Singapore National Stadium. The Eagles took the lead in the first half through Rangers’ Joe Aribo but were pegged back early after the interval by a Casemiro effort. Nigerian coach Gernot Rohr will be satisfied with the draw as his team is currently embroiled in an injury crisis while his Brazilian counterpart, Tite, will be frustrated as his side have now failed to win any of their last four games.
Here are TOP SOCCER BLOG’s five major talking points from the encounter.
1. JESUS A MENACE THROUGHOUT
Gabriel Jesus might be playing second fiddle to Sergio Aguero at club level, but he has been an important member of the Selecao setup under Tite.
Neymar’s 12th-minute withdrawal due to injury appeared to disrupt the team, but Jesus stepped into his shoes as Brazil’s major threat almost seamlessly. He tormented the usually reliable Jamiu Collins throughout and should have registered at least an assist if not for his teammates’ wastefulness in front of goal.
2. UZOHO STAKES HIS CLAIM AS EAGLES’ NUMBER ONE
Francis Uzoho seems to be a changed man since losing his place at the 2019 AFCON to Daniel Akpeyi. His only appearance at the tournament was in the 3rd place match against Tunisia, where he kept a clean. Rohr has stuck with him since then, and he seems to have regained his confidence. He was in excellent form against Brazil here as he made some stunning saves to keep the Eagles in the encounter. An unfortunate injury forced him out, and he was replaced by his latest rival for the number 1 spot, Maduka Okoye — who also looked assured in his brief cameo. Fans will be hopeful for Uzoho’s quick recovery ahead of the next international window.
3. SET-PIECES REMAINS A CONCERN FOR EAGLES
One of the major problems for the Eagles since Rohr took over is the team’s weakness in defending set-pieces. This weakness was fully exploited here by the Brazilians who threatened throughout from set-pieces, and it wasn’t surprising that their goal came through one.
4. CASEMIRO IS COLOSSAL
Casemiro is undoubtedly one of the best midfielders in the world. The Real Madrid man has been a consistent performer at the highest level since breaking through at FC Porto. Here against Nigeria, he demonstrated his dynamism has he helped Brazil boss the midfield throughout. Casemiro has a reputation of stepping up when it matters most, and here in the absence of Neymar, he got the team’s equalizer
5. ARIBO SHINES YET AGAIN
Rangers FC midfielder Joe Aribo has been drafted into the team ahead of Oghenekaro Etebo and as Mikel’s replacement since the latter’s retirement. Making just his second Super Eagles appearance against Brazil, he got his second goal in as many games with a well-taken effort to put Nigeria ahead. Aribo looks a great fit alongside Ndidi and Iwobi. Although the Eagles were dominated in the midfield throughout, it wasn’t due to their midfielders’ incompetence but rather due to the fact that Brazil boasts of world-class midfielders in their ranks.
Written by Muftaudeen Abdullahi Ishola