By Victor Okoye
Abuja, Oct. 9, 2020 The Desert Foxes of Algeria on Friday pipped Nigeria’s Super Eagles 1-0 in an international friendly in Austria as the African champions extended their unbeaten run to 19 consecutive wins.
Naija247news reports that the match, played at the Wörthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, saw Borussia Mönchengladbach star Ramy Bensebaini scoring the match’s only goal.
The Algerians piled up pressure on the Nigerians, scoring after just six minutes when full-back Bensebaini followed up a rebound from a header off a corner-kick with the Eagles’ defence in disarray.
Algeria continued to press forward as Nigeria struggled to settle into the match.
The Super Eagles’ first real chance at goal, however, came in the 22nd minute when Alex Iwobi fired a shot at the Algerian goal, but his effort screamed wide off target.
Nigeria finished the stronger of the two teams after debutant Zaidu Sanusi’s cross in the 39th minute located Paul Onuachu leading 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 goalkeeper soon afterwards.
Nigeria started the brighter of the two sides in the second half but they continued to give away possession and relied on counter-attacks to really get going.
Against the run of play, the impressive Tyronne Ebuehi drove from defence to shoot at goal on the hour, but again his 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 North Africans who pressed forward in an attempt to double their lead, while the few times Nigeria surged upfront they could not go past a very organised Algerian defence.
Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye tipped away a goal-bound effort by substitute Yacine Brahimi in the 84th minute.
Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho, who replaced Onuachu, came close to grabbing the much-needed equaliser with a last gasp effort in added time but his shot went off target.
“This is a very good test for us. There are positives to pick from a tough game like this,” Nigerian coach Gernot Rohr was quoted as saying on the team’s official Twitter account
He said: “Now we have to recover well and start to plan for the next game on Tuesday against another tough team, Tunisia.”
The Super Eagles head to the Jacques Lemmans Arena on Tuesday to face the continent’s second-ranked team, Tunisia, who defeated Sudan 3-0 earlier on Friday.