Nigeria 3-1 Sudan: 3 worrying signs for the Super Eagles despite comfortable win

The Super Eagles of Nigeria won comfortably against Sudan but it was far from a perfect performance.

Nigeria vs Sudan

Nigeria solidified their place at the top of Group D with a comfortable 3-1 win against Sudan and sealed qualification to the Round of 16 in the process.

The game turned out to be a routine win for the Super Eagles as expected but the performance was not quite as optimal, especially in the first half.

Here are the worrying signs displayed by the Super Eagles against Sudan which could be exploited by better teams.

Despite scoring as early as the third minute, the Super Eagles struggled to find a rhythm and had to withstand some Sudanese pressure for the following 10 minutes.

They consistently lost possession in the midfield and defensive areas and the Sudanese would have capitalised if they had a little more quality and composure.

Sudan pressed with urgency and coordination early on which forced the Nigerian players to either think faster on the ball or lose possession; they lost possession more often than not.

After the goal in the third minute, Nigeria would have to wait till the 25th minute for a second attempt which tells the whole story.

Interim head coach Augustine Eguavoen had said in the prematch press conference that he would approach the game in a different manner to the Egypt game.

But he started with the exact 11 from the previous game which includes the midfield duo of Wilfried Ndidi and Joe Aribo. The combination worked well against Egypt but that was because the Egyptians failed to test them.

The imbalance in the central midfield was exposed by Sudan’s pressing, Aribo being the more adventurous of the duo often left Ndidi all alone as the only one in the midfield.

It is advisable for the two midfielders in a 4-4-2 to be sitters, Ndidi and Aribo made Nigeria susceptible to Sudan’s press and open to potential counterattacks.

Nigeria could have been 4-0 up at the half-time break but had to settle for just the two goals after missing two clear-cut chances.

Goals were not the only things Nigeria wasted against Sudan though, Samuel Chukwueze squandered multiple opportunities to make use of his overlapping fullback.

Samuel Chukwueze scored Nigeria’s first goal but did not do much else after that. The winger was very one-dimensional in his approach and ignored multiple overlapping runs by Ola Aina which could have generated more chances for the Super Eagles.

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