Eagles Lost Concentration, Lost Decisive Encounter to Uruguay.

Nigeria vs. Uruguay Lineup.
Nigeria vs. Uruguay Lineup.

The match between Nigeria and Uruguay in the Confederations Cup have come and gone, but as many had expected the Super Eagles’ record 18-match unbeaten run has gone with the heats of the South Americans’ firepower.

Goals from Diego Lugano (19th) and another from Diego Forlan, six minutes after the break, was sufficient for the Copa America champions to lay claim to a hard fought victory in a much contested encounter at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil.

Mikel Celebrates His Fourth Goal For Eagles.
Mikel Celebrates His Fourth Goal For Eagles.

Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi pulled one back for the Nigerians on his 50th appearance, on the 37 minute, however, a highly motivated line up of world class strikers in the attack for the South Americans pushed Eagles’ defence to its breaking point and it yielded to two scrappy goal.

The Uruguayans got off to a good start with sporadic pace that caught Nigeria off guard as the latter barely touched the ball in the former’s half in the first 14 minutes. Brown Ideye’s daisy-cutter of a free-kick 16 minutes from kickoff was spilled by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, who managed to recover and gobble the ball at the second attempt, but a second chance from another set-piece was blown over the wall and bar by the forward spotting a Mohican-style haircut.

The goal which opened up the contest came in the 19th minute courtesy of Lugano. Forlan placed a low cross into the box and, after Edinson Cavani fails to apply a finishing touch, the skipper made no mistake from six yards out.

The quality of Nigeria’s attack failed to compliment the pace with which Uruguay troubled their defence as Efe Ambrose struggled to keep Forlan at bay at the left-hand side of the defence.

Ahmed Musa caused problem for the South Americans, but most of his promising moves broke down at the edge of the area, either he’s forced down or his feet was a bit too quick for his brain.

The equaliser eventually came from the most unlikely sources in the 37th minute, Ideye played the ball into Mikel’s path and the Chelsea midfielder, though not often the quickest, runs rings around Lugano before curling a shot beyond Muslera.

Mikel Runs Rings Around Lugano.
Mikel Runs Rings Around Lugano.

Obi’s brilliant goal brought the Stadium back to life as his teammates followed suit, while their opponent started to look like an ageing team. Ideye’s header in the 46th minute was tipped over the bar by Muslera.

As the three minutes of injury time wore off, coach Stephen Keshi must have felt bad with Nnamdi Oduamadi having to walk off injured, following a tangle with Egidio Arevalo. Nevertheless, his team was in control and held on to it till the interval.

The second half got underway with the Eagles back into the game, passing the ball with plenty of confidence. Luis Suarez had a tough opponent in Godfrey Obaobona, but Forlan happened to be too smart for Ambrose.

Uruguay turned defence into attack and did almost nothing to score a second-half opener in the 51st minute. Suarez and Cavani helped switched play to Forlan to the left of the penalty area, who absolutely laces it first time past Vincent Enyeama in a superb effort. Where did Ambrose go? No one knew, but Nigeria was down by a goal again.

Diego Forlan Strikes One-Time.
Diego Forlan Strikes One-Time.

Every effort to get an equaliser proved abortive. Ideye came close on two occasions, first was an overhead kick from the edge of the box in the 68th minute, which wasn’t good enough. Ten minutes later, Ambrose played him in but, on the turn, the Nigerian forward had the ball nipped off his toes by Maxi Pereira.

Cavani had two golden opportunities to extend the lead, but the striker must have had a nightmare of a match in Salvado, he missed a header six yards from the post and capped it off by bundling off the ball in front of goal in extra time.

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said: “I think my players played well and played to instructions. It was just one minute’s lack of concentration that made the difference. Otherwise it was good.”