It was gritty, it was physical and it was dirty, but the Super Eagles battled to beat Poland 1-0 win a friendly game on Friday, March 23.
It was a game of few worked out chances as the Polish only threatened on set-piece, while the Super Eagles laboured in vain to break down their host.
But a Victor Moses tricky, many however have the right to call it a ‘dive’ gave the Super Eagles of Nigeria a penalty from which the Chelsea man picked himself up to score.
It was always going to be an uphill task against Poland at their own 43, 000-capacity Stadion Miejski in Wrocław and with an in-form Robert Lewandowski.
If the Super Eagles were fazed, there didn’t show it at all as they started right off the block, pressing their host and playing with vim and vigour in the early minutes.
Alex Iwobi was very brightly showing fine footwork before sliding a pass to Kelechi Iheanacho who blazed over.
Nigeria pushed back Poland in the early minutes and Odion Ighalo was caught offside two in the first three minutes as the Super Eagles pressed.
But the Super Eagles were first reminded of the danger that Lewandowski posed when a pass from the right which evaded the ‘Oyinbo Wall’ pairing of William Troost -Ekong and Leon Balogun was met by the Bayern Munich striker.
He peeled away Balogun but his striker hit the post past the diving Nigerian goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
The game was really settled into the tempo it maintained all through the game as both sides remained cautious.
It was physical as both sides threw themselves into tackles and it led to a 19-minute substitution for Poland as an injured Karol Linetty was replaced by Jacek Góralski.
Lewandowski remained a threat as Poland were trying to play a long ball over the Super Eagles high line.
The host also threatened on the set-piece and Uzoho needed to be strong to punch out a corner kick in the 29th minute.
In the 36th minute, the host got a chance from a freekick which flew past an onrushing Uzoho but went out for a goal kick.
Moses was next to go to ground after Góralski clobbered into him. He picked himself off to curl a freekick way off target.
In the 43rd minute, the Polish looked like they took the lead, some would always say they scored.
A Polish freekick gets into the box, past Uzoho but Super Eagles central Balogun cleared on the line. In the 44th minute, Uzoho did well to stand firm to beat out a Lewandowski fierce free kick.
At the end of the first half, the Polish had every right to feel done by as replays showed that the ball crossed the line before Balogun cleared.
Moses wins it
play The Super Eagles celebrate Moses’ goal against Poland (Pawel Andrachiewicz/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images))
Poland came all out in the second half but the Super Eagles defended firmly. It was however long that Lewandowski beat the defenders but his shot was blocked by Uzoho.
In the 61st minutes, Moses beat a Polish player in the box before going down.
Replays showed that he was barely touched but he picked himself up to calmly finish past Bartosz Bialkowski to put Nigeria in the lead.
Poland kept threatening from set-pieces and they had a chance to level in the 65th minute but a Polish player could not beat Uzoho with his header from a freekick.
Lewandowski’s evening ended in the 66th minute as he was withdrawn for Jakub Swierczok.
The Polish kept coming at the Super Eagles but Uzoho did well to punch clear a free kick while Troost-Ekong did well to block a goalbound shot in the 75th minute.
Uzoho came out again to fist away a dangerous free-kick inside the Nigeria area as the Super Eagles held on.
Ogenyi Onazi who had come in for Joel Obi in the 65th minute had a chance to counter-attack but he overplayed a pass to the onrushing Ahmed Musa as the Super Eagles saw off the game.
Culled from pulseng
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