Why Was The Super Eagles' 10:0 Scoreline Against São Tomé and Príncipe More Impressive?
Peseiro's Nigeria made light work of São Tomé and Príncipe in thrilling style with 10 unrequited goals in this week's 2023 Afcon qualifiers fixture.
V. Osimhen (9', 48', 65', 84 minutes), M. Simon (28' minutes), T. Moffi (43', 60' minutes), O. Etebo (55' minutes) , A. Lookman (63' minutes) and E. Dennis (90+2' minutes) were Nigeria's goals scorers.
This was an extraordinary performance by the Super Eagles who were not in a charitable mood throughout the encounter.
Against very lowly oppositions, Nigeria have sometimes flattered to deceive their way into unimpressive victories. And sometimes they had actually been defeated; last year's face-palm home loss to Central Africa Republic readily comes to mind.
It is easy to dismiss São Tomé and Príncipe as a team Nigeria should be spanking 10:0 but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
In March last year, noisy neighbours Ghana needed 1 dubious penalty and 2 goals to limp to a 3:1 win against this same São Tomé and Príncipe in their Afcon 2022 second leg qualifier. In the first leg - similar to this one in which Nigeria executed as if scoring goals was going out of fashion - Ghana only managed a meagre 1:0 victory. And guess what, it was achieved by another questionable penalty kick in the second half.
Even South Africa huffed and puffed to eventually overcome São Tomé and Príncipe 4:2 in 2020.
So, they might be pushovers, but not pushovers to the extent in which the Super Eagles' ridiculous scoreline suggested today.
Simply put, Peseiro's Super Eagles were excellent. Yes, there were certain aspects of their performance that require constructive criticisms, but overall, it was a 5 out of 5 performance due to the ludicrous and record setting margin of victory.
In this day and age, it is near difficult to find a 10:0 scoreline even in women's football, such was the ruthlessness of Nigeria's performance.
With the cloud of 2022 World Cup qualification failure still still hanging over the Super Eagles, any positive results (however impressive) will continue to be met with measured and tempered celebrations. After Qatar 2022, that situation should psychologically improve.
It was an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable match to watch, not just because of the scoreline, not just because of the calibre of the opposition but because of the way the Super Eagles set up and set about dismantling their opponents in brilliant fashion and with ruthless efficiency.
And the attention-grabbing scoreline is a testament to this.
In the match, Peseiro set up in his now familiar 4-4-2 formation but this time with an interesting twist. Because he knew São Tomé and Príncipe were not a strong side, Zaidu pushed higher up the pitch which made the formation look like 3-5-2 at times (his plan B formation) .
Hence, for Nigeria's first goal, Bassey passed to Iwobi who located Zaidu (in far left midfield) who slipped in Simon before the Nantes man delivered a Sony PlayStation cross for Osimhen's picture-perfect header.
Sometimes, both fullbacks would overlap at the same time leaving Ajayi and Bassey at the back with protection from Etebo. In this situation, the midfield and forward were flooded with bodies leading to Nigeria's deluge of goals.
Peseiro went for the jugular in this match and it paid off for him big time as he struck gold with goals. São Tomé and Príncipe do not win a lot of matches but, in the same token you have to go all the way back to 1976 for when they conceded a similar number of goals in a game.
So, though it was against a lowly opposition, the ruthless nature of this 10:0 capitation is homeric and nothing short of spectacular to which the Super Eagles have to be rightly applauded.
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