Taiwo Awoniyi has suggested Nigeria used Friday’s match to learn about each other and the 2-2 draw should not bother the supporters.
- Awoniyi says it is unfortunate Nigeria couldn’t win
- Insists the game was for players to learn about each other
- Insists there is more needed from strikers than scoring goals
WHAT HAPPENED? The Super Eagles came from a goal down to draw 2-2 with Algeria ‘B’ in a test match played on Friday. Maduka Okoye gifted CR Belouizdad’s Karim Aribi an easy goal before the in-form Everton midfielder Alex Iwobi levelled matters. Cremonese striker Cyriel Dessers then put the West African nation ahead before a late penalty was converted by USM Alger’s Aymen Mahious to ensure the spoils were shared.
Awoniyi has now suggested the match was like an orientation, especially for players who were playing together for the first time.
WHAT HE SAID: “It was a good game, but it is unfortunate that we could not win,” the Nottingham Forest striker told NFF TV. Nonetheless, it was a game for us to know each other, to understand how we all play. And on his failure to score.
“Every striker likes to score goals, but there is more to a striker’s role. The most important thing is to bring your player into positions to score goals. But like I said earlier, the job of a striker is to score, to help your teammates. Then of course, if it works out, the game would be great for everyone in the end.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: In the absence of the injured first-choice striker Victor Osimhen of Napoli and Real Sociedad’s Umar Sadiq, Awoniyi was given the privilege to lead the line. However, it was his positional rival Dessers who scored after coming on as a second-half substitute.
IN THREE PHOTOS
DID YOU KNOW? It was Dessers’ first goal after eight matches in all competitions for the club and national team. Prior to Friday’s strike, the former Genk attacker had failed to score in seven Serie A matches.
WHAT NEXT FOR AWONIYI? Coach Jose Peseiro might opt to start Dessers ahead of Awoniyi on Tuesday against Algeria in an international friendly to be played in Oran.
Does Awoniyi have what it takes to lead the line for Nigeria against Algeria?