Peseiro’s first game ends in loss as Mexico beat Super Eagles in Texas
The Mexican national team on Saturday night beat Nigeria in an international friendly at the iconic AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
The match is José Peseiro’s first since he took over as Head Coach of the Super Eagles early in the month.
The match is the first the country played after failing to clinch the 2022 FIFA World Cup ticket.
Many first-team players including Captain Ahmed Musa were missing in action as an energetic, vociferous and cohesive 52,000 restless spectators in the largest covered arena in the world cheered the Mexican on.
The El Tri bossed the opening stages with their intricate passes, awesome positional play and nonchalant telepathy.
In this pulsating period, they were able to shoot ahead after 13 minutes when Santiago Gimenez found himself all alone with goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and steered home despite Uzoho’s valiant efforts to keep the ball away.
The arena, which also has the world’s largest hung-scoreboard, rocked to its foundation after this, and the Eagles had to summon courage, sense of mission and ambition not to collapse entirely under pressure.
Onslaught after onslaught led to several opportunities for the El Tri, but Uzoho and the Nigeria rearguard, with Semi Ajayi, William Ekong and Chidozie Awaziem kept the wolves off the door.
Luis Francisco Romo, Captain Andres Guardado, Rodolfo Pizzaro, Jesus Gallardo, Roberto Alvarado and Gimenez sought to frisk the Nigeria defence now and again, but they could not breach the wall again.
Peseiro opted for a flexible and interesting 3-5-2 formation, with Moses Simon and Calvin Bassey deployed as wing backs, and Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Innocent Bonke serving in midfield. Cyriel Dessers and Terem Moffi searched for the goals.
It was to the consternation of the overwhelming Mexican support and bench, led by Coach Gerardo Martino, when Nigeria equalized in the 54th minute, after Calvin Bassey’s superb in-swinger was nodded home by Dessers, with goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota scrambling in vain.
However, the Eagles, while searching for a winner, conceded an unfortuitous own goal in the 56th minute, as Ekong swept into his own while trying to clear the ball from danger.
Home–based professionals Sani Faisal, Victor Mbaoma, Chiamaka Madu and Ishaq Kayode who came in after the first 45 minutes, also gave good account of themselves.
“I am happy with what we put up out there. It was the first time after the disappointment of the World Cup playoff and you can say this is a makeshift team, while Mexico had their full-strength squad out there. I like what I saw today and I have confidence that we have appointed the right coach that can restore the glory of the Super Eagles and make them start winning once more,” President of the NFF and FIFA Council Member, Amaju Pinnick, said after the game.
Nigeria had eight shots on goal compared to Mexico’s 12, while Uzoho made four saves as against Cota’s one.
The Eagles are scheduled to fly to New Jersey on Sunday morning, ahead of Thursday’s clash with Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison.
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