The captain of the Nigerian national team on the day has provided other reasons for the side’s poor display in the opening half of the friendly encounter against the eight-time Concacaf Gold Cup winners
Watford defender William Troost-Ekong has given reasons different from what head coach Jose Peseiro gave for the Super Eagles laboured display in the 2-1 defeat to Mexico inside the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday.
A rampant El Tri dominated the first half of the encounter and led 1-0 at halftime, and that lead could have been by a wider margin but for the brilliance of goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
The Super Eagles emerged from the interval with more purpose and equalised eight minutes into the second half after Cyriel Dessers met a sumptuous Calvin Bassey cross with a clever header.
But an unfortunate own-goal from Troost-Ekong restored Mexico’s lead shortly after, and the North Americans held on for the win despite the Eagles’ best efforts.
New head coach Jose Peseiro has admitted that a tactical blunder affected the Eagles’ output in the first half, revealing that a tweak in his approach made the team better after the break.
But Troost-Ekong has shared a view different from the Portuguese tactician’s perspective.
The former Udinese centre-back insists that with many of the Super Eagles stars arriving in the United States from Europe, they struggled to recover fully from their long trips and adapt to the new time zone before the match kicked off.
“We were unhappy to have lost to Mexico because everyone worked very hard,” Troost-Ekong told the NFF.
“The issues of long travel and little time to adapt to the new zone affected us all in the first half, but we created a raft of chances in the second half and were unlucky to have lost.
“Nevertheless, we have taken on board a lot of lessons from the game, and they will be quite useful in subsequent matches.”
The Super Eagles have not won any of their last four matches, with the team’s last victory coming in the group stages of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations against Guinea-Bissau.
The three-time Africa champions will get the chance to halt that terrible run when they trade tackles with Ecuador in another friendly match on Thursday.