Nigerian fans took no prisoners as they watched the Belgians laboured to a narrow win over the Canadians
Belgium began their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign with a slender 1-0 win over Canada in a Group F clash in front of 40,432 spectators inside the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.
In a match with several highlights but few goals, Belgium would consider themselves lucky to claim all three points against the dogged Canadians.
Canada enjoyed most of the ball possessions and won a penalty in the early minutes, only for Bayern Munich defender Alphonso Davies to miss the resultant kick.
The Concacaf representatives could have had two more penalties in the first half. However, Axel Witsel and Eden Hazard had the referee and the linesman to thank for overlooking their errors.
And former Chelsea man Michy Batshuayi made Canada pay for their missed chances, scoring what turned out to be the winner – his 29th goal for his nation – shortly before the halftime break.
Nigerian-born defender Samuel Adekugbe came off the bench to make his World Cup debut for Canada, but former Super Eagles’ interest Ike Ugbo did not make it to the pitch.
But despite Canada’s best efforts after the break, Belgium held firm for their first win in Qatar.
Nigerian fans reactions
Several Nigerian fans, however, vented their frustrations with some players’ displays on the social media website Twitter.
One of the players who received a lot of flak from Nigerians was Eden Hazard.
While Hazard was nowhere near his best version, the Belgian captain still delivered a decent performance.
But one poor Hazard back pass nearly led to a penalty for Canada, and a Twitter user felt the Real Madrid man was past his prime.
Another user recommended that Hazard be donated to Nigeria’s Super Falcons instead of captaining Belgium.
Hazard don finish. Na National Team legend tax baba dey use now.— Man of Letters. (@Letter_to_Jack) November 23, 2022
He dey use senior man enter team— Dr Adedayo (@dayo_96) November 23, 2022
Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies was also not spared after the defender missed the chance to hand Canada an early lead from the penalty spot.
Referring to Germany’s shocking defeat to Japan earlier in the day, a user wrote, “Instead of Alphonso Davies to rest in the afternoon and focus on demma match against Belgium, he went to Germany hotel to console Musiala, Canada coach should comort him from the match.”
There was recognised applause, though, for Canada and their daring style of football.
Peter Drury: Only Brazil are ahead of Belgium in the FIFA rankings. Canada on number 41 sandwiched🥪 between Scotland and Norway… But if you just landed into this planet, you wouldn’t know😭🤣— Lampard💎 (@Lampard_Lawal) November 23, 2022
The 🐐 at his very best🥰💙🔥 pic.twitter.com/eFtevywHVj
Belgium, with the win, go to the top of Group F following Morocco’s drab draw with Croatia in the other group match on Wednesday afternoon.