On Friday evening, the Nigerian national football team, popularly known as the Super Eagles, suffered an unexpected 1-0 defeat at the hands of Guinea-Bissau in Abuja during matchday three of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series.
Despite dominating possession and having many shots on goal, the Super Eagles failed to recover from Mama Balde’s 29th-minute effort.
In this report, we delve into the statistics and facts that reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly of Nigeria’s latest poor result.
Although Nigeria failed to secure a victory, they demonstrated their dominance on the pitch.
The Super Eagles had the upper hand regarding ball possession, accounting for 68% of the possession while completing 84% of the 474 passes attempted.
The team’s formidable attack, which featured Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Paul Onuachu in the second half, was impressive, registering 17 shots, 12 of which were from inside the box.
Despite their impressive ball possession and numerous shots, Nigeria’s attackers failed to capitalize on their chances. Out of the 17 shots, only three were on target, which goalkeeper Jonas Mendes easily saved.
Additionally, Nigeria missed a big chance, lost possession 140 times, and failed to score from the five corner kicks they played.
Nigeria’s loss to Guinea-Bissau was an embarrassment on the global stage, considering the latter’s lower FIFA ranking. Ranked 35th in the world, Nigeria was beaten by a team ranked 83 spots below them.
This defeat was the second time the Super Eagles have lost to a lowly-rated side in 17 months, following their 1-0 loss to the Central African Republic during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The CAR were 90 places below the Eagles on the day.
Furthermore, the loss to Guinea-Bissau is the first defeat the Super Eagles had suffered in their first match of a new year since January 2015, when they lost to Ivory Coast.
This loss was Nigeria’s first defeat in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in almost six years since their 0-2 home loss to South Africa in June 2017.
Since the appointment of head coach Jose Peseiro, the Super Eagles have only won two and lost five of their seven matches. In the last three consecutive games, Nigeria has suffered defeats to Algeria, Portugal, and now Guinea-Bissau.
Despite the disappointing loss, Coach Peseiro will have the opportunity to rally his squad and halt this ugly run when Nigeria faces Guinea-Bissau again at the Estádio 24 de Setembro, Bissau, on Monday in the return leg.
As fans await the rematch, they hope to see the Super Eagles bounce back and showcase their true potential on the pitch.