Head Coach Jose Peseiro Reacts To Nigeria Super Eagles 1-0 Defeat At Home To Guinea Bissau In The 2023 AFCON Qualifiers.

The Nigeria Super Eagles suffered a devastating 1-0 defeat in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against the Djurtus of Guinea-Bissau at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja on Friday evening.

Mama Balde scored the only goal of the game in the first half in what seems to be an empty stadium in Abuja.

Balde caught both of Nigeria’s central defenders off-guard in the 29th minute when he received a long pass beyond the halfway line from 32-year-old Opa Sangante, controlled it, and made a sensational finish beyond the goalkeeper’s dive. 

Despite dominating the ill-fated encounter, the West Africans failed to find a response to Balde's goal.

The host who started the game with the dangerous attacking trio of Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Osimhen, and Ademola Lookman having been directly involved in almost 70 goals for top clubs in Europe this season, their major undoing was failing to convert chances, even with the introduction of Moses Simon and Paul Onuachu later on for the ineffective Kelechi Iheanacho and Lookman.

The result means that the Super Eagles have lost top spot in Group A, as Guinea-Bissau are now on top of Group with 7 points from three games, while Nigeria are in second position with 6 points from the same number of games.

The Eagles defeated Sierra Leone 2-1 in their first match and thrashed Sao Tome and Principe 10-0. The Djurtus got a 5-1 victory against Sao Tome and Principe and played a 2-2 draw with Sierra Leone.

Both Nigeria and Guinea Bissau will face each other again in three days’ time, as head coach Jose Peseiro and his men will look to secure a vital three points when they travel to the Estádio 24 de Setembro, Bissau for the reverse fixture against Baciro Cande’s men on Monday.

Jose Peseiro further expressed optimism during the post-match conference, saying that saying that the three time African champions can beat any team in the world if they play the way they did against Bissau, but learn to convert little chances;

“First of all congratulations to Guinea Bissau. Second, we missed so many goals and we could have been here for another one hour and not score.

“Sometimes it happens in football.  I am not happy of course, I am sad like my team but they created many opportunities.

“If we keep playing like this, we can beat any team. With the way we played, we could have defeated Guinea Bissau. It was a good luck for them and bad luck for us.”

The former Venezuela coach also insisted that the outcome at the MKO Abiola Stadium is not a reflection of the performance of his men.

“Today, I think we deserved much more. If you watched the match and want to speak the truth, football happened... He added.

“Our team fought, we created opportunities. In the second half, our team put the Guineans in their half. They scored one goal and we could have scored five to six goals. It happens in football.”

Peseiro also expressed his anger and displeasure at the referee Kotey Alexander and blamed him for the defeat. 

He believed that the referee should have given the Guinea Bissau player Mama Balde a red card for his hard high boot tackle on Kevin Akpoguma in the second half.

Akpoguma was substituted due to the injury he sustained from the resulting tackle by Balde, who just received a yellow card. Semi Ajayi came on for the injured defender.

The Super Eagles coach also mentioned the ref's failure to award a penalty after one of his players was roughly handled in the penalty box.

He also complained about the five minutes added time given at the end of the game, as he did not account for the amount of time spent treating the injured Akpoguma.

Since taking charge of the Super Eagles on May 15, 2022, the 62-year-old Portuguese tactician has overseen six matches in all competitions managing two wins, four defeats, and one draw.

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