Super Eagles of Nigeria again lost to the Desert Foxes of Algeria, the second in 14 months, as Ramy Bensebaini lone strike settled a largely tepid affair at the Worthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt, Austria in an international friendly match yesterday.
Coach Gernot Rohr-led Eagles had lost 1-2 to Algeria in the semifinal at Egypt 2019 AFCON in July last. Many Nigerians were expecting the Eagles to use the friendly in Austria yesterday to pay the Algerians in their own coins.
Bensebaini reacted sharply to turn a loose ball home after his initial header from Riyah Mahrez’s corner kick was blocked.
Rohr made use of some new players he was looking to play their way into the heart of the national team.
The Eagles, who played without striker Victor Osimhen, midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Wilfred Ndidi, Joe Aribo, as well as regular goalkeepers Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, and Daniel Akpeyi, gave a good account of themselves, especially in the defence area.
Newcomer, goalkeepers Maduka Okoye, showed great level of confidence, same for Zaidu Sanusi, who played full 90 minutes.
Frank Onyeka, Samson Tijani, and former Germany U-20 captain, Kevin Akpoguma also featured for the Eagles yesterday.
Everton midfielder, Alex Iwobi showed some flashes in the opening round of the match, but his efforts were not good enough to rescue a point for the Eagles.
Moses Simon, Kelechi Iheanacho, Ahmed Musa came in the second half, but the resilient Algerians refused to curve in.The Eagles will face Tunisia in another friendly match on Monday. Tunisia won 3-0 against Sudan yesterday.
Coach Gernot Rohr is using the friendlies to put his team in good shape for the forthcoming AFCON and World Cup qualifiers. The Algerians have a second game against Mexico in The Netherlands on Tuesday.
The North Africans have not lost on the pitch since they were defeated by the odd goal in an AFCON 2019 qualifier away in the Benin Republic in October 2018.
Two years earlier, they were beaten 3-1 by the Super Eagles in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Uyo. Both teams ended the return leg in Constantine 1-1, though the Eagles had already picked the only World Cup ticket from the group ahead of that final encounter.