Iwobi scores as England edge past Super Eagles

By George Akpayen

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Photo: The FA
Photo: The FA

Alex Iwobi got among the goals as England defeated Nigeria’s Super Eagles 2-1 through first-half goals from Gary Cahill and Harry Kane in a World Cup warm-up match at Wembley on Saturday.

The Nigerians responded inside two minutes of the restart when Alex Iwobi calmly fired an attempt past Jordan Pickford in England’s goal.

It was a tepid start from the former African champions as they struggled to keep up with England.

Kieran Trippier’s free kick aimed at goal was turned away by Nigeria teenage goalkeeper Francis Uzoho after six minutes.

A minute later from the corner kick, Chelsea defender Gary Cahill rose to meet Trippier’s corner kick to give the Three Lions an early lead.

England from this point in the first period were just too slick for their Nigerian opponents. Raheem Sterling was next to have a go as he spinned away from William Troost-Ekong before dinking his attempt off target.

Moments later Sterling combined with Ashley Young but the latter’s shot was blocked by Bryan Idowu who flung himself in the way of the attempt.

Nigeria’s best effort at goal came close to the half-hour when Odion Ighalo’s deflected attempt fell for Victor Moses — it was only half a chance which the England defence doused any attempt by the Super Eagles.

On 28 minutes, Jesse Lingard at the other end, watched as Uzoho blocked his shot and five minutes later the Nigeria goalkeeper again read Sterling’s low cross well to snuff out an England opportunity.

Ighalo had a half chance after motoring into England’s box but his shot was aimed straight at Pickford.

Six minutes to the break, Sterling rolled the ball to Kane just near Nigeria’s arc, and the Spurs forward took a touch and smashed the ball hard and low which squirmed under Uzoho for England’s second. It was looking like it would be an easy ride for the English already with a two-goal cushion despite Moses’ best attempt directed straight at Pickford just before the teams headed to the locker room.

Nigeria head coach opted for a change in playing personnel and tactics at the restart. Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu, Kenneth Omeruo and Tyronne Ebuehi replaced Ogenyi Onazi, Joel Obi, Shehu Abdullahi and Leon Balogun.

The plan paid off as the Super Eagles hauled themselves off the canvass two minutes into the second half. Ighalo’s shot clipped the foot of England’s post and Iwobi expertly scored from the rebound.

Rohr’s men put up an improved performance in the second period with Ebuehi using his pace to good effect while Mikel John Obi had a sight at goal but only fired a weak effort that failed to trouble Pickford.

Nigeria will now head to the Rudolf-Tonn-Stadion in Rannersdorf, Austria where they will play their final friendly match against Czech Republic on Wednesday before their first World Cup group game against Croatia.

© The Predictor NG

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