No shame in losing to Madagascar –Rohr
The Super Eagles suffered an embarrassing 2-0 defeat to Madagascar in their final Group B match of the 2019 AFCON in Egypt on Sunday.
With six points from their previous two games, Nigeria’s coach Gernot Rohr made five changes to the side that defeated Guinea on Wednesday with Mikel Obi, William Troost-Ekong, John Ogu and Okechukwu Ezenwa starting in Alexandria but goals by Lalaina Nomenjanahary and Carolus Andriamahitsinoro were enough to give the debuting Indian Ocean Island country their biggest win in their history.
The result sees Madagascar, nicknamed the Barea, finishing on seven points whike Nigeria ended with six points. Guinea were third following a 2-0 win over Burundi.
A flat and disjointed display by the three-time winners was highlighted with the error-filled display which led to the 102-ranked Malagasy opening scoring in the 13thminute as Leon Balogun failed to deal with John Ogu’s pass, the Brighton defender opting to shield the ball but he was robbed of the ball.
Earlier, Nigerian skipper Mikel had a chance but his feeble shot was blocked by a frantic Madagascar defence.
Nigeria’s best chance which would have seen them draw level in the 31st minute was wasted by Ahmed Musa who instead of chipping the goalkeeper, opted to dribble but Madagascar’s defence made a last-ditch clearance to keep their slim advantage heading to the second half.
Midfielder Wilfred Ndidi came in to replace John Ogu at the start of the second half as Nigeria went in search of an equalizer but it was Ndidi who committed a foul that led to Andriamahitsinoro’s 53rd minute free-kick. It deflected off the Leicester City star into the top corner leaving Ezenwa hapless.
Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon were introduced for Mikel Obi and Samuel Kalu but Nicolas Dupuis’ side stood their ground to claim one of the biggest upsets in the history of the 62-year-old tournament.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has said their conquerors in the last group game Madagascar deserved to win the game and there was no shame losing to a very good side.
Rohr said his players were unable to recover from their first costly error.
“We gifted Madagascar the first goal, my team could not recover from that,” he said.
“We tried to introduce players that we rested but our opponents are a very good side, they played good counter attacking football and it’s not a shame to lose to a good team like this.”
He added: “We rested five of our players so that we could give opportunities to others to play. We had Ikechukwu Ezenwa in goal, we didn’t have Shehu Abdullahi who is still injured, John Ogu has been doing well in training and we needed to look at Samuel Kalu after that issue he had. This loss is a wake-up call and I know the players will react very well in our next game.