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FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED FROM U-23s 3-4 LOSS TO U-20s

For the second time in a space of one months the Flying Eagles of Nigeria defeated the U-23s in a friendly game meant to prepare both teams for various assignments.

The 4-2 victory of the U-20s exposed some lapses in the Nigeria U-23s which Owngoalnigeria noticed during the game.

1. POOR FULL BACKS

The Samson Siasia lead U-23s were more often than not exposed by the tricks of the U-20s wingers in Samuel Chukwueze and Orji Okonkwo with Stanley Amuzie guilty of letting Orji in for his brace, while Chukwueze was a handful for Sincere Seth who couldn’t match his overlapping abilities with his primary aim of defending for his team.

2. LACK OF CREATIVITY IN THE MIDFIELD

The midfield was one area the U-20s had total control over in the game with crisp,neat passes from the trio of Kingsley Michael,Chukwudi Agor and captain Kelechi Nwakali while the U-23s chase shadows.

While the U-20s where quick in turning defence into attack same can’t be said about the U-23s who were guilty of playing sideways and backward passes without creating any clear cut chance to put the defence of the Flying Eagles under pressure.

3. LACK OF A REAL GOAL SCORER

With all due respect to the duo of Taiwo Awoniyi and Junior Ajayi the U-23s badly need an upgrade in the final third especially in the box although one will have to consider the poor services from the midfield before judging the duo.

Even though they were starve off service they on their part fail to create anything meaningful with balls that came their way unlike Osimhen who aside getting a goal used the balls that came his way to devastating effect.

4. CENTRAL DEFENCE STILL AN ISSUE

The one area of this team that has been a problem from the start is the defence and at the U-23 AFCON they relied heavily on the heroics of goalkepper Emmanuel Daniel to secure qualification for the Olympics.

This time around with Daniel badly exposed there was nothing he could do to stop the rampaging u-20s forwards with Osimhen making mincemeat of the central defence of the U-23s with fancy footwork and brilliant hold up play that resulted in the assist for one of the goals that gave the U-20s the 4-2 win.

5. TEAM COHESION IS VERY POOR

It’s clear to see from the way both teams played that while one played as a team (U-20s) the other played like a collection of talented players with no real cohesion to trouble the organised U-20s.

However this is one issue that can be remedied by the technical crew when they hit the United State of America for camping before their campaign at the Rio 2016 Olympics but judging by this game, the defence,midfield and attack all seems isolated from one another.

*Ahmed Ishaya