Areas Gernot Rohr Still Has Work To Do In Super Eagles Defence As Exposed By Argentina

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I am sure you have all watched the two goals we conceded during the Argentina game. I am particularly worried about the second goal we conceded in that match as it showed the kind of frailty that made Brazil concede seven against Germany in 2014.

When a team plays 3-5-2, the wingbacks push up and there is space down the channels for the opposition to exploit. One of the centrebacks then has to come across to cover that area, to prevent the ball being whipped in behind the defence. If you look closely at Argentina’s second goal, Christian Pavon, who had a brilliant game, in what was only his second match for Argentina, exploited this area very well. he made sure he was in behind Ola Aina whenever he ventured forward, It was Pavon who crossed that ball for Sergio Aguero to score. His pass was inch perfect. He put that ball on a sixpence for Aguero.

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Ideally, Leon Balogun should have cut that cross out but clearly, he did not have the pace to match Pavon. That is a serious worry as come the World Cup, Balogun will be up against a lot of quick attackers. Down the middle too, after Pavon delivered the cross, neither William Ekong or Chibozor Awazien had the legs to keep pace with Aguero.

I do not know if it was a case of Aguero beating them for raw pace or that they failed to anticipate when he started his run to match him but neither Awaziem or Ekong was ever in control of the situation. Their last ditch tackles could even have resorted in an own goal as they slid in.

Did you also notice that even if Aguero missed the ball, Di Maria was waiting on the far side for a tap-in? Shehu Abdullahi had not tracked him back either Daniel Akpeyi too did not come out to command the area. A goalkeeper like Vincent Enyeama or would have timed the cross and gone for it.

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The good things is that in the second half, Ebuehi and Idowu were tracking back so well that they were able to cut out all such crosses. Rohr has his work cut out but he needs to resolve how to shut down the space in the channels when playing 3-5-2. I am not interested in the fact that Otamendi, Pezzella and Mascherano committed similar blunders or also lacked pace to keep up with counter-attacks.

Ayo writes in from the UK