Nigeria Falls Short Against Mali in Finidi George’s Second Game in Charge

2 min read

Finidi George made several alterations to the squad that triumphed over Ghana, introducing players like Moses Simon, Bright Osayi-Samuel, and Raphael Onyedika into the starting lineup. However, unlike their previous match, the Super Eagles encountered a sluggish start, with the Malian team displaying greater vigor.

Mali exhibited a willingness to take risks, contrasting with Finidi’s team, which seemed content to play it safe. Unfortunately for Nigeria, their lackluster performance would prove costly as Mali seized the lead in the 18th minute, courtesy of an unfortunate error from Chidozie Awaziem, whose misplaced pass allowed El Bilal Toure to capitalize and score past Stanley Nwabali.

Toure’s goal served as a wake-up call for Nigeria, prompting an increase in their tempo. The Super Eagles nearly leveled the score when Alex Iwobi delivered an exquisite through ball to Moses Simon, but the Nantes winger failed to convert the opportunity. Tragically, Simon’s involvement was cut short due to injury, resulting in Cyriel Dessers replacing him.

Despite maintaining possession, Nigeria struggled to create clear-cut chances, entering halftime trailing behind Mali. The second half saw Nigeria dominating possession, relentlessly pressing forward in search of an equalizer. However, Mali remained resolute in defense, thwarting Nigeria’s attempts to breach their backline.

Moments of promise arose for Nigeria, with Wilfred Ndidi delivering a superb pass to Dessers, who unfortunately squandered the opportunity by blasting the ball over the crossbar. Despite sustained pressure, Nigeria failed to capitalize on their chances, allowing Mali to capitalize on a counterattack, with Kamory Doumbia doubling their advantage three minutes from full time.

Doumbia’s goal effectively sealed Nigeria’s fate, as Mali emerged victorious with a 2-0 win, dealing a blow to Finidi George’s aspirations of securing the managerial position permanently. Nigeria’s hopes were dashed by goals from El Bilal Toure and Kamory Doumbia in Finidi George’s second game at the helm.

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