The Nigeria Super Eagles put up a spirited and compact defensive performance to defeat Poland 1-0 here in Wroclaw in a pre-World Cup friendly.
This was the second successive victory since World Cup qualifiers ended. Argentina had been thrillingly beaten in Krasdonar, Russia, November last year 4-2 as the Super Eagles continue to send out messages to the world.
Victor Moses won and converted the penalty in the second half . These victories could easily get fans and perhaps the players giddy with expectations as the World Cup approaches. “We are not unmindful that these are friendly matches” Abdullahi Shehu said in the Mixed Zone after the match. “We are not going to get carried away as we know that there are things we can still work on”.
Tyrone Ebuehi who replaced Shehu spoke in the same vein “naah, we are just taking games one at a time” he said when asked if there is a chance of over confidence. “Everybody knows what we are trying to do the dressing room so no danger of over confidence”.
Nantes loanee Chidozie Awaziem who did not get a game spoke from the same sheet as his team mates “these wins only give us confidence to go into the world cup knowing we are capable of good achievements there.” The Porto player started and finished the win over Argentina and might expect to play the Serbia friendly in two days. “These friendlies are helping us know what weaknesses to work on going into Russia”.
After taking the lead the Nigerian team did not look like they were going to give it up. “The coach (Gernot Rohr) encouraged us to remain compact and shut down the gaps which the Polish side would want to exploit and I think we did that reasonably well” Ebuehi said.
Abdullahi went off with what looked like a hamstring injury. “I have to wait till we get to London and we have a look and only then we know how bad it is. Maybe we have a scan or we just need a little physio, it does not feel too bad” he said.
Mainz 05 centre-back Leon Balogun was another who went off limping “It (knee injury) happened when I caught my foot in the turf. It was painful with each step I took or pass I made but as a precaution I thought it was best I came off. I don’t think it is that serious, I already have ice pack on it so I should be fine in a few days.”
Balogun came up against the Polish skipper and Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandowski and was pleased they restricted him a bit “It helped that I have played against him many times in the past, so I was able to tell my team mates what he is most likely to do in terms of his movements”.
Balogun is not unmindful that Lewandowski still had chances “It shows his quality that he still hit the post in the first half and in the second half we relied on Francis (Udoho) to make a save to deny him”.
The Super Eagles head to London to face Serbia at Barnet’s quite tiny stadium The Hive to conclude this round of International friendlies.