Equatorial Guinea head coach Rodolfo Bodipo has criticised two crucial refereeing decisions which he believes cost his team against Nigeria in their African Nations Championship match on Tuesday.
The tournament debutants let their first half lead slip in the Group C clash at the Grand Stade D’Agadir, losing to their more illustrious opponents 3-1. Esi Nyama scored for the Nzalang Nacional in the first half but the young side succumbed to three goals from Nigeria in the second.
Bodipo was happy with the experience gained by his wards in the tournament but believes the ‘small team’ status of his team counted against them in refereeing decisions in the game.
“We came here to gain more experience with this young team.,” Bodipo told the press after the match.
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“We played a very strong team which is Nigeria. We didn’t win a game here in Morocco but we won by testing the great group that participated here.”
On the refereeing decisions, Bodipo highlighted Nigeria’s equalising goal and Rabiu Ali’s penalty both of which involved Lobi Stars striker Anthony Okpotu.
Okpotu headed home Osas Okoro’s cross for the first goal when Owono Nchama was at the sidelines after receiving treatment on a knock while the Nigerian number nine fell under what looked to be a slight nudge by Jorge Akapo to earn his side a penalty late on.
“We had a point with the referee for the first goal we conceded. We were playing with a player less who was delayed from coming back to the field when they attacked for the goal.
“The penalty was also not a clean penalty for us but it happens to small countries like us,” posited Bodipo.
Equatorial Guinea ended their participation with no point but go home with the consolation of their youngsters earning valuable experiences in the biennial tournament.