Three tactical errors made by Finidi during Super Eagles 2-0 defeat against Mali

Published: March 27, 2024
Three tactical errors made by Finidi during Super Eagles 2-0 defeat against Mali

Nigeria failed to build on the momentum gathered with the victory over arch-rival Ghana. The Super Eagles lost to Mali on Tuesday night in Marrakech, Morocco. 

Mali secured a 2-0 victory over Nigeria in the international friendly, with both goals coming from both halves. El Bilal Toure scored in the first half while Kamoury Doumbia scored in the 87th minute. discusses three tactical mistakes made by the Eagle's interim manager against Mali. 

False Nine 

Nigeria suffered a 2-0 defeat to Mali on Tuesday. However, the inability of Nigeria to threaten the Eagles is a source of concern for the team and Nigerians. 

The Super Eagles employed a 3-5-2 formation, similar to the one used in their victory against Ghana. This time, Kelechi Iheanacho and Moses Simon were selected to spearhead the attack.

However, Nigeria struggled to trouble Mali's defense, partly due to the mismatch in playing styles. 

Neither Iheanacho nor Simon possessed the typical attributes of a traditional number nine, and they found it challenging to contend with the physicality and strength of the Malian defenders.

Iheanacho tends to operate around the box and link up with midfielders, whereas Simon is known for his direct wing play. 

Having both players upfront meant Nigeria lacked a commanding presence, which became evident during the game, especially following Simon's injury.

Lack of creativity 

The Super Eagles encountered difficulties in midfield due to a lack of creativity in that area.  Nigeria's starting midfield trio consisted of Wilfred Ndidi, Raphael Onyedika, and Alex Iwobi. 

Iwobi was tasked with the responsibility of generating chances for the attacking players. 

However, the Fulham midfielder struggled in this role against Mali, as he also had to focus on ball control and aiding Nigeria's buildup from defense.

Given Iwobi's dual responsibilities, the decision of the coach not to introduce Nathan Tella came as a surprise. 

The former Southampton player possesses the ability to create chances and link up with the strikers to score goals. 

Tella's inclusion could have provided Nigeria with more control over the game, allowing Iwobi to concentrate on dictating play and facilitating buildup from the defensive line.

Defensive Wingbacks 

Nigeria faces a significant challenge in posing a threat to Mali, highlighted by their failure to register a single shot on target throughout the entire ninety minutes. 

Interim-Manager Finidi implemented a 3-5-2 formation, deploying Bright Osayi-Samuel and Jamilu Collins as wing-backs. 

These positions were intended to offer additional attacking options, compensating for the lack of traditional wingers. 

However, Nigeria's struggle to create chances persisted, with the wing-backs unable to effectively contribute offensively. 

Their defensive responsibilities took precedence, resulting in limited involvement in the attacking phase and a failure to deliver threatening crosses to trouble the Malian defense.

Adeyemi Adewale


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