2026 WCQ upset: What we learned from Super Eagles' surprising 2-1 loss to Benin's Cheetahs

Published: June 10, 2024
2026 WCQ upset: What we learned from Super Eagles' surprising 2-1 loss to Benin's Cheetahs

Nigeria's hopes of qualifying for the 2026 Fifa World Cup are hanging by a thread following their surprising 2-1 defeat to Benin on Monday evening. 

 Although Raphael Onyedika initially gave Nigeria the lead, goals from Jodel Dossou and Steve Mounie saw the Cheetahs take the lead at halftime.

Allnigeriasoccer.com present five things we noticed from the game. 

1. Finidi George makes three changes

 Super Eagles coach Finidi George made three alterations to the lineup following their 1-1 draw against South Africa at the Uyo Township Stadium last Friday.

 In the adjustments, Finidi brought in Raphael Onyedika, Samuel Chukwueze and Terem Moffi, replacing Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, Kelechi Iheanacho and Paul Onuachu respectively. 

Dele-Bashiru, who scored in the previous match, sustained an injury during the game against South Africa in Uyo.

The introduction of Onyedika yielded a positive result as he scored the opening goal of the contest in the 27th minute when he unleashed a powerful strike from just outside the box, finding the back of the net with precision.

2. Victor Boniface benched again

Despite making three changes against the Cheetahs, Finidi chose to bench Victor Boniface and opted for Terem Moffi instead.

Boniface, the Bayern Leverkusen striker, did not see any minutes against South Africa in Uyo, which raised concerns among Nigerians about the coach's decision-making.

Finidi later introduced him into the game, substituting him for Terem Moffi.

3. Raphael Onyedika impresses, scores first international goal

The 23-year-old was part of a midfield three that also included Alex Iwobi and Wilfred Ndidi.

Onyedika brought calmness, control, and technical ability, facilitating Nigeria's swift buildup from the back.

 His influence in midfield was pivotal, highlighted by his first international goal — a superb strike after a precise pass from Samuel Chukwueze.

4. Super Eagles poor defensively

The Super Eagles displayed defensive vulnerabilities in their match against the Cheetahs. 

Calvin Bassey was responsible for the initial error that allowed Benin Republic to equalize. 

His failure to adequately clear a long ball led to Jodel Dossou scoring the equalizer for the Squirrels.

Nigeria conceded once more before halftime, this time from a set piece. Steve Mounie capitalized on a cross as Nigerian defenders struggled to clear their lines.

The Super Eagles have conceded a goal in every game under Finidi George's management as coach of the Super Eagles, contrasting sharply with the solid defensive performances witnessed during the AFCON tournament under Jose Peseiro.

5. Sadiq Ismail and Ibrahim Olawoyin make their debuts off the bench

Remo Stars fullback Sadiq Ismail and Rizespor winger Olawoyin made their debuts for the Super Eagles.

Sadiq came on as a substitute for Bright Osayi-Samuel, who suffered an injury  while Olawoyin replaced Samuel Chukwueze

The NPFL star nearly provided an assist, but Ademola Lookman failed to make the right contact with the cross after Marcel Dandjinou failed to handle the ball from the fullback.

Adeyemi Adewale


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