By Johnny Edward:
Former Nigerian captain Austin Okocha has admitted that the Super Eagles lost to Argentina at the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Saint Petersburg, Russia due to the ‘limited experience’, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Argentina scraped through to the Round of 16 after Lionel Messi broke his drought at the tournament to give the two’time world champions the lead in the 13th minute.
It was the fifth time the Nigeria team was losing to Argentina at the World Cup.
Victor Moses restored parity for the Super Eagles from the spot after Javier Mascherano was adjudged to have fouled Leon Balogun in the box.
Marcos Rojo scored a stunning late winner three minutes from time to send Jorge Sampaoli’s side to the next round.
“Uzoho kept us in the game with the saves he made in the second half. We panicked in the first half,” Okocha said during his analysis on SuperSport during the game.
“If you want to be a bit harsh. We were not clear to keep more players in attack. We were limited in terms of experience.
“It was a gift from Mascherano but then I thought we started the second half better. We got ourselves in better places. It was a fantastic penalty from Moses but I think we should have put them under more pressure.”
On the controversial penalty denied the Super Eagles, the former Bolton Wanderers playmaker said the Nigerian team did not put more pressure on the referee.
Marcos Rojo handled the ball in the box involuntarily and the referee viewed it on VAR but ruled it out.
“Nobody appealed under the referee. We know what the Argentines are like. Rojo got away with one.”
On Wilfred Ndidi’s chance in the 76th minute, Okocha said: “He had more time to keep the ball down to take a good shot.
“Scoring is not his thing but I feel he should have kept the ball a close more to take a better shot.”
On Odion Ighalo’s miss, Okocha’s said: “It was a glorious chance, the ball sat down well for him. If I was Ighalo I would try to force a save from the goalkeeper. If you don’t hit the target you don’t get your job done.”
Ighalo extended his goal drought to eight games. The Changchun Yatai striker has scored four goals in 21 games for the Super Eagles.
On the late goal the team conceded, the former PSG play maker added: “We’ve seen so many late goals in this tournament. Poor defending. Moses reacted late. I have seen him deal with that at Chelsea. I can’t fault the effort of the player the gave their best.
“It was going to be tough for us and it lived up to that and it went to the last three minutes, but I think we have to look at the bigger picture. Most of these players it was the first time.
“For the manager he did well. It’s about continutiy. We don’t have to point fingers at anyone.”