Well, yesterday’s match was not really as much as the result as the fact that the players had gotten some minutes under their belt and a wake up call as to what is ahead. If any consolation at all it is the fact that we played the best and fittest side in the competition.
We fell 2-0 to a ten man Flying Eagles team who played with a high level of energy. Closing us down very well and pressing us high up the pitch so well that for the first 5 minutes of the game, we found it difficult to leave our half. The difference between the teams was obvious that so many fans on Twitter did not hesitate to slate the team but let’s be honest, the lads are far away from ready.
Kadiri Ikhana started three of his new signings, Egesi, Anaemena and Uluocha. It was a defensive line up, the lads lining up like we normally do in our away games. The Arugo monkey got the nod in goal and he showed why he should be the best goalkeeper we have. Udoji and Uche partnered Anaemena while Bala and Uwadiegwu marooned the flanks. Uluocha sat in the holding role while Abalogu, Egesi and Nonso Okonkwo were the front three.
For most of the first half, the flying Eagles did their best to get behind our defence time and time again but they could not capitalize. We were lucky that we went in goalless at the break.
We began the second half more purposeful and looked like we had gotten in our stride but our opponents were very dangerous on the break. Chinedu was already on a yellow and the pace of their counter and movement was always going to be tempting for him to get a second booking and hence sent off. In fact there was a period when we conceded what I thought was a penalty and a second yellow for Chinedu but somehow the referee gave an indirect Freekick and the second yellow was for Sunshine star’s Prince Aggreh. What they were taught in the UK maybe?
With a man down I thought we would see this one out but Anaemena bundled Awoniyi (who gave us a horrid afternoon) over in the box and the referee finally gave a spot kick which their captain Musa Mohammed converted.
Udoji was finally subbed for Razak Aliyu but that substitution not only opened a wide gulf in our defence but raided us of the leadership Chinedu brought to the department.
Their second goal was even better and Tottenham youngster Musa Yahaya turned and twisted Emma Anyanwu and fired beyond Ejiogu.
The defeat is a good lesson for us that a lot of work must be done if we have to be ready for the Champions League in a fortnight. Judging from this display, it is incomprehensible as to why we needed the Super-4 before we got our players into camp. Kano Pillars showed us what difference an initial two weeks in camp can do as they tore Dolphins apart early in the first half of their game.
Well, we rest today and fight again tomorrow but this is a true wake up call for the whole team.