Ighalo’s big miss – and other reasons Nigeria lost to Argentina

Argentina edged Nigeria 2-1 in a tight game to sneak into the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup 2018 and condemned the Super Eagles to an early exit at the Mundial.

For a team that played so well and still lost such a crucial game, certain factors made them crash out of the biggest football showpiece in the world.

Here are the six reasons why the Eagles tumbled at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

Flat first half

The first half hoodoo still remained with the Super Eagles. As it was the case in previous matches, the team chased the game and didn’t really step up. It was a spell that wasn’t broken. The Eagles came back from recess searching for inspiration.

Eagles looked predictable

Nigeria won with the 3-5-2 formation against Iceland in the second group game and decided to stick with the same system for the tie with Argentina. There should have been one or two changes to the side that played the game. The team looked very predictable with the setup.

Kenneth Omeruo was below par

Unlike his heartwarming performance in the win over Iceland, Omeruo was a shadow of himself against the Argentines. He was at fault for the first goal as he caught napping by Lionel Messi.

Odion Ighalo wasn’t clinical

When Ighalo was thrown into the fray to support Ahmed Musa upfront he often gave the Argentina defenders all sorts of problems with his strength but one thing he did wrong was to convert begging chances. Those two misses really cost his side at the end of the day.

Flat footed defence

When the cross from the right-hand side was floated to the box, our defenders were all ball watching, leaving Marcos Rojo to guide a volley past a crestfallen Francis Uzoho.

Lack of foresight to change the game

Gernot Rohr got it wrong. The opposition didn’t really offer the threat needed to cause the Super Eagles any form of heartache but the coach failed to act at the appropriate time to capitalise on their flat defense.