Nigeria 3 CIV 1: Two tactical decisions from Ugbade that helped Golden Eaglets qualify for final
In the WAFU U-17 Zone B Championship at Cape Coast Stadium, Ghana, Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets defeated Cote d’Ivoire 3-1 on Tuesday to reach the final and qualify for the 2023 CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Algeria.
The Ivorians took the lead in the second minute of play when Miracle Ogwor hauled down their top player Youle Diamande in the 18-yard-box. The star man duly dispatched the resulting penalty past Udoh to give his team the lead.
Dead-ball specialist Emmanuel Micheal then scored two freekicks to give the Eaglets the lead before Abdullahi scored the third goal with a header.
There is no doubt that Nigeria started the game slowly but Nduka Ugbade made some tactical decisions which influenced the game immensely.
Reading the game properly, Ivory Coast’s game plan lies around Youle Diamande. A high-spirited player who caused trouble for the Nigerian defence and won the penalty that put the Ivory coast ahead.
Ugbade figured that out early and placed a minimum of two men to man-mark him.
They silenced him totally in the game, especially in the second half, Diamande could hardly on get the ball and he was less effective. If he had been left alone against Lawal, things may have turned out differently.
Pushing up the full-backs
The Ivory coast defence led by Coulibaly was very strong and there was a need for the Golden Eaglets to widen the pitch to its maximum in order to stretch the Young Elephant’s backline.
Ugbade did this by pushing the full-backs up when on the attack and it is no coincidence that they won this game almost single handedly.
Talk about the first goal being scored by the Golden Eaglets, Yahaya Lawal won the free-kick and Emmanuel Michael converted it. The third goal was also assisted by Lawal with a well-placed cross for Abdullahi to finish.