Rohr praises Uzoho, Idowu for ‘fantastic’ debuts

Nigeria’s players celebrate the team’s second goal during an international friendly football match between Argentina and Nigeria in Krasnodar on November 14, 2017. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

• Sampaoli blames wastefulness for Argentina’s defeat
Super Eagles’ Coach, Gernot Rohr has singled out the duo of goalkeeper Francis Odinaka Uzoho and Brian Idowu for special praise in Nigeria’s 4-2 win over Argentina in a pre-World Cup friendly.

Speaking after the game, Rohr, who handed debut to the duo, rated them as two players, who really impressed him during the match, which saw Nigeria recovering from two goals down to win 4-2.

Idowu scored on his debut after coming on for Ola Aina, while Uzoho ensured Nigeria didn’t concede again when he replaced Akpeyi, who conceded both goals.

“Brian is a newcomer in the team, but he’s not the only one. We have three new players, and I would like to highlight our 19-year-old goalkeeper Uzoho. He played well. Such matches are specially designed so that we can assess new players in the team. We have three players who have a special relationship with Russia.

“We have Ahmed Musa and the captain (Mikel Obi) of the team. He has a connection here through the family. Brian played well, scored a goal. His prospects depend on how he will perform at the club. His debut, I am happy. On his position we have other options, so who will pick who plays better, he will be involved in the fight,” he said.

Also speaking after the match, Amkar Perm defender, Idowu said scoring on his debut for Nigeria gave him a wonderful feeling, just as he revealed that several Super Eagles players have been asking him questions about Russia.

Eight minutes after coming off the bench, Idowu scored to give Nigeria a lead for the first time in the match against Argentina.

“It is clear, I felt normal, the third match at this stadium. Everyone was surprised if this stadium is a World Cup venue. I said no. Everyone was shocked. But I explained that the matches of the mundial will be held in Sochi,” Idowu told reporters at the post-match conference, including Sport Express.

“They asked me questions related to whether the soup is Russian, whether it is Russian salad, how to say “good morning”, “thank you”.

“The atmosphere is very positive, and I am glad that it turned out to be a successful debut,” he enthused.

Meanwhile, Argentina Coach, Jorge Sampaoli has blamed his side’s 2-4 defeat to the number of chances it wasted after going two goals up.

Sampaoli’s side squandered a two-goal lead to lose 2-4 as Nigeria rallied back with a strong showing in the second half of the encounter meant to prepare both teams for the World Cup in Russia.

The coach said, “I do not think it’s hard to explain. We played in the first half well… in the second we tried to play more in attack. It happens with all the teams. Nigeria had many good moments, but we defended well, and I think that we just did not realize our moments. There were many passes which we couldn’t use.”



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