Sunday, November 29, 2015 11:16 pm
Samson Siasia, Coach of Nigeria’s U-23 team, the Dream Team VI has attributed the team’s 3-2 victory against Mali today, to sheer luck.
Nigeria had led the Malians 3-0 in the first half, only to collapse in the second half, conceding two goals in ten minutes, during the second half.
With Mali piling pressure on the attack, Nigeria narrowly ran away with 3-2 victory.
Samson Siasia’ s led team scored all their three goals in the first half through a brace from Tunisia-based Junior Ajayi in the 16th and 45th minutes as well as 34th minute goal from Muhammed Usman.
A determined Malian side came back forcefully in the second half and got a penalty that earned them a goal in the 54th minute through Adama Niane, while the second goal came through Abdoulaye Diarra in the 65th minute.
“It was a difficult match,” admitted Siasia in a post match press conference. “We played very well in the beginning and scored three goals. The defenders made two mistakes which cost us, and they (Mali) scored twice. The defenders panicked and they (Mali) almost equalized. I guess we were lucky to escape.”
Cheick Oumar Kone, Head Coach, Mali, also believed that Nigeria were lucky to have escaped with victory.
” We started very badly, but in the second half we played collectively. We lifted up our game and scored twice. We could have equalized but we failed to convert some of the chances. Such is football; you get punished if you fail to take your chances. Our next game against Algeria will be equally difficult. They are beatable but we have to avoid mistakes like we did today”, Kone said.
The other Group match between Egypt and Algeria ended 1-1 at the Caroline Faye Stadium, M’Bour. The next group match will see Nigeria taking on Egypt on Wednesday, while Algeria tackle Mali the same day.