CHAN EAGLES DESTROYED BY MOROCCO IN FINAL 4-0
Nightmare is the best way to describe the experience fans of the CHAN eagles met with last night as they watched the home team pump the Local based Super Eagles team with goals last night in the Finals of the CHAN tournament in Casablanca. Now before i go any further i just first want to say Not many expected the team to get this far, so i guess on that note they can be praised for getting to the finals at least,But that’s as far as i can go in terms of praise for them. They just kissed the prize money of $1.25 million goodbye, Good money most of them would have received a good chunk of to better the lives of their Families back home.
Almost to a man they were absolutely disappointing on the night. The players should take a large portion of the blame as they simply let themselves down. They looked lively and confident at the start of the game, they didn’t have much in terms of possession in the early exchanges but the few times they had he ball they looked up for it. But slowly as they 1st half wore on the Pressure from the Moroccans began to mount. The wave after wave of attack were becoming to rapid. The eagles were starting to look bereft of confidence on the ball as they surrendered it cheaply each time they had it back to the Morrocans leading to more attacks. The Morroccans on the other hand looked superb, Their risp passing and pacy Midfielders were running rings round the Eagles backline and they created so many chances they would have been surprised they hadn’t scored earlier than they did. The eagles defense was not looking Organized at all. The Giant Ezeh looked a bag of nerves misplacing easy passes out from the back and generally looking slow and Vulnerable.
Morocco almost took the lead on three minutes through Walid El Karti who connected with a cut-back only to see his effort go off target from close range.
Morocco thought they had opened the scoring minutes later but danger man Ayoub El Kaabi’s goal was disallowed after the ball had gone out of play from a corner.
In the 15th minute, El Kaabi had a chance to open the scoring but his spectacular overhead kick came off the cross bar.
Nigeria was living Dangerously but had their first opportunity in the 25th minute after Eneji turned from his marker and laid on to Okechukwu Gabriel who was quickly closed down from shooting.
Dangerman Elkaabi gave the CHAN eagles hell
Morocco continued to create chances and in the 31st minute they went close again, this time through Jawad El Yamiq but his header from Ismail El Haddad’s cross was saved by the impressive Dele Ajiboye who really gave his best and i felt pity for him,
In the 35th minute, Badr Benoun almost broke the deadlock from a knock down off a corner but scooped his chance over the top.
Two minutes later, Gabriel flicked the ball for Eneji who failed to connect before Osas Okoro’s cross went out of range.
Ajiboye was forced to clear a danger on 44 minutes as he quickly came off his line to punch away El Haddad’s whipped in free-kick.
Morocco’s persistence eventually paid off on 45 minutes thanks to Hadraf who finished off a cut-back after Emeka Ogbugh was beaten for pace. That cross should never have been allowed to come through, and the tracking back by the Eagles on that play was very Lazy indeed. Hadraf had a free Unhallebged shot at Goal. The goal seconds before half time must have been a hammer blow to the Morale of the boys. As if they had been able to hold on it may have been enough to make the Morrocans panic and doubt themselves a bit in the 2nd half.
Just three minutes into the second half, Nigeria were reduced to 10 men as Eneji was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for a reckless challenge. And it was a stupid tackle for a person already on a yellow CARD to make
In the 53rd minute, the Eagles made their first change with Anthony Okpotu replacing Ogbugh.
Morocco almost doubled their lead on 54 minutes following a well-struck shot from Abdeljalil Jbira but Ajiboye palmed his effort away.
A minute later Ajiboye made a point-blank save to deny El Kaabi from getting on the score sheet.
El Kaabi went close again on 56 minutes after he was left unmarked but his free header went off target. By this time it was Mayhem in the Eagles defence. The bench was scraming for them to calm down and hold on to the ball. But they Boys just seemed incapable of keeping and protecting the ball.
Morocco’s constant pressure paid off as El Karti made it 2-0 on 61 minutes, heading in a rebound off an Ajiboye save after Nigeria defenders stood ball watching and failed to clear.
In the 64th minute, Morocco scored again to bring score to 3-0 as Hadraf pounced to register his second of the game.
Morocco should have added a fourth on 68 minutes but Ajiboye made a close range save to deny El Kaabi.
El Kaabi was not to be denied in the 73rd minute as he capitalised on another sloppy play by the Nigerian defence to make it 4-0.
The amazing thing for me watching this game was though the better team won. The Eagles could have made it much harder for the Morrocans, Get men behind the ball, stay tight and don’t give ball away cheaply but alas they collapsed like a pack of cards and were Embarrased.