Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles were handed a heavy defeat, as CONCAF Gold Cup holders Mexico proved too strong for a collection of players from the Nigeria Professional Football League [NPFL] to beat them 4-0 in an international friendly played at the Los Angeles Coliseum in California, USA.
Watched by an impressive over 50,000 spectators, El Tri as the Mexico national team is called, pressed their attacking throttle from the start of the match.
Mexico took the lead as quickly as the second minute through Atletico Madrid defender Hector Herrera, who raced forward to ram home the curtain raiser after Nigeria defence failed to clear their line from the very first corner sent by Jesus Corona.
Two minutes later, Mexico added the second goal through Rogello Funes, who fired beyond goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali after latching on to Hirving Lozano’s incisive pass. Yet it was the Lobi Stars’ goalie that foiled the Mexicans time after time from increasing their tally as the first stanza dragged to an end.
At the restart, the NPFL stars battled with goalkeeper Nwabali doing great block the rampaging Mexicans. But Herrera grabbed his second goal of the evening for Mexico’s third in the 52nd minute while Jonathan Dos Santos added his side’s fourth goal in the 78th minute.
“It was a great experience for our team because Mexico is a high level team and we had a lot of players making their debut, so it was a fantastic experience for them playing against this high quality side,” former Nigeria U-20 coach Paul Aigbogun, who led the team said in the post-match presser. “Generally, I think it was a great experience for this young lads playing in front of a huge crowd for the first time but it would help them further in their careers.”
Nigeria German coach Gernot Rohr who was in California in advisory capacity, added “I saw a wonderful game and we were able to see real football with fans in the stadium because it has been such a long time that we’d been playing in empty stadium, and Mexico as number 11 team in the world showed their quality today. We have here some of our best players from home and they tried to do their best and they have learned today. I also saw some interesting players who could be interesting for our Word Cup [Qatar 2022] qualifiers in September.”