By Kayode Adebiyi
The Nigerian national football team, the Super Eagles, lost 0-2 to Serbia in a pre-World Cup friendly match at the Hive Stadium in London on Tuesday.
The Eagles, managed by coach Gernot Rohr, ended their six-match unbeaten run no thanks to a second half brace by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Rohr made four changes to the side which started against Poland on Friday, with Ogenyi Onazi given the nod in the midfield while Ahmed Musa replaced Kelechi Iheanacho in attack.
At the back, Chidozie Awaziem was picked following Leon Balogun’s injury concern.
Mitrovic was a thorn in the flesh of the Super Eagles defence led by William Troost-Ekong throughout the match, as he kept on creating chances for the Serbians.
Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho was jittery at the opening stage and almost gifted the Serbians the lead in the first half when his indecision led to Mitrovic heading a loose ball into the net.
The Serbian forward protested that the ball had crossed the line but there was no goal-line technology or video assisted referee in use.
However, his persistence paid off in the 68th minute when he guided the ball home following a good footwork by Dusan Tadic, before completing his brace the 81st minute.
Serbia had lost 1-2 to Morocco in their previous friendly match and needed a morale-boosting display against the Super Eagles.
The Eagles’ best chance fell to Alex Iwobi after a deft touch by Wilfred Ndidi but the Arsenal player saw his effort blocked by a Serbian defender.
Odion Ighalo was introduced in the second half in place of Victor Moses, who was unusually quiet in the match but it didn’t stop the Serbians from dominating proceedings.
Rohr threw in John Ogu and Moses Simon to firm up his side but the Serbians exploited the right side of Eagles’ defence to the advantage of Mitrovic.
Junior Ajayi was introduced late on for his senior national team debut nothing could deny the Europeans a perfect outing against the three-time African champions as they went home winners.