On-loan Newcastle striker, Aleksandar Mitrovic grabbed a brace as Serbia beat the Super Eagles 2-0 on Tuesday night at the Hive.
Mitrovic who is on loan at Fulham scored two second half goals to halt the Eagles who have been in an impressive run since the qualifiers.
Here are the main talking points from the game.
- Mikel’s absence exposed again; the Super Eagles were without their influential captain on the game against Poland last, but managed to come out unscathed in that game, but here in London, and against a very physical Serbian side, the story was different. Ogenyi Onazi and Joel Obi tried their best to nullify the threats of Nemanja Matic and co but the experience and intelligence of Mikel was solely missed.
- Francis Uzoho maturing in stature; though he conceded two goals on the night, there were improvements in some areas, especially his ball distribution. He however, still look very shaky going for aerial balls in his 18-yard box, but he looks quite a confident lad. And with the way he’s going he’s staking a big claim for that number one shirt, and from what we saw on Tuesday, the youngster might be standing in-between the sticks when Nigeria take on Croatia in Kaliningrad stadium, Russia on June 16. He looks an improved version of both Alampasu and Ezenwa, with Carl Ikeme looking very unlikely to feature.
- Serbia will fight; they may be considered the whooping boys in a Group E that has Brazil, Costa rica and Switzerland. But evident from this game against Nigeria, Serbia would not leave Russia without a fight. With Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivanovic marshalling the defence, Nemanja Matic anchoring the midfield and Aleksandar Mitrovic who scored six goals during the qualifiers firing again, Serbia would be a hard nut to crack in Russia.
- Super Eagles lack mental strength; Once Mitrovic broke the deadlock in the 67th minute, the Eagles never recovered. They were all over the place, trying to prevent the inevitable second, instead of trying to get an equaliser. It was however, a good test for Genort Rohr’s charges who could find themselves in a similar situation when the tournament gets underway in Russia.
- Wilfred Ndidi can mix it with the Big Boys; the Leicester City midfielder proved why he’s so much valued at the King Power. His all-round performance was commendable and he surely didn’t deserve to be on the loosing side. He will certainly relish the return of Mikel for the next games.