Bayelsa Times

Super Eagles lost to Ecuador through unfair officiating – U.S-based football enthusiast 

Sports
A U.S-based sports enthusiast, Anozie Ugenyi, on Friday in New York said unfair officiating made the Super Eagles to suffer defeat in their second friendly match of the U.S. tour.
The Eagles suffered a 0-1 defeat against Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena Stadium in Harrison, New Jersey in theU.S. on Thursday.
During coach José Peseiro’s first outing with the squad, the under-strength Eagles put up a gallant fight but were unlucky to lose 1-2 to Mexico in Dallas, Texas on Saturday.
Ugenyi, co-founder of Nigerian Sports and Cultural Carnival in New Jersey, said that it was clear that the referee refused to utilise the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in spite of protests.
“There were some questionable calls by the referee which angered a lot of Nigerians, including Amaju Pinnick, the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
“Pinnick protested a lot about it in the VIP booth where he was sitting with other Nigerian officials.
“Going by what the VAR means, the referee is supposed to have utilised it and perhaps award two penalty kicks against Ecuador. But he didn’t,’’ he said.
Ugenyi however commended the team for the zeal displayed during the match, even as he lamented their inability to convert the scoring chances they had to goals.
“It is my opinion that we could have won if we had taken chances. The top striker missed three chances with the goalkeepers, which we would have scored from.”
He however stated that it was also noteworthy to say that there was team cohesion.
“My advice is to keep them together and infuse some confidence in the home-based players,’’ Ugenyi said.
The football enthusiast noted that the game was a great one, with the momentum shifting from side to side.
”Ecuador pressed in the first half and the Super Eagles were in the driver’s  seat midway into the second half.”
In a related development, Pinnick and some NFF officials were seen in a video clip protesting the injustice against the Super Eagles, urging the Match Commissioner to investigate the protest.
“This is not a game. Two penalty kicks were not awarded to Nigeria in the first half. I can tell my boys to leave this match,’’ Pinnick was seen saying in the video.
He insisted on seeing the Match Commissioner and appealed that the injustice should be addressed.
Pinnick said the referee was not helping the Ecuador side because “nobody would accept this kind of unprofessional act at the World Cup”.
Some match officials were later seen appealing to Pinnick and other NFF officials, pledging that they would investigate the alleged injustice against the team.
Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, and Amb. Lot Egopija, Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, were among several Nigerians at the match.

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