Gernot Rohr, Super Eagles technical adviser, says the attitude of his players after being a goal down in the early minute of play was key to beating Benin Republic.
Rohr admitted, in the post match press conference, that the Beninoise were a very good side that gave his team a run for their money.
Nigeria picked all three points in the hard-fought 2-1 win over Benin Republic as the group phase of the qualifying campaign for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations began on Wednesday.
Stefan Sessegnon caught Super Eagles defense napping in the 2nd minute of play to open scoring for the Squirrels of Benin.
Victor Osimhen equalized from the spot on the stroke of half time and Samuel Kalu scored the winner in the 64th minute.
“Our attitude was very good and we are able to make them tire in the second half,” Rohr said.
“And the penalty came in the best moment before the half time whistle went off. So, it ended 1-1 at half time.
“In the second half, we played a good match like we did in our last matches. Already, we have now a style of playing football which is very interesting.
“A lot of movement of one touch, two touch, quick wingers, young players and I think that in the second half, we even could have scored a third goal.”
Rohr expressed his excitement with the 2-1 scoreline at the end of 90 minutes.
“But I am happy about this 2-1. Where we started the game was 0-1 and we ended up winning,” he said.
“I am happy that we came back from a goal down to win.
“We knew before the match that it will be a difficult game for us. Because Benin has one of the best Organisation defensively.
“And they made the quarter final at the 2019 AFCON. They eliminated Morocco, they are a very good team.
“But when you play after arriving from a long travelling and they have to play so it is not easy.
“They needed some time to come into the match but unfortunately, the first goal came in very quickly and it was a shock for my team. And we had to recover from the shock.
“It was interesting for the team. I am happy to see also that the two changes made in bringing in Ola Aina and Samuel Kalu from the last two matches we played did good.”
The Franco-German tactician also disclosed that he loved the competition in his team.
“These two players did very well and it’s good for the team to know that even other players can come to take their place and there’s competition for the starting positions. This is very good for the team,” he added.
Some Nigerians had taken to Twitter to tackle the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) over its live coverage of the match, describing the picture quality as “poor”.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles will on Friday jet out of Nigeria on a chartered flight to Maseru, Lesotho for the second qualifiers.
The three-time African champions will face the Lesotho’s national team on Sunday, November, 17.