The Super Eagles shook off fatigue from their long journey from South Africa to steamroll Tahiti in their first group game of the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil. The beat the Pacific Islanders 6-1 on Monday.
In a match that saw Nigeria missing several begging chances, defender Elderson Echiejile got two goals, while Italy-based Nnamdi Oduamadi registered the first hat trick of the competition.
Jonathan Tehau, who pulled one back for Tahiti, was on the weeping end when he netted an own-goal.
It was Tahiti’s first appearance at the Confederation Cup and Nigeria’s second. That fact, however, took nothing away from the African champions as they dominated every department of the game.
The Tahitians had adopted a five-man defensive formation but Echiejile’s fifth minute goal forced them out, making the game more fluid. That only opened the way for Oduamadi five minutes later when he grabbed a spilled ball from goalkeeper Xavier Samin to make it 2-0. He struck again in the 26th minute to make it 3-1.
Tahue, grabbing his fourth international goal, scored Tahiti’s first goal at the Confederations Cup, but he was to be on the scorers’ sheet again when he aided Nigeria to their fourth goal with an own-goal in the 68th minute.
Oduamadi, however, resumed scoring in the 76th minute, getting an assist from Brown iideye, who himself had missed three one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
It was Echiejile who capped it all with an assist from Ahmed Musa to finish the game at 6-1 in the 80th minute.
Coach Stephen Keshi was obviously unimpressed with the team’s missed chances but promised he would work on the attack before their next game against Uruguay.
“We didn’t play at a high tempo. Their performance was not as good as it was against Mexico. Perhaps they were looking at the Tahitians as a weaker team. We’re still going to work on that,” he said after the game.
“The fatigue was still there but we hope to freshen up before our game against Uruguay.”
The Nigerian team had arrived late for the competition, landing in Brazil in the early hours of Sunday, few hours before their first training.
Nigeria now top Group B with three points and five goals advantage ahead of Spain who have three points but one goal advantage.
Nigeria will next meet Uruguay on Thursday in their second group game.