*Simeone confesses Nigeria played great game in the five-goal thriller
Duro Ikhazuagbe in Uyo
After leading UEFA Europa League winners Atletico Madrid to a 3-2 victory over Super Eagles â€˜Bâ€™ team to win the maiden GOTV Max Cup in Uyo yesterday, Head Coach of the Laliga outfit, Diego Simeone, confessed that the Nigerian lads gave him a scare.
â€œIt Was a very difficult game playing Nigeria here today. We came here to win and so put in more effort. Although in the absence of top players like Antoine Griezmann, we had to rely on some of the youth players,â€ observed Simeone through an interpreter.
His Nigerian counterpart, Salisu Yusuf commended his wards for putting up great effort to ensure that they were not disgraced by the Europa champions. â€œWe are very happy over this result. We knew what to expect from Atletico. They showed maturity and class but my players proved they were worthy ambassadors of the country,â€ he noted.
Yusuf however believes Eagles gave away two cheap goals.
â€œWe gave the two cheap goals. We knew we were going to play the Europa champions and planned to confine them to 30metres away but they survived the game plan,â€ stressed the coach.
Former Golden Eaglets captain, Kelechi Nwakali and Usman Mohammed scored Nigeriaâ€™s two goals in the five-goal thriller that also saw former Liverpool and Chelsea star, Fernando Torres, getting on the scorersâ€™ sheet with brilliant performance in what was his last official game for Atletico.
Kelechi Nwakali and his brother, Chidiebere were among some of the outstanding stars of the evening inside the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
The senior Nwakali put the home team in front with a superb strike from outside the box that beat Atletico goalkeeper, Jan Oblak.
However, the La Liga outfit drew level through Angel Correa soon after Emem Eduok who for the better part of the game wasted chances, was dispossessed in his own half of the pitch.
Substitute Destiny Ashadi ought to have restored the Eagles lead just before the interval, but he shot way off target from right inside the box after he was set up by the bright and lively Samad Kadiri.
Torres who came into the game on resumption for the second stanza put Atletico Madrid ahead for the first time on 64 minutes after they had missed a sitter earlier in the second half. Torresâ€™ goal was greeted by the capacity crowd at the Nest of Champions ground.
Norway-based midfielder Usman Mohammed who came in as substitute in the second half draw the Nigerians level in the 79thminute with a great solo goal when he dribbled his way inside the box before flicking the ball beyond the reach of Oblak.
However, when both teams were getting set for a penalty shootout to decide the winners of the Go TV Max Cup, Borja Garces fired past goalkeeper Femi Thomas from inside the box for the winner five minutes from time.