Gernot Rohr has expressed satisfaction with his Nigeria defence for keeping Algeria’s dreaded front men from scoring in Saturday’s 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying match.
Rohr reflected on a game that saw the Super Eagles dug deep to beat Algeria 3-1 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
Captain Mikel John Obi scored in the first half with Victor Moses netting a brace to render Nabil Bentaleb’s long-range stunner academic as Nigeria won successive games to remain on top of Group B with maximum points.
Rohr revealed that things were complicated in the second half but praised his charges for staying calm in the face of a seemingly unending Algerian onslaught.
“We had to defend well. We suffered so much in the beginning of the second half (especially) after Algeria scored.
“But we kept cool heads and none of my players were nervous; they were really professional which led to our third goal.
“The players who came on (as substitutes) in the second half brought in something (positive) and helped us with counter-attacks and that led to our third goal.
“We defended well and had a good organisation on (Riyad) Mahrez and (Islam) Slimani; everyone knows (these two) are very dangerous players,” Rohr said.
The win sees Nigeria remain at the summit of Group B with six points from their opening two games.
Nigeria’s cause to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals was also helped on Saturday when the other game in the group between Cameroon and Zambia in Limbe finished in a 1-1 draw.
It means that Nigeria is now four points clear of second-placed Cameroon with four round of matches to go but Rohr says everyone must stay calm if set objectives are to be met.
“I have told the players that it (the qualification race to Russia) is not finished; there is still a long way to go.
“There are still another 12 points (to fight for). We have started well by winning our first two matches.
“We still have another four games to play and these are extremely difficult games.
“We still have to go to Algeria and Cameroon and Zambia will also come to our place. These are extremely difficult games,” he said.
Nigeria’s next game in 2018 World Cup qualifying is nine months away when they face Cameroon at home on August 28.