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Friendly International: Dream Team VI defeat Tunisia 3-0
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Friendly International: Dream Team VI defeat Tunisia 3-0

Yvonne Williams

National under-23 men’s football team, the Dream Team VI, on Wednesday in Tunis defeated their Tunisian counterparts 3-0 to avenge the 3-5 defeat they suffered against them on Saturday.

The second leg of the match played at the El Menzah Stadium saw the Dream Team VI taking control of all departments of the game.

They piled pressure but could not get any goal before the end of the first half.

The game which started on a very high tempo saw team Head Coach Samson Siasia making four changes from the team which lost the first game.

The newcomers — Stanley Amuzie, Freedom Omofonma, Tonbara Tiongoli and Peter Onyekachi — made their presence felt from the first blast of the referee’s whistle.

Striker Onyekachi was a thorn in the flesh of the Tunisians, putting them under so much pressure, while Tiongoli was a handful for the opponents’ defenceline.

The Nigerian defence got more stability with the introduction of Amuzie who kept the Tunisian attackers at bay and was a force in attack.

Onyekachi was fouled in the penalty box of the Tunisians, forcing a penalty kick which was converted by Oghenekaro Etebo in the 31st minute.

On resumption of the second half, the Dream Team VI players continued from where they stopped in the first half as they pinned their opponents to their half of the field.

Azubuike Okechukwu combined well with Etebo in the midfield to put the Tunisians under so much pressure and in the 56th minute.

Onyekachi made his presence felt as he punished the Tunisians with the second goal of the game.

Coach Siasia took out off form Omofoman and brought in Saviour Godwin, with the change galvanising the Nigerian attack and resulting in the Tunisians yielding ground.

They conceded another penalty kick after one of their defenders handled the ball from a pullout by Amuzie in the 70th minute, but Etebo fluffed the chance.

This however did not dampen the spirit of the Dream Team VI players as they continued to pile pressure.

In the 87th minute, Godwin put the icing on the cake with the third goal after running down the defenceline of the Tunisians to shoot past the goalkeeper.

Speaking after the game, coach Siasia said his boys won because they played to instructions, and have been able to settle down, knowing that they needed to win the game.

“The boys needed this game to boost their morale and confidence and they went all out for it.

“This victory will make them play harder, and hopefully they will play more like a team,” he said.

Tunisia’s coach Nizar Khanfir, on his part, said the Dream Team VI were the better side.

“They have settled down to play football, compared to what they played in the first game.

“My boys got carried away with that 5-3 victory, thinking they can beat them any time. But the better Nigerian team gave them some football lessons they won’t forget in a hurry,’’ he said.

The encounter was watched by Tunisia’s Minister of Sports, Sabeun Bouatti, and the General Secretary of the Tunisia Football Association, Wajdi Aoucedi.

The Dream Team VI will return to Nigeria on Thursday.

(NAN)