Super Eagles’ World Cup preparations took another hit on Wednesday, as they lost 1-0 to a Czech Republic side which failed to qualify for the finals in Russia.
Gernot Rohr’s men could take some positives away from their 2-1 defeat to England on Saturday, but there were few and far between four days later, as Tomas Kalas’ first-half opener secured a slender victory for the Czechs, who were thrashed 4-0 by Australia on Friday.
At no point in the first half did Nigeria appear to be in the ascendancy and, shortly after surviving a scare, they deservedly found themselves trailing in the 25th minute – Kalas scuffing in from close range after Francis Uzoho parried Tomas Soucek’s header right to him.
The closest Nigeria came to levelling before the break was Wilfred Ndidi’s 30-yard drive, which was brilliantly tipped around the post by Tomas Vaclik in the Czech goal.
Although a downpour briefly interrupted play in the early stages of the second half, Nigeria played with more intent after half-time and went close in the 63rd minute, as John Obi Mikel saw a header saved by Vaclik.
Despite the Eagles’ efforts and attack-minded approach, a late equaliser never arrived, consigning them to a second successive defeat in their World Cup preparation games.
The will head to Russia with tails between their legs having failed to win their last three matches.
Nigeria is drawn in Group D alongside Argentina, Croatia and Iceland.