Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr admitted his players were not good enough after their disappointing 2-0 defeat against Madagascar at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Sunday.
The defeat ended the Super Eagles unbeaten run of nine games in the biennial showpiece since 2010. As a result, Nigeria finish Group B as runners-up.
Lalaina Nomenjanahary broke the deadlock in the 13th minute after benefitting from a defensive error from Leon Balogun.
The three-time African champions found it difficult to score an equaliser and Carolus Andriamahitsinoro doubled the lead for Madagascar with his deflected free-kick in the 53rd minute.
In his assessment of the team’s display, Rohr said his players were ‘relaxed’ but was not surprised by the result.
“We lost to a good team because Madagascar was the first to qualify for the tournament and there is no shame in losing to such a team,” Rohr said after the game.
“Madagascar was the better team today. We started with giving them a gift and after, we could not find a solution. We made five changes because we wanted to give a rest to some players and also preserve those with cards.
“Sometimes it happens when you are already qualified; the players are relaxed and playing easy.”
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