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AFCON 2021: Super Eagles defender Ola Aina speaks on penalty incident against Sudan
17/01/2022 10:47:46

Ola Aina has admitted it was disappointing to see Nigeria lose their clean sheet at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after giving away a penalty.

Nigeria were on course to continue their flawless start in Group D after they took a three-goal lead against Sudan on Saturday.

Samuel Chukwueze had put Nigeria ahead inside three minutes before Taiwo Awoniyi made it two in the 45th-minute.

Moses Simon put Nigeria in a commanding position after a minute after the break. At that point, it was a case of how many the Super Eagles would score.

But against the run of play, Aina conceded a penalty after committing a needless challenge. Initially, it was not picked up by the referee, but it was later awarded following a VAR review.

Although Nigeria still went ahead to secure the win, the former Chelsea defender admitted it was disappointing to see the team lose their clean sheet.

“Yea, we gave away the clean sheet,” Aina told the Super Eagles media team.

“It’s sad for the team, the defence, and it’s sad for Madu because he’s been keeping clean sheets.

Aina admitted he was at fault but added he was only looking at the ball and not the player.

“What happened was I was not looking at the player. Obviously, I held his shirt a little bit, but there’s always a little bit of shirt holding in the box, and I was just watching the ball.

“I didn’t see when I stepped on his foot.”

The 25-year-old also admitted he could understand why the referee gave the penalty, although it was a soft one.

“Well, I understand why they gave it as a penalty, but also the ball was nowhere near me or the guy, so I don’t how it could be awarded as a penalty.”

“But in the same instance, I understand why they’ve given a penalty just because of what had been done,” he added.

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