Brasilia: Stephen Keshi, the Nigeria manager, accused referee Mark Geiger on Monday of being “biased” in favour of France, while Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel also claimed that he had been deliberately elbowed by Olivier Giroud.
The Super Eagles pushed France hard in their second round match in Brasilia only for Paul Pogba’s late header and a last-gasp own goal by Joseph Yobo to seal a 2-0 win for Les Bleus.
Keshi, who announced that he is stepping down as Nigeria coach, was unhappy that Emmanuel Emenike had a goal ruled out for offside and then with Blaise Matuidi’s studs-up tackle that has left Ogenyi Onazi with a suspected broken ankle. Mikel also said that he had been elbowed in a 29th minute off-the-ball incident with Giroud.
“I got an elbow, and the referee saw it and he only gave him a warning, not even a yellow card, nothing — it was bad,” Mikel said. “He did catch me. I don’t know if it was too hard but the intention was definitely there. I don’t think he is a dirty player. He hasn’t done those sort of things before so maybe it was just one of those things in the heat of the moment.”
Nigeria fear that the injury to Onazi is serious. “There were some heavy challenges and I think Onazi has broken his ankle,” Mikel said.
Keshi said: “I would love to know the reason the referee disallowed the goal. There was no infringement. This is the first time I will speak about the referee in my life. I think he was biased though. The ref is human and is bound to make mistakes but lot of mistakes is questionable.”