Nigeria finish AFCON qualifiers top of the group
On Friday, Nigeria played their sixth and final qualifier for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon. Their played Seychelles who they defeated 3:0 back on Match Day two.
As announced the day before, this was the starting line-up for the Super Eagles: Francis Uzoho in goal, Jamilu Collins, Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong and Abdullahi Shehu in defence, Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo as defensive midfielders, Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi and Henry Onyekuru behind Odion Ighalo in attack.
The Seychelles team practically rolled over in the first match, but this time they were much tougher to beat. With a good defending performance, they held the Eagles until the 34th minute.
Ndidi was through on goal but Jude Nancy fouled him leaving the referee no choice but to point to the penalty spot. Odion Ighalo stepped up and calmly converted the kick giving his team the lead.
However, there was enough time in the half for the Pirates to level the score. And it was all about a mistake by Uzoho who fumbled the ball after an indirect freekick allowing Rody Melanie to score. Ighalo had a great chance to score again before the break. His effort hit the post making the score 1:1 at halftime.
Five minutes into the restart, Nigeria restored their lead. This time it was Henry Onyekuru who scored after a great ball from Collins. Paul Onuachu, a first-time Super Eagle, made his senior debut in the 65th minute, replacing Etebo.
Later, coach Gernot Rohr replaced Iwobi with Semi Ajayi and Ighalo with Moses Simon. Ighalo had to come out after a nasty fall and he will be a doubt for the next match.
Moses took advantage of his time on the pitch and scored Nigeria’s third goal of the night two minutes into stoppage time. The final score was 3:1 to the Super Eagles. This win makes them clear group winners with 13 points.
South Africa is currently second, but Libya can overtake them and qualify for the 2019 AFCON if they beat them on Sunday in their Match Day 6 encounter.
The Super Eagles are taking the football pitch again on Tuesday, March 26th in a friendly match against Egypt. This will be another good test for Rohr’s team even though the Pharaohs will play without their biggest star, Mohamed Salah. Coach Rohr has already hinted he will make a few changes for this match.