Last night Nigeria took on the Seychelles team at the Stade Linite in Victoria, on Match Day 2 in the group qualifying stage for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON). This was the first encounter between these two nations. Nigeria needed a confidence-boosting win after losing at home to South Africa on Match Day 1. Seychelles were hoping to do their best against the much higher ranked Nigerian team.
Nigeria started with the most anticipated line-up with one forced change. Newcomer Jamilu Collins was supposed to play in defence but he had a nagging injury before kick-off and coach Gernot Rohr didn’t want to risk playing him. He was replaced by Chidozie Awaziemin the starting eleven.
The Eagles kicked-off the game furiously and were rewarded in the 15th minute after a powerful strike by Ahmed Musa came off the bar into the goalkeeper and finishing inside the net. Nigeria continued to attack and scored the second goal in the 34th minutes. This time it was the post that had a major part in the goal after a rebound from a Kelechi Iheanacho shot came to Awaziem who had no problems just slotting the ball into an empty goal. Nigeria hit the woodwork once more before the break with Odhian Ighalo hitting the crossbar.
Seychelles had their first goal-scoring chance at the start of the second half but Bertrand Esther put the ball wide. In the 55th minute, Nigeria were awarded a penalty after Samuel Kalu was fouled in the box. Ighalo easily scored to give the Super Eagles a 3:0 lead. Later in the game, the Seychelles team gave Nigeria a scare when Perry Monaie managed to go around the Eagles goalie and miss.
With this win, Nigeria earn their first three points of the qualifying campaign but still sit in third place as South Africa and Libya played out an uneventful goalless draw and both have four points at the top of Group E.
While the coach and the players were satisfied with the victory, the Seychelles team didn’t test the Eagles at all. Hopefully, they will see where their limits are and how good they are in a friendly in Liberia on Tuesday before playing Libya in their next Group E match. The Libyan coach has already been calling out the Nigerians ahead of their Match Day 3 encounter. The Eagles will want to respond to these provocations on the football field once the day comes.