Super Eagles Reach AFCON 2nd Round

Super Eagles Reach AFCON 2nd Round


Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi fluffed away four good chances in the first half, leaving defender Kenneth Omeruo 73rd minute glancing header off Moses Simon corner kick to salvage a 1-0 win that qualified the team for the tournament’s Round of 16. With the win, Nigeria became the first country to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament.

Super Eagles could have wrapped up the match in the first half if Ighalo and Iwobi were clinical. In the sixth minute, Iwobi needed to jab in the ball at the edge of the six yards box but wanted to dribble his way through, throwing away such an opportunity early in the game. About three minutes later, Ahmed Musa cut back pass into the box hit Ighalo, who rather than take a first time shot wanted to control the ball and lost possession.

The biggest opportunity thrown away was in the 32nd minute, also by Ighalo, who rather pass the ball to an unmarked Ahmed Musa tried to score and hit the side netting in the process. It was a build up from the edge of the centre circle with Iwobi putting him through but decided to go alone. After missing the goal apologized on the premise that he did not look up.

It was not all poor play in the first half as Iwobi was denied a goal in the 36th minute as Guinea goalkeeper, Ibrahim Kone, had to parry his shot into corner. He was also denied another opportunity in the 72nd minute by Kone who parried his lob into corner.

However, the result means that for the first time since the AFCON finals (also staged in Egypt), Nigeria won their two matches of the finals.

At the beginning, Guinea were more business-like, hitting three shots on target including one that rattled Daniel Akpeyi.

Coach Gernot Rohr rested Captain Mikel Obi and William troost-Ekong, with Chukwueze also benched for Simon and Ighalo starting in place of Paul Onuachu. Yet, the Super Eagles did not look intensely creative in the first half hour and it was largely the organization of Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun, Chidozie Awaziem and Ola Aina at the back that ensured a barren scoreline at the interval.

The Super Eagles need only a draw from their last match of the group phase against Madagascar on Sunday to finish top of the group and remain in Alexandria for their Round of 16 fixture.

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